On this day in 1980, John Lennon was murdered outside his home in New York City, and ever since, Beatles fans have been speculating about what would have happened to the band had he lived. A rediscovered 1975 interview with Lennon from the BBC archive provides some clues.

Beatle John Lennon met Mark Chapman – the man who was to kill him – twice on the day he died, 8 December 1980.

The first time was around 5 pm. After finishing a radio interview at his apartment in the Dakota Building in New York to promote his new album, Double Fantasy, the musician and his artist wife Yoko Ono hit the road. Mark Chapman contacted Lennon to ask if he could sign a copy of the new LP. The album was later used as evidence in Chapman’s trial, and was reportedly sold at a private auction in 2020 for $1.5 million.

Lennon signed it and posed for a photo with Chapman, then jumped in a taxi to the recording studio with Ono to work on a new song called Walking on Thin Ice.

He returned home by car at around 10.30 pm. They had planned to go to a restaurant, but – according to a BBC interview with Ono in 2007 – John was keen to say goodnight to his young son Sean before the five-year-old boy went to sleep. The couple exited their vehicle, and began walking towards the Dakota Building, John carrying cassettes from the day’s recording session.

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