Saturday, December 8, 2007


For me this is one of the most significant days of the whole year. It was 27 years ago today that the leader of The Beatles John Lennon was shot and murdered. I remember the day clearly. I was in bed with one of the most severe cases of the flu I have had in my life. I had no plans of going to school. I was fast asleep when my brother awakened me with the words "John Lennon is dead. He's been shot." I told him it was BS--he was lying. I stumbled out of bed. I staggered to the living room to learn the awful truth. There it was, on the Today show, John Lennon had been assassinated. Even Jane Pauley and Tom Brokaw had been shaken. Pauley looked as if she had been crying. Brokaw looked as if he was in shock. I spent that day as I have every December 8 ever since--listening to the music of John Lennon.

Of course, the reason that I mourn a man whom I never met nor never knew is quite simple. I think it is quite possible that John Lennon had a bigger influence on me than any other artist. Lester Dent (creator of Doc Savage), Charles Dickens, Akira Kurosawa, Alfred Hitchcock, none of them have wielded the influence over that Lennon did. It is quite possible that the first song I ever heard was by The Beatles. They arrived here in the States when I was only eleven months old. Growing up, their music was all over the radio. There was even a Beatles cartoon on Saturday morning. I saw all of The Beatles movies (A Hard Day's Night, Help!, Yellow Submarine, and Let It Be). The first album I ever bought with my own money was Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Eventually I would have an absolutely huge Beatles and John Lennon collection on vinyl. Lennon's music infiltrated my life in a way that no other musician or the work of any other artist ever has.

Today I spend as I have every other December 8. I will listen to the music of the Beatles and John Lennon. I will watch A Hard Day's Night, Help!, and Yellow Submarine. And more than likely I will cry at some point. I suppose in most people's life there is one artist who has had an impact on them more than any other. For me it would seem that it was John Lennon.


d. chedwick bryant said...


John was my favorite beatle from the moment I heard him speak to the press (he said something hilariously rude and witty back to a rude condescending reporter---and I fell in love.) He had the willingness to put himself out there, to be bold, and not take criticism so very seriously, but address it very directly at times. He could be insolent and audacious and still you could see the undercurrent of kindness. He was brilliant.

Snave said...

He became a hero of mine back in about 1967. It became magnified when I got his book "A Spaniard In The Works" and "In His Own Write" when I was about 11. Only years later did I understand all the wordplay in those books... When I heard the news he had been shot, I was sitting around watching TV with my college roommate. It was a horrifying-enough thing that when I think about it I can even recall what the living room looked like, what stuff we had hanging on the walls, etc.