December 8, 1980, the world was rocked by the news that Beatles star John Lennon had been murdered. The culprit was a man named Mark Chapman who gunned Lennon down right outside his place of residence.
Given the sudden nature of the incident and the fact that The Beatles had broken up close to a decade earlier, none of Lennon’s former bandmates were close to him in terms of proximity when the shooting occurred.
Despite their differences, each of them was devastated by the news and mourned the loss of their former bandmate and friend.
A loss marked by pain
When Ringo Starr heard the news was in the Bahamas on holiday. Upon hearing the news, Starr immediately flew to New York to console Lennon’s wife at the time, Yoko Ono. Starr ended up playing with Lennon’s son, Sean, who was only 4 years old at the time, and also broke the news to Cynthia, Lennon’s ex-wife.
Paul McCartney was told by his manager and although neither he nor his wife Linda remembers exactly how he was told and what he his reply was, she does remember what McCartney’s face was like. Linda would later explain that she had never seen him wear such an expression. It was pure pain.
McCartney also met his producer, George Martin, the same day. According to Martin, they hugged and cried without letting go for several minutes, and then they spent hours talking.
George Harrison got the call with the news in the early hours of the morning. It was his sister who, from the United States, had told him. Believing it was a bad dream or a nightmare, he hung up and continued sleeping. Hours later, when he woke up, he knew that it was true and that this had been his way of dealing with the pain; he didn’t want to accept it.
“After everything we’ve been through together, I had and still have great love and respect for John I’m shocked,” Harrison would later say.
Months later the trio would compose a song titled All Those Years Ago, which was a tribute to their friend.