Forgotten Interview With John Lennon Uncovered

Beatle spoke of his zest for life just before he was slain

By Greg Wilson
|  Thursday, Dec 9, 2010  |  Updated 9:42 AM CDT
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Musicians and New Arts NYC pay tribute to John Lennon on the eve of his death.

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A newly-discovered interview with John Lennon, recorded just three days before he was slain, has the Beatles legend showing little patience with fans and looking forward with chilling irony to a long life.

"What they want is dead heroes, like Sid Vicious and James Dean," Lennon said of fans who criticized him for taking a five-year break from music. "I'm not interested in being a dead f------ hero ... so forget 'em, forget 'em."

The interview, 18 minutes of which is available for free on iTunes and which is published in its entirety in the latest edition of Rolling Stone, was contained on nine hours' worth of cassette tapes reporter Jonathan Cott had forgotten he had. Lennon was murdered outside his New York apartment building days later, on Dec. 8, 1980, by Mark David Chapman.

Rolling Stone ran excerpts from the interview at the time, but Cott never transcribed all of the tapes until recently.

"Earlier this year I was cleaning up to find some files in the recesses of my closet when I came across two cassette tapes marked 'John Lennon, December 5th, 1980,'" Cott said.

Lennon spoke of the possibility he would again tour.

"We just might do it," Lennon said. "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."

Selected Reading: Rolling Stone,  The Washington Post,  John-Lennon.com

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