the prolific singer- songwriter, the war- activist, the Peacenik, the former Beatle, the Dreamer, the Working Class Hero, was shot and killed on the evening of December 8, 1980 by Mark David Chapman just outside the Dakota Building near Central Park, NYC.
The music died twenty- five years ago today?
Let me take you down to Strawberry Fields…
I remember watching him lying in an open casket on black & white TV half- a world away in the Philippines. I was ten and my attention was caught when a playmate blurted out what he heard on TV that, “John Lemon is dead!” which her aunt, a certified member of the flower- power generation promptly corrected him that it’s “John Lennon not John Lemon who was killed by a deranged fan” which elicited laughter among us.
In my young mind then, I only know him to be the leader of the Fab Four, The Beatles, whose vinyl records dominated my Dad’s Radiowealth Stereo Phonograph's playing time and couldn’t comprehend the extent of his death to music fans around the world. It was only years later as I grow older when I was exposed to a lot of Beatles’ articles and materials that I began to understand the man.
When I was thirteen, I purchased a cassette tape of his album -The JOHN LENNON COLLECTION for Php 35.00 from a local record store which was part of the prize money I won in an essay writing contest sponsored by the Mayon (Albay) Chapter of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) during a Provincial Jamboree that I have attended in the summer of 1983. It reigned on my Sony Cassette players for years until the time when finally a CD of his songs replaced it. I began to study the guitar and the first songs I learned where his signature song- Imagine followed by the other Beatles Classics like Revolution, In My Life, Across the Universe and A Day in the Life, just to name a few.
As I went further into my journey into the deep into Beatlesland, I was able to appreciate the kaleidoscopic Lennonscape more clearly. I was transformed into a certified Lennon Fanatic that finally culminated to a visit on Strawberry Fields this year, the Garden of Peace in New York City’s Central Park named in honor of John in 1981 which is said to be his favorite oasis in the park.
John Lennon, so much has been written and said about him- critics tried to paint him in a different light. Chapman tried to silence him forever but failed miserably.
His songs are easy to understand and people can relate easily to his lyrics. His voice is one of a kind; it has a distinct sound that people can feel all his angst and feelings. He sang from the bottom of his heart and bared his soul in his music.
Most of all, he is his own Man.
No Virginia, the music did not die that day…
IN MEMORIAM: John Winston Lennon (Oct. 9, 1940- Dec. 8, 1980)