Guitarist and songwriter John Lennon died December 8, 1980, shot by an assassin outside his home in New York City as he was returning home from the recording studio. He was listed as dead on arrival at Roosevelt Hospital. His killer, Mark David Chapman, was convicted of second-degree murder (the most severe applicable charge under New York law) and received a sentence of 20 years to life. Chapman has had seven parole hearings since becoming eligible in 2000. He been denied each time.
For my generation, the death of John Lennon took away our innocence. The Beatles had sprung on America, bringing an excitment never before seen. For young people, they were the perfect way to escape the depression from the assassination of President Kennedy. They sang of happiness, of love, of peace. Their place in society far eclipsed anything ever seen by musicians. World leaders courted their favor, trend-setters hinged on their every move.
I was a huge fan if The Beatles, but I wouldn't have considered myself a fanatic. My wife, on the other hand, had been one of the millions of young girls caught up in Beatlemania. She had not only seen them live, but actually met them. I'm not sure if she ever settled down from that experience. I have every confidence, as I wrote in my personal blog, LIFE 4.0, that one of her first priorities in the hereafter was to seek out John Lennon and George Harrison.
So we were both shocked and devastated in our own ways, at the thought that a man who sang of of peace and love had been taken in such a violent and pointless way.
Like many Americans, we heard about John's death on Monday Night Football. It's ironic that it would fall to Howard Cosell to be the first person to report the story. First, though Cosell became a star reporting sports, he was a lawyer who considered himself a serious journalist. In his mind's eye, be felt he would eventually become a news anchor.
Second, in 1974, John had been a guest in the booth on MNF and had been interviewed by Cosell. The backstory of how his death was discovered, and the decision to broadcast the news is a fascinating one.
ESPN's "Outside The Lines" reports on how the world came to learn of John Lennon's death
ABC "Nightline" coverage of John Lennon's death from December 8, 1980. Geraldo Rivera, a close friend of Lennon's, is interviewed
That day after his death, ABC News Nightline covers the events of Lennon's murder
The day after Lennon's death, WNBC-TV reported on Mark David Chapman's arraignment, and local reaction from New Yorkers
Guitarist George Harrison died November 29, 2001 following a long bout with cancer. He was one of the most skilled guitarists ever, although the other Beatles felt many of his songs were so unconventional as to be a commercial risk. George, on the other hand, beleived his songs took a back seat to the Lennon-McCartney compositions. Aside from his extensive music career, he produced a string of hit movies such as Life of Brian, Time Bandits, and The Long Good Friday. George also is credited with originating the concept of the all-star charity concert with his 1971 Concerts for Bangladesh in Madison Square Garden.
The life of George Harrison