Wednesday, December 8, 2010

John Lennon's Legacy

It was on December 8, 1980 – thirty years ago today – that legendary singer/songwriter, John Lennon, was shot by an obsessed fan in New York City. From the time John Lennon was a young boy, he imagined that he would die a violent death. As his fame grew, he anticipated that he would be “popped off by some looney.” But he never let this fear paralyze him or keep him from doing what he wanted. He once explained, “I’m not afraid of dying. I’m prepared for death, because I don’t believe in it. I think it’s just getting out of one car and getting into another.” But he never could have anticipated just how soon or suddenly his death would come, in the midst of a creative comeback on the music scene and planning for the future with his wife, Yoko Ono.

Fans who mourned John’s death refused to accept that he was gone, and some carried signs that claimed “John Lives.” In many ways he still does live on through his music and art. In the years after his death, Yoko carefully and systematically continued to release music, writing, and art that John created, and in 2009 she constructed an exhibit of personal items, creative pieces, music, and film in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex in New York City that caused fans to both laugh and cry. The exhibit allowed close-up views of intricate collages John created as gifts for Ringo and others, and it provided an opportunity to see the piano, complete with cigarette burns, that John used to write music when he lived at the Dakota, his apartment building in New York City. At the end of the exhibit, in an enclosed glass case, sat the brown paper bag filled with John’s clothing and personal effects, just as it had been returned to Yoko from the hospital after his death. She never opened it, and as a piece in the exhibit it conveyed a message about the cold and impersonal brutality of murder. John Lennon was the 701st victim of armed assault in New York in 1980. In the year preceding John’s death, 10,700 people died from gunshot wounds in the United States. Next to the stark brown bag in the exhibit was a large white poster where people could sign their names as part of an effort to control guns and gun violence in the United States.


By Jacqueline Edmondson
Greenwood, 2010

This biography provides a comprehensive account of John Lennon's life for students and general readers, integrating information from interviews conducted during his life with published accounts of Lennon from a range of perspectives. It covers the time from his birth in Liverpool in 1940 to his murder in New York City in 1980.

1 comment:

  1. I was just listening to "Lennon Legend" on my iPod yesterday - his music is so timeless! I have to say, one of my favorite lyrics is, "Life is just what happens to you, While your busy making other plans" from "Beautiful Boy."