The School of Athens

The School of Athens
The School of Athens by Raphael (click on picture to view short documentary from Columbia University)

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

The day the music died

Fellow citizens,

Today's post is personally the most difficult one that I've written.

It's about one of the worst afternoons of my life. It occurred 35 years ago, on December 9, 1980.

I had just arrived home from Maroubra Beach, after having all day joyfully body surfed about 250 waves (I was 16 then, when you can do pretty much anything you like for as long as you like).


As I entered the family room of our home, the TV was on Channel Ten Sydney and a newsflash announcement interrupted the program being broadcast.

Gordon Elliot came on the air:


He announced: "In news just in from New York City, former Beatle John Lennon, was shot........."

I immediately hoped that the next words he said would not be: And killed.

He then said ".....and killed."

My heart sank. I sat there stunned. The joy of the bodysurfing afternoon turned into a deep despair. I was unable to move for what seemed like ten years.

Why was I so deeply affected?

Because John Lennon was a symbol of great hope for me and hearing that he was killed shattered those hopes in one dramatic afternoon.

John Lennon used his music and high profile position to try to correct what he saw as the ills of the world. He stood up against injustice and paid a very heavy personal price for it. The love of his life, Yoko Ono, was relentlessly pilloried in the media and by the public, which no doubt deeply hurt him.

Nevertheless, he continued to support the causes in which he believed. He also knew the risks that entailed, once saying, as best as I can recall:

 "I don't want to be seen as serious, because all the serious people like Gandhi and the Kennedys and Martin Luther King got shot. I don't want to be shot, I want to live a full long life with Yoko. So we are humorous. Who are we? We're Laurel and Hardy, that's John and Yoko."


John Lennon wrote many brilliant songs as part of the Beatles, though those songs are always attributed as Lennon-McCartney creations.

So I thought as a tribute to him, I'd highlight a collection of his best contributions as a solo artist.

His standout song - Imagine 1971

And a range of others:










2 comments:

  1. Great piece Andrew - and loved the front pages. I was in Hong Kong when it happened and in the aftermath I went to the Kowloon Star Ferry terminal where the street vendors would onsell the newspapers and magazines which had been left on the planes by international arrivals at Kaitak Airport. I bought the Lennon Papers, as my dad always called them. Front page news, all over the world. I left them behind when I moved to the UK and Dad cut them down so they're no longer the full newspapers, just the clippings, but where have I put them? There goes my weekend....

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Sallybax.

    Good luck with your search for the clippings. :)

    ReplyDelete

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