"More popular than Jesus"

one statement can kill a man

An inside view on the reasons behind John Lennon's murder.

On the 8th of December 1980 John Lennon was shot 4 times from behind by Mark David Chapman, a Hawiian bodyguard, visiting New York with full intention to end not only John Lennon's career in music but also his life.

Chapman calls "blasphemy"

When John Lennon's statment "more popular then Jesus" first appeared in American teen magazine "Datebook" there was uproar in the Christian communities. anti-Beatles protest were held all over the world, including Australia, in response to the statement and people were calling it blasphemy. When questoned about his motivation to kill John Lennon, Chapman responded by saying that there should be nobody more popular than Jesus Christ.

Chapman had been a big Beatles and Lennon fan in his early life but turned on his idol when he became a Born-again Christian. like other Christians, John Lennon's statement filled Chapman with rage.

Chapmans anger escalated the more he listened to Lennon's music, he stated; "I would listen to this music and I would get angry at him, for saying that he didn't believe in God... and that he didn't believe in the Beatles. This was another thing that angered me, even though this record had been done at least 10 years previously. I just wanted to scream out loud, 'Who does he think he is, saying these things about God and heaven and the Beatles?' Saying that he doesn't believe in Jesus and things like that. At that point, my mind was going through a total blackness of anger and rage. So I brought the Lennon book home, into this The Catcher in the Rye milieu where my mindset is Holden Caulfield and anti-phoniness."

John Lennon's "phoniness" was a huge issues for Chapman and is thought to be his main motive for the murder. "He told us to imagine no possessions, and there he was, with millions of dollars and yachts and farms and country estates, laughing at people like me who had believed the lies and bought the records and built a big part of their lives around his music." this was another statement from Chapman that showed his complete distaste for the musician.

Mark David Chapman was diagnosed by six psychiatrists as psychotic and was advised to plead not guilty by reason of insanity. however Mark told his lawyer he wanted to drop the insanity defence and plead guilty. When Chapman was asked if he had anything to say at his trial, he stood up and read a passage from Catcher in the Rye. He was then sentenced for 20 years to life.

Lennon's murder had major impact around the world. It caused great grief to all his fans. Three people had reportedly commited suicide due to his death. Memorials are held every year in every part of the globe to celebrate his life.

Chapman not only ended a great musicians life but also a great era in music.