Thursday, December 8, 2011


Where were you? I was painting a big blue canvas when a cousin called to say they'd interrupted the football game to announce that John Lennon had been shot and killed. I immediately called a radio station to confirm the news and spoke with the equally distraught deejay. It was true. We spoke for a while and I suggested he play some happier Beatles, and maybe a Christmas message from the old fan club flexi-discs--which he didn't have. I ended up coming down to the station with some rare vinyl and recording tape carts to use on the air. The phones were ringing. My sister Bekki was with me, and we sat listening to their happy voices in the dim studio. We grew up with those boys, and this would take a while to sink in. This wasn't like some old musician dying of old age in a retirement home. We'd had music heroes die before, but this was different from losing Jim Morrison, Jim Hendrix and Janis Joplin. This was murder. John was gunned down in the streets of New York. And this was John Lennon. Nobody had shown us as much, from rock and roll to peace activism, from catchy radio tunes to avant garde art projects. He'd spoken out against the war, he'd fought with Nixon, he'd taken heat for being too far-out for even some Beatles fans. And now he was dead. On the way home from the radio station, the park blocks were already filled with people holding candles, listening to Beatles and singing along, some in tears. We stopped and sang along. It was thirty one years ago today.

From the fan club flexi-disc

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