Thursday, September 30, 2004

A Saw That Cut Through Flowers

You've seen the bumper sticker that says "Still Pissed at Yoko"? All she was accused of doing was breaking up the Beatles. Mark David Chapman killed one of them, so it's no surprise that his parole hearing next week has lots of Beatles fans suggesting that contrary to letting him out, they should throw away the key. Prison officials might want to do just that, as much for Chapman's own safety as for punishment. He's in a special unit in prison for his own protection. On the street, he'd probably have the approximate life expectancy of a gallon of milk.

Everybody has their where-were-you story about John Lennon's assassination. I was coming home from a night of drinking at a campus bar. Monday Night Football had been on the TV, but the sound was down, so nobody caught Howard Cosell's announcement of the murder. When I got home, the phone was ringing, and it was one of the guys I'd been drinking with, telling me what had happened. My roommates and I turned immediately to the fledgling CNN, where the network was showing a montage of photos to Lennon's music. I was a respectful Beatles fan but not a reverent one. Plus, Paul was my favorite Beatle, so I was shocked at the powerful emotional reaction I had to Lennon's death. I wanted to weep, but I was afraid to let go in front of my roommates.

The next morning, somebody had posted pictures of Lennon on bulletin boards and message posts from one end of campus to the other. I went to the office of the student newspaper and rewrote my weekly music column on deadline, but the rest of the day was a fog. One thing I didn't do was go to the campus radio station, where it might have been therapeutic, for all of us, to play nothing but Lennon's music. But the station was off the air due to transmitter troubles--thus we missed the biggest rock and roll story of our lives.

So where were you?

Pre-Friday Mini Top Five: Five Essential Lennon Tunes
1. In My Life (with the Beatles)
2. Whatever Gets You Through the Night (his only solo Number One in the States)
3. I Saw Her Standing There (with Elton John, recorded live)
4. Stand By Me (with Julian on guitar)
5. Happy Xmas (War is Over) (with Yoko)


At 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was watching that Monday Night Football game instead of going to the bar...and I'll never forget Howard Cosell saying, "Remember, this is only a football game!"


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