John Lennon: “It would be worth it if we went back into the studio together and turned each other on again.”

On December 8, 1980, the day of his death, Beatle John Lennon had two meetings with Mark Chapman, the man who would murder him.

About five o’clock at initially was the time. The singer and his artist wife, Yoko Ono, left their flat in the Dakota building in New York after wrapping up a radio interview to promote their new album, Double Fantasy. Lennon was asked to autograph a copy of the new LP by Mark Chapman. The album was sold for $1.5 million at a private auction in 2020 after being presented as evidence in Chapman’s trial.

After signing it and posing for a photo with Chapman, Lennon and Ono hopped in a cab and headed to the recording studio to begin production on a new song, Walking on Thin Ice.

It was almost 10:30 p.m. when they drove back home. They had intended to go to a restaurant, but John was eager to bid his younger son Sean, then five years old, goodbye before the youngster went to sleep, according to a 2007 BBC interview with Ono. John was carrying tapes from the recording session that day when the couple got out of their car and started to make their way to the Dakota building.

There waiting for him was Mark Chapman, clutching the LP that Lennon had autographed for him hours earlier, along with a copy of J.D. Salinger’s classic Catcher in the Rye. Chapman drew a pistol and shot the musician in the back several times as he was walking by.

The murder’s senselessness sent shockwaves of incredulity across the globe. The Beatles had a huge impact on culture and people’s lives, and their significance cannot be overstated. They were more than just pop stars. They brought about a transformation in popular music. During the 1960s, a time when it felt like everything was changing drastically, they were at the vanguard of experimentation with music, cinema, fashion, drugs, and religion. A generation of people’s lives had been enriched by their music, which enabled them to relate to one another and the world around them.

Fans inconsolable after the tragedy came to the Dakota building to leave notes and flowers. Radio stations played nothing but John Lennon and The Beatles tunes for days on end. Thirty thousand people in Liverpool, his hometown, and almost two hundred thousand people in Central Park, the area where he was shot, observed a 10-minute silence.

A more profound meaning

After his passing, his music—which had meant so much to so many—became even more meaningful. The UK version of the Double Fantasy album’s song “Just Like” Starting Over peaked at number one on the charts, but Imagine from 1971 and Woman soon after took the top position. His previous album won an album of the year Grammy after becoming a global smash.

The one issue that has plagued fans for decades is this: would the Beatles have finally reunited to release new music if John Lennon hadn’t been slain that day?

Five years prior to his passing, former Beatle Bob Harris was questioned if the Fab Four would ever collaborate again and, more significantly, if it would be a good idea in an edition of the BBC’s music program The Old Grey Whistle Test.

By then, the Beatles had experienced a painful breakup in 1970 as a result of the contentious Let It Be recording sessions the year before. The band members’ hatred toward one another over the breakup has frequently been expressed in public.

However, their creative troubles and alienation had begun to ease in the years that followed. By the time of the 1975 BBC interview, Lennon had renewed his friendship with Paul McCartney and had previously worked on songs with George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

It’s strange, since in the past, I used to say, “No, never, why the heck, go back?” in response to inquiries. No, not me,’ and then there was a time when I asked myself, “Why not?” He said to Harris, “If we felt like recording a record or doing something.”

“I think that during our time apart, we’ve all thought that could be beneficial. That wouldn’t be horrible. I’ve collaborated with Ringo and George, but not with Paul because of our more challenging period, but these days we get along well.

The second query is: Is it worthwhile? If we wanted to do it is the answer to that. It would be worthwhile if we decided to pursue it. It would be worth it, regardless of the naysayers, if we entered the studio together and turned each other on once more.”

Although his premature passing would deny the Beatles that chance to work together in person, their musical career continued.

His wife Ono sent the remaining Beatles a sample cassette of music her late husband had composed in 1978, with the words “For Paul” scrawled on it, fourteen years after he was killed.

The first “new” Beatles singles following the band’s breakup were released thanks to Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr’s addition of their own voices and instruments to John Lennon’s initial recording of his voice and piano. First came Real Love in 1996, followed by Free as a Bird in 1995.

Sometimes, though

The band also tried recording a different song at the time, titled “Now And Then,” but they were dissatisfied with the quality of the recording and ended the session.

In 2001, George Beatle died of cancer. It was while collaboration with Peter Jackson on his archival documentary of the 1969 Let It Be recording sessions that Paul and Ringo, the remaining members of the Beatles, agreed to remake the song.

The goal of Peter Jackson’s documentary was to demonstrate that, in addition to the personal conflicts that existed between the Beatles members during those sessions, there were also numerous instances of their close friendship, creative harmony, and musical collaboration—particularly when they were laughing or jamming together—which were omitted from the 1970 original.

In order to enhance the audio quality, the film studio created software capable of separating out the disjointed and overlapped sounds found in the documentary outtakes, revealing a more complex image of the recording sessions.

Using this technique, the surviving Beatles were able to separate and extract John Lennon’s voice from the surrounding audio on the demo cassette that Ono had sent them in the 1990s.

Paul and Ringo went back to the studio in 2022 to complete the song. In their initial effort to complete the song in 1995, they recorded George Harrison’s guitar parts in addition to their instrumental sections and backup vocals for John. The music was completed with a new string arrangement by producer Giles Martin, who is the son of George Martin, the original producer of The Beatles.

This year saw the publication of the last song, Now and Then, which was given credit to all four Beatles. The final chapter of John Lennon’s incredible musical legacy is aptly marked by the melancholic, reflective piano ballad, which has all four Beatles performing in unison once again.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *