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"Even Lennon’s childhood hero, Elvis, didn’t trust him. During his visit to the White House on December 21, 1970, Presley told President Nixon that he was concerned for the youth of America, and feared that they had been seduced to drugs and immorality by the “filthy, unkempt appearance and suggestive music of the Beatles.” He was unhappy that the Beatles were taking so much money out of America and back to England. Presley referred to them as “anti-American” accused them of saying “anti-American stuff when they got back [to England]."


[From The Chicago Tribune, Tuesday, December 9, 1980]

NEW YORK--John Lennon, the driving force behind the legendary Beatles rock group, was shot to death late Monday as he entered his luxury apartment building on Manhattan's Upper West Side.

Lennon, 40, one of the most prolific songwriters of the century, was rushed in a police car to St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, where he died shortly after arrival.

Police said Lennon was shot outside the Dakota, the century-old apartment house where he and his wife, Yoko Ono, lived across the street from Central Park.

New York Chief of Detectives James D. Sullivan identified the alleged assailant as Mark David Chapman, 25, of 55 S. Kukui St., Hawaii.

Sullivan said Chapman arrived in New York City about a week ago and stayed at several YMCAs before checking into the Sheraton Center Hotel in midtown Manhattan. Chapman was seen at the Dakota on Saturday and Sunday, asking about Lennon, Sullivan said. Chapman was there again Monday afternoon when Lennon and Ono left their apartment about 5 p.m. to go to a recording session, Sullivan said. Chapman stopped Lennon and got an autograph on a record album, the chief said.

When Lennon and Ono returned shortly before 11 p.m. New York time, they left their limousine at the curb and walked up the driveway toward the courtyard. Chapman came up behind them and called out, "Mr. Lennon," Sullivan said.

As Lennon started to turn, Chapman went into a combat stance, and emptied a Charter Arms .38 revolver, which contained five bullets, Sullivan said.

Lennon staggered up six steps into the vestibule and said, "I'm shot," before collapsing on the floor, Sullivan said.

Chapman was standing there when policemen arrived, Sullivan said. He had dropped the gun, and an elevator man had recovered it, Sullivan said.

Sullivan said that Chapman had bought the gun in Hawaii and the detective didn't know how he got it to New York. Chapman has given no motive, according to Sullivan, who refused to say whether he had confessed.

Chapman was charged with homicide and is to be arraigned Tuesday morning.

[This story was compiled from reports filed by three Tribune reporters--Michael Coakley, Carol Oppenheim, and Barbara Brotman--who rushed to the scene of the slaying of former Beatle John Lennon, to the hospital, and to New York police headquarters immediately after the shooting. It was written by Sallie Gaines.]

Listen To What John Lennon Says About 'The Bible Belt'


by Joe Urschel

The Beatles were really the creative marriage of two men: Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

McCartney was the softener, the musician, the pop-brain who understood the musical marketplace. Lennon was McCartney's manic alter ego - the cynical wit, the brillant madman.

After the break-up of the band 10 years ago, McCartney became just another pop musician. Lennon became an eccentric recluse, married to an equally enigmatic Japanese-American artist, Yoko Ono.

He was killed Monday just as he was re-emerging onto the music scene after a five-year silence. He and Ono had just released a collaborative album, "Double Fantasy."

The Beatles came out of the lower middle class in Liverpool, England, during a period of social confrontation among England's youth. The times produced warring cliques of Mods, foppish intellectual sorts, and Rockers, leather-clad bikers.

Lennon was once asked which group the Beatles belonged to. His reply: "Neither, we're mockers."

It was his sarcasm and scorn that gave the Beatles their anti- establishment tag. Ringo Starr was the bemused child, George Harrison the lonely introvert and McCartney the shrewd conservative.

Lennon's songs, such as "I Am the Lawless," "A Day in the Life" and "Strawberry Fields Forever," were wanderings through existential uninviting worlds. They told of depression, angst and bizarre discovery. He played the inspired crazy jester to the pop-sensibility of McCartney, whose songs were often slick and frothy, such as "Yesterday" and "When I'm 64."

When the two worked together, however, legendary music was made.

Lennon led the band members through most of their experiments with the bizarre and metaphysical. His fascination with Eastern religion promoted the Beatles to take up study with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and helped spur the fascination with Transcendental Meditation in the mid-'70s.

Recently, however, Lennon had given up most of his attachments to organizations and religions. Asked recently about Bob Dylan's conversion to Christianity, Lennon replied, "I'm not pushing Buddhism because I'm no more a Buddhist than a Christian. But there's one thing I admire about the religion. There's not proselytizing."

Lennon was always willing to poke fun at himself and others. At one of the Beatles early concerts, he instructed those in the "cheap seats" to clap, then added, "The rest of you can rattle your jewelry."


In this sound clip, John talks about writing with Paul in the early days.

Watch John ask the rich people to "RATTLE YOUR JEWELRY"


Julia Baird (John's Sister)

"I had not seen John for years, but when he died it was like having an arm cut off. I can't explain my feelings, even to myself. During the following week I avoided the radio & television, although I could manage newspapers. They weren't as emotionally demanding as a voice or picture going over John's life or, even worse, a re-run of an interview with John looking out from the television as if he was really still there. As for listening to any of his records, the very thought made me wince with pain."

Bob Batz Jr. (Dayton Daily News)

"When Lennon died, I lost a friend I've never met, a friend I've never talked to, a friend I've never seen in person, but a friend nevertheless."

Sid Bernstein

"John Lennon was brilliant, so gifted, so giving. He was the Bach, Beethoven, the Rachmaninoff of our time."

Chuck Berry

"Since the time they had one of their first hits with Roll Over Beethoven, I've always felt very close to the Beatles. I fell as if I lost a little part of myself when John died."

Roy Cicala

"John used to joke around a lot. The funniest incident I remember occurred when I was an engineer on Mind Games at the record plant. John had taken the finished tapes of the album into the cutting room. When I walked in, loose tape was piled all over the place; John was sitting there with this sad face. I went out to the elevator, I guess to count to 100 or something, and John came running out. It had been a joke, and the tape all over the room was blank."


"Here's a nice story that comes to mind concerning my time with the Beatles. It was 1968 in India, we were all gathered together in the Maharishi's bungalow, four Beatles, one Beach Boy, Mia Farrow and me. Maharishi was on the floor sitting cross-legged, but the rest of us were all still standing around as we'd just arrived. Anyway there was a kind of embarrassed hush in the room and John Lennon (always the funny one) decided to break the silence so he walked up to the Maharishi, patted him on the head and quietly said, 'There's a good guru.' John certainly had a wicked tongue all right, but he was honest to a fault. Therefore, many people often considered him to be very hard and forward. Actually, that's how he protected his sensitivities, by saying exactly what he felt. As far as I'm concerned, he ranks up there with Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Gandhi as a figure for peace in the world."

Bob Dylan

"John and the Beatles were doing things nobody was doing. Their cords were outrageous, and their harmonies made it all valid. Everybody else thought they were for the teeny boppers, that they were gonna pass right away. But it was obvious to me that they had staying power: I knew they were pointing in the direction where music had to go."

George Harrison

"After all we went through together I had and still have great love and respect for him. I am shocked and stunned. To rob life is ultimate robbery. This perpetual encroachment on other people's space is taken to the limit with the use of a gun. It is an outrage that people can take other people's lives when they obviously haven't got their own lives in order."

Nick Hopkins

"The first time I worked with John was in 1968, when I played electric piano on Revolution. He was real pleased with the way things went and told me there'd be a lot more sessions he'd be inviting me to. But I didn't see him again until 1971, at his home in Ascot, where he was recording Imagine. I reminded him of his comment and asked why I hadn't been invited to any more sessions. "Well Nick," he said, "we thought you were to involved with the Stones, and we were afraid to ask." If only I'd known that was the reason! Later that year, John and Yoko invited my wife and me to his birthday party. It was in Syracuse, New York, where Yoko's "This is not Here" art exhibition was being held, and John flew us there and back to California. He gave everybody silver zodiac necklaces, even though it was his birthday."

Mick Jagger

"I liked John a lot. He was the one I really got on with the most. We weren't buddy-buddies but we were always friendly. But after the Beatles and the Stones stopped playing clubs, we didn't see each other that much until he separated from Yoko, around 1974. We got really friendly again. And when he went back with Yoko, he went into hibernation ... when I went to visit someone in the Dakota, I'd leave him a note saying: 'I live next door: I know you don't want to see anyone, but if you do, please call.' He never did."

Edward Koch

"John Lennon profoundly affected a generation. His music and that of the Beatles was worldwide in import. Every death by violence is a trauma to society. The death of someone of John Lennon's stature intensifies this trauma. We mourn his loss."

Leila (John's Cousin)

"Our poor long lost little cousin. At work he was a Beatle but at home always, always a brother. Our dear Judy's finally got him back at last."

Cynthia Lennon

"I would like to say how terribly upset we are at the sudden death of John Lennon. I have always had the deepest affection for John since the divorce and have always encouraged his relationship with Julian, which I thought was best. It came so suddenly. Julian remained very close to his father in recent years and is hoping to follow a career in music. He was looking to his father for guidance. Julian was hoping to see his father shortly."

Sean Lennon

"Now Daddy is part of God. I guess when you die you become bigger, a part of everything."

Yoko Ono Lennon

"... the only way you can better John is by copying him exactly."

Paul McCartney

"I have hidden my self in work today. But it keeps flashing in my mind. I feel shattered, angry and very sad. It's just ridiculous. He was pretty rude about me sometimes, but I secretly admired him for it, and I always managed to stay in touch with him. There was no question that we weren't friends, I really loved the guy. I think that what has happened will in years to come make people realize that John was an international statesman. He often looked a loony to many people. He made enemies, but he was fantastic. He was a warm man who cared a lot and with the record Give Peace A Chance helped stop the Vietnam War. He made a lot of sense."

Norman Mailer

"We have lost a genius of the spirit."

Gerry Marsden

"First up John was always a good friend. He was never the abusive, aggressive guy some people made him out to be. When John was killed I think he was just hitting his peak, both as an artist and a human being. And that's the saddest thing of all isn't it? John's death."

Richard Perry

"I can remember very distinctly every minute I spent in the studio with John; it was probably the greatest thrill of my career. He had amazing energy and electricity. He worked at a fast pace, and it spread to everyone else. He loved the record-making process as much as anyone in the business, and whenever he was in the studio, he was smiling."

Smokey Robinson

"Forty is an early age to have to leave this planet, but as a performer, the way Lennon was killed is very frightening and tragic to me. He was truly one of the world's greatest musical innovators and I'm sure he'll be missed and mourned by many, especially those of us who are his peers."

Tommy Roe

"Chris Montez and I were headlining a tour of England and Scotland in 1963 and the Beatles were at the bottom of the bill, but they soon became the stars. It was a 30 day bus tour, all one-nighters. My first record, Sheila, was a hit in '62 but I had no real experience as a performer, while the Beatles had a lot of stage experience but no hit. When I met John, he told me the group used to sing Sheila at the Star Club in Hamburg, and I thought he was kidding until the "Live" album came out years later and Sheila was on it. He was inquisitive about the States, asking about my hometown, Atlanta, and everywhere else. He was a bundle of energy, always talking, always clowning. I have a photo of him backstage during the tour, and he's coming at me with his hands up like a claw, his glasses on crooked."

Andy Rooney

"Almost everyone who becomes famous ends up acting the way famous people act. It isn't so much that famous people want to act that way; they are forced into certain patterns of behavior. John Lennon was trying to act some way other than the way famous people act and people wouldn't let him."

Ethan Russell

"I first encountered John in England during the Let It Be period, when I took a bunch of pictures of him and Yoko in a basement. Being only twenty-one and an amateur; I overexposed the photos, but I got great pictures of Yoko. They liked them so much they asked me to take more, and I was surprised that someone of his stature would overlook my mistakes and give me another chance. Years later, I sent John some videotapes to show him what I had been up to and he asked me to shoot a promotion film for (Just Like) Starting Over that Yoko would direct and produce. Once, while we were shooting in Central Park, he laughed and said, 'This reminds me of Rubber Soul, only my face has fallen.' "

Graham Russell

"John was one of the handful of true rock poets and his lyrics always bore the stamp of his unique mind. Listening to them now they seem unbearably poignant, full of other meanings now that he has gone."

Frank Sinatra

"It was a staggering moment when I first heard the news. Lennon was a most talented man and above all, a gentle soul. John and his colleagues set a high standard by which contemporary music continues to be measured."

James Taylor

"I had a couple of conversations with John during the recording of the 'White Album' and I remember him being very busy and devoted to his craft. I watched him work on the two or three versions of Revolution and he was really intense. He believed very passionately about what he wrote. It was obvious that the song was a response to people making demands on him concerning his radical point of views, and you realized that by adulation of the group, we were making it more difficult for them to continue."

Harold Wilson

"John Lennon's death was a great tragedy. What the Beatles were doing for kids was taking them off the streets and giving them a new interest in life."

Bill Wyman

"I first met John in March 1963, when the Beatles came down to see the Stones play in this dingy club called the Station Hotel in Richmond. They stood in line in their little leather coats and later came back to the flat; we stayed up all night talking about music and became good friends. John knew where he was going, and was very strong; he really got it together: Very determined."

"I always was a rebel...but on the other hand, I wanted to be loved and accepted...and not just be a loudmouth, lunatic, poet, musician. But I cannot be what I am not." - John Lennon

Listen to something John Lennon said about death

John Winston Lennon was born at 6:30 p.m. on October 9, 1940 in Liverpool, England. His parents were Julia and Alfred Lennon. Throughout the week before John was born, Liverpool was subjected to heavy air raids but on the night of John's birth there was a lull in the bombing.

John's father rarely saw his son because he was away at sea. John's mother was also more of a friend to John than an actual mother. Julia felt like she couldn't care for the boy so she sent him off to live with his Aunt Mary "Mimi" Smith and Uncle George. In 1946 Fred Lennon returned to Liverpool and took his son to Blackpool where he made plans to emigrate to New Zealand with John. John's mother came to the rescue and return John to Aunt Mimi.

John's childhood was a very tough one. John went to Dovedale Primary School where he began to betray the streak of rebelliousness which was to remain with him the rest of his life. At the age of 5, he was expelled. It was here were John first became interested in drawing. In 1955, while John was away visiting another Aunt, his Uncle George died. John was left to deal with more grief. Uncle George was the closest thing John every had as a father figure.

John began attending Quarry Bank Grammar School in September 1952. He quickly became friends with Peter Shotton and the two became inseparable. They always got into trouble by playing pranks on teachers, this didn't help their grades. John was displaying, however, great talent as a writer and an artist. He was always into books and started to read at an early age.

The major fad going though Britain in the mid-1950's was a thing called "skiffle groups". John quickly gathered some friends together in May 1955 and named the band "The Quarry Men". The Quarry Men's first major gig was at "The Woolton Parish Church Fete" on July 6, 1957. After John and The Quarry Men had finished their set, John met a young and talented guitar player by the name of Paul McCartney. John called Paul up and ask him, "Do you want to join me band?", and Paul said yes the next day. George Harrison was later introduced into the band by Paul McCartney. John at first put up him like a kid brother but then saw how much talent George really had.

John loved the music of Elvis Presley and it had a profound effect on The Quarry Men's performances. At one point they had been known as folkies but soon had developed into a rock 'n' roll group. As for John and Paul, their musical relationship grew stronger and soon they became a song writing team coming up with their now legendary vocal-harmony style. Around this time there was a lot of pressure for the group to change their name. At that time many bands had the leader's name in front of the group name. At one point they did change their name to "Johnny & The Moondogs" but they quickly changed their minds and went back to The Quarry Men. Soon John would come up with the legendary name "The Beatles" and kept it as the band's name.

In September 1957, John enrolled in "The Liverpool Art College." There he met, and would later marry, Cynthia Powell. He also met Stuart Sutcliffe, who became his best friend and the "Fifth Beatle." In 1960, with new band member Pete Best in tow, The Beatles traveled to Hamburg for the first time. Stuart had little interest in music and could barely play the bass so after Hamburg he decided to go back to art college. John, although disappointed, remained good friends with Stuart and Paul took over as bass player. In 1961, The Beatles first met Brian Epstein in "The Cavern Club" after one of their many performances there. Later that year Brian Epstein became The Beatles manger and the following year they signed with Parlphone after George Martin suggested getting a new drummer. Brian and The Beatles decided on Ringo Starr. While all this was going on John found time to marry Cynthia on August 23, 1962 and she gave birth to their son Julian on April 8, 1963.

The Beatles were enjoying international success when John's first book "In His Own Write" was published on March 23, 1964 and became a best-seller. On June 24, 1965 his second book "A Spaniard In the Works" was published. During that same year The Beatles received their MBE's or "Members of the British Empire". John would later turn in his MBE in the late 60's because of Britain's support of the United States in Vietnam. Around the time when John got his MBE his father turned up in his life again. John slammed the door in his face and said, "Why should I look after a father who never really looked after me?".

In 1966 there was a degree of anti-Beatle fever in America following comments John had made in an interview with Maureen Cleave, in which he said that The Beatles were more popular than Jesus, and he reluctantly made a public apology. In November of that year The Beatles played their lasted live concert in August at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. In November John met a Japanese artist named Yoko Ono at the Indica Gallery in London.

The Beatles had been experimenting with various drugs since late 1964 when they first smoke marijuana with Bob Dylan and now in the mid-to-late 60's they began to experiment with LSD. John and George were into LSD more than Paul and Ringo. Paul felt that you would never be the same after you'd have taken it. In August 1967, The Beatles met the Marharishi Mahesh Yogi. During that same month their manager Brian Epstein was found dead from an accidental drug overdose. John's relationship with Yoko grew stronger and he sponsored an exhibition of her work call "Yoko and Me" in October 1967. Later that month "How I Won The War", in which he played his first solo feature film role, premiered.

After The Beatles went to Maharishi's ashram in India to learn transcendental meditation, John and Cynthia divorced and he began to live with Yoko. John and Yoko were raided by the police while staying at Ringo's flat in Montague Square and John was fined for possession of cannabis. John and Yoko's album "Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins" was issued in November and created international controversy due to the cover, which showed the couple in a full frontal nude pose. John also appeared on the un-shown "Rolling Stones Rock 'n' Roll Circus".

In 1969, The Beatles started their own company "Apple Corps." After many months of shuffling around responsibilities The Beatles chose Allen Klein to take control of Apple. In February 1969 Yoko divorce from Anthony Cox came through and John and Yoko were married in Gibraltar March 20. John and Yoko made a series of films together, "Apotheosis, Clock, Fly, Freedom Films, Imagine" just to name a few. In May 1969 they bought a mansion in Ascot called Tittenhurst Park and issued their second album "Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With The Lions". In September John first introduced the "Plastic Ono Band" on record. In November the couple issued their "Wedding Album".

After The Beatles officially broke up in April 1970 John went on to write and record many more albums with Yoko through out the early 70's. In 1972 John first fought to get his green card so he could be able to stay in the United States. He was finally successful in 1976. During this time John and Yoko had been trying to have a baby but were plagued by several miscarriages. Sean Lennon was born on John's 35th birthday. John would later say, "I felt higher than the empire state building!".

John didn't mind reversing roles at all with Yoko. John was staying home taking care of Sean while Yoko was out working. John described himself as a "house husband" during the period. He liked taking care of Sean and baking, particularly bread. "I took a Polaroid of my first loaf!", John once said.

In August 1980, John came out of retirement to record his first album in six years and agreed to a number of interviews prior to him becoming active in the music scene again. On December 8, 1980 around 10:45 p.m. tragedy stuck. While coming home from a late-night recording session with Yoko, John was shot by David Mark Chapman outside his apartment building The Dakota. John was rushed to the hospital but was pronounced dead upon arrival, at 11:15pm.

Question: "Do you believe in god?"

John Lennon: "Yes, I believe that God is like a powerhouse, like where you keep electricity, like a power station. And that he's the supreme power, and that he's neither good nor bad, left, right, black or white. He just is. And we tap that source of power and make of it what we will. Just as electricity can kill people in a chair, or you can light a room with it. I think God is."

Please Read Our


john and yoko

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 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.

Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can,
No need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man,
Imagine all the people, sharing all the world.
You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one,
I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will live as one.

John Lennon - Genius

In Imagine: John Lennon Deluxe Edition we have a personal portrait, narrated by Lennon, which provides an intimate look at the Beatles songwriter, thanks to the opening up of private film archives which tell us much about the man behind the music, his love for Yoko Ono and his family life. Although hardly a warts and all documentary, there is much of interest, and the extras include some rare concert footage, including an acoustic version of Imagine.

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