Today, Dec. 8, is the 34th anniversary of the murder of John Lennon. Mark David Chapman shot the former Beatle in the back outside his apartment in New York as he was returning home after a recording session.
The world heard news from Howard Cosell on “Monday Night Football,” and people gathered outside Lennon’s apartment building, The Dakota, holding candles and singing his songs while the shock set in.
Lennon became known as a progressive hero in the 60s and 70s for his anti-war activism, and is still viewed that way today. But what is not known is the fact that Lennon, near the end of this life, had started to move away from the radical movement he’d been the champion of.
In an interview conducted in the last week of his life, Lennon flatly rejects the progressive notion of government and external intervention in people’s lives to improve the world and their individual existence.
It’s not often cited, as it doesn’t fit the narrative, but after five years out of the spotlight where he quit music to raise his son Sean, Lennon rejected his previous activism.
“You make your own dream. That’s The Beatles’ story, isn’t it? That’s Yoko’s story, that’s what I’m saying now,” he said. “Produce your own dream. If you want to save Peru, go and save Peru. It’s quite possible to do anything, but not to put it on leaders and parking meters. Don’t expect Carter or Reagan, or John Lennon, or Yoko Ono, or Bob Dylan, or Jesus Christ to come and do it for you, you have to do it yourself. … People cannot provide it for you.”
Of course, we’ll never know for sure. The man was murdered by a deranged fan before he could fully emerge from domestic life and let his thoughts be fully known, but in one of this last interviews his instincts appear to have changed dramatically.