Fans honour Lennon on 30th death anniversary

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

NEW YORK - Hundreds of fans gathered in New York Wednesday to mark the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s murder as Rolling Stone magazine published in its entirety a spookily prescient interview that the former Beatles star recorded just three days prior to his murder.

Lennon was gunned down Dec 8, 1980 outside his New York apartment building, the Dakota, by deranged fan Mark David Chapman, who remains in jail despite numerous requests for parole.

Fans gathered at the Dakota as well as at Strawberry Fields memorial to him in Central Park, named after one of his most famous songs, “Strawberry Fields Forever”.

The murder came shortly after Lennon had released his first album in five years, during which time he had encountered severe criticism that made him fear for his life.

“These critics with the illusions they’ve created about artists - it’s like idol worship. They only like people when they’re on their way up,” he said.

“I cannot be on the way up again. What they want is dead heroes, like Sid Vicious and James Dean. I’m not interested in being a dead f—ing hero … so forget ‘em, forget ‘em.”

Brief excerpts of the interview had been published by Rolling Stone in a 1980 tribute to Lennon shortly after his death, but the tapes of the full interview lay forgotten in a closet until writer Jonathon Cott rediscovered them recently.

The full transcript appears in this month’s magazine, which shows Lennon as a man somewhat bitter over his celebrity status, but also still passionately committed to the goals of love and freedom that characterised his work.

“I cannot live up to other people’s expectations of me, because they’re illusory,” he said. “Give peace a chance, not shoot people for peace … I’m not claiming divinity. I’ve never claimed purity of soul. I’ve never claimed to have the answers to life. I only put out songs and answer questions … I still believe in love, peace and understanding.”

Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono released a statement Tuesday night in tribute to Lennon.

“On this tragic anniversary please join me in remembering John with deep love and respect,” Ono said. “In his short lived life of 40 years, he has given so much to the world. The world was lucky to have known him. We still learn so much from him today. John, I love you!”

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