John Lennon lives
Yoko Ono has done a great service to Lennon’s remembrance I think. She makes music and art and shares the experience they had, none stop it seems.
He was a good person, a great musician, and tragic is that there is so much violence in America. It is not a small thing or remote accident. Death by small arms can happen in America anytime and anywhere because society has yet to mature.
“Remembering John Lennon
That fateful day: Dec. 8, 1980
Dateline interviewed different people who knew, admired, and crossed paths with John Lennon. Below, are excerpts of their remembrances of the music legend, as told to "Dateline."
Where were you on Dec. 8, 1980? How did you find out Lennon died? What was your reaction? Share your own personal tribute to John Lennon in the mailbag provided below.
Vin Scelsa, WNEW disc jockey, who had to announce the news to many New Yorkers
"I was on the air from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m, that was my shift. And there was a desk assistant, a DA, who was in the newsroom —a young guy named Marty Martinez. Suddenly all the lights began to light up the switchboard. And I looked over and I saw it and I wondered what that was all about because I wasn’t doing a contest or a giveaway. Marty came running into the room, and he was white as a ghost. And he said, “John Lennon’s been shot.” He knew that something significant had happened. I was playing Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Jungle Land.’ This long, 11 or 12, or 13 minute track about the city and about life on the streets. And to a certain extent, about violence on the streets. A very ironic thing. I faded down the music and I read the bulletin. And we tried to downplay it. John has been shot. He’s been taken to the hospital.
Many minutes later, the bulletin came across that he had died. Marty came into the room, tears streaming down his face, totally shaken, and said; “He—he—he’s dead. He’s gone.” I kinda flipped out at that point. I didn’t wanna go on the air and say this. I had gone on the air other times in my life and announced that people had died. John Lennon, I knew right away, thatthis was something that went beyond just a pop star murder or a pop star death. That this was truly a significant moment in our cultural history. I remember finally the song ending and my coming on the air and saying whatever it is I said. I know that what I said is in the Museum of Television & Radio. I’ve only listened to it two or three times over the years, cause I don’t really wanna listen to it.
I know that I said something like, 'For the first time in my life I’m speechless. Cause I had been known as the DJ who talked a lot.' My voice was shaking. I was crying. I was trying to hold it together. And we began, without ever planning it or talking about it, or thinking it through, we began what became a radio wake for John Lennon. We opened up the phones. We took calls. And what came across in those phone calls was this incredible sorrow, and rage."”