Facts About John Lennon’s Murder Not Many People Know About
English musician, singer and guitarist with the Beatles, John Lennon (1940-1980) pictured during production and filming of the British musical comedy film Help! on New Providence Island in the Bahamas on 2nd March 1965. (Photo by William Lovelace/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
The Tragedy That Shocked The World
John Lennon’s assassination was a shock not just to his fans but to the whole world. It was only a decade since The Beatles broke up and Lennon was already making a name as a successful solo artist. And his tragic death reminded everyone that he may be a rock god but at the core, he was very much human. And it was also a wake-up call to other musicians – that obsession from fans can be extremely dangerous.
It was an unspeakable tragedy and the work of someone truly vile and evil. Now, almost forty years after it happened, there may be some things about it you still don’t know about.
11. Singer-songwriter James Taylor met Mark David Chapman a day before the murder.
Taylor was accosted by Chapman at the subway station. Taylor further added, “His assassin had buttonholed me in the tube station…He pinned me to the wall, glistening with maniacal sweat, and tried to talk in some freak speech about what he was gonna do, and stuff about how John was interested and how he was gonna get in touch with John Lennon. It was surreal to have contact with the guy 24 hours before he shot John.”
10. Murderer Mark David Chapman intended to kill John Lennon two months before.
The 25-year old traveled all the way to New York in October to commit the murder. However, he simply changed his mind and went home. In an interview with The Mirror, his wife Gloria Hiroko Chapman whom he married just a year earlier revealed: “He came home scared, telling me that to make a name for himself he had planned to kill Lennon. But he said my love had saved him.”
9. Chapman met Lennon’s son, Sean.
In the morning of December 8 while waiting outside for John Lennon, Chapman saw their nanny Helen Seaman walking towards the building with five-year-old Sean. Chapman actually shook his hand and told him he’s a beautiful boy in reference to the song “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy).”
8. A few hours before Chapman shot John Lennon, the latter signed his copy of Double Fantasy.
This is perhaps one of the sickest parts of the whole murder. On December 8, Chapman camped out at the entrance of the Dakota building where Lennon lived. He spent hours talking to the doorman and some fans. At the time, it was pretty common for some of Lennon’s fans to wait for him outside the building and ask for his autograph. It was at 5PM when Lennon went walking with wife Yoko Ono towards their limo. After signing Chapman’s Double Fantasy album, Lennon even asked him, “Is this all you want?” In response, Chapman only smiled.
Photographer Paul Goresh even managed to take a photo of that particular encounter.
7. John Lennon and Yoko had a photo shoot that same day.
Photographer Annie Leibovitz took the iconic photo of Lennon being naked beside a fully clothed Ono. She left the Dakota at 3:30PM.
6. Mark Chapman once said he killed Lennon to get famous.
He even admitted it was “Nothing personal.” In a parole document, he also wrote, “There was no feeling towards his son or his wife or himself. I was obsessed on one thing and that was shooting him so that I could be somebody.”
5. Mark Chapman was arrested while reading Catcher in the Rye.
In an interview with reporter Jim Gaines, Chapman said “I really identified with him [protagonist Holden Caulfield] – is plight, his loneliness, his alienation from society.”
4. Yoko Ono banged her head on the floor when the doctor told her Lennon’s dead.
Dr. Stephan G. Lyn who ran the emergency room at the Roosevelt Hospital and massaged Lennon’s heart to make it pump again said, “When I told her, she said: ‘You’re lying; it can’t be true. He’s not dead. I don’t believe you.’ She threw herself down on the floor and began banging her head on the ground. I was afraid we’d have a second patient. But after two minutes, she accepted it and asked me to delay announcing the news to the media for 20 minutes because her son Sean was home watching the news, and she wanted to tell him first.”
3. Howard Cosell on Monday Night Football broke the news to millions of people.
It was in the middle of a game between New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins when Cosell announced Lennon’s death. When he was finished, he said, “Hard to go back to the game after that news flash, which in duty bound we have to take.”
2. There are several conspiracy theories about John Lennon’s death.
First, that Mark Chapman was a CIA agent (the FBI DID have files on John Lennon though). Second, that he wanted to live in peace and away from the public eye so he faked his death. And third, that he actually committed suicide.
1. Chapman’s next scheduled parole hearing is on 2020.
Back in 2018, the parole board denied his petition for the 10th time. The board also wrote to him the following: “You admittedly carefully planned and executed the murder of a world-famous person for no reason other than to gain notoriety. While no one person’s life is any more valuable than another’s life, the fact that you chose someone who was not only a world-renowned person and beloved by millions, regardless of pain and suffering you would cause to his family, friends, and so many others, you demonstrated a callous disregard for the sanctity of human life and the pain and suffering of others. This fact remains a concern to this panel.”