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Haruko Haruhara On December - 8 - 2010

For fewer and fewer people Dec. 7 has a special meaning; fewer and fewer people have a personal connection to that date 69 years ago. It’s a date that’s slowly becoming a benchmark known in history, like July 4 or April 14, rather than a benchmark seared in memory. Before too long, Nov. 22 will also fall into that category. Someday, a long time from now, Sept. 11 will, too.

I am struck by how many more people have a direct personal connection to the date of Dec. 8. I brought this up last night on another site (no, not THAT one), and I was really touched by how many people told heartfelt stories of where they were and how they felt 30 years ago today. In a weird way, I wish I had been a part of it. I really can’t connect to it the way others can. I have Sept. 11, a day no one likes to talk about, a day so utterly painful I wish I could forget it. I can’t even remember June 20, 1987 (see if you wallys can figure that out! :)), Damn it!

I wasn’t yet a twinkle in my pop’s eyeย  ๐Ÿ˜‰ on Dec. 8, 1980 , but I can imagine how stunned people must have felt that night, how unreal it must have felt. How it must have felt that the world had gone utterly mad.

The photo I put up is one of my favourite images of John Lennon, from the rooftop concert in “Let it Be.” He was in full rock-god mode, with the thick sideburns and fur coat. The Beatles were quite miserable by this point, burned out, on each others’ nerves and all dying to move on into separate directions, but they managed to drop all the conflicts for a brief moment of magic on the roof. Over the next four years, John did some of his best work, while Paul, unfortunately, became content with becoming a “hit machine” after Band on the Run.

The Beatles were one of the few groups I was allowed to listen to when I was young; they were “safe” and “harmless,” so like all adolescents, I went through a major Beatles phase. I find now I like their older stuff more, kind of from Help to Revolver to Rubber Soul; the psychedelic Sgt. Pepper and Mystery Magical Tour phase seems so dated.

(It’s amazing how many people think is a Beatles song)


27 Responses so far.

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  1. Khirad says:

    I was probably just starting to walk… so, sorry, no memories of this one. We’re in the same boat here.

    My generation’s equivalent would probably be Kurt Cobain.

  2. Haruko Haruhara says:

    BBC America is showing a two-hour film about John Lennon.

    C’mon, shake your tail feathers! ๐Ÿ˜†

  3. Haruko Haruhara says:

    Awww, Pepe put on the Beatles BBC recordings on the CD player tonight.☺

  4. escribacat says:

    I remember the moment vividly. I was living in a crummy hotel in San Francisco’s Tenderloin (doing the “writer” thing). I had a single room with a bathroom and an illegal hot plate. No TV. The phone out in the hall rang — the phone shared by everyone on that floor. I went to answer it and it was my ex-boyfriend from college (we had just graduated). He told me John Lennon had been shot. I got stoned and wrote a poem about it. I think I still have that somewhere in a box. The only line I remember is “Someone shot John Lennon tonight.” It was a dark night, and especially bad because Ronald Reagan had just been elected president. Things really looked bleak.

  5. PepeLepew says:

    I was smoking dope with my brother watching Monday Night Football when Howard Cosell announced it. My dad had died two or three months earlier and my mom was beginning a long, slow descent into the bowels of clinical depression. I remember just being numb, feeling like, “this can’t possibly be happening…”

    It was a really dreary Christmas, one of the worst I’ve ever had, and Lennon’s death had something to do with that.

  6. whatsthatsound says:

    I don’t remember where I was at the time I heard the news, but I remember going with some friends to the Ohio Statehouse lawn and smoking grass at the impromptu memorial that was held. No cops. It was like a “smoke pot” pass for hard core Beatles fans (which I wasn’t at the time) and folks that just wanted to be part of something special.

    The Beatles have grown on me since then, and I also like the era you mention best (plus the White Album). In fact, I think it is the greatest achievement in rock history, the progression from Help to Rubber Soul, culminating in Sgt. Pepper, including the singles they released that didn’t go on albums (We Can Work It Out, Paperback Writer, Rain, etc.)

  7. javaz says:

    I was sleeping because back in those days, 55 hour weeks were mandatory and starting time was 6:00, which meant getting up at 4:30.

    The phone rang and I lived in a mobile home and ran down the long hallway for the front dining room.

    It was a girlfriend and she was crying because John Lennon had been shot and killed in New York.
    I remember her asking why anyone would want to kill a Beatle yet alone John Lennon.

  8. BigDogMom says:

    HH, I’m going to guess that on June 20, 1987 you were born….we share the same birthday, but I’m 29 yrs older than you, wow, your just a baby!

    All I remember about 30 yrs. ago today was standing in front of the TV in shock when the news was announced and my older sister calling me, she was crying, we both couldn’t believe it.

    I thought to myself this is what my mother must have felt when she heard the news that JFK was assassinated, I was just a kid then, but I remember her face when we heard the news….complete and under disbelief that this could ever happen to such an icon of our times.

  9. kesmarn says:

    I’m embarrassed to admit that I actually don’t remember where I was or what I was doing 30 years ago today. I remember those details for the Challenger disaster, for 9/11 and other major events, but this one escapes me.

    I’m always heartened when younger people “get” and enjoy the Beatles/Lennon music. Although I imagine you appreciate them in a bit different but equally valid way.

    I recognize Lennon and McCartney’s remarkable talents, but have always been more drawn to the less appreciated Starr and Harrison. George Harrison in particular, I find a fascinating character…fine guitarist and a genuine seeker before it was fashionable to be one.

    It’s funny that so many parents felt the Beatles were the “clean and safe” alternative to the more “dangerous” rockers. Were they really watching and listening? Did they pick up on the anachist undertones? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • choicelady says:

      Hi kes -- I’m in the same boat. I think I was home and heard it on the news. I was a huge Beatles fan, but not so much the men as individuals. I thought it was sad, a loss indeed, but I rarely have much emotive outpouring for pop culture icons, like them though I may. I think I’m weird that way. Later that year, however, I was having dinner with some of my parents’ more conventional friends and did wind up discussing the Beatles (mixed reviews among the elders) and why their music was worthwhile. It rather surprised me that I was that supportive since I did not think I really cared that much. What I like about contemporary culture is that even when someone is lost from our presence, their art and contributions carry on through recordings and video.

      I wonder how people felt when Mozart died? His written music endured, sure, but not his performances. Hmmm. Never thought about that before. Sure must have made a difference to the small numbers, relatively, who had heard him. But far fewer would have had an inkling who he was than who knew Lennon. Food for thought…

      • kesmarn says:

        I’ve often thought about the sort of “eternal life/eternal youth” that recordings and video have given to relatively recent artists, c’lady.

        We’ll always be able to see Buster Keaton’s gorgeous 24 year old’s chiseled features, or Betty Davis’s almost breathtakingly beautiful youth. Even though they turned into typical wrinkly “old people” who would have fit right in at any nursing home in the country, we have access to what they once were at almost any given moment.

        James Dean and Marilyn Monroe are frozen in eternally young and vivid celluloid memory.

        I often think of this at work. As I look at and talk to the 80 plus year olds, I try hard to see the person who was once someone’s darling and to discover the mind that was once quicker and more creative. (Not that 80 plus year olds are not darling and creative — but in a different way! ๐Ÿ™‚ )

        John Lennon will never be an old guy. And we’ll always know what he looked and sounded like.

        This is something we’ve only been able to play with in the last 100 years or so and it’s really — for me — a pleasure.

  10. bito says:

    Good post HH, but you just pretty much blew my music thread for tomorrow! ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜†

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