On December 9th, 1980, I heard the shocking news about the death of John Lennon the night before. As a 12 year old Beatles fan, this destroyed my world. The previous summer I began to really get into music and the Beatles were my obsession, an obsession that has never left me. Until that night in December I never experienced a death of anything and this was my introduction to how crappy the world could be.
For the next week I buried my sadness and pain in the world of the Beatles and of course, John Lennon's solo work. I would listen to everything; the albums, the radio specials... everything. I wanted to know everything about Lennon's life and over the span of a month or so, I would become inundated with every part of his life. At the time of his death, Lennon's single (Just Like) Starting Over and the album DOUBLE FANTASY were marking the return of Lennon to the world of music. I was incredibly frustrated because as a 'little kid' I didn't know what to do or how to channel my feelings. Sure my parents helped me work through it but I wanted to do more. I would see fans gathering at John's home in New York City, The Dakota and I wanted to be there... with everyone else hurting.
At the time of his death I was living in Broad Brook, CT, a small town about 2 1/2 hours from New York, but in 1980, it might as well have been a million miles away. As the years went on and I started making trips to New York City I never wanted to go to the Dakota, because I wasn't ready. I walked around Strawberry Fields with my family and saw the Imagine mosaic, but standing near or on the site where John Lennon was shot was a hard one.
Yesterday, on another trip to New York City, I decided it was time. As I walked towards the building with my wife Amy, daughter Rebekah and her fiance Lucas, we walked by the infamous gate and just stopped to soak it all in, the place where so many lives changed back in 1980. I've never been one to hide my emotions and I am incredibly in tune to peoples feelings but as I stood there, I couldn't think or even speak. As I tried to focus my thoughts and prayers, all I could hear was Elton John's amazing and passionate Empty Garden in my head. My feelings; sadness, optimism, happiness, depression, confusion, clarity all hitting me at once. For the next few hours I kept trying to figure out why so many emotions all at once and as I sat to type this I realized I was just feeling everything I felt as a 12 year old who wanted to be there in 1980. It seems so weird in 2018 to now feel like i'm finally at peace with this.
The Power Chords Podcast is a twice-monthly podcast celebrating rock and metal music of the '70s, '80s, '90s and beyond. The show is co-hosted by Matt Herring and Brian LeTendre.