Executive Honorary Members

Sir Paul McCartney
Ringo Starr

Executive Patrons

Sir George Martin
Julian Lennon

Patron

Astrid Kirchherr

Honorary Members

Cynthia Lennon
Pete Best
Yoko Ono
Gay Byrne
Geoff Rhind
Gerry Marsden
Allan Williams
Richard Lester
Harry Prytherch
(The Original Quarrymen):-
Rod Davis
Colin Hanton
Eric Griffiths
Len Garry
Pete Shotton

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John Lennon

 

 

 

John Lennon

 

1940 - 1980

 

 

John Lennon Remembered

 

 

 

 

It was 20 years ago.....

 

It began with breakfast, followed by a haircut - and it ended, about 16 hours later, in the emergency room at St Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital on New York’s West 59th Street, just over half a mile from home. He had awoken full of hope for the future and bursting with plans, but Monday December 8 was to he the last day of John Lennon’s tragically short life.

 

After getting his haircut at his local barbers, John returned to the Dakota apartment, where he and Yoko were interviewed for 90 minutes by ERG Radio. Their album, Double Fantasy, had been released in the UK and the US three weeks earlier and John said: "We feel like this is just the start and this is our first album ....I feel like nothing has happened before today."

 

He also paid rich tribute to Yoko and his former songwriting partner, Paul McCartney, stressing that these were the only two artists he’s worked with for more than a "one-night stand." adding: "I think that’s a pretty damn good choice. As a talent scout. I’ve done pretty damn well."

 

And, touchingly, he dedicated the album to "the people who grew up with me. I’m saying ‘Here I am now, how are you? . . - Here we are, well, let’s try to make the ‘80s good, because it’s still up to us to make what we can of it. It’s not out of our control."

 

In the afternoon, the couple took part in a photo session with Rolling Stone magazine and, at about 4pm, they left the Dakota for the Hit Factory studios - but not before John was snapped by a freelance photographer outside his apartment. At the time, he was signing a copy of Double Fantasy for the man - Mark David Chapman - who would shoot him five times less than seven hours later.

 

Later, John’s Aunt Mimi recalled him phoning her from the studio in the evening: "He was so happy, laughing and joking and looking forward to coming over to England - . . it was like a new John."

 

John and Yoko left the studio at about 10:30pm. Yoko said: "Although we had planned to stop and eat at Stage Deli, we decided not to. We went straight home instead. We were going to check on Sean and then go out for a bite."

 

Chapman, though, was waiting for them, and waiting to claim his moment in history. It is a moment which is recorded in chilling detail in Keith Bad-man’s fascinating and well-researched book The Beatles After The Break Up: 1970-2000 (Omnibus Press). He writes: "John emerges from their limousine and, a couple of places ahead of Yoko, strolls towards the archway entrance leading into the Dakota’s large courtyard. They are surprised to see a man standing in the shadows who says ‘Mr Lennon’. The man has a gun and, taking up a combat stance, he fires five shots into John from his .38 calibre Charter Arms five-shot revolver."

 

The fatal shots rang out at 10:52pm New York time, 3:52am British time. Dakota doorman Jay Hastings called the police. A search of Chapman, who was still at the scene, yielded keys and a copy of J.D Salinger’s 'Catcher In The Rye'. He reportedly said: "I’ve got a big man inside me and I’ve got a little man inside me. The little man is the man who pulled the trigger."

 

John, meanwhile, was taken in a police car to hospital, officers deciding they couldn’t wait for an ambulance. Officer Bill Gamble asked a barely conscious John how he felt, to which he replied: "I’m in pain". They were to be his last words, He was pronounced dead at 11:07pm (4:07am in Britain), at the age of 40.

 

But the seeds of his destruction were sown much earlier than that dark night - at least as early as Saturday October 18, when, says Keith Badman, Chapman walked into a library in Honolulu and borrowed 'One Day At A Time', by Anthony Fawcett. He read the book and, in his warped mind, decided that the object of his ever-more deranged thoughts was a hypocrite - and had to be killed. Within a fortnight, the chubby nobody, who was soon to become one of the world’s most infamous killers, had made the first of several visits to Lennon’s Dakota apartment.

 

He had left his job as a maintenance man (signing himself out of his workplace as "John Lennon"), bought a gun for £75 and flown to New York. Chapman, who had yet to buy bullets for his revolver, returned home after failing to cross paths with the musician on five successive days. He flew back to New York on Sunday November 9 and this time, tragically, he stayed.

 

But while Chapman took the former Beatle’s life, robbing the world of a genius in the process. the fact remains that, today, as he continues to rot in jail, millions of people are still celebrating a life that was worth living.

The life of John Lennon.

By Paddy Shennan

 

*************************************

 

Everyday Items in a Life Allow Lennon Fans to Imagine

 

Halfway around the world from where John Lennon lived and died, a museum dedicated to him is attracting the kinds of crowds he enjoyed while performing with the Beatles more than three decades ago.

 

TOKYO Halfway around the world from where John Lennon lived and died, a museum dedicated to him is attracting the kinds of crowds he enjoyed while performing with the Beatles more than three decades ago.

 

The John Lennon Museum, in the Tokyo suburb of Saitama, has had nearly 200,000 visitors since it opened on Oct. 9, which would have been Lennon's 60th birthday.

 

Most visitors are Japanese, but a museum official, Rie Endo, said others "have come from all over the world, for instance the U.S., England, Canada, Brazil, Korea and Australia."

 

What they see when they travel north about 45 minutes from Shinjuku Station in downtown Tokyo is a serious, almost scholarly look at Lennon's life, from his birth to his final days in New York. His widow, Yoko Ono, cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony and has provided the museum with about 100 of the 130 items on display.

 

The location seems unlikely. The museum, which cost $16.6 million to build, occupies two floors of a new sports arena, concert hall and convention center, the $620 million Saitama Super Arena.

 

The displays are divided into chronological zones. They cover Lennon's childhood and his teenage years; his Beatle days and his early days with Ms. Ono; his peace efforts; the creation of the song "Imagine"; his life in New York; the "lost weekend" years of 1973 and 1974, when he and Ms. Ono lived apart; their reconciliation; and his return to writing and performing.

 

Music by Lennon and the other Beatles appropriate to each era is played in the background to augment what the visitors see. Most of the explanatory material in the display cases is in Japanese, but anyone familiar with Lennon's life or music should have no trouble picking up the rest by context. And there are pamphlets in English and other languages.

 

Several of Lennon's favourite guitars, including the Gallotone Champion he was playing on July 6, 1957, the day he met Paul McCartney, are on display. There is also his Rickenbacker 325, which he used in the Hamburg and early Liverpool days of the Beatles, as well as a replica of the white piano he played when he wrote "Imagine."

 

Adjacent to the entry hall is a small theatre where a seven-minute video shows highlights of Lennon's career.

 

Many Lennon fans will immediately recognize the clothing on display, including the black leather jacket he wore in Hamburg, as seen in so many of the Astrid Kirchherr photos; a collarless jacket from the "Meet the Beatles" era and a replica of his "Sgt. Pepper" uniform. (Nearly all the other items are original.) There is also the New York City T-shirt he wore in a 1974 photograph seen all over the world in postcards and posters, and a United States Army sergeant's shirt he wore while performing and speaking against the Vietnam War in the early 1970's.

 

But many of Lennon's everyday items offer a more personal feeling, like three pairs of his round-framed glasses that are scattered among the displays. Near the end of the exhibition, in a section about Lennon's life in New York, there are a wallet, a wristwatch, a lighter and a leather cigarette case containing sixcigarettes.

 

For some visitors it appears that one of the most poignant displays might be a glass boxsitting on a table. The box, about 9 by 12 inches, contains several dollars in change, a rolled-up $5 bill wrapped around a couple of other bills, and a handful of guitar picks. The effect is as if Lennon could drop by to stuff the change, wallet and other items into his pockets and strap the watch on his wrist.

 

For those who identify him most with his words, there are several original lyric sheets handwritten by Lennon on hotel stationery, manila envelopes and lined notebook paper, including the words for "Julia," the song Lennon wrote about his mother.

 

Some lyrics appear with nothing changed or crossed out. Others show the work of this songwriter's mind. "Help," the title song from the Beatles' second film, is scrawled, as though Lennon was in a hurry.

 

"Help me if you can, I'm feeling down, and I do appreciate you being 'round," it reads, except Lennon had first written "and I would appreciate," but crossed it out and inserted "do" above it.

 

One of his best known and most respected ballads, "In My Life," was written on the back of a manila envelope on display, just 16 lines on a torn, spotted envelope, but words known around the world.

 

"Imagine," perhaps the song most closely associated with Lennon, is there, written in brown ink on New York Hilton memo paper. There are no changes, as though Lennon wrote in one draft the song that became a documentary on his life.

 

There is also a replica of his famous white piano, along with other artifacts designed to resemble the living room of the apartment he shared with Ms. Ono at the Dakota on Central Park West. And there is the original of another solo Lennon song, written just weeks before his death in 1980, called "Woman." It was both a thank you for reconciling with him and an apology to Ms. Ono after their separation. One verse is particularly poignant, because he had so little time left: "Woman, I know you understand, the little child inside the man, please remember my life is in your hands."

 

The exhibition ends with a display of Lennon's best-known quotations, in an almost churchlike setting, called "Forever." Various words are written on solid walls and transparent floor-to-ceiling panels.

 

Visitors can walk among them, examining them at their leisure. Finally they are asked to write their reflections about the museum on a piece of paper provided and to place it in one of several boxes adjacent to photographs of Lennon from particular times in his life. Some 60,000 of the visitors have offered comments.

By JAY BERMAN The New York Times

 

John Lennon Remembered

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