Thirty-five years ago Tuesday, singer-songwriter and Beatles co-founder John Lennon was assassinated while walking into his home at the Dakota building in New York City. His death brought mourning worldwide, fan suicides and a famous memorial in Central Park. Music had changed forever, in part due to the realization that the band would never reunite.
"For everyone who cherished the sustaining myth of the Beatles, the murder was something else,” Time critic Jay Cocks wrote in 1980. “It was an assassination, a ritual slaying of something that could hardly be named. Hope, perhaps; or idealism. Or time. Not only lost, but suddenly dislocated, fractured.”
Here are nine things you might not have known about the legend and his death:
Annie Leibovitz photographed a nude Lennon and his fully clothed wife, Yoko Ono, for Rolling Stone magazine that morning. They were promoting their album "Double Fantasy." "We took one Polaroid, and the three of us knew it was profound right away," Leibovitz later said. The photo was used on the cover of the magazine's Jan. 22, 1981, issue.
Lennon met his killer hours before the fatal shooting. He and Ono left the Dakota at 5 p.m. for an appointment at the record studio, and on their way out they were approached by Mark David Chapman. Chapman, 25, asked Lennon for an autograph. He obliged. Later, at around 10:50 p.m., Ono and Lennon returned to the Dakota.
The weather was warm, so the couple decided to walk. Their car could have pulled into a courtyard, but they got out at the sidewalk instead, according to the Beatles Bible. As they made their way to the building, Chapman fired five times. "They were loud, ear-shattering," local resident Nina McFadden told the New York Daily News. “I heard Yoko scream, ‘Help, help. Help him.’ It was then that I saw the man with the gun and watched him drop it from his side to the ground."
Lennon was pronounced dead on arrival at Roosevelt Hospital. But that didn't stop doctors from trying to save him for 20 minutes, the New York Times reported.
His death was famously announced during "Monday Night Football." Howard Cosell was tasked with breaking the news to viewers who were watching a New England Patriots-Miami Dolphins game.
Chapman was arrested minutes later. He said this year during a parole hearing that he killed Lennon for attention and "because he was very famous," NBC News reported. Chapman said he had also considered shooting Walter Cronkite or Marlon Brando. He was carrying a copy of "The Catcher in the Rye" when he shot Lennon.
Lennon did not have a funeral. Instead, Ono requested a 10-minute moment of silence Dec. 14, 1980. Lennon also left behind two children, Julian and Sean, and an ex-wife, Cynthia Lennon.
Chapman remains in jail today. Now 60, he has been denied parole eight times. At his most recent hearing, in August 2014, Chapman said he was depressed when he attacked Lennon. CNN reported he has now found God and apologized for his actions. "I am sorry for causing that type of pain," Chapman said. "I am sorry for being such an idiot and choosing the wrong way to glory."
Ono still lives in the Dakota. Across the street, in Central Park, is Strawberry Fields, a memorial in the form of a tiled mosaic, at the center of which is the title of Lennon's song "Imagine." More than 120 countries recognize the memorial as a garden of peace.