Imagine…No John Lennon – Dec. 8, 1980

December 8, 1980, thirty years ago today, I was watching the New England Patriots lose to the Miami Dolphins 16-13 on ABC’s Monday Night Football. In 1980, there was no bigger weekly event on TV than MNF, boasting its seminal announcing team of journalist/commentator Howard Cosell (at the same time the most loved and most hated man on television) with NFL Hall of Famers Frank Gifford and “Dandy” Don Meredith. I had just moved from the living room to the bedroom to watch the end of the game, when I heard Howard’s pitched voice:

John Lennon, dead at age 40. I was stunned. You have to remember, the Beatles defined a generation of music lovers from the mid-60’s through the early 70’s, and even beyond if you consider each band member’s post-breakup solo acts. For many of us, John was THE Beatle. The intellectual one, the one who courted and relished in controversy. The working class hero. The one whose personal invitation to Paul McCartney to join him in the Liverpool based band The Quarrymen led to the Beatle’s creation, and the one for whom the band’s demise was ultimately blamed. And, along with Paul, 1/2 of the most successful song writing tandem in history.

We all thought “All you need is love,” and “Give peace a chance,” were great lyrics but when John sang them you knew he was a true believer.

Girls loved Paul, but guys loved — and wanted to be as cool as   — John.

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