Twenty-five years ago today, I was lying in bed listening to the radio. I think that it was KILT out of Houston, then still a rock station. The DJ came on and said that John Lennon had been shot and immediately switched to an all Beatles and Lennon format. I was instantly awake. A bit later, the DJ came back with a report from an emergency room attendant at the hospital saying that "there was blood everywhere." After another few songs, came the final news.
Lennon was always the most complex Beatle. Bright, outspoken, angry, funny, mean, loving. At college
, most people said that he was their favorite. I always favored McCartney. As demonstrated by the excellent articles in last week's Statesman
, Lennon continues to have a powerful influence on our culture and our lives. A few years ago, I was Cleveland for an environmental conference that included a reception at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. As I wandered away from the food and drinks and through the exhibits, I found a special exhibit on Lennon on the top floor of the museum. Soon, most of my colleagues were there as well. Scientists, planners, administrators, lobbyists, and lawyers held by artifacts from Lennon's life. At the end of the exhibit there was a white column. Looking inside the through small, round windows you could see a plastic bag. Near the column were the broken glasses that Lennon had been wearing on December 8, 1980, and a card from Yoko Ono noting how she had rushed to the hospital with her husband, lover, and friend, and all that they had given back to her was this plastic bag. The bag sat in the pedestal with its property tag from the hospital, still unopened.