Memphis Minute - Losing a Fan - December 8, 1980
“If there hadn't been an Elvis, there wouldn't have been the Beatles.” - John Lennon
“…we didn't know what the hell Presley was singing about, or Little Richard or Chuck Berry. It took a long time to work out what was going on. To us, it just sounded like a noise that was great” - John Lennon
My memory of December 8, 1980 is as powerful as ever. I wrote this a few years ago and the sentiments remain.
They tell me I got up in my playpen and danced when the Beatles first appeared on Ed Sullivan, so it was predetermined I remember where I was that night.
The last time I sang on a stage-a show in the 8th grade - I sang a Beatles song, so it was inevitable that I remember where I was that night.
As a kid, I was a huge fan, even owning two Beatles original albums (stolen years later), gifts from friends and family, so of course I remember where I was that night.
I hoped for a reunion like so many others and clung to rumors that “the lads” would abandon their solo projects. It was unavoidable that I remember where I was that night.
As a teenager, I discovered early punk and new wave-The Police, Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, and The Clash. “You say you want a revolution” - in music they were it, guaranteeing that I remember where I was that night.
He released a comeback record that year, full of hope ("Beautiful Boy"), an answer to critics ("Watchin the Wheels"), and, as always, a profession of love ("Woman"). Though I didn’t hear most of those songs until later, I remember where I was that night.
I remember where I was that night, a teenager, senior in high school, scholar, athlete, and music lover - at least one thing hasn’t changed! I remember where I was that night, laying in my single bed which I still have it as a spare, listening to WBRU when it was still commercial free and played music that was truly “cutting edge”. I was listening to Brown University’s station, listening to all the music I have come to love and still listen to today when I can find it. I remember where I was that night when the sound on my clock radio turned from punk angst to sorrow.
I remember where I was that night, December 8th, 1980, when I learned that John Lennon - the rock 'n' roller, father, husband, peace activist, dreamer, and Memphis music fan - had been shot and killed outside of his home in New York.
"Why in the world are we here
Surely not to live in pain and fear" – John Lennon (Instant Karma)