CBC Digital Archives CBC butterfly logo

CBC Archives has a new look: Please go to cbc.ca/archives to access the new site.

The page you are looking at will not be updated.

1980: John Lennon shot in New York

The Story

"I just feel very sorry and very sad, and I loved John a lot," says a young woman standing outside of the late John Lennon's New York home. Last night, Lennon was shot and killed. Fans worldwide are still in shock. In this Dec. 9, 1980 report from CBC Radio's As It Happens, we hear from mourning fans, a reporter at the courthouse where accused shooter Mark David Chapman was arraigned that morning, and a man who had gone to high school with Chapman, who describes his former classmate as "kind of quiet."

Medium: Radio
Program: As It Happens
Broadcast Date: Dec. 9, 1980
Guest(s): Walter Hendrix, Dennis Saunders
Host: Alan Maitland
Interviewer: Barbara Frum
Duration: 12:48
Imagine written by John Lennon, published by Lenono Music
Photo: AP Photo-File

Did You know?

• John Lennon was shot four times in the back outside his New York City apartment building at approximately 10:50 p.m. on Dec. 8, 1980. He was rushed to the emergency room of New York's Roosevelt Hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival.

• The former Beatle and music icon was 40 years old at the time of his death. He was survived by his wife, Yoko Ono, and two sons, Julian and Sean.

• Mark David Chapman was 25 years old when he shot John Lennon. He was mentally ill, prone to delusions and obsessions, and had become fixated on the book The Catcher in the Rye at the time of the murder. That book's protagonist has a hatred for "phoneys," and Chapman had become increasingly obsessed with the idea that Lennon was a phoney.

• Chapman pleaded guilty to the murder in June 1981. His lawyers had been strongly urging him to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, but he went against their advice. He was sentenced to life in prison at New York's Attica Correctional Facility. He became eligible for parole first in 2000, then every two years after that, but he has been denied parole every time.

• Chapman was interviewed by American TV host Larry King in 1992. In this interview, Chapman expressed regret for the murder and explained his mental state at the time: "Mark David Chapman at that point was a walking shell who didn't ever learn how to let out his feelings of anger, of rage, of disappointment. Mark David Chapman was a failure in his own mind. He wanted to become somebody important, Larry. He didn't know how to handle being a nobody. He tried to be a somebody through his years, but as he progressively got worse -- and I believe I was schizophrenic at the time. Nobody can tell me I wasn't -- although I was responsible, Mark David Chapman struck out at something he perceived to be phoney, something he was angry at, to become something he wasn't, to become somebody."




More Musicians more