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1980: The legend of Lennon

John Lennon spent the evening of 8 December 1980 at a recording studio in New York.

The former Beatle returned home shortly before 2300 and was about to enter his Manhattan apartment building when he was shot in the back four times. He died on the way to hospital.

The gunman was 25-year-old Mark Chapman, from Texas. He later said that "voices" in his head had told him to kill the world-famous musician.

Lennon fans began arriving at the scene of the murder within hours, stunned their idol had been killed.

A selection of your memories:

I was a BBC radio newsreader when the news flash came through into Broadcasting House that Lennon had been shot.

Even today 25 years on the shock is a strong as it was then. Music was never quite the same since ... and never will be.
Tom Edwards, UK

I was 7 years old at the time living in Glastonbury. We'd got up early to travel to Milton Keynes where relatives lived and as usual Dad had switched the radio on and almost immediately the DJ announced that John Lennon had been shot dead at his Dakota residence. I remember it so clearly.

My Dad slumped into a chair and the disbelief on his face and my Mum's was clear to see. Although I knew the Beatles music, I was a little too young to understand the impact of what the DJ had just said. The car journey to Milton Keynes was very silent and obviously when we met with relatives, it was John Lennon that was the only topic of conversation.


"Mark Chapman may have taken John Lennon from the world but he could never take John Lennon's spirit and musical legacy from us."

Neil, Australia

My Dad was particulary upset at John Lennon's death and I'd never really seen him like that before. It was only a few years ago that I actually found out the reason why.

My Dad had grown up in Liverpool and attended the Cavern Club on many occasions. He got to know the Beatles pretty well before they became famous and he would often share a drink or two with John before and after shows. My Dad never really discusses those days at all and I still can't remember how I got him talking about it, but to hear his stories of spending time with John Lennon and the other Beatles was pretty special.

These days John Lennon is just as popular now as he was when he was alive. Mark Chapman may have taken John Lennon from the world but he could never take John Lennon's spirit and musical legacy from us. That will remain with us forever.
Neil, Australia

I was 30 years old, and was watching TV while my wife was at work. All of the sudden, a news bulletin came up. It said "one of the Beatles has been shot and killed." I remember thinking "Please let it not be John." But it was.

I still think to this day that John Lennon's death marked the end of the 60's. It marked the end of a generation.
Tom, USA

I was working in a record shop at the time. My friend phoned me and told me the news. There was no radio in the shop and I was frantic for news.

My mum who had died in 1971 was from Liverpool and loved the Beatles - it felt as if she had died all over again.
Maureen, California, USA

Thinking back to this event, it is tragic.

I remember watching Monday Night Football at home when Howard Cosell announced that John Lennon had been shot. I was only 9 years old at the time.

I wish I had the pleasure of seeing the Beatles perform as I am sure they would have played many more times together if they had had the opportunity.
Michael Connell, USA

My daughter was two months old and the health visitor called, I was crying because of the murder and all the health visitor kept saying was "You've got post-natal depression."

"No I haven't, John Lennon has been murdered."

"No you've got post natal depression."

I shouted back "John Lennon is dead! Shut-up, I have not got post-natal depression."

I was devestated, absolutely distraught. Mark Chapman should rot in hell.
Melanie Buddle, UK

I was a student, at Strathclyde University, in Glasgow, Scotland.

I heard the news on the radio, as I reversed my car (a Renault 4 - (totally crap) John would have approved) - out of the driveway.

I stopped the engine, and sat for 10 minutes, too numb to function.

John was the greatest member of the greatest band in history.

His honesty in his lyrics (e.g. Love, Mother), his creativity (e.g. I am the Walrus, Strawberry Fields For Ever) is unsurpassed, even 25 years on.

I still miss him.
John, UK

I was sitting outside a clothes shop in my home town of Newry, N.Ireland with my dad. My mom was in picking up her Christmas outfit.

I was three-year-old and my dad was showing me how to draw on the steamed-up windows. I remember him stopping dead and turning the radio in the car up. "Oh, my God," he said, "John Lennon's been shot."

I had no idea who Lennon was then but now I am a massive fan and my life has been influenced in many ways by the man and his legacy.

I have been to the Dakota and Strawberry fields several times and look forward to being there again.

I never thought it would be possible to miss someone I never knew. But I do.

War is over. If you want it.
Marc, Northern Ireland

I was out having dinner with friends. As I paid my bill, the manager, who was a fried, asked if I'd heard the news about John Lennon.

Excitedly, my first thought was that he'd announced plans to do a concert tour of the US. When he told me Lennon had just been shot, I felt like someone had hit me with a club, and my insides sank.

The effect on my brother, who was also present, was outwardly violent, as Lennon was his idol. He burst into tears openly in the parking lot outside the restaurant.
Raymond Tucker, USA

I was eighteen years old and living in Denver, Colorado - I grew up with the Beatles¿ music pouring out of our radio, in our tenement flat in Glasgow, Scotland during the sixties.

I was sitting with my mom watching TV. It was about 8:30pm Rocky Mountain Time, when along the bottom of the screen, like ticker tape, the news of Lennon being gunned down in NY appeared.

I recall of that evening, being glued to the television for every fragment of news¿..no one knew if he was dead and so the pictures which came across the screen from that point on, of fans arriving at the Dakota Building, candles and flowers in hand, were waiting for the news there in NY as much as I was in suburban Denver.

Several days later a two minute silence occurred. On that day, my good friend Jane Thompson and myself drove her 1962 Volkswagen over to Washington Park. We sat down on a bench and reflected at the chosen time - his life, his music and how it had affected our lives. We let our minds wander and I thought of white feathers.

Several years later when I was in NY, by chance I was crossing the street towards the Dakota Building and on my way to somewhere else. Yoko got out of her limo and walked to the door of the building¿it brought it all back. Took me right back to the night Lennon was killed¿..only this time I was viewing the scene. That felt strange and I thought of how odd it was to see one without the other.
Karen, UK

The day after John was shot, my dour Northern grandfather was told the news. "That's the best bloody news I've heard all week," was his reaction.

I didn't share it. I remember shivering on the football pitch in Bolton the following morning at school, letting goals whizz past and not really taking it all in.

Come Christmas Day, I found that on the day John died, my Dad had bought the Beatles Rock 'n' Roll Music albums. Oddly enough he did the same some years later when Roy Orbison died, getting the Big O's greatest hits LP on the same day.

I've asked him to stop buying LPs for me.
Graeme, England

Though I was only four at the time I vividly remember my Dad standing in front of the TV, watching the news, hands on hips, shaking his head.

It's strange how everybody just seems to know Beatles songs from a very early age, probably from growing up in a house where their music was played so much, it gets ingrained, which is a fantastic thing.

It is a cliche, but John really does live on through all those wonderful songs.
JP Morrison, England

I was walking home from school when I saw a sandwich board outside our local newsagent stating: "John Lennon Killed".

I was only 12 but thanks to having two brothers a decade older than me, I was listening to Beatles' records and playing them on my guitar from about the age of eight.

I rushed home and my shocked family gathered around the TV for the rest of the evening as the details emerged. I felt sadder than most of my friends at school. It was definitely a "Where were you when...?" event.

I don't think Imagine would sound half so haunting if he hadn't been murdered.
Laura, Japan

I was living in Connecticut and attending New York University at the time of John Lennon's death.

I was 19 at the time. My mother came into my room that morning and said that a "rock star had been killed".


"John's death was much more than the death of a great songwriter; it was the death of the Beatles"

B Hart, UK

It wasn't until I turned on the radio and heard the news from a sobbing DJ that the truth of what had really happened sank in. That day, it seemed that every DJ on every radio station was crying into his mike as he reported the dreadful news while playing John's music again and again.

For those of us who had grown up with the Beatles, John's death was much more than the death of a great songwriter; it was the death of the Beatles.

Up to that point, there had been constant rumours of the tantalising possibility that a reunion of the greatest rock band in the world was in the pipeline.

Once John's death was announced, that dream died with him - the dream of millions of fans that the Beatles hadn't really gone away, that they were only biding their time until they'd return afresh with more music to enrich and entertain the world.
B Hart, UK

I remember exactly where I was the moment I found out. It was 5pm and I was 14 years old, in the living room with my dad with the radio on.

I was engrossed in my reading when suddenly I heard my dad gasp.

It was the news announcing John Lennon's murder. It's odd but that moment is etched in my memory forever. I remember the furniture in the old house, what clothes my dad had on, the time (5.03pm - I glanced at the clock at that very minute).

I remember waiting for sister to come home from work so that I could break the news to her. She cried. We spent the evening listening to BBC playing all his songs from his latest album "Double Fantasy".

It was a defining moment in my life - I still wonder why, because at that age I was into Madness and the Police. Perhaps it was the inane violence of it all.
Maleek, Malaysia

At John Lennon's memorial in Ottawa on Parliament Hill where thousands attended, the feeling of remorse and sadness was felt deeply.

At the minute of silence (all traffic was stopped at this time) all that could be heard was a child stating: " Mommy, I'm cold."

It was an innocent remark but a chill went through the crowd. It was obvious to all that were there that a great person had gone to his reward. He will be missed.
Val, Canada

The one thing back then that really seemed capable of cutting through the "I, me, mine" of Thatcher's Britain was the brutal selfless honesty that old JL delivered his public offerings with.

To me when the right-wing political mafia set about what remained of working class people, in my head I was singing "No shorthaired yellow bellied son of trick-dicky's gonna molly coddle soft soak me with just a pocket full of hope" .

Really it got me through the night and the next day too.

When my Mum bought me a cup of tea in bed with a face white and shocked-looking I knew bad things had happened.


"I'm sitting here typing thoughts to you lot with a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye"

Paul, UK

When she told me I cried, which is something 16-year-old boys didn't generally do. My favorite teacher at school hugged me and she cried too.

For a long time I believed the CIA had got a sleeper to bump him off because he still had the potential to be more popular than Christ, and just as willing to point out the errors committed by those in charge.

I've never really renounced that belief, even though it looks a bit far-fetched with 25 years of retrospect. But all the same I'm sitting here typing thoughts to you lot with a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye.

What was it that he had then. I'd never met him. But I felt as though I'd been given some sound advice every time I listened to certain songs by someone who really understood what it was like to be up against it and short of an answer.

JL's music was my solidarity, and now his ghost plays chords on my emotional tides so lightly that I mistake them for my own.
Paul Hockaday, UK

I remember hearing it on Radio 2 on a news bulletin during Tony Brandon's programme and I went off to school and mentioned it to a friend who didn't believe me when I told him.

It was the first time I really remember being genuinely shocked by something.

In a funny way Lennon's death was the start of something for me as I avidly collected all of his records from his time with the Beatles and as a solo artist.

Lennon's murder was for me the beginning of an interest in him and his music rather than an end.
Nick W, UK

The abiding memory of John's killing was that week's "Not The Nine O'Clock News" on the BBC - the great and the good were having their opinions sought by everyone, the cheap tribute magazines and instant paperbacks were being planned, the comedy shows ending credits accompanied by The Beatles' "In My Life".

It was the most poignant tribute I've ever seen by the media.
Marty, Germany

Ironically enough, on the evening of December 8th, 1980 I was on West 72nd Street in Manhattan, near West End Avenue, about three long blocks from Central Park West, with my voice coach.

What is so strange is that I would not have even been there studying voice if it had not been for the major influence John Lennon had on my life.

I was only six when they came to the US and remember it all so vividly.

Now, at the age of 23, I had just moved to New York City from Pennsylvania to fulfil my dreams as an artist.

I knew that JL lived there and this was exciting in itself, but the way I saw it, we were just 7 or 8 million Manhattanites crammed in together on this small, yet amazing island yet I secretly hoped that one day, like many other folks, I might pass him on the street.

To think that I was at the other end of the same street happily struggling with musical scales while someone was lying in wait to end the precious life of someone so close to us all, still affects me.

Later, I rode the IRT to 14th Street and arrived at my place on 16th Street, where I received a phone call from my younger brother in Pennsylvania giving me the sad news about this tragic event that happened only blocks away from where I had been.
Lindakay Rendina, USA

I was nine when John Lennon was shot. I didn't really know who he was and yet for some reason I remember exactly what I was doing the moment my mum came into my bedroom and told me: I was opening a window on my advent calendar.

Since the age of about 16 I have grown to love both John and the Beatles. It's a cliché but John has taught me valuable lessons over the years and I feel I have much in common with certain events in his life.

Thank you John: Love always.
Sue de-Rozarieux, UK

I was a school girl aged 15. My best friend and I were obsessed with the Beatles and constantly went on about them and played their music at school in break time. She loved Paul and I loved John.

I was so excited at the prospect that I might actually see John in the flesh as I'd read that he was apparently planning to come and do some concerts in the UK in 1981.

I had just returned from doing my paper round on the morning of the 8th and started to get ready for school. I switched on my radio and just caught the name Yoko Ono and my attention was grabbed.

Then I heard the news. I can't put into words how I felt. It was like a big black heavy cloud had landed on me. I sat on my bed in stunned silence.

My mother then called to me to hurry up as I would be late for school. I went into my parents' room and said, "John Lennon's been shot dead." My father just said, "Oh dear, never mind" and I wanted to scream at him.

I was late for school in the end and everyone was in morning Chapel when I arrived so I went straight to the art room for my first class waiting and dreading to see my best friend.

Having seen that I was absent first thing, my best friend had started to worry that I had done something stupid. I remember seeing everyone coming out of Chapel and my friends coming towards the art room and then there was my best friend who came and grabbed me and we just cried our hearts out and continued to do so all day.

Even my teachers were really understanding at how upset we were and didn't treat us like foolish schoolgirls.

The following year when Ringo was getting married to Barbara I heard where the wedding was taking place that morning and raced up to Marylebone Registry office to stand outside in the hope of a glance of Ringo, George and Paul.

My wish was granted and I got to see all of them. The void that John's death had left was so painful it brought all the fans that were outside together and it was such a comfort.
Emma Lewis, UK

I was six. A friend told me in the playground that John Lennon had been shot.

I replied: "Which class is he in?"
Graham, UK

It was my birthday on December 8, 1980, and I had just turned 20.

I was living in a bed-sit on Grove End Road in London, just around the corner from the Abbey Road studios.

I had turned on the radio and heard the tragic news that John Lennon had been killed.

I just sat there numbly and tried to take it in. It seemed so bizarre, surreal. All day long, the radio station played his music.

I had been a good friend of Paul and Linda McCartney's daughter Heather in the early 1970s, and I remember wondering how the McCartney family was handling the news.

My 20th birthday is a day that is etched in my memory forever.
Angela M, USA

I was 19 and had moved back home to Colorado to live with my parents for a while. On the evening of 8 December 1980, I had gone to bed fairly early, but my father was up watching the news and happened to catch the news bulletin. He didn't tell me until the next morning because he didn't want to awaken me with such awful news (bless him!).

When he finally told me, I was absolutely stunned, as I'm sure all fans were.

I simply remember feeling shock and disbelief, just like most people.

The vigil of 14 December was held at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, just west of Denver, and I attended with one of my closest friends.

The Beatles had played at this very same venue back in 1964, so it was a most fitting place. Plus, it's such a beautiful amphitheatre, set in the sublime and ancient red rock formations at the foot of the Rocky Mountains.

It was amazing, and I've since read that 4,500 people attended that particular vigil, which I can well believe - the amphitheatre was full!

As I recall, the weather was quite fine for that time of year, and the day was sunny. It was such a moving experience, coming together with all of those other people to silently commemorate such a great artist and peacemaker whose life ended so suddenly and violently.

He will always be remembered and loved and very much missed.
Sheri Van Decar, USA

I was 11 years old when John died, but my Mom had been a teenager (15) at exactly the time Beatle mania had taken hold in the US.

As I grew up through the 1970s, Mom used her Beatle's albums and 45's to teach us how to dance. I really love the memories of turning up the stereo as the phonograph needle hissed and popped across those well worn vinyl grooves.

All of those happy memories were tainted on the morning of December 9th.

I remember hearing about Lennon's death in the radio as I was getting ready for school. I was about eight years old. My mum was so sad, she'd been in the Beatles fan club when she was a teenager.

When we arrived in primary school all the teachers were saddened. What sticks in my memory most is that lessons stopped for the whole morning. The headmaster did an impromptu assembly explaining what had happened, why John Lennon was such an important man. He even put on Beatles and Lennon records for the whole school to listen to.
Gareth, Wales


"We still mourn the loss of John and the loss of our happy innocence"

Bert Jackson, USA

I remember coming down the hall and into the kitchen just as the news started on the radio - as the words came out, I found myself unable to move for a few seconds.

Then I immediately thought about Mom and I began to look for her.

After a few minutes I found her sitting in the living room wiping the tears from her eyes - she already knew.

People can say what they like about John; I think we all know he wasn't a perfect person, but none of us are.

I am still saddened by the thoughts of what John might have done had he lived, but the fact of the matter is that his death made my Mom (and a lot of other people) realize that nothing lasts forever, and that is why we still mourn the loss of John and the loss of our happy innocence.
Bert Jackson, USA

I was puttering about the house when I received a phone call from my closest friend.

He related to me that Howard Cossell had just interrupted the Monday Night Football game to inform the audience that John Lennon had been shot to death outside the Dakota.

I had just finished reading the Playboy interview for that month in which John had related to the interviewer that he had been feeling like he was ¿being followed¿. Of course that interview had to take place several months before the assassination but it still stuck in my head as being somewhat ironic.

But, then again, John was an ironic individual who we will all miss.

Imagine what the music world would be like had he lived.
Greg McAninch, USA

I remember hearing the news of John Lennon's death on the radio at about 7.30am. I was in bed and something seemed to turn over in the pit of my stomach. I was 16 at the time and I suppose I was feeling the kind of shock my parents said they felt when they heard John F Kennedy was assassinated.

I was born in 1964 and had grown up loving the music of The Beatles - there had always been a hope in the back of my mind that they would get back together someday.

Now, on that dark morning, that hope was dashed.

There was a strange, mixed feeling at school that day as some dismissed John Lennon as rubbish - but many Beatles fans emerged that day and I found over the next few months that I had a new group of friends who shared a revived passion for The Beatles music as well as John's work.

Between us, we began to collect and share the singles and albums, my copy of the reissued edition of Hunter Davies' biography went round the circle, becoming more dog-eared with every reading.

Once we had exhausted the official albums and compilations, we started on the crackly live recordings from Hamburg.

Years later, I picked up for about £2 what I thought from the cover was probably another set of live Hamburg recordings and later realised was in fact a bootleg issue of the Decca audition tape.

Sadly, I'd lost touch with most of the school crowd by that time, we would have had a brilliant listening party with that one.
Beowulf Mayfield, UK

I was 19 years old and it was 11 pm. I was laying in bed watching Ted Koppel's Nightline. He announced that John Lennon had been shot in front of his apartment in NYC.

My Mom and I were like zombies. It was like a nightmare. I did not sleep that night all I did was to watch TV hoping it was not true. He had to be alright - it was a mistake.

For the next two days I did not go to school. It affected me so much because he was part of my life John Lennon was part of me.

I was born in Peru and grew up listening and admiring John and the Beatles. For me, John was my favorite Beatle. Losing John was the worse thing that ever happened to all his fans throughout the world.

His music still with us and he left us so much to remember him by. I love you John!
Isabel Pascu, USA

I woke up to the radio alarm and they we're playing "Woman" by John Lennon which was already number seven in the charts.

I just thought DLT (Dave Lee Travis), was taking the Mickey when he solemnly said something about John Lennon now resting in peace.

I was 17 and didn't think much about it until I got to college that cold January morning until everyone was talking about the events they'd heard about.

It really brought home to a lot of people there that morning that fame, an object of desire for some at the time, was not all that it promised.

The most significant comment that I clearly remember the most was made by one of our lecturers. A man of few words on many occasions, he simply said, "It's satisfying to the man, that most people give peace a chance."
Kevin, England

The minute I learned John Lennon had been shot outside the Dakota - where I had been fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of him once or twice jumping in and out of limousines - I knew the man who did it had to have been insane.

[Lennon] was another first, a rock and roller who used his public stature as a means of change.

His simple message, peace for its own sake, lives on.
John Huettner, USA

John Lennon was the most amazing person to have ever lived. He said what he wanted when he wanted. He was funny, witty, deep, quirky, intelligent and talented.

Yes, he could be offensive and wasn't always PC, but I'm sure that part of personality applies to each and everyone of us, if we are honest enough to admit it.

Nobody can deny that he was a genius in song-writing and had a voice that sends shivers down your spine whenever you hear it.

If he had lived who knows what political issues would have been solved as he certainly had the following to protest and make an impact. Old or young there will be a song that he has written that has or will have an impact on your life.

Liverpool and the world mourn your loss.
Diane, Liverpool, UK

I was 16 years old at the time and remember that particular morning as that time when I realized how frightening life events can be.

Beforehand, I had only knew of Mr Lennon as a very famous pop star and brilliant writer. It spoiled the innocence and enjoyment of being confident in a safe world.
David Boyle, Canada

Although John was one of the most famous men in the world the first I heard of him was the day after he died.

I was only ten and of course knew of the Beatles and their great songs but I had never heard the name of their founder before.

However, everyone else in the school playground had. It was all they were talking about. Indeed it was such news that a teacher spent a class getting us all to talk about what it meant.

Twenty-five years on I now know why it was such big news and it's good to know that I'm not alone in often thinking about what John would say and do about the wars that are raged and political decisions that are made. A truly original leader who is sorely missed.
Mark, UK

Could we stop lionising him, please?

He was a human being with feet of clay, like the rest of us. In life he was rude, arrogant, self-opinionated and capable of great song-writing.

His death has filtered all his output through a "critical bypass".

"Imagine" was mawkish hypocrisy now elevated to the stature of an icon for our times.
Pat Mulholland, UK

It's Northern California and I was 23 years old. Cosy evening, watching Monday night football with father and brother - something's happened - what?

John Lennon's been shot. Shot? Unbelievable - I'm still in shock.

I guess it was something that I could never have "imagined" and am still in denial all these years later.

I remember thinking "that poor man" - not "Oh, a Beatle's been shot" or "Lennon the rock star" - just "poor man, poor John Lennon, how terribly sad."
Patty, USA

I was a little over four years old when John Lennon was assassinated.

The only thing I remember was my mother crying. My father tried his best to comfort her.

Recently, I told this story to my mother. She was amazed by my ability to recall this tragic event.

That day I knew I was connected to this sad day in rock 'n' roll history.
Ruben, USA

I remember with absolute clarity that day. I was a freshman piano performance major and was sitting in my room. My good friend called me up, screaming and crying.

Our little college community in the middle of the New Mexico desert could not believe it. Who would want to do such a thing to the man that wrote "Imagine"?

Now in 2005, I am a songwriter who works with many musicians and artists from the UK.

The legacy of John and the rest of the Fab Four lives on.

Although we all remember December 8 as a horrible day, the music and life story of John Lennon will live forever as long as there is kindness and tolerance in the world. He was the REAL great communicator.
Dawson, USA

It's the 8th of December, 1980. I've just arrived in Tomakomai on the southern coast of Hokkaido, Japan. It's my last night onshore before going back to work on the oil rig for another two weeks.

After checking into the Sun Route hotel, I head up to my room, drop my bags on the floor and sit on the edge of the bed. I reach across and turn on the telly. The news reader is wrapping up the last of the early evening news, but then the programme leads into ten minutes of John Lennon videos.


"At least John Lennon would never join the ranks of other ageing rock stars"

Duncan, Japan

What was all that about? I'm still new to Japan and can't understand much of the language, so I seek out one of my colleagues who might know what's going on. Maybe John Lennon's coming to Japan for a tour. I find him in the bar.

He's just heard from the BBC World Service that John Lennon's been shot.

I can't believe it. John Lennon and the Beatles have been a part of my life since I was about six. I'd been a fan ever since seeing them on Juke Box Jury. It has to be a publicity stunt - something to do with his new album.

I went out to the rig half convinced he was still alive.

Two weeks later I was back onshore in Sapporo, where I dropped into a coffee shop. A young American lady was sitting at one of the tables reading a copy of the New York Times - the front page of which was devoted to John Lennon.

I asked if I could borrow the first few pages of her paper. That was when I knew for sure he was dead.

Like so many others I was quick to buy his last album, Double Fantasy. But it was years before I could bring myself to listen to one of the tracks, Beautiful Boy. There are still occasions when I think wistfully about what else he might have achieved had he lived.

However, my brother gave me another view. At least John Lennon would never join the ranks of other ageing rock stars. No dyed hair for him, no slide into the smug, bourgeois establishment of so many of his contemporaries.
Duncan Barr, Japan

It only seems like yesterday but it was 1967 at the Birmingham Odeon with John in his usual stance singing Twist and Shout.

Oh those were the days. It's so sad that he is gone - what might have been. Give Peace A Chance.
Trevor, England

When John Lennon was shot, I was studying at Portsmouth Polytechnic.

That evening, after the news broke, I remember listening to the former radio one DJ Mike Read devoting, quite understandably, the whole of his evening show to the music of John and The Beatles, with eulogies of his own and others, interspersed between the songs.

I made a note of all the songs that Mike played that night in respect to John - and I think I still possess that piece of paper somewhere, though I haven't sought it out since that terrible day.

Also, John was very much in my mind at that time, not just because of the recent release of Double Fantasy, but because Radio One's Andy Peebles had interviewed John and Yoko just two days before, and on the Radio One morning show, just a day or so before John's murder, Andy Peebles relayed to Radio One bosses, through a live feed on the station from New York that he and his producer had, for some reason, missed their return flight to the UK.

He requested the Radio One DJ doing the morning show and talking to them about their experiences to relay the information on.
Peter Marshall, Thailand

I was 13 years old and visiting Manhattan with my family.

Two days before we went to the Dakota and got to briefly meet Mr. Lennon. He had been my Idol all of my life and I was so excited to have met him.


"The only thing I could do was sit there and be silent, because I was too sad to cry"

Evan Petersen, USA

On the day he was shot it was next to impossible to get around upper Manhattan. My father had asked our taxi driver what had happened, and my father just froze.

Until that day I had never seen him cry, but that day he cried like a baby.

The only thing I could do was sit there and be silent, because I was too sad to cry.

It was probably one of the worst days of my life.
Evan Peterson, USA

I was but 12 years old but of course the Beatles were already considered to be gods by then.

I'd been fed a steady diet of their music by my parents, and so in a sense I'd begun to take them for granted which was, in retrospect, an enormous reason why John's death was so shattering.

How could this god, this great and loving god, be no more?

How could he have been taken from us for the most stupid and senseless of reasons, if in fact there was any reason at all?

America was in deep shock at that time, for The Two Johns had been taken from us - Lennon of the Beatles, and Bonham of Led Zeppelin.

In a very real way, the last vestiges of the Sixties and Seventies came to a horrible end that December in 1980.
Michael Tullberg, USA

I was 23 at the time. And then as now, worked in the music and sound recording business in Toronto.

On the Saturday before John Lennon as murdered, I had taken an afternoon nap.

In the sleep, I had a dream someone had killed or shot Paul McCartney. It was such a vivid, disturbing dream, upon waking, I went to the paper box and bought the paper to see if this were true.

Fortunately, it was not. But the dream seemed very real and I promptly put it out of my mind.

Two days later, I came home from a late dinner. About two minutes after I got in, the guy who I'd had dinner with called me to tell me the news.

I switched on the TV where the whole horrible event was unfolding. I lay in bed that night thinking about the strange premonition I'd had two days earlier. And that only added to the sadness and spookiness of John Lennon's death.

As the Beatles and Lennon were probably the only happy memory from my childhood. I listened to talk radio all night. I remember crying that night too.

The next day, I headed to the studio for a session.

Although it was the Xmas season, people were clearly stunned.

At the studio, the staff, the musicians, everyone was sad and in a state of shock. Lennon and the Beatles, had done more to advance the art of recording, and making music than just about anyone since Les Paul.

So his loss resonated deeply with recording people.

John Lennon meant a lot to the people of Toronto. He had visited and stayed here with Yoko many times.

He recorded Live peace in Toronto at Varsity Stadium, down the street from where I grew up.

December 8th 1980 remains one of the saddest days in my memory.

God Bless John Lennon.
CD, Canada

John Lennon's murder is something I haven't gotten over yet.

It is still unfathomable to me that he is gone and we have been deprived of one the most important voices of our time.

I still feel his loss, and not only on this day - every time I hear a song or think that John would probably have written something about "that."

Thank God for what he had time to give us before he passed on.

Now my children are grown, and - like millions of others who weren't even born at the time of the Beatles or John's work after that - miss him! Now that is something.
Nadine Zamir, Israel

I remember waking up that morning at 6:00am to get ready for school. I was only nine years old at that time and I recall all the lights still being off in our house.

Because it was winter, it was still pitch black outside as well.

There was a pale glow from the living room and I could hear my mother crying.

I walked into the room and saw her sitting on the couch in her bathrobe watching the morning news. I asked her what was wrong and she said: "John Lennon was killed last night".

She continued to sob and I really didn't know why. I didn't even know who John Lennon was.

Well I certainly know now, and it is a great loss that he is not here to share his messages and his music with us.
Steve Hubbard, USA

I was at a Frank Zappa concert in Santa Barbara California.

We left the show and the radio was playing nothing but Beatles tunes. We KNEW something was wrong.

Later that night, I paged through a book on Lennon in my room. There I came across a photo of him and Frank Zappa.
Dave Hoppers, USA

When I heard the news I was driving up the motorway from Dover to London.

I turned the radio on and completely froze as the newsreader's words hit my ears. My girlfriend of the time had to grab the wheel and eventually got me to pull over to the hard shoulder.

I stopped the car and we both sat motionless for what seemed like ages until a river of tears flooded uncontrollably from both our eyes.

I had been a hippie, had travelled to India to "find myself", had smoked dope and dropped acid, had dreamed the hippie dream just like John.

For me, that dream also died that morning.
Graham

I was working in Guernsey, when I heard it on the news and my heart stopped, and I felt sick.

John was to me the greatest. I've always loved him, and that night I thought I couldn't carry on living, it was too awful for words to express.

He will always be missed SO MUCH. He died far too young, just imagine all the hundreds of songs he STILL could have been writing if he was still alive. Such a sad loss for the world.
Lynda Barnett, Isle of Man, UK

On the night John was killed I was still celebrating my 18th birthday.

I have always been involved in music since my earliest years. And so the death of such a great man on such an important date to me was one of the most memorable things in my life.

To this day I imagine just what great music he could have produced - music we will never hear.

He will be sadly missed and I will be raising a glass to him this coming Monday.
Harry Baldwin , UK

I was 26 at the time, living in Los Angeles. I was waiting for the bus home, and as soon as I got on the driver said: "Did you hear, John Lennon has been shot and killed?" I replied: "John Lennon? John Lennon? Why would anybody want to hurt or kill John Lennon?"

To this day I ask the same question.
Patrick Grogan, USA

I remember this very clearly even though I was only eight years old.

My dad was watching it on the news and crying. That Christmas he bought me the re-release of Imagine and told me all about the Beatles - beginning a lifelong love of the music of John Lennon.

Thanks Dad.
Kerri, USA

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