The mercurial John Lennon: from 12/7/1980

A nice column from conservative Carl Cannon of the OC Register tells the story of what happened when Annie Liebowitz went to the Dakota to photograph John Lennon for Rolling Stone, back in l980:

On the morning of December 8, 1980, Leibovitz arrived at the Dakota, the apartment building west of Central Park where John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived. Although Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner “never told me what do to” when she went on a photo shoot, Leibovitz has said, this one time he did: “Please get some pictures without her.”

Meaning Yoko. But Liebowitz was thinking of the cover of their record, Double Fantasy, and its kiss.

“This was the 1980s—romance was a little dead,” she recalled later. “And I was so moved by that kiss.”

She suggested a picture of the two of them naked. Yoko balked, and then began to consider the possibility, but in the meantime the mercurial Lennon with Liebowitz had come up with a new idea — him naked and Yoko clothed.



Liebowitz took a Polaroid of the pose: they all three agreed this was the picture for the story.

Cannon writes:

In just 12 hours, John would be dead, shot outside the Dakota by a deranged fan. Six weeks later, January 22, 1981, Rolling Stone gave grieving music fans this last image. It’s was John Lennon’s gift to us, really. When Annie Leibovitz had arrived that morning, he had made it clear he wanted his wife in the pictures. Pointing at Yoko, he had insisted simply, “I want to be with her.”

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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