‘I got well drunk on it’ John Lennon death stunned Rolling Stones star
Ringo Starr opens up in 2011 about the death of John Lennon
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The prolific songwriter for The Beatles, John Lennon, was assassinated on the afternoon of December 8, 1980, outside his home in New York City. The musician was shot four times outside The Dakota Apartment while travelling home with his wife, Yoko Ono. The star was later pronounced dead at the Roosevelt Hospital.
As word about Lennon’s death spread, different members of the music industry found out. Many of whom were close friends with the star.
Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards recalled the event in 2000, saying: “I was downtown on Fifth Avenue in New York [when I heard about the shooting]. The first bit of news I got, I thought: ‘He’ll make it. It’s just a flesh wound.’ And then, later on, the news really came.
“He wasn’t just a mate of mine, he was a mate of everybody’s, really. He was a funny guy. And you realise that you’re stunned. You really don’t believe it. And you think: ‘God, why can’t I do anything about it?'”
The guitarist added: “I got well drunk on it. And I had another one for John.” (Via The Guardian)
Richards went on to add that his thoughts quickly went to Lennon’s widow. He said: “Then there was the confusion, the phone calls, trying to find out if Yoko was okay.”
After Lennon’s death had been made official, he remembered the star fondly throughout the years. The Beatles and the Rolling Stones had a friendly rivalry in the charts over the decades. But in reality, they were good friends who spent a lot of time together behind the scenes. Specifically, however, Richards had a special connection with Lennon.
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Richards recalled: “There were the Beatles, and there was John. As a band, they were a great unit. But John, he was his own man. We got along very well. We didn’t see each other very often, but he would sort of turn up at your hotel.
“Usually, if I was in the city, I’d stay at the Plaza. If John turned up, that meant he wanted to party. He didn’t come there to discuss, you know, philosophy, although it would end up like that.
“I would just get into town, and there’d be a knock at the door: ‘Hey, mon, what is going on around here?’ We would get the guitars down and sing. And, in our spare time, discuss world domination.”
Richards added that Lennon “rubbed off on him” as much as anyone else in his life did.
He continued: “A bit of me rubbed off on John, too, you know. He took it with him. My father just passed away, and he winked at me just before he died. I really feel a lot better about death now. I’m getting off on that wink. I’d give the wink to John.”
The Satisfaction star wasn’t the only musician devastated by Lennon’s death.
Sting, the singer from The Police, was also affected by the murder.
Sting said: “I had the reaction that everybody had – disbelief, shock, horror. What happens when people like him die is that the landscape changes. You know, a mountain disappears, a river is gone. And I think his death was probably as significant as that.
“The Beatles were formative in my upbringing, my education. They came from a very similar background – the industrial towns in England, working-class; they wrote their own songs, conquered the world.
“That was the blueprint for lots of other British kids to try to do the same. We all miss him, and I think about him every time I walk by that building.”
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