Yoko and fans mark 30 years since Lennon's death
Fans gathered in Liverpool Wednesday to mark the 30th anniversary of the murder of John Lennon, as part of a global day of celebrations of the music icon's life.
In the city which produced the Beatles, the focus of the memorials were the Peace and Harmony monument unveiled earlier this year in memory of Lennon, who died when he was only 40.
Fans were to light candles and sing songs to remember the musician whose life was abruptly ended by a lone gunman outside the luxury Dakota apartment block in New York on December 8, 1980.
The Peace and Harmony monument was unveiled on October 9 -- his birthday -- by Lennon's first wife Cynthia and their son Julian in Chavasse Park.
In the northwest English port city, local musicians led the wellwishers and Beatles fans as they remembered the life of one of Liverpool's best-loved sons whose songwriting relationship with Paul McCartney produced some of music's classic songs.
In Tokyo, Lennon's widow Yoko Ono who was with him when he was shot marked the anniversary with a concert, saying the world still had so much to learn from his life and his songs.
"Today, on this painful anniversary, please join me in remembering John with deep love and respect," she said in a Japanese language tweet, as she prepared for the annual charity show, which features Japanese performers.
"Despite his short, 40 years of life, he gave so much to the world. The world was blessed with fortune to have known John.
"We continue to learn so much from him even today. John, I love you. 2010/12/8 Yoko Ono Lennon," said Ono in a message on Twitter.
Rolling Stone magazine released unpublished extracts online from an interview with Lennon, recorded three days before he was killed, in which he took a swipe at "dead heroes."
In the interview, which was published in part just after he was shot, Lennon took on his critics with uncharacteristic harshness, as well as fans who had not accepted his withdrawal from the music world, five years on.
Lennon said what fans wanted were "dead heroes" like Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious and screen star James Dean.
"I am not interested in being a dead fucking hero... so forget 'em, forget 'em," Lennon quipped.
And he did not rule out the idea of going back on the road to make music again.
"But there will be no smoke bombs, no lipstick, no flashing lights. It just has to be comfy, but we could have a laugh. We're born-again rockers, and we're starting over... There's plenty of time, right? Plenty of time," Lennon said.
A charity concert will take place on Thursday at Liverpool's Echo Arena, called "Lennon Remembered -- The 9 Faces of John", which will feature the Liverpudlian's friends and former bandmates performing his most famous songs.
The acts will include his first band The Quarrymen.
A poll found that "Imagine" remains Lennon's most popular song.
The chart was released by PRS for Music, which collects royalties on behalf of songwriters, and is based on airplay and live covers of the songs since 2005.
"Lennon's iconic songs inspired and symbolised the ideals of the masses, so it's no surprise that 30 years after his death his songs are still as popular as ever," said Chairman Ellis Rich.
© 2010 AFP