Tuesday, December 8, 2015


I was like the rest of America 35 years ago-- watching Monday Night Football.  Howard Cosell broke the news.  John Lennon.  Shot.  Dead.

I was in that half awake/half asleep state at the time.  MNF started at 9 PM in those days, and Cosell made the announcement toward the end of the game.  I stayed up for the local news, and ABC's Nightline.  Stunned.

One of the reasons I like older music so much is it takes you back to places and times.  Some good.  Some bad.

I finally got to sleep that morning, to wake up to a barrage of Beatles and Lennon music on the radio.  No problem.  It was appropriate.  John Lennon was a dominant presence on the world stage throughout the 60's and 70's...  even when he took time off to be a stay at home father.  You were never more than a few minutes away from one of his songs on the radio.

I vividly remember the day after.  I was a Marywood sophomore.  After an early class, I picked up my friend, Markie, who was home from the Army for a couple of weeks.  We drove around the Poconos, listening to the radio, talking about Lennon, talking about our lives since he enlisted and I entered college.

For some reason, we stopped at the Stroud Mall near Stroudsburg.  I can still see the record department in Hess's.  Mobbed.  Wall to wall humanity.  People were grabbing all the Beatles and Lennon records they could get their hands on.  Yes, records.  Vinyl.  I wonder what today's equivalent would be.  Most record stores are long gone.  Would computers, servers, and web sites crash from all the downloads?

Markie and I eventually made our way home.  In spite of the sadness over Lennon's murder, it was still a decent day, an opportunity to catch up with an old friend, a little sightseeing, a few laughs remembering all the trouble we used to find as kids.

I was a DJ at Marywood's radio station back then.  I had a shift a couple of days after Lennon's death.  I remember playing a few of his songs, not a lot.  I reasoned that others could do tributes better, and we all needed a little bit of a break.

Hearing a John Lennon song still brings back memories of that night, that next day, and that week-- 35 years ago.