25 yrs ago: Where were you?

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25 yrs ago: Where were you?

Post by Jake » Thu Dec 08, 2005 11:38 am

For those oldsters among us: Do you remember where you were when you found out John Lennon was dead?

I was a little boy, and my dad was very ill, so friends of my parents took me skiing. It was my first time attempt, and I spent the whole time snowplowing down the bunny hill and dragging myself up the tow rope. The ski place blasted the radio over the loudspeakers and the station played all Beatles songs, all day, in tribute to John. I think that's when I realized how much I love the Beatles, hearing almost their entire recorded output all together like that. I remember everybody being very sad and upset about his death. But the music was so uplifting.

I never learned to ski.

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Post by Barabajagal » Thu Dec 08, 2005 11:57 am

8th grade, overcast winter day, Chicago parochial school, Reading class. I was a big Beatles fan, but that was the first time I understood their importance to so many older people. My friends and I talked about all the dead rock stars: John Bonham and Keith Moon had died (relatively) recently, and since John didn't rock as hard, or make music we liked recently, we weren't terribly upset at first--there was something "sensational" about it (like: "real news is happening!") and it disrupted the school day, which was always welcome. But as the details unfolded in the next few days and we had time to reflect, the tragedy of it sank in.

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Post by miss carol » Thu Dec 08, 2005 11:59 am

My mum came into my room and woke me for school with the news. I'm not sure if this was the day of or the next morning. I remember being confused and sad, emotions that deeped as the weeks passed. I stared seriously buying Beatle albums at that point (I was 13 yo). Up till then, I believe I only had my parent's 45s (the swirl label, for the geeks out there).

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Post by blackshoestring » Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:23 pm

I remember coming downstairs for breakfast and my big brother was at the table with his head in his hands, pissed at the world. Weeks before, he had been so excited about Double Fantasy, saying John Lennon was back and better than ever.

My best friend and I called each other and decided that if our mothers made us go to school that we would wear black.

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Post by D. Phillips » Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:31 pm

My mom woke me up with the same news. I came out to breakfast and it was on the news but I wasn't paying attention. My mom said "John's dead" like he was a friend or something (odd because my mom's not even that big a fan), and I said "John who?" I remember my gut getting very queasy when she said "from the Beatles." My dad has always been a big fan (saw them in their first US concert in Washington DC) and it was a shared thing with us. I was also watching the Beatles cartoon on USA every day after school so I had a pretty keen understanding of who he was, for a nine year old.

Looking at my LastFM playlist you can see I still listen to the Beatles a lot. John's music and politics (as silly as some seem now) had a huge impact on my personality. John was the first "revolutionary" I could understand and align myself with. I still get queasy when I think about the day he was killed. Given the importance he's had on my life, I hope I always do.

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Post by Tim » Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:48 pm

I was in second grade and my teacher came in and asked us all if we knew who John Lennon was. I remember that I and a couple other kids raised our hands (my parents were Beatles fans). My teacher then talked about him and how great he was etc. I remember him getting pretty choked up about it.

It wasn't until I got home from school and watched the news and realized how huge a story this was. Being 8 years old, I wasn't really aware of the enormity of it all. It was then I began picking up my parents Beatles records and started listening to them. The whole thing was so sad.

I recently watched that documentary "Imagine." It was a tough one to watch. I still get kind of emotional thinking about it.

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Post by miss carol » Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:57 pm

Nice dedication page, Jake et al.

ETA: and nice Neil Diamond write up. (I don't know where else to put this.)

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Post by Jake » Thu Dec 08, 2005 1:03 pm

miss carol wrote:Nice dedication page, Jake et al.
Thanks. It was DP's idea. He tracked down the bulk of those photos.

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Post by worpswede » Thu Dec 08, 2005 1:31 pm

I was in the eighth grade, and the death of John Lennon was the first of three rock artists (so far) that hit me the hardest.
It was around 10 p.m. and I was lying in my twin bed reading and listing to WLS 890AM on my clock radio. At that time, WLS was a top 40 station and they interrupted the music with a special news bulletin. The initial report stated that he had simply been shot in front of his home in N.Y.C. Prior to the "Double Fantasy" release, the only information that I had on Lennon was a picture of him and Harry Nilsson getting tossed out of a bar in the mid 70's after a long night of drinking. I didn't know that Lennon had curtailed his drinking excess, settled down to raise his son Sean and began a life of domestic tranquility; I logically assumed that he must have been hell raising in New York and come across some trouble that resulted in gunplay. Nonetheless, I remember going downstairs to tell my Father was what going on. Dad always declared Lennon as his favorite Beatle and, by wanting some sort of linear bond with him, John Lennon was my favorite Beatle too. Dad was watching the news and didn't provide much of a reaction to my own late-breaking story.
I retreated back to my room and glued my ears to the clock radio. Immediately, the announcer came on and struggled to find the words that John Lennon was dead. I ran downstairs again and told my Father. He began changing the channel to the pre-remote control television set looking for additional information. I believe he landed on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson which was just starting. NBC interrupted the broadcast and began covering the Lennon assassination. My Father remained quiet and I knew that it was not the moment for a fourteen year old to pepper him with twenty questions. I went back to my room to get more answers from the WLS announcer.
By this time, there was little new information being presented. WLS began airing Lennon tracks that ended with the obligatory "John Lennon is dead" announcement. It was too much to take: the death of a man who I had never met before, but who's music made an enormous impact on me even at a young age, made me cry in my twin bed on that December night.
The next morning, I went to school early to hang out with some friends who I knew would understand the devastation of those events. We met in the classroom of Mitzegan Boondi, a Black English teacher who we all considered cool because of his dreadlocks and stash of a dozen rock albums he kept stored in a filing cabinet next to his desk. Without a word, M.B. opened the cabinet and took out his copy of The Beatles' "White Album." He still had the four-color photographs inside that original Apple pressing. I skipped Paul's "Back In The U.S.S.R." and placed the needle at the beginning of "Dear Prudence" while M.B. took the picture of John and placed it on his classroom door with a thumbtack. Four seventh graders and a cool English teacher sat and listened to the first side of "The White Album" in silence until the bell rang, signaling the start of a new school day.

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Post by BandyLou » Thu Dec 08, 2005 1:42 pm

I was 10. My clock radio woke me up for school (Ann Arbor's own WIQB) with the news. They played "I'll Follow the Sun," followed by "Another One Bites The Dust." No lie. I told my mom about it at breakfast. She didn't get too upset, but she said playing the Queen song was tasteless. I also remember talking about it at school and one of my friends saying that Paul was the best Beatle anyway.

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