A Memory of December 8, 1980

Wednesday, December 08, 2010 - 12:18 PM

I have a very vivid memory from thirty years ago tonight.

I spent the evening visiting new friends who lived in the park block of West 71st Street, and left their apartment late that evening. As I rounded the corner onto Central Park West, a wild-eyed woman -- a total stranger -- passed me on the sidewalk crying, "They shot John Lennon." Somehow, my New Yorker brain incorrectly first processed this as John Lindsey, and then quickly corrected itself when I reached the corner of 72nd and Central Park.

Waiting for the M-10 bus, which (as usual, at least back then) took forever to get there. I spent the next 20 minutes watching grief-stricken people show up at the Dakota. My most lasting memory is of a limousine that slid out of Central Park, drove slowly past the building, did a U-turn on 72nd Street, and slipped silently back into the Park. Clearly a night I will never forget.

What are your memories of John Lennon's death?


More in:

Comments [9]

amber from texas

my dad luvd lennon's music, but he's heard it on the news that john was already gone. BLAME IT ON THE MURDERER!!! i thought john wuz a great singer.

Feb. 23 2011 07:11 PM
John J. Christiano from Franklin, NJ

I was living in Ocean City NJ with two other guys working on a construction project in AC. My most vivid recollection was that none of the construction workers were going to miss that "drugged-up hippie". There was no sense of loss; more of a "good riddance".

I take great consolation that now, after all these years, my 17 year old son, and many other teens, can't get enough of the Beatles. And we, as the adults who remember, continue to remember.

Dec. 14 2010 10:47 AM
Silversalty from Brooklyn

I don't have a "vivid memory" of where I was or what I was doing when I first learned of the murder of John Lennon. Probably, like many in America, I was watching Monday Night Football and got the news from Howard Cosell.

There's a bootleg (live concert fan recording) of Tori Amos closing a concert with Lennon's "Imagine." The rendition is haunting as Ms. Amos' style adds a visceral passion to the words making their meaning much more "self-evident."

Some of the lyrics..

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Lennon murdered?

Dec. 14 2010 06:18 AM
Gregg from Astoria Queens

Then? I was in high-school. Of course then I was an avid listener of WQXR, but I still had a thing for the Beatles.

It was a boarding school so I was hanging about the dorm waiting for the time to head to school, when the woman who did the things for us, meals, some others, advised myself and two others that it happened. I realized that she was nearly crying. One of the two did in fact, ah, loose it.

I find it an irony that Beatles music is itself a form of the classics. And that Yoko Ono happens to be a pianist.

Dec. 10 2010 08:49 PM
Neil Schnall

December 8, 1980 was my 30th birthday. I was separated from my first wife and spent the day alone and lonely. I consoled myself watching a telecast of Der Rosenkavalier (C. Kleiber, cond. with Gwyneth Jones, Brigitte Fassbaender, Lucia Popp, Manfred Jungwirth), an opera dealing with the passage of time and the inability to hold onto things. Thus, I didn't hear the news of John until later that night.
As a young teen (tween?) when Beatlemania arrived in NY, I'd felt that same particular kinship with The Beatles as so many contemporaneous colleagues. It was a double blow for that to have happened on my 30th birthday, of all days. I spent the entire next day weeping.
By the way, that Rosenkavalier performance is out on DVD now, and my (new) wife and I celebrated my 60th watching it. Wonderful performance in just about every way! .... and I shed a tear or two.

Dec. 10 2010 01:56 PM
Kiki from Queens, NY

I was a young teen working at a theatre in NYC when it was announced to the staff. I remember being in total shock and disbelief, not knowing what to do next, except cry and cry and cry. Somehow I got home to Queens, the subway trip a total blur. My mom, who was a big Beatles fan along with my dad, had been watching Monday Night Football and confirmed the story. My family sat around in shock. I remember saying we'll never be young again. It still doesn't seem real.

Dec. 09 2010 06:45 PM
Yuko Ichihara from NJ

I can hardly believe It's been 30 years since that day! I too never forget that day.
I was in Tokyo at work, a publishing company, a colleague brought that news, we were shocked, could hardly believe, or did not want to believe. We had this feeling; we lost a great great person ...

Dec. 09 2010 02:16 AM
tracy from UES, manhattan

i was just 10 year old kid growing up in suburbs of Dallas TX. i remember my mom telling me about it. i had just received my very first radio the Christmas before and I had already grown to love his songs. I knew my mom was sad. She would just say "he was a good person". she said that John and Yoko had just come from handing out baskets of food to the needy that very day he was killed. tragic.
now i live in NYC and have walked past the Dakota numerous times. and each and every time i think of John Lennon.

Dec. 09 2010 12:10 AM

Lets ''GIVE PEACE A CHANCE'' (And we really miss you Mr. Lennon)

Dec. 08 2010 02:54 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.


About WQXR Blog

Ignite your love of classical music every day with the articles published in the WQXR blog. Here you can find blogs about classical music, playlist selections, curated videos, and other features highlighting the joy of great music.