So I wrote this piece back in my first year of uni for a project. We were given a list of ‘music moments’ to write a feature on and I chose this one, and seeing as it’s 32 years today, I figured I’d post it on here. So here we go…
John Lennon: The death of an icon.
32 years on and the death of John Lennon is remembered by those who loved him.
Lennon – a member of one of the most iconic bands of the sixties The Beatles – was shot in cold blood one night on his return from a recording session.
His Killer: a fan.
25 year old Mark David Chapman had travelled to New York from native Hawaii, and is said to have been loitering outside Lennon’s New York home The Dakota, speaking to the doorman and even the housekeeper, about Lennon. On the 8th December 1980, previous to the attack Chapman – described as ‘a local screwball’ – had met Lennon outside The Dakota and Lennon had happily autographed a copy of his – and wife Yoko Ono’s collaboration – album, ‘Double Fantasy’ for Chapman, asking him “Is this all you want?”
After returning from a recording session Chapman was waiting in the shadows outside The Dakota before seeing Lennon and emerging from the darkness, going into “combat stance” and firing 5 shots at Lennon’s back. Lennon reached the hospital but was dead on arrival, receiving multiple wounds, the worst of which being in his chest.
It was the extent of his fascination with Lennon that drove him to commit this act. He had planned to kill Lennon previously but returned home claiming that he had ‘snapped out it’. When questioned, Chapman stated that he planned the shooting with “an essentially clear mind” and an onlooker said Chapman appeared rational. Chapman said that he was urged by “an inaudible voice saying do it do it do it.” When asked why he killed Lennon, he answered “I thought by killing him I would acquire his fame.”
This isn’t the only case of fans’ admiration turning to violent obsession; Pantera co-founder and guitarist Dimebag Darrell was shot six times by obsessed fan Nathan Gale, whilst performing onstage with his other project Damageplan.
With mental health issues lurking behind both incidences, it begs the question: How do you know when admiration for an artist becomes unhealthy? Is it down to genetic malfunction or can anyone turn savage due to obsession?
– Thanks for reading.