On this day, 31 years ago, former Beatles vocalist and guitarist John Lennon was shot and killed by an obsessed fan in New York City. Learn more about the incident after the jump and take time to remember the legendary English musician whose works remain influential to this day.
Three decades after his death, John Lennon, vocalist and guitarist of the phenomenal English rock band The Beatles, remains one of the most influential musicians in history. Aside from his contribution in the realm of music, Lennon was also known for his involvement in political and peace activism.
On the afternoon of December 8th, 1980, Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono were photographed by Annie Leibovitz for Rolling Stone magazine in their Manhattan apartment. According to Leibovitz, the original concept for the shoot was for both Lennon and Ono to appear nude, but the latter felt uncomfortable, leading the photographer to say, “just leave everything on.” The result was the iconic “nude embrace” photo below, which became the cover of the January 1981 issue of Rolling Stone.
After the photo session with Leibovitz, Lennon gave what turned out to be his final interview to Dave Sholin for RKO Radio Network. At 5:00 pm, he left his apartment along with Ono to work on a song at the Record Plant Studio. As they walked towards their limousine, several fans approached them for autographs, among them Mark David Chapman, an obsessed fan who would cause Lennon’s demise soon after.
The Lennons returned to their apartment at around 10:50 p.m, with Ono walking ahead of him into the reception area. Lennon glanced at Chapman, who had been waiting and standing in the archway. Within seconds, the crazed fan aimed at Lennon’s back and shot him five times at close range and in rapid succession. The musician sustained two gunshot wounds in the left side of his back and his left shoulder, and three more passed through the front of his body.
Lennon, despite heavy bleeding from his injuries, managed to stagger towards the reception area before collapsing to the floor. He was rushed to the hospital but he was pronounced dead on arrival at around 11:15 pm. He was 40.
Now, let’s take time to remember the intellectual and outspoken Beatle and his works, among them an iconic song he composed during his post-Beatles solo career. Let’s listen to “Imagine”: