Pin It
Favorite

'December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died,' Keith Elliot Greenberg 

An overview of Lennon's last day shows how every minute counts.

click to enlarge Author Keith Elliot Greenberg
  • Author Keith Elliot Greenberg

What did you do with your yesterday? Every day, you go about your life without considering the minutiae of it. In the poignant new book December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died, you’ll read about the small minutes that led up to a big event — one most Baby Boomers remember all too well.

On Dec. 8, 1980, Barbara Streisand, Kenny Rogers, and Stevie Wonder topped the Billboard LP charts. Four American nuns were murdered in El Salvador a few days prior. Ronald Reagan was preparing for his presidency, having just been elected a month before. Led Zeppelin had officially disbanded. And John Lennon was enjoying the huge success of his latest album.

Lennon and Yoko Ono were posing for their friend and neighbor, photographer Annie Leibovitz, for a Rolling Stone cover later that day. On the streets below, fans gathered, waiting for a glimpse of him. Lennon had embraced New York as his home, and he enjoyed freely walking around his neighborhood. Most fans only wanted an autograph or an acknowledgment — Lennon had even befriended a few.

One of those fans, Mark David Chapman, wanted more. A Beatles fanatic in his childhood, Chapman had become angry at Lennon, and decided that killing him would guarantee a sort of immortality. He imagined people uttering his name alongside those of John, Paul, George and Ringo.

As you read Greenberg’s book, you can’t help but notice the malevolence that oozes between the history he presents and the minute-by-minute, lifeand-imminent-death dance that seemed fated to happen. It’s a nail-biter.

I particularly liked the way Greenberg weaves small stories and tiny actions in with the biography of a performer who finally found joy with his life and his work, and a man determined to listen to the voices he heard.

For Beatles fans, this is a wistful look back 30 years later. For anyone who wasn’t around during the Fab Four’s heyday, this book explains a lot. For everyone who loves music, December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died is a book to start today.

  • Pin It

Latest in Arts & Culture

  • Variations of Zuill
  • Variations of Zuill

    Badass cellist. Musical missionary. Grammy winner. Zuill Bailey redefines Bach for the 21st century
    • Feb 16, 2017
  • Backstage Story
  • Backstage Story

    Behind the preparation and precaution: Why it practically takes a village to put on a Cirque du Soleil show
    • Feb 16, 2017
  • The Genius of Bach
  • The Genius of Bach

    His lasting influence, and a look at this year's Bach Festival schedule
    • Feb 16, 2017
  • More »

Comments


Comments are closed.

Today | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue
SATURATE: Reservation X

SATURATE: Reservation X @ Richmond Gallery

Through Feb. 28

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Terri Schlichenmeyer

Most Commented On

  • Partisan Pagans

    The political divide is even splintering Spokane's witches
    • Feb 2, 2017
  • Finding the Words

    The sounds of 8,000 people taking to the streets of Spokane
    • Jan 26, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Blind Faith
  • Blind Faith

    In a vacant lot by the railroad tracks, an unlikely friendship is found
    • Jan 7, 2016
  • The People Have Spoken
  • The People Have Spoken

    A user's guide to the 10 most popular strains
    • Jul 8, 2015

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation