Author: Keith Elliot Greenberg
Book: December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died
Liverpool Sound and Vision rating * * * * *
There are various moments in time, especially in the fast hard news dominated world of the 20th and 21st Century, where a single event can affect millions of people around the globe like a stone being dropped into water. Whether large or small, the person knows exactly where they were at the moment they heard the news and it is a memory that stays with them forever. In the case of the assassination of one of Liverpool’s, if not the world’s favourite musical sons, the day John Winston Ono Lennon was shot outside his apartment building in New York City on December 8th 1980 was a ricochet bursting through time, an event so huge and life changing that history itself could be seen to change that day.
Best-selling author Keith Elliot Greenberg’s minute by minute account of that fateful day, December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died, takes a long hard look at the events of that particular moment from many people, eyewitnesses, fans, family and friends and brings together the diverging lives together as they collide for a brief second and then shatter, breaking apart a vessel of hope at the dawn of a new decade.
Briefly going over John Lennon’s early life in Liverpool and his time in Hamburg in the fledgling band that would dominate music for a decade, Keith Elliot Greenberg brings the seemingly un-tethered strands of two lives together and in a very distinctive way shows that in the end, through fate or a chapter of accidents that could have been averted, Mark David Chapman’s obsession with the ex-Beatle was always going to devastate many lives. Not only that of John’s widow Yoko Ono, who with the incredible journalism Mr Greenberg displays makes the reader feel, if possible, even more sympathy for the Japanese performer and artist but also with Julian Lennon, John’s eldest son who was never given the real chance to make peace with his father but also people outside of the Beatle’s bubble, such as the case of related suicides that followed by grieving fans.
December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died, shows how an innocence was lost in the world of creativity, in much the same way that America lost its incorruptibility on the day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated 17 years before, and how the world would be seen as a little bleaker, more frightening and devastatingly cruel in the aftermath. For anyone who has been to New York and been to the memorial garden of Strawberry Fields, the powerful thoughts of that day are overwhelming. Whilst sitting there and thinking of the seemingly randomness of life and how two people can be bought together in a double fantasy of Ying and Yang proportions, one thinking of hope, the other of death, it is impossible not to shed a tear. The same goes for Keith Elliot Greenberg’s book, powerful, emotive and undeniably packing a punch, it is also impossible not to shed a tear for the waste of a soul who was on the verge of great things once more.
© 2013 Ian D Hall – Liverpool Sound and Vision
Book review: Keith Elliot Greenberg – December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died
Ian D. Hall was brought up in Birmingham and spent the vast majority of his teenage years in Bicester, near Oxford. He grew up loving music from a very early years. In the last ten years Ian has written reviews for the Birmingham Evening Mail, Liverpool Live, Chris High and the University of Liverpool’s L.S. Media web site. For the last year of his graduate degree he was joint Arts Editor for L.S. Media and it has been his privilege to write on many of the arts in Liverpool, Merseyside, the U.K. and the rest of the World, having reviewed gigs as far as away as Poland and Canada. Liverpool has been his home for the last eight years and is without doubt the most vibrant, most cultural part of the UK. His love of music and theatre has led him to see great bands and plays, not just in Liverpool but the wider artistic community. His dearest music loves are Punk, Progressive Rock, Metal, Rock, folk and pop. Ian D. Hall graduated from the University of Liverpool in June 2012 with a degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honours in English. He now edits the Liverpool Sound and Vision website.
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