"The scene outside New York's spooky old Dakota apartment building on the evening of December 8, 1980, was as surreal as it was horrifying. John Lennon, probably the world's most famous rock star, lay semiconscious, hemorrhaging from four flat-tipped bullets blasted into his back. His wife Yoko Ono held his head in her arms and screamed (just like on her early albums).
"A few yards away a pudgy young man stood eerily still, peering down into a paperback book. Moments earlier he had dropped into a military firing stance - legs spread for maximum balance, two hands gripping his .38 revolver to steady his aim - and blown away the very best Beatle. Now he leafed lazily through the pages of the one novel even the most chronically stoned and voided-out ninth grader will actually read, J. D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye.
"The Dakota doorman shouted at the shooter, Mark David Chapman, 'Do you know what you've done?'
"'I just shot John Lennon,' Chapman replied, accurately enough."
Love, love, love this live version of Mr. Lennon's "Across the Universe," sung by Rufus Wainwright, Moby and Sean Lennon during a concert called "Come Together, A Night for John Lennon's Words and Music," held just weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks in New York.
And Craig David's take on "Come Together" from the same show--fresh, sexy, electric and heartfelt all in one breath.
Other stars who performed in the concert: Yolanda Adams and Billy Preston ("Imagine"), Dave Matthews (a beautiful "In My Life"), Stone Temple Pilots ("Revolution"), Alanis Morissette ("Dear Prudence"), Cyndi Lauper (giving a surprisingly honorable rendition of "Strawberry Fields Forever"), Marc Anthony ("Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"), Shelby Lynne ("Mother"), Nelly Furtado and Dave Stewart ("Instant Karma"), Lou Reed ("Jealous Guy"), Natalie Merchant ("Nowhere Man") and Kevin Spacey (a mind-blowing "Mind Games").
This DVD will make an excellent Christmas gift for your baby-boomer parents or kin, and for anyone who appreciates the genius of Mr. Lennon's music and the humanism of his message. Tip: I got my copy from my favorite DVD stall, but if you're intending it as a gift, don't be a cheapskate. Buy the original.
[photo 1: JohnLennon.com]