John Lennon wanted us to imagine many things.
There was one thing, however, he never could have imagined: how the world would come together, distraught, while learning the news of his death. In fact, in his last interview before his murder, his comments were tragically ironic. In a December 5, 1980,Â interview for Rolling Stone, he complained about critics who he said were only interested in "dead heroes," something he had no desire to be, saying that he had "plenty of time" to accomplish some of his life goals.
"These critics with the illusions they've created about artistsÂ - it's like idol worship," he told the magazine. "They only like people when they're on their way up. â€¦ I cannot be on the way up again.
"What they want is dead heroes, like Sid Vicious and James Dean. I'm not interested in being a dead (expletive) hero. ... Â So forget 'em, forget 'em."
Three days later, the Beatles front man was murdered on the steps of his New York apartment building. He and his wife, Yoko Ono, had just come home from an evening of recording tracks in their studio.
And in the years to follow, and 30 years ago Wednesday, Lennon is remembered exactly the way perhaps he had not wanted to be - as an idol.
Leading up to the anniversary, Vanity Fair even wrote a piece imagining where Lennon would be if he were alive today.
The anniversary of his untimely death marks a day of mourning for a whole generation. The cultural icon of their lives is gone. It's a day just about everyone who was alive remembers. One of those days where you recall exactly where you were when you heard the news.
During "Monday Night Football," Howard Cosell told Frank Gifford - off the air - that Lennon was dead. And in an ESPN video the two discuss how - and whether they should break the news to fans.
CNN's John Roberts, then a music journalist for City TV in Toronto, writes of the day, "It was one of those moments where time seems to slow down and the mind considers a hundred questions before finally settling on the truth: How could he have been shot? Are the reports mistaken? Who would do such a thing? How could we lose such a pop culture icon? Didn't he just turn 40? Didn't he have a young son? Didn't he have security?
"Will I wake up and this will all have been just a dream?"
Like Roberts, a few journalists shared their recollections of that fateful night and the roles they played in the coverage.
Jim Farber, a New York Daily News music critic, was a recent college graduate who was writing the record review column for Circus magazine when ď»żMark David Chapman assassinated Lennon. He recalled hearing people talking about Lennon's death but dismissed it, until he saw the news. So he went to the scene where the music icon was gunned down.
"There were hundreds of people there, and they shut down parts of 72ndÂ (Street)Â because there were so many people there," he said. "It was very emotional, if you could imagine, and I stayed there the whole night wandering around, talking to people and trying to get our heads around what had happened."
Ono, writing a column for The New York Times, however, chooses not to think of the day with unbearable sadness. Instead, she says she remembers the quiet moments sheÂ had with her husband and reflects on a night theyÂ shared laughterÂ over a cup of tea.
"They say teenagers laugh at the drop of a hat. Nowadays I see many teenagers sad and angry with each other. John and I were hardly teenagers," she said. " But my memory of us is that we were a couple who laughed."
And sheÂ writes she hopes his legacy is not just in the words of his music, but in the work he did as well and his hope for peace.
"The most important gift we received from him was not words, but deeds. He believed in Truth, and had dared to speak up. We all knew that he upset certain powerful people with it. But that was John. He couldnâ€™t have been any other way," Ono writes. "If he were here now, I think he would still be shouting the truth. Without the truth, there would be no way to achieve world peace."
Lennon indeed was a man who wanted to imagine - to imagine peace. Who wanted to help start a revolution to get us there.
So today, many fans around the world remember, and will as they gather Wednesday at Central Park's Strawberry Fields,Â how on December 8, 1980, what they couldn't imagine - that the manÂ who gave them the words they lived by was gone.
And as he once sang, there are places we all remember.
"All these places had their moments, with lovers and friends, I still can recall. Some are dead and some are living. In my life I've loved them all."
And for Lennon fans, today is one of them. And without a doubt, they've loved every moment he created for them.
There are many celebrities who have used drugs or alcohol in excess that you may not even know about. Do you cross them off your list? I'll bet there are some whose music you enjoy and listen to. Did it cause you to start using drugs or alcohol? Also, you said "judge those by the fruits of their labors". I'm sure you are not perfect!! Who are you to judge John Lennon or others? Your comments are ludicrous and awfully judgmental! If you don't want others to judge you, then don't judge others!!
Quite a talented man, who left us way too soon. And to those of you belittling him for whatever trivial myriad of 'reasons' you can't seem to let go of... get a life. The man stood for peace on this earth, created alot of great music (some of which you probably enjoy), and did not have a huge ego through the whole process. You able to say that about yourself? IOW don't be a judgmental jerk to put it mildly.
Genius? OK, sure. Unrepentant egomaniacal @$$ with a massive superiority complex? Without question.
Missed? Not by me.
Yeah, I think the only people who rant about the great late John are either really stuck in the past or lived lives that are so void of anything that the beetles and lennon were the greatest thing to happen to them really sad to be moved or motivated by a stoner musician
I'd like to share what I wrote on this day in 1996...
Thoughts for John
John, although we never met,
You are a friend of mine.
Beatle music gave me light
When much of my childhood was dark.
Your ability to "tell it like it was"
Gave me the courage to stand my ground.
Your humor and wit
Kept a smile on my face.
And your senseless death
Has forever put a tear in my eye.
You know, I see all this hating and crap going on. John died because of this, John died because of that. Can it people. The Beatles say it best: "Life goes on." John's dead, and as much as all of us would like him to comeback, he can't. We at least have his music and words to inspire us and the generation to come, but for God's sake all this stuff about Yoko "not saving him" and how John apparently left the Beatles first (which he didn't) is ridiculous. Come together and the world will be as one. I realize how corny that is, but this debating over who's right and who's wrong on the internet will get you nowhere. I went to 72nd street today and stayed there for over an hour, signing and standing on a park bench. It was in memorial for this venerable man, and the last thing he'd want is talk about is what would've happened. Change the future, not the past
No Doug John died because of several chest wounds caused by a .38 really now all the hate. Listen if he hadn't been murdered then all of us good people wouldn't be here today sharing such personal thoughts. listen I'm not bashing you personally I really think this lennon thing is a joke if you wanna pay tribute to a stoner that's your choice try giving some homeless guy a meal or coat for christmas
arthurr – what color is the sky in your world? talk about nut-jobs.........
my tribute to John Lennon on this sad sad day!
For a man who sang..all you need is love, he sure didn't give any Didn't know how to be a decent father to his first son and was gay. Screw John Lennon.
JOHN LENNON WAS JUST A MAN WITH A DREAM, AND YA HE WASN'T THERE AT THE BEGINNING FOR HIS FIRST SON, BUT WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES AND LATER IN HIS LIFE HE WAS ALL WAYS THERE FOR HIS SON, AND JOHN LENNON MAY HAVE TRIED THINGS BUT HE WAS NOT GAY. DONT HATE HIM FOR BEING DIFFERENT. ALL JOHN LENNON WANTED WAS PEACE ON EARTH. JOHN LENNON WAS A GREAT MAN AND IF YOU DONT UNDERSTAND HIM THEN FINE BUT DONT BE TELLING LIES ABOUT HIM.
R.I.P John We "LOVE" you
I would remind everyone that Lennon was a DRUG ADDICT. His wife was an even bigger DRUG ADDICT. He was a husband that thought it was ok to cheat on his wife with other DRUG ADDICTS. Why we, as a society, choose to listen to either of them is beyond me. By the way, I am neither a Republican not a Tea Party supporter.
YA MAYBE JOHN LENNON HAD SOME PROBLEMS, BUT DON'T WE ALL. JOHN LENNON MAY HAVE HAD SOME ISSUES, BUT HE WAS JUST A MAN WITH A DREAM, ONE THAT YOU MAY NEVER UNDERSTAND. YOU HAVE NO RITE TO HATE JOHN LENNON, JUST CAUSE HIS MORALS ARE DIFFERENT THAN YOURS DOESN'T MEAN HE IS A BAD PERSON.
R.I.P. John, We "LOVE" you
Mike,he also took a stand for peace at a time when that was enough to cause riots. What risks have you taken?
He was high most of the time he's gone I call that Darwinism yeah baby
R.I.P. John, We all "LOVE" you
"IMAGINE ALL THE PEOPLE"
How unamerican can you get.... a story about john lennon on the front page but nothing about dec 7, 1941.
Even after 30 year's have passed since John's death people still miss the point about John's work and true love, Yoko Ono.
How sad to mark this day with such meaningless mind-chatter. We are lucky to have Yoko keep John's work alive in the world It is not easy losing the one you love yet alone being a single parent. Cheers to John & Yoko may their work live on in our heart's for future generation's to sing "All we are saying is give Peace A Chance" !
I was attending Washington State University when John was taken from the world. MY room mates Traci and Wendi came home after class... we had the TV on when the news broke. We sat shocked, tears flowing quietly. A profound sense of loss, and questions of what could have been.... not uttered since the loss of Robert Kennedy when I was 11 years of age. The impact John had on our lives, and the lives of many born after his death is amazing. My daughters Laura and Caroline, both University students are amazed by the talents and the loss of the man that was so much more than a Beatle. Godspeed John Lennon... you are both missed and cherished.
Don't forget Darrel Lance Abbott AKA Dimebag Darrel died 6 years ago today.
Rest of Paradise Lennon and Dime!!
John Lennon was just a man with a dream, a dream bigger than all of us, if you don't understand that fine but dont criticize him for it. He just wanted the world to be a place of "PEACE" and "LOVE"
lol, how is *that* a "bigger dream" than anything we have? It's no different than any pie-in-the-sky dream of 60's/70's hippies. Some of us have more useful and intellectual dreams. Lennonites hurt my brain :(.
@Jason – it's a bigger dream because it allows for the dreams of others and doesn't criticize or belittle them. That's the difference.