An Unhappy 25th Anniversary
Music, activism, vigils.
Things that were so much a part of John Lennon’s life are being used to mark the 25th anniversary of his death.
In New York City, fans of former Beatle will gather Thursday night outside the apartment building where he was shot to death on the evening of Dec. 8, 1980.
Not far from the imposing facade of the Dakota, others will pay their respects at Strawberry Fields, the Central Park oasis dedicated in 1985 to the memory of Lennon.
In London and New York, Dave Matthews, Paul Weller, 1960s pop star Lulu (“To Sir With Love”) and others will perform Lennon music in a live concert Thursday for Sirius satellite radio and the BBC. Lennon Live, a planned four-hour event, padded with an hourlong documentary, is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. (ET).
ABC News Radio has put together its own special, Lennon: The Loss, the Legacy, for non-paying customers of over-the-air radio. The hourlong show has been airing on various ABC Radio outlets since last week.
For those who like their Lennon with a New Age twist, flautist Michael Rose has weaved “Imagine” and “Give Peace a Chance” into the first movement of his new opus, Imagine: A Flute Serenade. The 12-minute cut will be available for free download from Thursday through Jan. 2 at www.SapphireRecording.com.
While the Amnesty International downloads of a batch of new Lennon covers aren’t free–they’re 99 cents each–the proceeds will benefit the non-profit human rights organization.
Downloads of the Black Eyed Peas’ version of “Power to the People,” the Cure’s take on “Love,” and more will be available starting Friday at www.amnesty.org/noise–their releases timed to International Human Rights Day. An Avril Lavigne Lennon cover will be released by the Make Some Noise project early next year.
With Lennon raking in $22 million annually, per Forbes’ most recent ranking of the top-earning dead celebrities, a certain amount of commerce is also part of the tributes.
Tuesday saw the DVD release of Imagine: John Lennon–Deluxe Edition, the disc debut of the 1988 documentary which allowed its late subject to tell his own life story.
Also relatively new to stores, issued earlier this fall to coincide, in part, with what would have been Lennon’s 65th birthday in October: Working Class Hero: The Definitive Lennon, a double-CD set of his greatest post-Beatles hits; Life: Remembering John Lennon: 25 Years Later, one of countless coffee-table tributes suitable for gift wrap; and, John, a warts-and-all look at the icon from ex-wife Cynthia Lennon.
Cynthia Lennon, as Amazon.com points out, is not one of those to offer observations on her former husband in Memories of John Lennon, yet another new book title, released just last week. Edited by Lennon widow Yoko Ono, the collection of reminisces also notably does not include those by surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. It does, however, feature contributions from Elton John, Bono, “fifth Beatle” Billy Preston and more.
In the introduction to Memories of John Lennon, according to Amazon.com, Ono, now 72, writes that she wasn’t yet up to writing at length about her late husband, bandmate and bed-in partner: “I could not open that part of my heart while it’s still shaking.”
Ono was with Lennon when he was shot four times by former Boy Scout leader Mark David Chapman, then 25. Lennon was pronounced dead at a New York hospital within a half-hour of the attack. He was 40.
“I still miss him massively,” McCartney recently told The Associated Press. “It was a horrific day for all of us.”
Ono will have make no statements or appearances on Thursday, her spokesman told the A.P.
In Britain, meanwhile, Lennon’s killer will be the subject of his own TV special.
I Killed John Lennon features newly released tapes of Chapman discussing his muddled motives for the shooting. The tapes were heard by stateside audiences last month on Dateline NBC.
At the time, Ono denounced the NBC special as “macabre.” And according to the BBC, the Chapman tapes aren’t playing any better to Lennon’s family in the United Kingdom.
“It’s very sad for the family when it’s all brought up again,” Stanley Parkes told the BBC. “The anniversary of his death is upsetting enough without this as well.”
An Unhappy 25th Anniversary