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December 08, 2009


Matt Thomas

I've never been a big Beatles fan, but weird coincidence - I know its not your thing but metal guitarist (with Pantera and Damageplan) Dimebag Darrell who was a great bloke from all accounts was shot dead on stage 5 years ago today too. Similar feelings, I know how I felt that day, which was pretty crappy. Truely a fantastic guitarist respected all over, mention his name to any metal fan or guitar fan and they'll have heard of him.

Oh and I've never liked Rainbow or Priest either ;)

Brian Roberts

Still almost feels like it was Yesterday, as memories of it are so vivid. It was my first really big celebrity death which really hit home. Elvis was big but he was American and a slightly older generation but John, for us in Liverpool, could have been family.

Me mum had Radio 2 on, hard to think we got breaking news this way pre breakfast tv/24 hour news/internet, and they played Norwegian Wood followed by the announcement and it was just such a shock.

I remember it was all we talked about on the school bus and during the day at school. Many of the teachers were red eyed and clearly in shock. The music teacher played Imagine in assembly and there was sobbibg taking place. I recall all the news shoes doing tributes that night but the big memory was everyone going to St Georges Hall on Sunday evening. It was a powerful tribute.

Chris Birchall

I too remember as if it was yesterday. I heard the news on the radio that morning - probably crackly old medium wave Radio City - then just sat all day numbed as they played non-stop Beatles numbers back to back.

It was my day off. Following day I was back at work for the Evening Leader. Myself and feature-writer Carol James were the only press Cynthia Lennon would talk to at that time. We interviewed and photographed her at her Ruthin home whilst the togs from the Nationals were dropping mind-blowing cheques through her letterbox desperate for exclusive pictures and an interview. She tore them all up.

We got through the door as jounos she could trust, have done a feature on her charity work a few months earlier.

The whole thing was made far more poignant for me since I'd been part of the 60s music scene myself as bass/vocals in the Executioners. We played the Cavern, The Iron Door, The Tower Ballroom and other Merseyside Clubs, but never on the same bill as The Beatles, so I never got to meet John Lennon.

It was spooky some time later, photographing Julian as a young man because at that time he was just like his father was in the Cavern years.

John's music will live on forever. But I often wonder what he would be doing now had December 8th 1980 never happened.

Chris Birchal (The Hairy Photographer)

Dawn Sadler

I cant believe its been 29yrs. I can still remember that morning so much. The radio, the tv, peoples faces staring at me at school and laughing. But i didnt care, all i could think about was poor John, and how could anyone do this to him. I think i cried for what seemed like forever, and still every year when this day comes round, i get a shiver, when i remember it all.
He had a huge impact on my life, and still does.
I often think, of what might of been, if he had been here today. Its still so sad.

Mark Lea

Chris Birchall describes it perfectly. Numb!

I walked around shell shocked all day. I was 18 and on the dole when it happened and my usual daily routine consisted of hanging around Probe or the Armadillo Tea Rooms. Or maybe trying to get the staff in Frank Hessy's or Curly Music to let us have a go of their guitars.

His rebelliousness plus his humanity made him such a hero to me, even though I'd come through the punk thing I could still identify with Lennon. He'd appeared to put his dark times behind him and was producing music again when this happens. I can feel myself filling up now at the loss.

My strongest memory is undoubtedly of St Georges Hall on the Sunday with my best bud at the time Dave Bennett. The best and the worst of times inexorably linked forever.

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