December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died

December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died

3.2 5
by Keith Elliot Greenberg
     
 

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In a breathtaking, minute-by-minute format, December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died follows the events leading to the horrible moment when Mark David Chapman calmly fired his Charter Arms .38 Special into the rock icon, realizing his perverse fantasy of attaining perennial notoriety. New York Times bestselling author Keith Elliot Greenberg takes us back to

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Overview

In a breathtaking, minute-by-minute format, December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died follows the events leading to the horrible moment when Mark David Chapman calmly fired his Charter Arms .38 Special into the rock icon, realizing his perverse fantasy of attaining perennial notoriety. New York Times bestselling author Keith Elliot Greenberg takes us back to New York City and the world John Lennon woke up to. The day begins with a Rolling Stone photo session that takes on an uncomfortable tone when photographer Annie Leibowitz tries to maneuver Yoko Ono out of the shot. Later Lennon gives the last interview of his life, declaring, "I consider that my work won't be finished until I'm dead and buried and I hope that's a long, long time." We follow the other Beatles, Lennon's family, the shooter, fans, and New York City officials through the day, and as the hours progress, the pace becomes more breathless. Once the fatal shots are fired, the clock continues to tick as Dr. Stephan Lynn walks from the emergency room after declaring the former Beatle dead, Howard Cosell announces the singer's passing on Monday Night Football, and Paul McCartney is lambasted for muttering "Drag, isn't it?" - his bereavement confused with indifference. The epilogue examines the aftermath of the killing: the considerable moment when 100,000 New Yorkers stood in silence in Central Park, the posthumous reunion of the Beatles in the studio - with George, Paul, and Ringo accompanying the recordings of their old friend - the unveiling of a bronze John Lennon statue in Fidel Castro's Cuba, and the durable legacy that persists today.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Were he still alive, John Lennon would have celebrated his 70th birthday on Oct. 9, 2010. But the former Beatle was infamously gunned down by Mark David Chapman, a self-aware, mentally disturbed fan who fired four fatal shots into Lennon's back on Dec. 8, 1980. Greenberg's latest is an absorbing but disjointed chronicle recounting everything from Chapman's choice of attire that morning to a radio interview Lennon and Yoko Ono recorded inside their Dakota apartment building, during which Lennon said, "I consider that my work won't be finished until I'm dead and buried, and I hope that's a long time." Greenberg (Perfect Beauty: A Glamorous Socialite, Her Handsome Lover, and a Brutal Murder) eschews a chronological hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute account, telling the story via loose flashbacks to Beatles history, Lennon's New York days and Chapman's troubled past. He still manages to build suspense despite a known ending, a feat which reflects the depth of his investigative experience (he's worked for 48 Hours and MSNBC Investigates). His interviews with the first two police officers on the scene, Dakota resident and Lennon neighbor, Ellen Chesler, and New York Daily News reporter, Paul LaRosa add compelling layers to an already famous story. (Nov.)
Library Journal
True crime author Greenberg (coauthor, Perfect Beauty: A Glamorous Socialite, Her Handsome Lover, and Brutal Murder) chronicles the final hours of former Beatle John Lennon's life on the day of his murder in New York City. Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, were busy recording, doing a photo shoot with Annie Leibovitz, and giving interviews for their just-released comeback album, Double Fantasy. Greenberg frames the day's events by intercutting details of Lennon's biography as well as histories of the other Beatles, Lennon's killer, Mark David Chapman, and even the police officers who were first on the scene that night. VERDICT The book does not cover much new ground, and Beatles and Lennon fans will be aware of most of the facts presented here, but this is an interesting examination of one of rock's darkest days and a poignant reminder of what was lost when Lennon died. Philip Norman's recent John Lennon: The Life is more suitable for readers seeking an in-depth look at Lennon's life.—Jim Collins, Morristown-Morris Twp. Lib., NJ
Kirkus Reviews

A panoramic view of the events leading up to the infamous murder of John Lennon (1940–1980).

Lennon plainly said that one reason he relocated to New York City was that he could be, if not anonymous, at least left alone there. He didn't bank on the dozens of die-hard Beatles fans—never Lennon-as-solo-artist fans—who camped out on his doorstep, a few of whom he even befriended while gently encouraging them to get a life. He had had premonitions for years, saying at the height of his Beatles fame, "We'll either go in a plane [crash] or we'll be popped off by some loony." Unfortunately so, and as America's Most Wanted producer Greenberg (co-author: Perfect Beauty: A Glamorous Socialite, Her Handsome Lover, and Brutal Murder, 2002, etc.) writes, each of the Beatles, and particularly George Harrison, lived in understandable fear of being killed by a deranged admirer. The author's account is sometimes moment by moment, sometimes a sweeping view of decades, and it often jumps backward and forward in time, occasionally yielding reader whiplash. Yet, in the space of a relatively short book, he ably captures all the right themes, from the hazards of fame to the curious reception of Beatles lyrics among a certain class of fans, who regarded them as life instructions. Greenberg does not shy from remarking on some of Lennon's less likable features, including his de facto abandonment of son Julian, but neither does he paint Lennon as a monster deserving of comeuppance, in the manner of the loathsome Albert Goldman. The author is also evenhanded in his portrayal of murderer Mark David Chapman, who, of course, has found Jesus in prison and is said to be lobbying for release. However, Greenberg attributes the celebrity-killing meme of the 1980s and beyond—to say nothing of the breakup of Wings—to Chapman's example, noting also that Chapman liked the Beatles less than he liked Todd Rundgren.

Timely and significant—a dark look through a dark glass onto the events of 30 years past.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780879309633
Publisher:
Hal Leonard Corporation
Publication date:
11/01/2010
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Keith Elliot Greenberg covered the Cynthia George case for Geraldo At Large. He is a writer whose works include true crime and wrestler Ric Flair?s #5 New York Times bestselling autobiography, To Be the Man, for which Greenberg was the co-author.

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December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died 2.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rest in peace John Lennon. When i die i want to see you. You are an amazing musician. Keep playing in heaven.
CourtneyBala More than 1 year ago
John Lennon: classic figure in the history of music everywhere. He was a hero and a legend to many people, even while he was alive. People looked up to him. He received a level of respect from many people that will never be matched. Then, one December day in New York City, he died. The city - maybe even the whole world - was shocked into silence. People everywhere were wondering the same thing: why would someone kill John Lennon, the very same man who fought for world peace? That sure didn't seem like a peaceful thing to do. That someone was Mark David Chapman. He shaped the world forever. However, he started out his life loving the Beatles. John Lennon was his role model. The Beatles' records were on constant repeat on his record player. Then, one day, he realized that he would never be as great as John Lennon. He would never impact the world like John Lennon did. Unless, of course, he killed the man. Years passed and Mark David Chapman always had the thought of murdering John Lennon in the back of his mind. He thought that his favorite book, The Catcher in the Rye, was telling him to go through with his plan. So he did. That man alone changed the entire world on December 8th. And that's exactly what he wanted. He wanted to be remembered for doing something drastic in his life. He wanted people to feel something because of HIM, a sad, lonely man that would never amount to be half the man that John Lennon was. December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died follows the lives of many different people on that fateful day. It follows everything that John Lennon, Yoko Ono, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Mark David Chapman, even The Beatles' former manager, and many others on their journey through the day that changed the world forever.
Bighead More than 1 year ago
As far as Lennon biographies go, this one seems almost amateurish. Dates and events are gathered and sometimes directly lifted from inaccurate sources. I would not recomend this to the serious reader. Even the title is a little misleading, as the book switches back and forth between Lennon's last day and his life history. The history feels like filler. Almost as if you are listening to a very unsatisfying cover version of a John Lennon album full of bum notes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First off, i am 12 so ineed a book that is a little bit easier to understand. #2 how long is it? I am a average pase reader, but i don't want to be reading forever. #3 how long it from the begining of the book to the fatal murder? Again i don't wana read about what john had for lunch for 7 pages. Okay if u couod please answere that wouod be nice. My name is amanda if u couod put it in the title box.