John Lennon’s Assassination: The Day The Music Died

John Lennon died on December 8, 1980, when he was being shot outside his apartment. They were one of history’s most influential bands, and even after their split they had very successful solo careers. John Lennon’s music and activism, as well as his fight for peace, had a profound impact on the world. Lennon is regarded as one of history’s greatest musicians. Music was just one of many ways he spread his message. It was an outpouring of grief that was felt around the globe. People believe that John Lennon’s passing was the end of music. Mark David Chapman loved The Beatles and was obsessed with Lennon. Chapman’s hatred of Lennon grew later in life, but it began when Chapman was exposed to an Esquire article discussing Lennon in October 1980. According to the article, Lenon has become a “drug-addled billionaire” and no longer feels connected with his music and fans. Chapman traveled to New York in October to assassinate Lennon. Chapman had just left his job to purchase a.38 caliber revolver. He was planning on buying the bullets when he arrives in New York City. Chapman and fans would often visit Lennon’s Dakota Apartments home where he was staying with his wife Yoko Ono. Chapman soon returned to New York after having a moment of doubt. He would return to New York on December 5, and visit his wife in Hawaii between the 5th and 8th. Before he left his hotel on Dec. 8, he set up a portion his most treasured items on a table. He found a New Testament copy, where he had written the name Holden Caulfield (as in J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. The name ‘Lennon after the words Gospel According to John’. Chapman purchased a new copy The Catcher in the Rye from Lenon before he arrived at the Dakota. Chapman would later reveal to the police that he had purchased a new copy of The Catcher in the Rye and his latest album Double Fantasy. Lennon took Chapman’s album copy and signed it when he got there. It is not clear why Chapman did NOT kill Lennon the day he met him for the first time. Chapman waited for Lenon to return at Dakota before shooting him. John followed Yoko out of the vehicle. Chapman said hello to Ono as Ono passed by, with a simple “Hello” greeting. Chapman heard the voice of a woman inside him asking Chapman if he would do it. Do it! Do it!’ Chapman fired two more shots at Lennon’s head when he finally got it done. Three more shots were fired, two of which hit Lennon’s shoulder. The third was missing. Lennon then crawled into the building. The cops located Chapman, who was reading The Catcher and The Rye. They handcuffed Chapman as he continued to apologize for the damage he had done. Lennon’s death that night was caused by massive internal hemorhaging occurred at 11:07pm. Lennon’s anti-war activism was what made his death so significant in the eighties. Lennon represented a generation. Everyone, including critics, would listen. His songs challenged his listeners to act. John believed that love should be a central concept in everyone’s lives. He would promote this message over and over again throughout the years. Many of his songs contained political messages. These included messages about paying attention to current events, engaging in the world, having opinions, and being aware of what was happening. He wanted people to listen to his music and get involved with him. Lennon’s music was meaningful and well-received. He was also known for being vocal about a variety of political issues in his lifetime. He spoke out through his music, but also his actions. From the beginning, Lennon played a vital role in spreading peace awareness. The Vietnam War saw Oko and Lennon start a “bed in” instead to going on a honeymoon. There were two bed ins: one in March and one June. The bed in was designed to promote peace in the world. Lennon composed “Give Peace A Chance” during the June bed in and then two years later, he wrote his most iconic song about peace, “Imagine” [Behnke 19]. As the Cold War raged on, Lennon’s activism didn’t stop. Lennon remained active in persuading his followers and others to support world peace right up until his passing.

Lennon speaks out about his music in one of his final interviews with Rolling Stone. He also discusses how his music helps people understand the importance of world peace.

I’m not claiming divinity. I have never claimed pure soul. I don’t claim to have all the answers. I do not post songs or answer questions with any more ….. I now see the world differently. However, I believe in peace and love. (Cott)

He encouraged fans and others to join him to bring understanding and peace to the world. His music was an inspiration to millions of people around the world. His commitment to peace was inspiring to so many people across the globe. Lennon stood by people in times of war, violence, greed, hate, and injustice (Rosen51). His legacy was continued by his followers, who continued the fight to honor him. Many people have been influenced by his music, thoughts and actions. Lennon’s involvement in The Beatles gave the band an extraordinary start in music. Lennon remained one of rock’s greatest artists even after The Beatles split. The release of Double Fantasy (Cott) was his musical comeback. Double Fantasy was Lennon’s first reunion with his fans in five decades. It was shocking for everyone when Lennon’s death occurred. John Lennon’s love was universally acknowledged. The many ways that people discovered about him can show how profoundly he had an impact on the world. Howard Cosell stated that Lennon’s death was a tragic event. The Miami Dolphins were playing New England Patriots. John Lennon died in an unimaginable tragedy outside his apartment on the west side New York City. A vigil was held outside Lennon’s apartment for several days the day after news spread. These tributes were held all over the globe. One was in Liverpool, where Lennon was born, one in Hamburg, where The Beatles performed their first concert and one in the Netherlands where Lennon & Ono had their first bed-in. Ono observed a momentary silence a week after his passing. Nearly one hundred thousand people came out of Central Park in New York, twenty thousand from Liverpool and many more around the globe (Behnke, 78). Radio stations also went silent for ten minutes during the silence (Behnke, 78). Lennon’s solo career had so much impact that the band record shops became a gathering place for many of his fans. In a matter hours, the Beatles and Lennon’s solo albums sold out at record shops. Lennon lived on, and peace was celebrated for years. Yoko and Sean received the award in his name at the 1981 Grammys. On October 9, 1985, his forty-fifth Birthday, New York opened a Central Park Garden dedicated to him. The garden, named Strawberry Fields after the Beatles’ song “Strawberry Fields Forever”, is located right next to The Dakota. Yoko Ono, who continued Lennon’s spirit of world peace, invited countries from all over the globe to bring plants to the garden. Strawberry Fields has 150 plants representing different countries. For tributes, there are monuments and statues of Lennon all over the globe. A statue is located in Havana’s John Lennon Park, Cuba. You can also find statues in Lima and Spain. The Imagine Peace Tower was established in Iceland in 2007. Built from a wish well, the tower can be found on a small island just off Iceland’s Western Coast. The tower’s base has the words “Imagine Peace” in 24 languages. These include Russian, Finnish, Italian and Swahili. The tower is lit up every year on John’s birthday (October 9), and it remains lit through December 8.

Mark David Chapman shot his idol from behind and robbed the rest of the world. Double Fantasy was Lennon’s impressive comeback and included some of his greatest songs. The assassination Lennon was one of rock music’s most important and tragic events. John Lennon was an inspiration to us all to be true to our beliefs and dream big. John Lennon is remembered for his activism in peace. YokoOno, a year after Lennon’s suicide, said that “death alone won’t extinguish a torch and a spirit as John” (Behnke 76). For as long as humans live, we will remember his great ideas.


  • adamlewis

    Adam Lewis is a 34-year-old school teacher and blogger who focuses on education. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Central Florida and a Master of Arts degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of South Florida. Lewis has been teaching since 2004 and has taught in both public and private schools. He is currently a teacher at a private Christian school in Florida.