John Lennon’s murder is certainly one of pop culture’s most shocking deaths. Any mention of theevent is usually followed by the questions, whoshot him and why did he do it? Of course, the death of a famous musician will always generate questions. But John Lennon’s murder is still as confusing as it is disturbing, mostly because his murderer was a self-described fan. Today, we’re going to explore some of the more obscure facts about the murder of John Lennon that you might not know.
Now, let’s go back to New Yo6rkCity on Monday, December, 8th, 1980, at the Dakota apartment building. Mark Chapman might have carried out the assassination of John Lennon on December 8th, 1980, but it wasn’t his first attempt. According to his wife, Gloria Hiroko, Chapman attempted to take out Lennon two months earlier. In a 2018 interview, Hiroko said, “two months earlier, Mark had traveled to New York. He came home scared, telling me that to make a name for himself, he had planned to kill Lennon, but he said my lovehad saved him.” What happened was that Chapman flew out to New York a couple months earlier in October, but something changed his mind. He had an introspective moment. Chapman told his wife that he needed to grow up as an adult and husband and needed time to think about his life. So why did Hiroko let Chapman go back to New York in December, knowing that just two months earlier, he admitted his previous plan to murder Lennon?
In that same 2018interview, Hiroko replied, “the only reason I was OK with Mark making another trip, was because I had believed him when he said he needed to grow up as an adult and husband and needed time to think about his life. He wanted me to sacrifice being alone for a short time, so that we could have a long, happy marriage together. He said he threw the gun into the ocean and I believed him. But he had lied to me.”
Hiroko later recalls the moment she discovered Lennon was shot. “I remember it was a Monday. I had come home from work, fixed dinner, and was watching Little house on the Prairie. On the show, Mary had just found out she’d become blind, when, suddenly, words ran across the bottom of the screen, ‘John Lennon has been shotin New York City by a male Caucasian.’ “My life changed dramatically that night. I was now Mrs.Mark David Chapman, the wife of a murderer, and not just any murderer, but one whose victimwas known and loved by millions around the world.” Incidentally, Hiroko is still married to Chapman. She refuses to divorce him. Being a Beatles fan, I mournthe death of John Lennon and feel great sadness for hiswife Yoko and his son Sean. These days, the couple is allowed 44 hours a year for conjugal visits. Hiroko claims the two usetheir time to make pizzas and have sex. Gloria, do you still love him? Yes. Very much.
Chapman was visiting NewYork City, in from Hawaii, for several daysbefore he shot Lennon. On the day before he shot Lennon, Chapman encountered another famous musician in a train station, folk legend James Taylor. At the time, Taylor was living in a building near the Dakota and recalled hearing the sirens and commotion down 72nd Avenue. He also remembers his chance run in with Chapman.
“His assassin had button holes me in the tube station. He pinned me to the wall, glistening with maniacal sweat, and tried to talkin some freak speech about what he was going to do, how John was interested and how he was going to get in touch with John Lennon. It was surreal to actually have contact with the guy 24 hours before he shot John.” Of course, Lennon wasn’t the only person that Chapman considered shooting. In a three-issue interview with People magazine in 1987, Chapman admitted hehad an alternate hit list of potential targets inmind, including Paul McCartney, Johnny Carson, Elizabeth Taylor,George C. Scott, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Ronald Reagan,and Hawaii’s governor George Ariyoshi. But in 2010, Chapman stated that the only criterion for his list was being famous and that he chose Lennon out of convenience.
When asked to wonder if Lennon’s ease with fame and the access he allowed his fans puta target on his back. Chapman shooting Lennon wasn’t their first interaction. After two days of stalking him, Chapman made contact with Lennon as he and his wife,
Yoko Ono, were walking from the Dakota building to an awaiting limousine, which was headed to the Record Plant Recording Studio two miles away. Although Lennon was on his way to the studio to put the final toucheson “Walking on Thin Ice,” a song for Ono’s next album, he took the time to sign autographs forseveral fans who had made the pilgrimage to the Dakota.
One of those fans was Chapman. At approximately 5PM, Chapman held out a vinyl copy of Lennon’s mostrece the release, Double Fantasy, and asked the singer for an autograph. Chapman recalls that interaction he had with Lennon when they made contact. “He was very kind to me. Ironically, very kind andwas very patient with me.
The limousine was waitingand he took his time with me. And he got the pen going and he signed my album. He asked me if I needed anything else. I said, ‘no. No, sir.’ And he walked away. Very cordial and decent man.” He’s talking to a nobody, tosign an album for a nobody, and he’s asking meis that all I want. I mean, he’s givenme the autograph. I don’t have a camera on me. What could I give him? Approximately 5 hoursand 50 minutes later, Chapman and Lennon would comein contact with each other one last time. A few hours before Chapmangot Lennon’s autograph, the singer curled up nude,almost in a fetal position, and wrapped himself around Yoko Ono. The iconic photo was taken by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz in the couple’s Dakota apartment. Leibovitz was assigned to take a solo photo of Lennon for the cover of Rolling Stone. But the singer insisted that ono was in the shot too. Leibovitz suggested thecouple took off their clothes. But Ono balked at the idea,first agreeing to go topless, then dismissing the idea altogether. Instead, Lennon tookeverything off, wrapped himself around Ono, andLeibovitz got her shot. Later, she admitted ono being clothed gave the image more weight. When Lennon sawLeibovitz’s test Polaroids, he made her promisethat the session made the magazine’s cover. That evening, Lennon would be gone. Although Leibovitz felt that our listing the photo right after Lennon’s death was exploitative, Rolling Stone published Leibovitz’s photograph about six weeks later inits January 22nd issue.
The photograph was later recreated in 2009 with Sean Lennon, posing with his girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl with the roles reversed. We now know that how are Cosell broke the news of Lennon’s death during a live broadcast on Monday Night Football, but it almost didn’t happen. Cosell was initially uncomfortable with the responsibility. Apparently, Coselland Frank Gifford were doing play by playfor a Monday Night Football pairing between the Miami dolphins and the New England Patriots. With less than a minut lift in the fourth quarter, the Pats were driving towards her goal line for the winning score. As the Patriots tried to put themselves in position for afield goal, Cosell got a phone call from ABCNews president Roone Arledge.
Arledge said his source confirmed Lennon had been murdered and that the news should be announced immediately. Cosell was unsure about the news brake, thinking that afoot all game wasn’t the appropriate forum for that kind of subject matter. While he wavered, Gifford, his partner in the broadcasting booth, convinced him otherwise, stating that the significance of the event was much greater than the finish of the game. Moments later, Cosell made the announcement.
Yes, we have to say it. Remember, this is just a football game. No mater who wins or loses. An unspeakable tragedy confirmed to us by ABC News in New York City. John Lennon, outside of his apartment building on the west side of New York City, the most famous perhaps of all of the Beatles, shot twice in the back, rushed to Roosevelt hospital, dead on arrival. Hard to go back to the game after that news flash, which in duty we have to take.
So why did Chapman shoot Lennon? For a long time, Chapmangave investigators his Catcher in the Rye story. Chapman was obsessed with JD Salinger’s book. He was so obsessed with a story, he saw himself as the living environment of Holden Caulfield, Salinger’s angry protagonist. Fueled by the angstof Catcher in the Rye, Chapman felt that Lennonhad become a phony, a label Holden Caulfield gave to people he encountered that he thought were superficial and insincere. Chapman admits he wasn’t seething with rage over how he thought Lennon conformed, from an outspoken rebel to a mainstream celebrity. Instead, he was very matter of fact about it.
And he calmly and methodically began to plan Lennon’s murder. And I pulled the. 38 revolver out of my pocket. I went into what’s called a combat stance. And I fired at his back five steady shots. Catcher in the Ryeplayed such a large role in Chapman’s initial excuse for killing Lennon, he even brought alonga copy of the book when he met and killed the singer. Inside that book, Chapman wrote, “to Holden Caulfield, from Holden Caulfield. This is my statement.” Bought a copy of the catcher in the Rye, signed it “to Holden Caulfield, from Holden Caulfield.” And wrote underneath that,”this is my statement,” underlining the word this,the emphasis on the word this. Initially, Chapman said he killed Lennon to make a point, to make a statement about the phonies of the world. But that story changed on his eighth parole hearing in 2014, when he said, “I am sorry for being suchan idiot and choosing the wrong way for glory. I found my peace in Jesus. I know him. He loves me. He has forgiven me. He has helped in my lifelike you wouldn’t believe.”
He went further during his ninth parole hearing in 2016 when he admitted that his actions were premeditated, selfish, and evil. Chapman was obsessed with Lennon and shot him for one reason only. He wanted a shortcut to fame, correctly assuming that his name would be remembered forever. Chapman later explained that he bore no ill will toward the singer. All he wanted was tobe known for something.
A parole board member on e asked him, “it wasn’t anything personal against John Lennon? It was just simply aboutyou and gaining notoriety?” Chapman replied, “absolutelytrue, nothing personal.” Chapman later made astatement intended for Ono, but also maybe for Lennon’s fans. “It wasn’t anything against her husband as a person, only as a famous person. If he was less famous tha three or four other people on the list, he would ‘tensorflow’ have been shot and that’s the truth.” So what do you think? Why did Chapman kill Lennon? Let us know in the comments below.
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