December , 1984
By David Huff
John Lennon: The end of legend, beginning of saint
The past few weeks, a strange feeling has come over me every time I hear the song, "Velotte," sung on the radio. You could almost swear that John Lennon was singing it, but of course the voice belongs to his son Julian from his debut album. That his album should be released around the eve of his father's death is perhaps even stranger than the story you're about to read.
The following article was printed in JAM a few weeks after Lennon's death. Not only was it one of the saddest stories I ever had to write, it also turned out to be one of the most intriguing and thought provoking pieces on the death of Lennon I have ever read.
The death of John Lennon stunned millions around the world. That eerie question of "Why," has been on the minds of countless millions since that fateful night, Dec. 8, 1980. I have heard some interesting explanations as to why Mark David Chapman brutally gunned down the man he idolized, the man he was so totally obsessed with that he even went on to marry an Oriental girl and sign his name in hotel check-out ledgers as John Lennon. The circumstances surrounding the ex-Beatles death are just so bizarre, it really does make one stop and wonder, "Why?"
There is little doubt that fate and destiny played a hand in the events that would lead up to the shots heard around the world. Examples:
Why did John Lennon cancel a scheduled appearance at the last minute on the Mike Douglas Show that would have placed him in Hawaii that Monday evening?
Why did the Lennon's decide not to have their limo drive them to their underground garage like it always did instead of letting them out at the front entrance of the Dakotas?
Why of all nights did Jack Douglas, Lennon's producer, decide he was going to stay at the studio and work some more instead of riding home with John and Yoko like he always did?
Why hadn't the police been called about Chapman by the maintenance people around the Dakotas who had seen Chapman hanging around the building for several days?
And how does one explain Chapman getting Lennon's autograph right before he left for the studios that very Monday night?
Was Lennon's fate already written in the wind?
The following excerpt is from an interview conducted with country music and gospel recording artist B.J. Thomas. Thomas, who reached national acclaim with his recording of the Academy Award winning song, "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head," and a host of other hits, turned to Christianity several years ago to save himself from the world of drugs. During this interview, Thomas was caught completely off guard by a series of questions concerning God and his hand of fate that Thomas says is intertwined in everyone's life. His answers, though startling, I feel are something to seriously think about.
JAM: Do you believe a lot in pre-destiny and fate? Yes, I think that God controls the fate of all of our lives?
B.J. Thomas –Yes.
JAM: So was it an act of God that John Lennon was murdered?
You are asking a question that is almost a trick question. Of course you know that God is in control of everything, but God didn't come down and murder John Lennon. What you are trying to ask is a tricky question. You know, God has to allow the little baby to be killed. God has to allow John Lennon to be shot. God has to allow the little baby to be sexually abused or killed by his father or his mother because He is waiting for someone to come to Him tomorrow. If He ended the world Sunday evening so that John Lennon could be alive, then how many people that were going to come to Him would go to hell? The Lord has to allow a lot of bad things to go down because He is waiting on someone that He loves. So, you have to look at it that way.
God loves everybody. If it was up to Him, God would rush down and wipe away every bad thing in the world and allow no one to suffer and to go to hell. But, it's not up to God, it's up top people. As long as there aren't people that haven't come to Jesus Christ, He is waiting for them. Those bad things go down, don't blame them on the Lord.
JAM: The reason I asked the question is I’m sure millions of people prayed that night asking God, "Why did you allow something like this to happen? Why take him?”
I was so sad. You know, I asked that myself. I asked that myself. I wondered why? If you think about it and I have been thinking about John, his life, and I don't want this to sound sacrilegious, but his life paralleled the life of Jesus Christ a great many times.
John was a great prophet and influence of the '60's and changed so many things with such an influence. In fact, he stated himself that he thought the Beatles were more popular than Jesus at one time and I think that he was right. He was persecuted, and he even went to New York City to quit the music business. It was like when Jesus went into Jerusalem. He rejected being the king, that kind of thing, because it was a different type of thing that He was looking for. John was assassinated on the streets, maybe almost like Jesus was killed.
I see a wonderful example through the man's life and there is a mystery as to why it happened. I have seen these similarities between the Lord and John so to speak, so really I look on his life as a really beautiful thing that we might find some real edification out of. I am really sad and really hurt inside to know that a Christian brother, a so-called believer in Jesus Christ, murdered John Lennon. It makes me very sad. Maybe I didn't realize how much I really did love him, but I did. I will miss him just like I miss people like Elvis, John F. (Kennedy), Bobby (Kennedy), and those people. It just hurts when those things happen.
JAM: I wasn't trying to offend you with my questions, but let's look at it. John Lennon hadn't done a thing to anyone and then all of the sudden, 'bam,' he is gone. The senseless tragedy tends to make one wonder what is the reason for God? Why does something like this have to happen if God is supposed to be watching over everybody?
The explanation that I gave you, I feel, is the one. The Lord has to allow these things to happen because he is waiting on B.J. Thomas to come in the morning. He is waiting to save a guy like me in the morning from drug addiction. If God ended the world, that guy would go to hell. The Lord knows. He knows who is coming to him and He's waiting for them. It hurts the Lord just like it hurts us to see these things happen. You know, I think that John Lennon was a Christian and a believer in the Lord. I think that we will see him in a different light now.
There are a lot of people out there still searching for the answer to the question, "Why?" And that might be one of the reasons that God allows these things to happen because it makes people like you and me look inside and say, "Why?" You know life, your number, could come up any time. When the Lord calls you home, you don't know it, so you had better live while you have the chance. Even you could be coming home from a recording session and that may be it. This experience has really made me look inside myself. John Lennon's life is gone. The man's life is over. That is something that makes me sick and it makes me want to physically harm the person that did it to him. But, I know the Lord and his faithfulness. I am waiting to see the positive thing out of this. I think kind of what Yoko says, this is not a time to become confused and disillusioned. This is a time to hang onto the commitment of the future, the family and to love one another.