6 Minutes On The Radio: The Night John Lennon Died

As of this week, it’s been 34 years since John Lennon was fatally shot in front of his Manhattan apartment building by Mark David Chapman. It was Monday, December 8th, 1980. Earlier that day Lennon was doing what musicians do, he shot a magazine cover with Yoko for Rolling Stone, interviewed for ROKO Radio Network, and mixed a song at the Record Plant Studio.

That night, the radio was on fire. Stations played "Hey Jude," and "A Day In The Life," listeners shared their grief, and hosts tried to make sense of it all.

On the air, one radio host pulled out a Playboy interview where Lennon actually spoke a few words about death in regards to Neil Young’s famous lyrics, "It is better to burn out than to fade away." Lennon stated, "I hate it. It’s better to fade away like an old soldier than to burn out. I don’t appreciate worship of dead Sid Vicious or of dead James Dean or of dead John Wayne. It’s the same thing. Making Sid Vicious a hero, Jim Morrison — it’s garbage to me. I worship the people who survive."

Here is a six-minute recording made by someone, most likely a heartbroken fan of what was happening on the radio December 8th, 1980.

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