Wednesday, December 07, 2005

December 8, 1980

On December 8, 1980 I was 8 years old. John Lennon was 40 and that's what he would stay forever when he was assassinated outside his apartment in New York City late that night.

Although this happened 25 years ago I can still remember the strange atmosphere of that day. Well, to be honest, I suppose it's actually the 9th, not the 8th I remember so vividly as this was pre-CNN and internet and news probably would not have travelled to the international press-agencies before my bed-time. So I'm talking about December 9, more likely. That day, the same songs were being played over and over on the radio and announcers were in the same subdued mood as my parents. A kind of second-hand melancholy gradually affected me as well although I had never heard of the famous person whose death had so brutally interrupted the Christmas spirit and was responsible for the temporary ban on Christmas songs, apart from Happy Christmas (War is Over), on the radio.

I eventually asked my Dad who that John Lennon person was and he solemnly showed me his impressive stack of Beatles albums, explaining to me how the band used to be incredibly popular - fainting girls and all - before I was born. I was intrigued. If John Lennon had been part of this big...THING and every single grown-up seemed so upset about his death, he must have been something special. Within the next few days, I listened to all of Dad's Beatles records and was hooked. I also loved looking at the record covers, with the collage on Sgt. Pepper's in particular.

John Lennon might have been a legend with my hippie-era parents and their friends, but the Beatles were definitely not particulary cool among my peers who were rather reluctant to share my enthusiasm for this "old-fashioned" music. In 1980, people were listening to this (not bad, either, actually) and I was into charts music too, but it became my mission to try and convince my friends of the Beatles' greatness. My primary-school-English being somewhat limited I got the Beatles Songbook and learnt all the lyrics by heart, not understanding the meaning of about 70% of them, but never mind. That songbook became my bible.

When I became friends with the Mermaid in grammar school, I soon found out that she was a Beatles fan too. Allthough we didn't seriously have any suicidal tendencies we - like most pubescent girls I suppose - harboured morbid fantasies of how all those people(= our parents and the boys we had crushes on) who just didn't understand us would be shattered when we were dead. We'd show them. We particularly enjoyed discussing the playlist for our funerals. Beatles songs were just perfect for teenage funerals, we found. I wanted Things We Said Today to be played, the Mermaid insisted on Eleanor Rigby.

Although I haven't actually listened to a whole album of Beatles songs for ages (I only have few of them on CD and I don't have a record player in Vienna), I always get very nostalgic when I hear one of their songs and I always remember December 8 (and 9), 1980. This morning, I woke up to (Just Like) Starting Over on the radio.

Today's a holiday here and I've taken tomorrow off as I'm flying to Copenhagen for a mini-break later today. Back on Monday.

3 Comments:

Anonymous novala said...

Danke für den Grinser. Schöne Story.

12/10/2005 11:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Beatles Fan said...

Schöne Story. :( :(

1/02/2009 06:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Beatles Fan said...

Danke für den Grinser.

1/02/2009 07:50:00 AM  

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