Today marks 30 years since the death of the global icon of music, peace and love, John Lennon. The visionary, whose protests and spirited rebellion inspired millions, was gunned down at the age of 40 on Dec. 8, 1980, by Mark David Chapman, but his memory and passion are still palpable today. Three days before he was murdered, the Beatle sat down with Rolling Stone magazine’s Jonathan Cott for a nine-hour interview. Select pieces from the interview ran in magazine the month following his death, however, Cott did not transcribe all the tapes. In the latest issue of Rolling Stone, the magazine pays tribute to John on the 30th anniversary of his death — releasing the final print interview with the legend.
“Earlier this year I was cleaning up to find some files in the recesses of my closet when I came across two cassette tapes marked ‘John Lennon, December 5th, 1980,'” Cott says in the latest issue of Rolling Stone, hitting newsstands Friday. “It had been 30 years since I listened to them, and when I put them on this totally alive, uplifting voice started speaking on this magical strip of magnetic tape.”
John attacks his critics in the final interview, defending his five-year break from music.
“What they want is dead heroes, like Sid Vicious and James Dean,” John expresses in the interview. “I’m not interested in being a dead fucking hero… so forget ’em, forget ’em.”
He also shares his thoughts on hitting the road again with The Beatles.
“We just might do it,” he said. “But there will be no smoke bombs, no lipstick, no flashing lights. It just has to be comfy. But we could have a laugh. We’re born-again rockers, and we’re starting over… There’s plenty of time, right? Plenty of time.”
John’s wife and companion, Yoko Ono, released an excerpt to Rolling Stone of a personal essay she wrote about her final days with her husband.
“Just before we left the studio [minutes before he died] John looked at me,” Yoko writes. “I looked at him. His eyes had an intensity of a guy about to tell me something important. ‘Yes,’ I asked. And I will never forget how, with a deep, soft voice, as if to carve his words in my mind, he said the most beautiful things to me. ‘Oh,’ I said after a while, and looked away, feeling a bit embarrassed.”
Catch a list of Yoko’s favorite John songs HERE.
Some of John’s most famous quotes:
“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.” (From John Lennon’s “Imagine”)
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”
“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”
“Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.”
“Living is easy with eyes closed.”
“One thing you can’t hide – is when you’re crippled inside.”
“God is a concept by which we measure our pain.”
“War is over … If you want it.”
“I get by with a little help from my friends.”
“Love is a promise, love is a souvenir, once given never forgotten, never let it disappear.”
“I’m not afraid of death because I don’t believe in it. It’s just getting out of one car, and into another.”
Catch clips from the new CNN documentary Losing Lennon: Countdown to Murder below.
Son Julian Lennon speaks on his father’s death.
Revisiting the crime scene
Before worldwide notoriety, Mark Chapman lived in Hawaii with his wife Gloria Chapman. She held a chilling press conference December 10, just two days after the killing.