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John Lennon's Lasting Legacy
John Lennon's lasting legacy was the creation of the group - The Beatles, the most successful entertainers of the 20th century. They contributed to music, film, literature, art and fashion. Their songs and images carry powerful ideas of love, hope, help and imagination. John Lennon will be always be remembered for his influential body of music, both with The Beatles and in his solo career, which changed the face of popular music, by giving it a soul, opening up new horizons, and allowing it to breath and expand.
Because of his unique songwriting skills, his songs will last forever, and will always offer meaning to our lives. However, John Lennon was not just a brilliant songwriter and musician, he was also the most famous peace activist of our time. John Lennon's work fighting for peace and love amongst humanity struck a chord with a whole generation, and helped bring an end to the Vietnam war.
"After all is really said and done", John Lennon was real and honest, and that is what we all feel through his music, which will live forever.
"A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality." (Quotes by John Lennon)
Former Beatle John Lennon has been shot dead by an unknown gunman who opened fire outside the musician's New York apartment.
"The 40-year-old was shot several times as he entered the Dakota, his luxury apartment building on Manhattan's Upper West Side, opposite Central Park, at 2300 local time. He was rushed in a police car to St Luke's Roosevelt Hospital Center, where he died.His wife, Yoko Ono, who is understood to have witnessed the attack, was with him. A police spokesman said a suspect was in custody, but he had no other details of the shooting. 'This was no robbery,' the spokesman said, adding that Mr Lennon was probably shot by a 'deranged' person.
Witness reports say at least three shots were fired and others have claimed they heard six. There are also reports Mr Lennon staggered up six steps into the vestibule after he was shot, before collapsing. Jack Douglas, Lennon's producer, said he and the Lennons had been at a studio called the Record Plant in mid-town earlier in the evening and Lennon left at 2230. Mr Lennon said he planned to have some dinner and then return home, Mr Douglas said. The Lennons are said to have left their limousine on the street and walked up the driveway when the gunman opened fire. It is unclear whether the man had been lying in wait in the entrance to the building for Mr Lennon, or whether he came up behind him. Witnesses describe the gunman as a 'pudgy kind of man', 35 to 40 years old with brown hair.
Other former band members, Paul McCartney, guitarist George Harrison and drummer Ringo Starr are thought to have been informed of Lennon's murder. Fans have already begun arriving at the scene, many still unaware Lennon has died."
John Lennon's Last Day
10am - It is an unusually warm and sunny pre-Christmas day in New York. John's usual morning routine is to have coffee at Cafe La Fortuna near his home on New York's Upper West Side. But on Mondays the cafe is closed, so he leaves the family apartment in the Dakota Building around 10am, to get his hair cut in a Fifties Teddy Boy style at a nearby barbershop.
11am - Photographer Annie Leibovitz and her assistant arrive at the Dakota for a photoshoot for Rolling Stone magazine. John tells Leibovitz that he knows Rolling Stone wants him on the cover by himself but it is important to him to pose with Yoko. The photograph Leibovitz takes of a naked Lennon entwined around Yoko in black, like a child clinging to its mother, is to become iconic. John tells the photographer: 'You've captured our relationship exactly.'
11.45am - Amateur photographer Paul Goresh arrives at the Dakota. Goresh is one of a small group of devoted fans who frequently hang around outside John's home and whom John has got to know and trust. Also waiting is a stranger, 25 year-old Mark Chapman. As Goresh recalls: 'When I got to the Dakota, the only other person there was a guy standing with a long overcoat with a fur collar and a fur hat. He had a scarf on and he was holding John's album Double Fantasy and he says to me, "Are you waiting for Lennon?" 'And I said, "Yeah." He said, "My name's Mark, I'm from Hawaii." I said, "I'm Paul, I'm from New Jersey." 'He asked, "Do you work for him?" I said, "No." He told me, "I came all the way from Hawaii to get my album signed." So I said, "Where are you staying while you're in the city?" And with that he seemed to change his whole demeanour from like a dope to an aggressive person. And he said, "Why do you want to know?" And I told him, "Go back where you were standing and leave me alone." '
12.40pm - A team from RKO Radio in San Francisco, headed by Dave Sholin, arrive at the Dakota to interview Lennon. 'We drive up to the Dakota, which is a very impressive building,' says Sholin today. 'It takes your breath away. And then we were ushered into this incredible space, this beautiful room where you take your shoes off, which is a wonderful custom, sit down on a couch, and Yoko was there. And I looked up at the ceiling and I saw these beautiful clouds that were painted on it. 'Then the door opens and John appears and does this little jump up in the air and says, "Well, here I am, folks, the show's ready to begin." 'He spreads his arms out and comes over. It was like he wanted to make us feel very comfortable and it worked, because in a matter of two or three minutes we were conversing as if I'd known him for years. It was just that kind of chemistry and it was tremendous. In the three-and-a-half hours we were together, he could not have been more upbeat, more excited about what lay ahead both musically and with Yoko and Sean.'
1.30pm Sean Lennon and his nanny, Helen Seaman, plus Sean's bodyguard, return home after spending the weekend on Long Island.
3.30pm - Goresh goes into the Dakota to find out if John has signed a copy of his book A Spaniard In The Works, which Goresh has left for him. 'When I went back to my post outside, the guy with the overcoat was there and he was alone, again on the other side of the archway,' says Goresh. 'He came over and said, "I owe you an apology for the way I acted earlier. But you're in New York. You never know who you can trust these days." '
3.55pm - John concludes his interview with Sholin, saying: 'I consider that my work won't be finished until I'm dead and buried and I hope that's a long, long time.'
4pm - As the RKO radio crew wait outside the Dakota for their limo, John and Yoko come out looking for their car to take them to the Record Plant recording studio in Midtown to work on a new song. Sholin says: 'John was looking around and for a split second, I'm thinking, "Well, this is pretty amazing, here is John Lennon outside in New York." I just dismissed it. In this town, I thought, it's no big deal and that was it.' Goresh adds: 'John said to me, "Don't forget to get your book." And as he was talking to me, the guy with the overcoat approached him from the left. And the guy didn't say a word, he just held the album out in front of John and John turned to him and looked at the album and said, "Do you want it signed?" And the guy nodded. He didn't say a word. 'It looked like a picture, so I snapped a couple of frames and the first picture I took was John signing the album. And the guy nodded and he took the album and he just backed away. And then John turned to me and looked at me as if to say, "That was peculiar."' Meanwhile, there is still no sign of John's taxi. Says Sholin: 'So John is saying, "Well, our car isn't here. You're going to the airport, would you mind giving us a ride?" I said, "Hop on in." And on the way, I ask him about his relationship with Paul McCartney, 'He says, "Well, he's like a brother. I love him. Families, we certainly have our ups and downs and our quarrels. But at the end of the day, when it's all said and done, I would do anything for him, I think he would do anything for me." And we said our goodbyes and dropped John and Yoko off at the studio.'
5pm - John and Yoko arrive at the Record Plant to continue work with record producer Jack Douglas on Yoko's Walking On Thin Ice, which is to be their next single. The lyrics are a 'spoken word poem' by Yoko which, like the song's title, will turn out to have a eerie significance. They are about John and Yoko and how they will be remembered after their deaths. John loves it and tells her over the studio talkback system: 'I think you've just got your first number one, Yoko.' The last music John ever records is the guitar work on this track. 'John was really on top of the world,' recalls Douglas. 'We finished the mix that night and I walked him down to the elevator and I said, "I'll see you at Sterling," the mastering house, at 9am. And he was all smiles. He had a cassette of the song with him. And Yoko was all smiles. And the elevator door closed.'
10.30pm - In the car, Yoko proposes going to the Stage Deli for something to eat before they go home. But John says he wants to go back to the Dakota to see Sean before he goes to sleep. The December night is exceptionally mild. Instead of driving through the arch into the safety of the Dakota's inner courtyard, the limo draws up at the kerb.
10.45pm - As John gets out of the car, Chapman comes forward, still clutching his autographed copy of Double Fantasy. He softly calls out 'Mr Lennon', produces a .38 handgun and, dropping down into a combat stance, fires five shots, four of which hit John. John keeps walking, goes up the stairs into the porter's vestibule, then collapses, scattering the cassettes he's been carrying. A few seconds later, Yoko bursts in screaming: 'John's been shot.' The duty porter, Jay Hastings, rings the alarm that goes through to the police, then kneels beside John to try to administer a tourniquet. This being futile, he removes John's glasses and covers him with his porter's jacket.
10.50pm - Police patrolman Steve Spiro gets a call in his radio car to say there has been a shooting at 1 West 72nd Street. He and his partner, Peter Collin, get there in less than a minute. 'There was a man pointing into the vestibule and he said, "That's the man doing the shooting," ' says Spiro. 'We realised this is for real. I peeked in and saw a man with his hands up, so I threw this guy against the wall and at that point the porter says to me, "He shot John Lennon." And I said, "You what?" 'I saw two of my fellow police officers carrying a man out, face up with blood coming out of his mouth. I recognised John Lennon.'
10.53pm - Patrolmen Bill Gamble and James Moran put John in the back of their car and speed to Roosevelt Hospital at 59th Street near Central Park. Yoko follows behind in another police car.
11pm - Emergency Room doctor Stephan Lynn has left for the night, but the hospital calls him back. 'I actually got there before the patient,' recalls Dr Lynn. 'I didn't know exactly what was happening. Through the doors, two police officers came in. They were carrying a body over their shoulders. It was lifeless. We were ready.' Also in the ER, after a motorcycle accident earlier that evening, was a young ABC newsman called Alan Weiss, for whom the events of that night are an indelible memory. He recalls: 'The doctor said, "I'm going to take you into X-ray and see what the damage is." At that moment, the door behind me slams open and a man comes running in yelling, "We've got a gunshot, gunshot in the chest." And the doctor says, "When's it coming in?" He says, "Hitting the door right now." 'She says, "Alan, I'm sorry, I've got to take care of this." I reply, "No problem, I understand." And I can hear footsteps and the door opens up and I look behind me and in come I'm not sure quite how many police officers carrying a stretcher.' Dr Lynn continues: 'We positioned the body in front of us on a stretcher in the resuscitation room. It was clear that there were three gunshot wounds in the left upper chest and one to the left arm. It was also clear that there was no circulation, no profusion. We initially didn't know that it was John Lennon. As part of our normal routine we took his identification out of his clothing and it said John Lennon but the nurses said, "This doesn't look like John Lennon, it can't be." 'Almost immediately thereafter Yoko Ono entered the emergency department. We knew who we were dealing with. We had a very important person in our midst and it was our job to attempt to resuscitate him.' Still lying on his stretcher in the corridor outside, Weiss overhears two police officers talking. 'One says to the other, "Can you believe it, John Lennon?" I open my eyes and I look up and I say, "Excuse me sir, what did you say?" And he says "I didn't say anything," and he moves away. 'Well, did he say John Lennon? Did he say Jack Lemmon? Did he say some other name of somebody we don't know? 'And I hear crying. And I look behind me and in comes walking an Asian woman in a full-length mink coat. I knew it was Yoko Ono so it had to be John Lennon.'
11.10pm - As Weiss hobbles to a payphone to alert his newsdesk at ABC, Dr Lynn and his team are battling to save John's life. But they find that Chapman's bullets, the kind which expand on entering the body, have destroyed all the blood vessels that leave John's heart, the aorta and all of its branches. 'We tried to find a place where we could stop the bleeding,' says Dr Lynn. 'I literally held John Lennon's heart in my hand and I massaged it to try to get his heart going again and we transfused blood. But it was clear with all the vessels destroyed there would be absolutely nothing we could do that evening. About 11.10, 11.15pm, we pronounced John Lennon dead. I think every one of us in the room suddenly realised what we were doing, where we were and who we were dealing with. A lot of people began to cry. We reminded the staff not to say anything to anybody until an appropriate Press announcement had been made. We told the staff that they couldn't sell their uniforms that might be blood-stained. We made certain that all the linens, all the equipment in the room were secured and that the medical record was tightly secured.' Dr Lynn realises that he will have to break the news to Yoko Ono. Weiss, whom security men have by now moved into another corridor hears the hospital sound system break into The Beatles' All My Lovin'. Two minutes later, he hears a shriek: 'Oh, no, no, no.' Dr Lynn says: 'Her first response was immediate, "It's not true. You're lying. It can't be. I don't believe you." In my mind it literally felt like this was going on for about five minutes. 'She was lying on the floor, she was hitting her head against the floor. I put my hands behind her head to try to prevent damage to her. Yoko Ono was incredibly emotional for quite a long time. And in fact it was when one of the nurses bought in John Lennon's wedding ring and gave it to her that she accepted the fact that her husband was dead. And I was touched by the first thing she said. What she said was, "My son, Sean, is still awake. He's probably sitting in front of the TV set. Please delay making the announcement 20-25 minutes so I can get home and make certain that I tell him what happened before he sees it on TV." '
Thanks to the efforts of Weiss, it is ABC that breaks the news of John's death. Sports commentator Howard Cosell stuns millions by announcing it live during coverage of a Monday night American football game between the Miami Dolphins and the New England Patriots. Fans begin gathering outside the Dakota Building in their hundreds, then thousands. Some even go on to commit suicide. There are spontaneous vigils in New York and Liverpool. It is the beginning of a wave of grief which will engulf the world. Back in England, John's Aunt Mimi, his childhood guardian, is woken by a phone call at the house John has bought her overlooking Poole Harbour in Dorset. Her reaction is the same as when John was a naughty schoolboy and the headmaster's secretary used to telephone: 'Oh Lord, what's he done now?'
On the 25th anniversary of John Lennon's murder, Dr. Stephan Lynn was interviewed by an American radio station. In his interview Dr. Lynn describes John Lennon's death and the scene at the hospital that fatal night. The video below features the interview. (Warning: contains graphic details)
In May 1990 a tribute concert was staged in memory of John Lennon in Liverpool. 'John Lennon: The Tribute Concert', was held at the Pier Head with performances from artists including B. B. King, Joe Cocker, Kylie Minogue performing a disco version of 'Help', Roberta Flack, the Moody Blues, Hall and Oates, Wet Wet Wet and Lou Reed performing 'Jealous Guy'. The University of Liverpool received more than £500,000 from the Lennon estate following the 1990 concert, the money was invested in a trust and is used to fund scholarships for local children.
John Lennon continues to be mourned throughout the world and has been the subject of numerous memorials and tributes, principally New York City's Strawberry Fields, a memorial garden area in Central Park across the street from the Dakota building. Yoko Ono later donated $1 million for its maintenance. It has become a gathering place for tributes on John Lennon's birthday and on the anniversary of his death, as well as at other times of mourning, such as after the New York September 11th attacks, and following George Harrison's death on November 29th 2001.
Source of quotes: The Ballad of John and Yoko (A Rolling Stone Press book), by Jonathan Cott & Christine Doudna. 1982.
Yoko Ono Lennon