John Lennon, former singer and guitarist for the Beatles, was gunned down by fan Mark David Chapman on December 8, 1980 on the steps of the Dakota, where Lennon lived with wife Yoko Ono. Earlier that day, Lennon had autographed a copy of Lennon’s Double Fantasy album for Chapman, who said he was a big fan. Double Fantasy was Lennon’s final album, released earlier that year, and featured the song “Beautiful Boy,” which was about his son Sean, who was five at the time.

The unhinged considered JD Salinger’s novel Catcher in the Rye to be his “statement.” He plead guilty to the murder and has been in prison ever since. Since 2000, he has been eligible for parole, and despite his best efforts, he has been denied every time since—partially because the parole board believed it would “deprecate the seriousness” of the crime and also because of the many, many threats Lennon fans have made to him over the years.

Earlier this week, Paul McCartney, one of the last surviving Beatles, spoke to Jonathan Ross about Lennon’s assassination.

“I couldn’t take it in,” McCartney said. “Just for days, you just couldn’t think that he was gone.”


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As they do every year on this date, Beatles fans will congregate at Strawberry Fields inside Central Park to sing songs, read poetry, leave candles and flowers, and celebrate the life of John Lennon.


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