Looking back at the reaction to John Lennon's death 40 years ago today
Today, the former Beatle John Lennon was killed in New York in an act of violence that shocked millions of his fans and then had been shot by a disturbed fan as he returned to his home the Dakota apartment building with his wife, Yoko Ono. Reporting live from the Dakota for BBC News at that time was Tom Brook 40. Years on Tom, who lives in New York, has been taking a very personal look back at his memories of that night and exploring Lenin's growing legacy today. Imagine where Snow heaven John Lennon's anthem Imagine is routinely performed by musicians and fans in Strawberry fields that section of New York Central Park dedicated to the former Beatles memory. Just across the street from the Dakota apartment building. 40 years ago, the Dakota was where John Lennon's life came to a sudden and horrific end. Millions of Americans first heard the news while watching Monday night football on the ABC network. Unspeakable tragedy. John Lennon, outside of his apartment building on the west side of New York City, shot twice in the back dead on arrival. It's half past six time for today. Good Good morning morning from from Brian Brian Redhead Redhead and and Libby Libby Purvis. Purvis. The The former former Beatle Beatle John John Lennon Lennon has has been been shot shot dead dead outside outside his his home home in in New New York York in in London. London. The The BBC's BBC's Today program was on the air, bringing first news of Lennon's death to British audiences. I had rushed to the Dakota found a public phone booth on West 72nd Street. Everyone around me. Lennon fans were crying soon I was on the air talking. Can you tell us exactly what happened. John Lennon was killed two hours ago. I got most of my information from talking to the literally hundreds of fans who are now congregating outside the Dakota building where they're going to hold on all night vigil, and it's a very weird scene indeed, because they're playing Lennon music. A lot of them are in tears and they're weeping on there, either stunned or they're hysterical. That seems like a long time ago and itwas over the years I've watched this journalist colleagues have covered the deaths of other pop culture figures, but none seem to bring forth the collective grief Witness with John Lennon. Celebrated New York photographer Bob Gruen was one of Lenin's friends. Well, the reaction to his death was worldwide. And it was such a shock. You know that he died, and then he died so violently. When all his life you've been talking about peace and trying to help others imagine peace. And here he was shot for that. But 40 years on the trauma has receded on John Lennon now has a new generation of fans some very young among them. 10 year old Yasha, Kigali's who I met in Strawberry Fields. I like the words and I like the music and I like the room and how it all goes together. I think that it's about something that is very important. Imagine novel the people today in these pandemic weary, conflict ridden times. Young musicians like Tom McKay, Hearn and Seattle really embrace Lenin's message. The fact that he emphasized love and peace and this idea of striving for something that doesn't currently exist. I still see that message is something that we need. Thinking about something that's beyond ourselves is just incredibly powerful. Not everything in relation to Lenin was wondrous. He could be mean and nasty, and he admitted that he abused women. None of this has really affected his legacy. If anything, his stature as a musician has grown since he died, it's still making an impact. As music journalist Jordan run talk explains. He has one of the truly great voices in rock history. And now you have artists like Liam Gallagher of Oasis and then modern bands like Tame Impala and cut worms who will get that very specific went and asked vocal sound because it's such a trademark. Hold someday join us. Today I live just four blocks from the Dakota. Sometimes I wander into strawberry fields. I think what I like most about Lenin was that he had an authentic voice. Not just musically. He did and said some stupid things, but he wasn't a fake something quite refreshing to ponder. In our age of endless posturing by politicians and celebrities. No problem.