The song was only six years old, but might just as well have been 60.
Walking out of a college dormitory after visiting a friend one December night 25 years ago, I heard &to=http://english.pravda.ru/society/2000/10/04/77.html' target=_blank>John Lennon's sweet song of longing, "..9 Dream," wafting out from an open door. It sounded wonderful. It sounded odd.
Why would a radio station or stereo be playing that? So much had happened since. Disco. Punk rock. Lennon had reconciled with Yoko Ono after a separation and was only then beginning to publicly emerge from a period where he concentrated on home life more than music. I couldn't remember the last time I'd heard the song.
I walked home. Then, when I saw a cluster of friends quietly gathered around a television set, the reason became sickeningly apparent.
It was Dec. 8, 1980. A mentally disturbed fan who had collected Lennon's autograph earlier in the day waited outside of the Manhattan apartment building called the Dakota for the singer to return from a recording session. Mark David Chapman opened fire. Lennon didn't survive the trip to the hospital.
The musical hero of a generation was dead, and anyone who had ever sung along to "I Want to Hold Your Hand" or chanted "give peace a chance" also remembers where they were when they heard the news.
In his typically blunt manner, Lennon had told Beatles fans a decade earlier that "the dream is over."
Now it really was.