The Day the Music Died…

From The History Channel‘s ‘Today in History’:

1980 : John Lennon shot

John Lennon, a former member of the Beatles, the
rock group that transformed popular music in the 1960s, is shot and killed
by an obsessed fan in New York City. The 40-year-old artist was entering his
luxury Manhattan apartment building when Mark David Chapman shot him four
times at close range with a .38-caliber revolver. Lennon, bleeding profusely,
was rushed to the hospital but died en route. Chapman had received an
autograph from Lennon earlier in the day and voluntarily remained at the
scene of the shooting until he was arrested by police. For a week,
hundreds of bereaved fans kept a vigil outside the Dakota–Lennon’s
apartment building–and demonstrations of mourning were held around the
world.

John Lennon was one half of the singing-songwriting team that made
the Beatles the most popular musical group of the 20th century. The other
band leader was Paul McCartney, but the rest of the
quartet–George Harrison and Ringo Starr–sometimes penned and sang their
own songs as well. Hailing from Liverpool, England, and influenced by early
American rock and roll, the Beatles took Britain by storm in 1963 with the
single “Please Please Me.” “Beatlemania” spread to the United States in 1964
with the release of “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” followed by a sensational
U.S. tour. With youth poised to break away from the culturally rigid
landscape of the 1950s, the “Fab Four,” with their exuberant music and
good-natured rebellion, were the perfect catalyst for the shift. The
Beatles sold millions of records and starred in hit movies such as A Hard
Day’s Night (1964). Their live performances were near riots, with teenage
girls screaming and fainting as their boyfriends nodded along to the
catchy pop songs. In 1966, the Beatles gave up touring to concentrate on
their innovative studio recordings, such as 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s
Lonely Heart’s Club Band, a psychedelic concept album that is regarded as
a masterpiece of popular music. The Beatles’ music remained relevant to youth
throughout the great cultural shifts of the 1960s, and critics of all ages
acknowledged the songwriting genius of the Lennon-McCartney team.

Lennon was considered the intellectual Beatle and certainly was the most outspoken
of the four. He caused a major controversy in 1966 when he declared that
the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus,” prompting mass burnings of
Beatles’ records in the American Bible Belt. He later became an
anti-war activist and flirted with communism in the lyrics of solo hits
like “Imagine,” recorded after the Beatles disbanded in 1970. In 1975, Lennon
dropped out of the music business to spend more time with
his Japanese-born wife, Yoko Ono, and their son, Sean. In 1980, he made a
comeback with Double-Fantasy, a critically acclaimed album that celebrated
his love for Yoko and featured songs written by her.

On December 8, 1980, their peaceful domestic life on New York’s Upper West Side was shattered
by 25-year-old Mark David Chapman. Psychiatrists deemed Chapman a
borderline psychotic. He was instructed to plead insanity, but instead he
pleaded guilty to murder. He was sentenced to 20 years to life. In
2000, New York State prison officials denied Chapman a parole hearing,
telling him that his “vicious and violent act was apparently fueled by your
need to be acknowledged.” He remains behind bars at Attica Prison in New
York State.

John Lennon is memorialized in “Strawberry Fields,” a section
of Central Park across the street from the
Dakota that Yoko Ono landscaped in
honor of her husband.

————

I’m sorry that my Eye Candy isn’t happy this week…every year on this day I stop and think of the absolute insanity behind what happened to John Lennon. The world lost an amazing talent that day.

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