NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The death of John Lennon still reverberates as a defining moment for a generation and for the music world.
A man who helped define rock and roll, a leader of the peace movement, an icon of the Baby Boom generation, his sudden shooting death at the hands of Mark David Chapman inspired shock and mourning, and for many marked the end of an era.
The shooting occurred outside the Dakota, the century-old luxury apartment house where Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, lived.
Thirty-five years after his death, hundreds are expected to gather across the street at Strawberry Fields in Central Park to remember Lennon.
Lennon rocketed to fame in the early 1960s when he and fellow Britons Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr introduced a sound that changed the course of rock ‘n’ roll.
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After the Beatles broke up in 1970, Lennon continued writing songs and recording, but in 1975 he dropped out for five years, saying he wanted to be with Yoko Ono and their son, Sean. He returned to music in 1980 with the 14-song album, “Double Fantasy,” which was Lennon’s seventh and final studio album released during his lifetime.
Chapman pleaded guilty and is serving 20-years to life in prison at Wende Correctional Facility in western New York. He was denied parole last year.
“I am sorry for causing that type of pain,” Chapman told the parole board then. “I am sorry for being such an idiot and choosing the wrong way for glory.” Chapman can try again for parole next year.
At a 2010 hearing, Chapman recalled that he had considered shooting Johnny Carson or Elizabeth Taylor instead, and said that he chose Lennon because the ex-Beatle was more accessible, that his century-old luxury apartment building “wasn’t quite as cloistered.”
Chapman opened fire with a Charter Arms .38-caliber pistol that he purchased legally in Hawaii six weeks before the shooting. He hid it in his luggage. At that time, baggage wasn’t screened like it is today.
The revolver is now stored behind bullet-resistant glass at the Forensic Investigative Division in Queens, where it has been in police custody for 35 years, stored alongside the gun wielded by “Son of Sam” killer David Berkowitz. The division has about 800 guns, most of which are hung on the walls.
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