We Remember John
I asked various friends to tell me what they were
doing when they heard the news about
Johns untimely death and how it made them feel.
These are their memories.
Hi Jean, "Like us all, I remember John's death so very, very clearly. I was awoken, just like any other morning at the time, by my father, who gave me the devastating news. He had heard it on the BBC early morning news. To say I was stunned is putting it mildly. I seemed to cry practically all day, every day, for days. I was just in a complete state of shock. I got through it due to my wonderful family, friends and Caroline, my girlfriend at the time. On the night we heard of the tragedy, I remember sitting watch the film 'Help!' on BBC1 and it was so awful. We'd just lost John and there he was, with the other Beatles, looking all happy and young. It was a dreadful, dreadful time. I have always loved The Beatles and the individual members and it is a passion I still have today." ...Keith Badman, Writer.
Hi Jean, when I heard about John's death I was living in Hertford with my young family and working for the tour operatour called Yugotours in Regent Street in central London. I expect I must have heard about it on the radio that morning before I came in to work. Not having seen John for the best part of twenty years, he was a remote figure in my life, but I suddenly realised that here was a friend of my youth, about the same age as me, whose life had been snuffed out. John had thought he had escaped the dark side of Beatlemania to be able to enjoy something like a normal life, and yet the thing which he had feared came back out of the darkness when he least expected it .Rod Davis, Quarry Man
Hi Jean, I was 14 at the time and had been unwell on the Monday (8th December) - which meant a day off school! I said I wouldn't be going to school tomorrow either and was looking forward to a lie-in. I was woken by my mum at about 7.30 am on the Tuesday morning. She just came right out with it and said dad had rang from work to say John had been murdered. At first I didn't understand what she meant properly (which seems silly now) and I asked if he was dead. She just said yes. I had a poster on my wall at the time taken at the "Our World" photocall in June 1967 and I stared at it for ages. It was the first time a person had died that I "knew" and it felt strange. Now I would never meet the four of them - ever. I spent the day watching the TV and radio and taping as much as I could on cassette (our pre-video days!) and I still have the tapes. They're upstairs in a box and I haven't played them from that day to this. They're like a time capsule waiting to be discovered .Dave Ravenscroft
Dear Jean, I was wakened in the morning by the telephone. It was Henry Henriod informing me that he'd heard on the radio that John had been gunned down in New York. It was a shock, and I was hoping against hope that it wasn't a fatal shot. Then the news came through confirming John's death and the phone began ringing all day. Granada asked if I would travel up north to appear on a programme, but I said 'no'. I felt at the time that I couldn't be a pundit on television at that particular time. The phone continued to ring with people making requests for comments, but I was feeling so depressed my face was coming up in red blotches and I took the phone off the hook. I didn't know how to take the grief. People react to death in different ways. I was aware that John had always found difficulty in coping with the deaths of people close to him such as George Smith and Stuart Sutcliffe. It was doubly tragic because Henry had recently told me that he'd met up with John in New York, together with Georgio Gomelski and john had told him he'd be coming back to Britain to tour ..Bill Harry, early friend of John
I was doing my art school homework in the kitchen with a rock radio station on .Rich Pagan, Fab Faux
Actually, I wasn't feeling well and had gone to be early, and was woken up not long after 11 p m -- which wasn't long after it happened -- by a friend who I used to write songs with in the early 1970's. Songwriting aside, the Beatles were the first common basis of our friendship, and although we hadn't really stayed in touch that much, he felt the need to call me from a pay phone off a highway as soon as he heard the news. I remember the conversation vividly. He said, "Someone shot John Lennon." After I made him repeat it because I couldn't believe that that's what I heard, I said -- still half asleep -- "but...why?" And he said, "How do I know, maybe he didn't like walruses." It sounds almost flippant to just quote it like that without conveying the tone of his voice, etc., but he was obviously as mystified and shocked as I was. Didn't go back to bed, obviously: turned on the radio, which was already playing Beatles and Lennon tracks, and the TV, and just sat there stunned. For days. I couldn't face actually going to the Dakota until a few days later, and of course, I went to the 10 minutes silence in Central Park, which was extremely moving but -- well, it didn't help, if you know what I mean ..Allan Kozinn, New York Post
"I was watching TV when a news flash came on saying John had been shot, I remember hoping that he would be OK. Then later on came the news he was dead. I thought what an evil act to rob the music world of such a talent, I also remember thinking I would never see the Beatles reform." .Chris Raisin
Hi Jean:, I was playing top 40 music with a lounge band at a Holiday Inn in South Plainfield, New Jersey. When we heard the news, the bass player and I went out to my car during every break to listen to a New York DJ take phone calls from his shocked audience. For the last set, our band worked up a spontaneous Beatles mini-set. We felt maybe we could transcend the horrible event by celebrating John's music. I remember the dance floor being packed; and this was when the disco era was still raging. At the end, the crowd cheered, calling out John's name. After that, the next week or so was pretty bleak...After hearing wall to wall Lennon music for days on end, his stature as an artist and the magnitude of his loss was brought home to me on a still more profound level than what I first felt, which was pretty bad to begin with...peace, Frank Agnello, Fab Faux
Jean, Like many Americans, I was watching a football game on ABC and Howard Cosell was commentating. It was around 10 o'clock in Chicago when he came on with the initial report that John Lennon had been shot outside his apartment building. It seems that it was minutes later, but at that point it's a blur, that the next report was that John had died.
It was a terrible shock. I remember driving to work for the next several days listening to nothing but Beatles constantly, John's music specifically, and sobbing continuously. It was just a tremendous load to try to explain what he had meant to me, whether to my father or anyone else. I was basically unable to function for days. Like anything else, life goes on, and you are left with the memories, the music, and the great feelings as an anchor to better times. You get over it, but the loss of what might have been and what may have come is something I'll never get over.
John Lennon was a teacher. He was a real person, one who felt a responsibility to communicate to his generation. He knew that he was more than a Beatle, he understood that being a Beatle gave him the power to express himself, and therefore to lead. I don't think he thought he was necessarily the voice of a generation, but I think that he believed in possibilities, and I think he was able to transfer a certain consciousness about our world and the things we might be able to contribute to it if we were willing to try.
He was willing to lay it all out for all to see, to take whatever crap people felt necessary to dish out because of their own inadequacies, and to answer or not, depending on what the experience demanded. Above and beyond anyone else I have known of during my life, John Lennon had a greater impact because of his compassion, his intelligence and his shortcomings. As great as he was, he never hid, and he put before all of us the realization that our experiences were part of a journey and the seeds for growth.
His legacy is left in all of us, to live the best we can, and to live up to the calling of one person in our generation who gave it the best he could. He showed us so much, and it's up to the rest of us to carry on ..Ron Cohn, KHUM, Brunch with The Beatles
Jean, The night John was shot, believe it or not, I was lying on the living room floor of my friends house with the TV on but the sound turned down. I was reading the John Lennon Playboy interview. The magazine had been out for a long time but I'd never taken the time to read the whole thing. I looked up at the TV and saw John's face on the screen for a news bulletin and thought, "what's he doing, now?". When I turned up the sound I learned the shocking story. Such a waste ..Mark Benson (John Lennon 1964-the Tribute)
Jean, great to hear from you. As for my whereabouts when John was killed, I remember very clearly. I lived in South Florida at the time (same time zone as New York). I was watching TV. They interrupted the program, first to mention the shooting with very little detail, and the second time to confirm he had died. As you can imagine, I was stunned. It seemed impossible. The next day I had school. I met up with some classmates who were also Beatle fans. We decided to skip class that day. It was like a cloud followed me around -- completely unreal. It actually took until the first year anniversary of his death before it sunk in. Then I really broke down. I can't believe 20 years have passed. I think we've all missed some great music, Peace, Robert Reynolds (The Mavericks)
The night JOHN LENNON was shot I was at my house at the time in Mortlake west London when the phone rang at about 4 a.m. a voice said "This is WABC news .John Lennons dead we are live on air what do you think of that??" I was a bit taken back and asked what had happened and they told me... I then said something like he was the best rock'n'roll singer ever and would never be replaced and put the phone down. I got up in the morning and went to the BBC and was questioned and interviewed all day long .Tony Bramwell
All we are saying is Give Peace A Chance
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