Right around this time, on a cold, Monday night 32 years ago, John Lennon died in a New York hospital after being gunned down by an assailant outside his home.
It was one of those moments where, if you were around at the time, you remember where you were when it happened. Being a kid, I was in bed. But when I heard the news the next morning I thought, “Who would kill John Lennon? What did he ever do?”
Of course, the answer isn’t crystal clear. But we do know one thing: we were robbed.
I don’t mean robbed of a Beatles reunion or more John Lennon music or his witticisms or worldly wisdom. We were robbed of a man who had come to terms with middle-age, embracing home and family while letting go of the rock star lifestyle. John Lennon didn’t die of a drug overdose or with his face in the toilet. He was killed coming home with his wife and to tuck his son into bed.
The example he was setting was something all of us should admire and embrace.
Of course, as a child I couldn’t grasp this concept. I was confused but touched by the outpouring of emotion from musicians and fans all over the world. I listened soberly as radio stations paid tribute and played his music. I watched with disappointment as record stores cashed in on huge profits and supermarket tabloids splashed pictures of him in an effort to capitalize on everyone’s pain.
32 years later, I recognize the media and the music business for what they are. And I recognize that, as time marches on, this anniversary will cease to have the importance it once did.
But one thing will never change – the chills I get when I watch this:
RIP JWOL (1940 – 1980)
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Richard Todd is an author, blogger, and Social Media guy. Plus a few other things that get lost in the clutter. Visit him online at www.richard-todd.com.