This Is The Day We Lost Lennon

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

It was 29 years ago today.


A fan turned stalker, turned killer ended a remarkable life outside a New York apartment building, the Dakota, on December 8th, 1980.  John Lennon was 40 years old.  40.  What might he have given us in the decades since?.....Imagine.

I was 15 years old, living right here in Colorado Springs the day we lost Lennon.  I was in a band, playing guitar, writing songs, hoping someday to be a little bit like and millions of others!  There had been a lot of talk prior to that day about a possible Beatles reunion.  Saturday Night Live had offered the Fab Four a token $1,000 to reunite for the show, remember that?  I was watching Monday Night Football when Howard Cosell announced on the air that John Lennon had been shot.

I remember thinking, maybe he'll be OK.  When it became clear that he wouldn't be, I remember thinking now that reunion will never happen.

I did an interview once with legendary Denver concert promoter Barry Fay.  He told me that he was on the phone that night with Keith Richards, who suddenly said, "Barry I've got to go, John's been shot."

Next came all the reporting on his death, and then on his life.  Reports in the years that followed indicated that Mark David Chapman was apparently obsessed with "The Catcher in the Rye"  and for some reason considered John Lennon to be one of Holden Caulfield's despised phonies.  The rest of us managed to read Salinger and appreciate it without becoming killers. What a waste.

The last time I was in New York I took a couple of minutes to visit the Dakota. It's easy to find at 72nd St. and Central Park West.  There's no sign, no memorial, no mention of John Lennon.  There's just the big gate, and the guy guarding it.  If anyone gets too close he gently reminds them to stay on the's public property.  When I was there so were a few others, we all just looked, quietly, then moved on.  It's strange to be in the spot we saw so often on the news coverage, the spot where it happened.

From there you can walk across the street and into the park to see "Strawberry Fields" ..the permanent Lennon memorial in mosaic.   It's a nice spot too, to spend a few moments, and then move on.  It's right near the 72nd Street entrance to the park.

Today is a good day to listen to "Imagine" .  We all probably have our own list of a few songs to hear on this day.   I listened to "Love Me Do" to remember "happy sunshine Beatle-John."  then I put on "I'm So Tired" from the White Album.  It's a more mature and jaded master musician...ready to take his evolution beyond the Beatles.   Whatever you listened to I'm sure it was good, you can't really miss with John Lennon...though today we can certainly all miss John Lennon.

We'll talk again soon.


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