John Lennon, killed 31 years ago today

John Lennon died 31 years ago today

John Lennon died 31 years ago Thursday. The man who once wrote "Imagine all the people living life in peace" was shot in the back four times by Mark David Chapman at the entrance to the Dakota in Manhattan, where Lennon was living.

Chapman, who snagged an autograph from Lennon just hours before he killed him, is currently an inmate at New York's Attica Correctional Facility, serving a term of 20 years to life. He's been denied parole multiple times.

Robert Hilburn, a longtime pop music critic for the Los Angeles Times, wrote "Corn Flakes With John Lennon." 

Hilburn recalls spending time with Lennon in the 1970s, watching "Johnny Carson" at the Beverly Wilshire and eating "corn flakes with cream" late at night. 

"Here's a guy who had everything ... anything was at his disposal, but this childhood thing of corn flakes still gave him comfort."

From Hilburn's book:

I've experienced hundreds of memorable concert and interview moments, so it's hard to rank them in any favorite order, but my final hours with John in New York are certainly on the short list. It was just weeks before his death in December of 1980, and his playing the Summer record was an endearing greeting -- and one that was typical of John. Of the hundreds of musicians I've met, John was among the most down-to-earth.

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Photo: A partial image of the Los Angeles Times cover from the day of John Lennon's death.

 
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Rene Lynch has been an editor and writer in Metro, Sports, Business, Calendar and Food. @ReneLynch

As an editor and reporter, Michael Muskal has covered local, national, economic and foreign issues at three newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. @latimesmuskal


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