//
you're reading...
Daily History

December 8 1980: John Lennon murdered


On December 8th 1980, John Lennon, a former member of the Beatles rock group that transformed popular music in the 1960s, was 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 and song writing 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, including 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 song-writing 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 fuelled by your need to be acknowledged.” He remains behind bars at Attica Prison in New York State.

After committing the murder, Chapman waited calmly outside, reading a copy of The Catcher in the Rye.

Chapman was a troubled individual who was obsessed with Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of J. D. Salinger’s novel about a disaffected youth, and with various celebrities. While working as a security guard in Hawaii, he decided that Lennon was a phony and, while listening to Beatles tapes, Chapman decided to plan his murder.

Chapman purchased a gun in Hawaii and then travelled to New York. Although he called his wife to tell her that he was in New York to shoot Lennon, she ignored his threats. Unable to buy bullets in New York due to strict laws, Chapman flew to Atlanta and purchased hollow-nosed rounds to bring back.

On the day of the murder, Chapman bought an extra copy of The Catcher in the Rye and joined fans waiting outside The Dakota, Lennon’s apartment building. That evening, as Lennon walked by on his way into the building, Chapman shot him in the back and then fired two additional bullets into his shoulder as the singer wrenched around in pain.

On June 8, 1981, just two weeks before he was scheduled to present an insanity defence at trial, Chapman pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to 20 years-to-life. In prison, Chapman became a born-again Christian and spent his time writing evangelical tracts for publication.

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

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

Discussion

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: WND EXCLUSIVE by « How Did We Get Here - December 9, 2012

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

If you liked what you just read, click "Subscribe" to become a follower of the Craig Hill site. You will receive an email each time a new post is published.

Join 14,825 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

Most Recent Posts Post on My Blog About China: China News

What have we learnt in the past century?

What have we learnt in the past century?

It is 100 years since we were supposedly getting over the war to end all wars, World War I, and forming the League of Nations with the purpose of preventing such a conflict and slaughter happening again. Regrettably, the only good that came out of it was the proposal to form the League of Nations; […]

China’s borders will likely remain shut for months, but some may be wary of visiting even after they reopen

China’s borders will likely remain shut for months, but some may be wary of visiting even after they reopen

Last week, the Biden administration warned American companies about the risk of doing business in Hong Kong, citing Beijing’s increasing crackdown on the city. “The bottom line is that businesses should be aware that the risks faced in mainland China are now increasingly present in Hong Kong,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters. […]

China Threatens to Nuke Japan in ‘Full Scale’ War if They Intervene in Taiwan

China Threatens to Nuke Japan in ‘Full Scale’ War if They Intervene in Taiwan

In an ominous new video that was circulated by the Communist Party of China, they vow to use nuclear bombs on Japan “continuously until it’s unconditional surrender” in an all out war if they decide to intervene in China’s planned re-taking of Taiwan.   “When we ‘liberate’ Taiwan, if Japan dares to intervene by force – […]

Afghanistan: No Peace Without a Clear Vision

Afghanistan: No Peace Without a Clear Vision

Peace is the absence of war, while war is the absence of peace! A negotiated peace in Afghanistan presents a number of challenges. The duration of the war over several decades has created a number of situations, that requires an in-depth examination in light of the peace negotiations that took place between the United States […]

US-China rivalry rooted in lost trust

US-China rivalry rooted in lost trust

As early as 2005 John Gersham and Melvin Goodman alerted against the trend of an over-militarized US foreign policy. The warning has been a recurrent theme of American debate, although it gained little traction. The debate recently spilled into mainstream media with The Economist averring that “an over-militarized foreign policy that embraces unrealistic objectives is liable to fail.” […]

Overnight News Headlines (Australia): July 20, 2021

Overnight News Headlines (Australia): July 20, 2021

Originally posted on Craig Hill:
Children account for 15 per cent of Australian farm deaths, says AgHealth study – 15 per cent of farm deaths are children under 14 years old, according to an AgHealth Australia study; A Ballarat farmer says she is shocked almost one in six … Australia’s first body image program for…

China in the News: July 20, 2021

China in the News: July 20, 2021

Ford unveils lower-priced Mustang Mach-E in China to qualify for subsidies – Previously, this was the only Mach-E priced low enough to qualify for China’s EV subsidies. It was joined by Extended Range RWD and AWD versions as well as the … NZ in ‘position of vulnerability’ over China hacking accusations – New Zealand has […]

Cadence Column: Asia, July 19, 2021

Cadence Column: Asia, July 19, 2021

China faces a three-pronged attack in the realm of public opinion. The Olympics converge with COVID; the third is three levelings up in Chinese military aggression. COVID is seen in the public eye as having mainly originated from China. Even with conspiracy theories surrounding Fauci and Gates, no explanation lets China off the hook. That […]

Overnight News Headlines (Australia): July 19, 2021

Overnight News Headlines (Australia): July 19, 2021

Originally posted on Craig Hill:
Race on for Australian rare earth supplies as fears grow over China’s market ‘monopoly’ – It comes two years after David Gainer, the US Consul General to Perth, visited a rare earths mine near Laverton in outback Western Australia just days into the … Swim league to be launched in…

China in the News: July 19, 2021

China in the News: July 19, 2021

First human death due to monkey B virus reported in China – Patients of rare viral infections transmitted from the monkey have been reported in China and the U.S. in succession. According to China’s state-run Global … Commentary: A pity China can’t seem to ditch its wolf warrior diplomacy – Despite recent exhortations from President […]

%d bloggers like this: