December 8, 2000
7:56 AM   Subscribe

Where were you when you heard that John Lennon had died, 20 years ago today? I was seven, getting ready for school when the news came over on our old radiogram, and I can remember my mother's white-faced shock: one of those moments that emblazoned itself upon my memory.
posted by holgate (59 comments total)
I go past that billboard every day to and from work. It's quite striking, being that it is both large and near the ground, and I have noticed more than a few folks stopping to take pictures. Oh, and it quite nicely replaced the advertisement for a local "Gentlemen's Club".
posted by Avogadro at 8:21 AM on December 8, 2000

Where was I? In Grand Forks learning how to speak.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 9:32 AM on December 8, 2000

I was 9 and couldn't have given a rats behind who John Lennon was or that he died. Now, if Luke Skywalker had been gunned down then there would have been severe weeping followed by many hours of honorary playtime with Star Wars action figures.
posted by Brilliantcrank at 9:38 AM on December 8, 2000

I'd rather an advertisement for a 'Gentlemen's Club' than a giant reference to John Lennon
posted by druadh at 9:39 AM on December 8, 2000

I was 14 at the time, and couldn't understand why there was all this hub-bub about some has-been rock star. I mean, sure, it was shocking how it happened and all, but I really didn't get it. I'd feel differently today, I'm sure. But I was 14.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:55 AM on December 8, 2000

I was 11, at home with my folks, both of whom were reformed hippies (well, they tried, anyway--my mom was a little too pragmatic, and Dad was a high school malcontent who enlisted in the Marines for Vietnam--weird). Anyway, having discovered early on my parents' album collection, I was already a heavy, heavy Beatles fan. I was a bit young to appreciate the whole Death-with-a-capital-D thing, but I certainly was sad about it, in that disconnected way that kids treat the dying of people outside their immediate ambit.

But my parents were just creamed. Especially my mom--she cried and cried, and my dad couldn't do much more than sort of stupidly make plangent noises of comfort. I think there's something about an inconsolable woman that renders a normally capable man into a foot-shuffling bumble.

And then, years later: I was at work, when my girlfriend called me. "Turn on the radio," she said in a weird voice, "Listen." I did, and of course, Kurt Cobain had offed himself. It was awful; I hadn't ever had the feelings of despair and anguish over the death of someone I hadn't met before, and it made me feel a strange mixture of grief and shame and fraudulence. Who was I to be sad? I was a fan, sure, but he wasn't my pal--God knows I didn't cry over John Lennon, so where did I get off? The rest of the day was gray static.

That night at the apartment, my mom called. "I don't know if I should have called. I just wanted to make sure you were okay. I don't know--it seems like this is the first time . . . the first . . . well, for your generation." She didn't know Cobain, but she remembered Janis and John and Jimi and Jim and the rest of that litany, and she got it right.

posted by Skot at 10:03 AM on December 8, 2000 [1 favorite]

I was four and living seven blocks away from the scene of the crime.
posted by schlomo at 10:08 AM on December 8, 2000

Twenty years ago I was 14 and had recently started my freshman year in high school. I wasn't exactly the hippest kid when it came to music. Not having any siblings, I got most of my musical tastes at the time from my mother who enjoyed 50's rock-n-roll, and artists such as Chuck Berry. I was also listening to such things as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Styx, Molly Hatchet, AC/DC, etc. But I also had friends who had older brothers and sisters who turned me on to the music of Beatles. When I woke up the morning of December 9, 1980—to the clock radio set on Q107—and learned that John Lennon had been killed the previous evening, I sat on the edge of my bed and cried. What was weird about this was that I wasn't a die-hard Beatles or Lennon fan. So I couldn't explain why I had the reaction I did. But something inside of me knew that a great wrong had been committed, and that a unique voice had been silenced.
posted by terrapin at 10:10 AM on December 8, 2000

Sitting in my first apartment in Providence, listening to WBRU on the radio. Double Fantasy had been released in November, so old faves and the new music had been in the rotation for a month. John was the coolest Beatle by far and the most respected for what he tried to do with his music.

posted by xiffix at 10:17 AM on December 8, 2000

I was watching tv with my boyfriend. I had read the playboy (?) interview with him and gained a lot of respect for him from that; he's always seemed like a bit of an asshole to me before. reading that interview, I felt that he'd learned a lot and I respected the things he had learned.

a national news anchor broke into the show and said "...was shot and killed outside his new york apartment this evening." then it went back to the regularly scheduled programming.

my boyfriend said, "who?"

I said, "john lennon."

he said, "what?"

and I said, "I don't know, they didn't say who. I don't know why I said that."

a few moments later a local newcaster broke into the show to announce that it was, indeed john lennon who had been killed.

I remember that a wrote yoko a sympathy note a few days later.

posted by rebeccablood at 10:36 AM on December 8, 2000

Standing under a tree, waiting for the bus to school, aged 13. Someone said they'd heard it on the radio. I wouldn't even believe it until the bus arrived and I could ask the driver.

posted by ceiriog at 10:38 AM on December 8, 2000

i remember the tv footage they played over and over on the telly of the red and blue lights bouncing off the building they lives in, a glimpse of yoko in the backseat of a police car. my parents didn't notice.

later when kurt cobain died, i happened to be watching telly at the time and spent the whole day in stunned requiem.
my mother wandered into the room.
"what happened?"
"kurt cobain died."
mom: "too bad, he was cute."
posted by ethylene at 10:41 AM on December 8, 2000

I was 13, living in. . . ergh, either Sri Lanka or Guam, I can't rightly remember. Heard it on the radio, though, and remember asking which songs were Beatles songs, did I know any? My mom sang a little bit of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" and I nodded, and went on about my day. Didn't faze me one bit, but at the time I had but the vaguest knowledge of who John Lennon was. Watching the numerous biographical specials the past few days, now that I have the entirety of the available Beatles' canon under my belt, I've found myself a bit weepy a couple of times, more thinking of the incredible sadness that came to Lennon's family in the wake of his murder.

That said, I can't believe that there are comparisons being made between his murder and that self-absorbed Cobain character's suicide. I might yack.
posted by Dreama at 11:02 AM on December 8, 2000

I was 22 (skewing older than most of you all), getting ready to go to my 3rd shift job as a McDonald's maintenance man. Always loved Lennon's music; one of the first albums (actually a pre-recorded cassette) I ever got for a Christmas present was "Imagine." Also had a small personal affinity for John because my DOB is Oct. 8, day before his.
posted by jhiggy at 11:17 AM on December 8, 2000

Dreama: Kurt didn't commit suicide, Courtney had him whacked.
posted by thirteen at 11:26 AM on December 8, 2000

Dreama, yack away. Rather than try to defend my associations, I'll let Lester Bangs do it for me . He wrote this when Elvis died.

"If love truly is going out of fashion forever, which I do not believe, then along with our nurtured indifference to each other will be an even more contemptuous indifference to each others' objects of reverence. I thought it was Iggy Stooge, you thought it was Joni Mitchell or whoever else seemed to speak for your own private, entirely circumscribed situation's many pains and few ecstasies. We will continue to fragment in this manner, because solipsism holds all the cards at present; it is a king whose domain engulfs even Elvis's. But I can guarantee you one thing- we will never again agree on anything as we agreed on Elvis. So I won't bother saying good-bye to his corpse. I will say good-bye to you."
-Village Voice, 29 August 1977
posted by Skot at 11:32 AM on December 8, 2000 [2 favorites]

John Lennon's death is one of my earlier vivid memories. I was six. My mom was vacuuming when the news came on the television, and I'll never forget watching her drop the hose and sink to the floor in tears. I don't think I really understood what all the commotion was about at the time. (Kurt Cobain's death, on the other hand, I heard about in a chat room in first year university.. and suddenly I fully understood my mother's reaction years before.)
posted by jess at 11:33 AM on December 8, 2000

I don't remember where I was when I heard Lennon had been shot. I guess it would have been in school. Seventh or eighth grade? It made no impression on me at the time. I still don't particularly care for his music (don't particularly hate it either). People who count themselves as "Beatles fans" mystify me. The Beatles' music permeates pop culture; you might as well claim to be a fan of air. It is neither to be liked or disliked. It just is.
posted by kindall at 11:45 AM on December 8, 2000

i was 9, almost 10, i was on my way to school, and i remember thinking how crappy it was to be killed right before christmas.
posted by jyoung at 11:47 AM on December 8, 2000

Skot, that's all fine and good -- my point, somewhat obscured, is that it baffles me that anyone would compare the death of a victim of murder and that which is the result of the utterly, unflinchingly selfish act of suicide. The relative merits of the body of work of Lennon and Cobain aside, their deaths are not equivalent, and I puzzle that people compare them.
posted by Dreama at 11:50 AM on December 8, 2000

i had just turned 10, we were living in san antonio and i remember my mom cried and listened to his albums all day...
posted by centrs at 11:58 AM on December 8, 2000

I can't speak for everybody, just me. I suppose I "compare" them--or rather associate them--is for what must admittedly also be a very selfish reason: their bodies of work. I didn't know either man, but each produced art that startled me, amazed me, and moved me. So I mourned (for Lennon, belatedly) for what the world had lost in their passing. If I am to be accused of willfully regarding one vehicle of passage as being more or less horrible than the other, then I suppose I'm guilty. But it doesn't speak to what I am ultimately mourning for, I guess--the work. I don't think Marlowe's murder as being inequivalent to the suicide of Virginia Woolf; the world was poorer for their deaths. But I won't blame you for thinking me callous if you don't blame me for discounting your bafflement.
posted by Skot at 12:23 PM on December 8, 2000

I don't want to get into a flame war, but I just don't how people can compare Cobain with Lennon. There is no comparison as far as I am concerned other than they are both dead. Lennon spent most of his adult life working for peace. Cobain spent most of his adult life working for heroin. Sorry.
posted by terrapin at 12:36 PM on December 8, 2000

"one down, three to go..."
- Tesco Vee

I was 12 at the time, don't remember where I was because it really wasn't that important to me, but I do remember thinking, "please tell me they got yoko too..."

However, when Reagan got shot, I was just getting out of school, a friend told me about in the library. I thought he was kidding, and remember feeling a huge sense of relief when I heard it was true (I was terrified old Ronnie was going to get into a nuclear war), only to be let down again when he lived.

I think I was a troubled child :-)
posted by Deacon at 12:47 PM on December 8, 2000

It's not comparing the work of Cobain and Lennon. It's not even comparing the deaths of Cobain and Lennon. It's comparing the impact of their respective deaths on their respective generations.
posted by smackfu at 12:55 PM on December 8, 2000

People, the comparison between Cobain and Lennon is extremely simple - and was already illustrated above in Skot's first post. Those of us who were babies or not born yet when John Lennon died were at a prime age to be Nirvana fans when Cobain died. As Skot's mother said, he was the first in our generation, and my high school years were filled with misty memorials for Kurt Cobain, Shannen Hoon, Brad Nowell, and Jerry Garcia among others. That's the parallel, that when my generation grows old, we will remember where we were when we heard about Cobain's death, just as our parents now tell us where they were when John Lennon died. It's not a statement about the way they died, or the differences in their contributions to music, but their impact on a generation.
posted by annathea at 12:56 PM on December 8, 2000

Oops - one minute too late. ;)
posted by annathea at 12:57 PM on December 8, 2000

the utterly, unflinchingly selfish act of suicide.

All acts are selfish in one way or another. If someone can't stand living anymore, who are we to demand they keep on suffering, for our benefit? People don't just kill themselves for the hell of it - it's a reaction to unbearable pain.

When someone dies before their time, it's tragic - no matter why.

posted by Mars Saxman at 12:59 PM on December 8, 2000

skot, your first two posts were great.

to cobain haters, please have a little compassion, he was a victim of mental health problems and drug addiction. let people like the artists they like. the mentality that if a person (like cobain) doesn't fit into your frame of reference they must be a freak does not help. just because you do not understand something, it can be meaningful to others. this is called intolerance.

posted by chrismc at 1:01 PM on December 8, 2000

It's probably a good thing he's not still around, sucking up the joint like a few old stars I could mention.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:04 PM on December 8, 2000

I have no memory of John Lennon dying, although I've been told he did.

It is still pleasant, after all these years, to visit the little circle just inside Central Park near the Dakota on his birthday and deathday to join people singing songs. I went last year: someone told me that every year fewer people come.

Or was it fewer people come who know the words?
posted by Mo Nickels at 1:07 PM on December 8, 2000

I remember the Cobain suicide less clearly: perhaps because I was home for vacation, and didn't have the net to provide the instant reaction. When Jeff Buckley went missing after his last, fateful swim, though, that power to unite online was palpable.

It's odd: Lennon has been re-evaluated in the past decade as the man whose songs underpinned "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver", the man who wrote "Instant Karma" rather than "Imagine". And that spiky, contrary fucker made such a difference. Right now, the Beatles' "1" is the best-selling album in the UK, and that power to appeal to new generations is quite something.
posted by holgate at 1:08 PM on December 8, 2000

And: David Hume, on suicide: "If suicide be supposed a crime, 'tis only cowardice can impel us to it. If it be no crime, both prudence and courage should engage us to rid ourselves at once of existence, when it becomes a burthen."
posted by holgate at 1:12 PM on December 8, 2000

I was 12 years old. I was staying up late that night, watching Monday Night Football with my mom, who is quite the sports fanatic. I remember them talking over the last few plays of the game, mentioning John Lennon had been shot.

While I had a glimmer of an idea who Lennon (and the Beatles) were, I didn't know much. My mom remembers the traffic surrounding Grant Field when the Beatles played in Atlanta. She remembers being able to hear the screams over the roar of the machinery at Atlanta Dairies (where she worked at the time). I stayed up most of the night watching the vigils. I hadn't been born yet when RFK and MLK were shot, so this was my first real experience with the death of a celebrity. I was facinated that so many people who couldn't have known the man personally were so distraught.

I went to school that day and took note of the looks of sadness, horror, and disillusionment on my teacher's faces. By the end of grade 7, I'd become a complete Beatles fanatic.
posted by likorish at 1:12 PM on December 8, 2000

You know, it's sort of interesting. You can have a lot of fun in conversation with someone new, after you've burned off the first 6 hours, and the sun has come back up, by asking them: "what do you remember?" What, that is, has happened in your life that was so world-changing that you can remember where you were when you heard it.

It's always seemed to me that each decade has one event line that -- maybe a whole bunch of smaller ones, but one seminal event that almost everyone who was sentient in that decade will remember; it's sort of the touchstone of when you *became* sentient...

The 60's were Kennedy; I wasn't alive yet.

The 70's, the Nixon resignation; I was 9, walking up the street to my best friends' house when the noon whistle blew.

In the 80's, it was Challenger; pulling up to a stop in my car on a film-developing pickup route.

The 90's event seems to have been, much as I hate to admit it, the OJ verdict, at least assuming you weren't a Nirvana fan. I was at a client's, watching it on TV... just like everyone else in the US.

This is starting to sound like one of those "Freshman class in college" email lists...
posted by baylink at 1:15 PM on December 8, 2000

Cf. Kurt Cobain:

I was the general manager of WRAS in Atlanta, one of the largest college radio stations in the country. I went into the office early that day (early for me, anyway - it was about 10:00 am) when the news that the body of a young white male had been found in Kurt Cobain's home in Washington. I sat in the newsroom all day watching the wires, hoping it wasn't true. ABC News confirmed that it was Cobain 5 minutes before I went on the air.

Imagine being a 24-year-old college student, having to answer the phones to comfort distraught teens and twenty-somethings, having to be the one to say that yes, it's true, Kurt offed himself. That ranks right up there with one of the hardest and most emotionally wrenching moments of my (relatively) young life.

I think the reactions to Cobain's suicide and Lennon's murder are understandable when you consider that like it or not, these two icons embodied the spirit of their respective generations.

Oh, that day in April was a doubly upsetting day for me, because Marlon Riggs died from complications from AIDS on the exact same day. I'm amazed that our station engineer didn't find me curled in a fetal position under the console, sobbing and sucking my thumb.
posted by likorish at 1:20 PM on December 8, 2000

I was 10 and vaguely remember hearing about the shooting on the news. I disliked the Beatles then and now though, so his passing has had no effect on me one way or the other.
posted by RedDwarf at 1:21 PM on December 8, 2000

When I was six years old, I told my mother that I liked rock 'n roll -- I had been listening to hit radio across the street with the older brothers of a childhood friend -- so, she gave me her copy of the Beatles Sgt. Pepper album. I was hooked. Two years later, when Lennon was killed, I had four or five Beatles albums and a shiny new copy of Double Fantasy. My first reaction to the news was, "oh no, now he'll never make more new music." My mom cried. The next day, all the kids at school told me their moms cried too.
posted by chinstrap at 1:41 PM on December 8, 2000

cool likorish, I was listening to 88.5 when they announced Cobain had died. I was in 5th grade, don't know how old I was though...
posted by kidsplateusa at 1:43 PM on December 8, 2000

I have no memory of Lennon's death because I was too young back then, but oddly, I don't really remember Cobain's death either. I agree with baylink though, about the moment to remember in the 90s was the OJ verdict. I was in a meeting of a committee that decides how to spend a certain portion of student fees at my university. We had had a TV brought in to watch the moment, but it didn't work. So after it happened, the cell phone of one of the guys in the meeting rang and he told us the verdict. Oh, and we had some really good, big thick hamburgers catered in for us.
posted by daveadams at 2:19 PM on December 8, 2000

Lennon was a poet to many. He was also an egotist. It turns out he wasn't much of a family man either to hear Julian talk about him. I think the lyric that sums up John Lennon for me is an Elvis Costello one:
Was it a millionaire
who said imagine no posessions?
A poor little schoolboy says
'We don't need no lessons'
posted by artlung at 3:25 PM on December 8, 2000

My mom and dad were watching Monday night football. I was 8. I remember the TV being loud, I remember my dad yelling at the TV, I remember my mom doing cross stitch and ignoring both dad & the TV. I remember Howard Cosell saying something & I remember my mom and dad becoming quiet. I remember my mom and dad crying. My parents were blue-collar people who grew up in the middle of the 60's. They died a little too that night.

"A working class hero is a good thing to be."
posted by thc at 3:43 PM on December 8, 2000

I was 17. Didn't care about Beatles/Lennon at the time and was far more upset over Richard Burton's death that same year.
posted by prolific at 4:24 PM on December 8, 2000

Wow, everyone is so young!

I was 17 and had just (illegally) bought a Playboy magazine (for the articles, of course).

Amongst other had an interview with John Lennon who I then decided was pretty cool. I used to enjoy listening to my sister's old Beatles 45's but thought Lennon was some kind of weirdo hippy or something, (I didn't know at the time that he was also really smart and funny).

Three weeks later he's lying dead on a pavement. Pretty shocking really. I knew I shouldn't a bought that dirty magazine!
posted by lagado at 4:34 PM on December 8, 2000

far more upset over Richard Burton's death that same year

Hey, didn't Richard Burton die in 1984. I thought he was in the film with John Hurt which was filmed during the time it was set (ie. 1984) ?
posted by lagado at 4:38 PM on December 8, 2000

I was 2 at the time. I don't remember. But he was cool. Wrote great music.

I remember Freddie Mercury dying of a disease called AIDS. That was the first time I realised that AIDS was a serious problem - I was 13 then.

I do remember Kurt dying - I had a ticket for the concert in Dublin he never gave. I was upset.

I also remember my boyhood idol, Ayrton Senna da Silva being killed. I saw it happen live on TV (He was a racing driver). I was crushed, and Kurt dying just a few weeks before made it so much worse...I was depressed for weeks. Two people I admired, especially Senna, gone forever. I can understand how Lennnon fans must have felt.

posted by tomcosgrave at 6:10 PM on December 8, 2000

Not to self-blog or anything, but I wrote about Dec. 8 1980 on Slumberland earlier today (well, technically yesterday, now). I do remember it as clear as day.

I also remember waking up one day in 1994 to my clock radio, and a voice on KNDD saying "the body of a white male has been found in Kurt Cobain's house near Seward Park." My immediate response was anger -- "Goddamnit Kurt, I knew you were going to do this." The rest of the day was a blur of channel-flipping, familiar faces being interviewed by newsfolk, Kurt Loder live on MTV with the news over and over again. Jason came home and we watched together.

A few days later I went to the vigil at Seattle Center, on a grey and silent afternoon. I saw a few musicians I knew there. Courtney's infamous taped message to the crowd was like a kick to the gut. People were openly sobbing while tabloid cameras came in for the kill. Kurt's aunt was there counseling people about drugs and suicide. Small groups of people built shrines of candles, photos, signatures and signs, and I wandered from shrine to shrine, numbly taking it all in.

Later Courtney came out and gave some of Kurt's old clothes to the mourners.

Last year they filmed a movie here that supposedly took place in April 1994. They recreated the vigil, but it was summertime and people dressed for summer. There were DJs there and prize giveaways and all kinds of fun stuff to motivate the extras. On TV I saw smiling extras tossing a beach ball as they "mourned."

It made me sick.

About ten years ago I saw Nirvana in a grange hall on Steamboat Island, WA. They were opening for the Melvins. I'd never seen them before, but that night I was blown away.

I try to remember that, when people go on about how awful he must have been for killing himself or how pathetic and useless they find his music. Kurt made people happy through his music. There's got to be some value in that.
posted by litlnemo at 3:51 AM on December 9, 2000

Richard Burton died 5 August 1984, so yes, he did die that year.
posted by prolific at 7:15 AM on December 9, 2000

I was six when it happened. But I don't remember it happening.

Unfortunately, I was in the process of being physically abused by my father and psychologically abused by my mother. My ability to grasp at the music of the time was further hindered by my father's love for John Denver and my mother's love for Neil Diamond. It was, to say the least, a particularly inconvenient time for me to become au courant on rock and roll.

Oddly enough, I do remember the attempted assassination of Reagan a few months later quite clearly. I recall asking my great grandmother, "Is he dead?" She had moved in with us temporarily. She was addicted to General Hospital, right around the Luke & Lara period. By the time I got home from school, her soap operas had ended. But she did not talk much with me. However, she was rather interested in Reagan. And I became likewise fascinated with the assassination attempt, given that my reactionary family had become enamored of the man. And it was fascinating for me to witness how their hero had fallen so readily.

The only two celebrity deaths that forced me to collect myself were Graham Chapman in 1989 and Stanley Kubrick last year. With the former, I knew that Python could never reunite again and that Chapman's talents as a solo comedian would never come to fruitition in his autumn years. With the latter, it meant that there would humanity would be denied a singular cinematic vision of itself -- only a Spielberg knockoff of the same. I feverishly admired both of these artists in my prepubescent years. They gave me hope in a hellish environment and pushed me to move forward.

I recall Julian's life more than John's life. I would later come to admire Lennon. But by the time I finally discovered him, he was long dead.
posted by ed at 10:09 AM on December 9, 2000

the fans make and kill way or the other...sometimes thru violence, sometimes thru neglect, and sometimes thru building them up too much. They would have to make quite a big boxed-set to include a tribute song to all of those like lennon and cobain.

I was too young for lennon, too old for cobain...almost cried in my high school english class when i heard Peter Tosh had been killed by gunmen. What pissed me off was the overdose of Brad Nowell from sublime.

going to go to napster now and search for dead rock stars.
posted by th3ph17 at 1:39 PM on December 9, 2000

I was born in 1982, and every such event in my lifetime has been a parody of the ones that happened to the previous couple of generations. They had Kennedy's assassination, we had JFK Jr.'s plane going down - a case of the media trying to build a traumatic event out of the death of someone who didn't actually do much of note in his life. They had Watergate, we had the Lewinsky nonsense. You all had John Lennon's death, we had O.J. (I was twelve when Cobain died, and not many people my age really cared). I should be grateful on the one hand, that I haven't had to contend with anything like that; but it speaks to the fact that there are no public figures left whose death would really be tragic, and even our political scandals are just tawdry, manufactured nothings. Skot's Village Voice quote is really on the mark on this, though: anybody famous or known for their work whose death would move me to tears would probably move only a few other people as well; the culture is so fragmented now. And I can't even imagine crying over a politician.

I'm not entirely sure of my point, but it's something that's always bothered me. When people start in on these conversations about "where were you when..." I can't even relate. Where was I when they read the O.J. verdict? Well, I remember, but who really cares? My father was traumatised by Kennedy's death; but maybe the lack of anybody who could even move us like that is equally, if not more, damaging.
posted by Annabel.Gill at 2:08 PM on December 9, 2000

I was born on Sept. 2, 1980. So I would not remember his death. I am a huge fan of the Beatles and I know if I were around then knowing he died would've really affected me. Now when I watch things on his death or the end of the Imagine film where they talk about his death. It brings me to tears. It does my mother aswell. What makes it so sad is that he was sorting his life out, raising his son, trying to be a good father, making good music and then just as it all seems perfect he ges gunned down. :(
posted by FAB4GIRL at 10:39 PM on December 9, 2000

My ability to grasp at the music of the time was further hindered by my father's love for John Denver

So where was everyone the day John Denver died?
posted by lagado at 7:21 PM on December 10, 2000

close that pesky italic
posted by lagado at 7:22 PM on December 10, 2000

posted by lagado at 7:24 PM on December 10, 2000

It was my younger brother's birthday (he 19, me 21) Heard it on the radio news early in the morning as I gave him his gift. We (mum, bro, me) were all shocked then choked. Then bro left for college and I left for work - as the Lewis's department store Father Christmas - surrounded by kids and toys with Radio 1 in the background (the grotto was next to the Miss Selfridge concession) playing Lennon songs throughout the day.
My most memorable - and surreal - "where you when..." experience.
posted by donkeylasher at 6:04 AM on December 11, 2000

I don't hate Cobain or Nirvana. I listened to their music. My comment was that Cobain and Nirvana did nothing I can see that changed music or the world. Lennon and the Beatles changed everything, and Sgt. Pepper's was a groundbreaking recording. Just being a popular band and a mysterious troubled artist ain't the same thing.

Now Garcia. He and the Grateful Dead changed everything. As the late Bill Graham once said, "The Grateful Dead aren't just the best at what they do—they're the only ones who do what they do."
posted by terrapin at 2:51 PM on December 12, 2000

My comment was that Cobain and Nirvana did nothing I can see that changed music or the world.

Their music wasn't especially revolutionary, or especially powerful, and it didn't really carry a whole lot of deeper meaning to it, but it most certainly changed the musical landscape of the early to mid 90s.

They were one of, if not the, first "alternative" band to gain mainstream popularity. I remember the first time I head "Smells like Tean Spirit" a song whose lyrics mean as close to nothing as I can imagine. I would've been 15 or so, and it spoke to me in a way that no other kind of music ever had.

For millions of people, Nirvana opened up an entirely new form of expression. Despite the fact that they didn't do it for you, you can't ignore the impact they had on a large number of people.

Likewise, the Dead mean almost nothing to me. I've heard a few Dead songs, but they don't speak to me in any way that has meaning to me or depth, but I can easily acknowledge that they had (and still do; new Deadheads are born every day) a large impact on music and the world.
posted by cCranium at 6:41 AM on December 13, 2000

This is way too late, but R.I.P. Darby Crash. I am so sorry I did not think to post that on the appropriate day.
posted by thirteen at 9:51 PM on December 29, 2000

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