Imagine John hadn’t died | Alexander Larman

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In early January 1981, John Lennon glanced through some press cuttings that his assistant had brought to his attention. There were reviews of his most recent album Double Fantasy, the usual gossip about a Beatles reunion and random interview snippets, but one story diverted him for a moment. A man named Mark Chapman had been arrested for being in possession of a loaded firearm and behaving oddly around Times Square. He was also found to be holding a signed copy of Double Fantasy and a list of names, on which the first was Lennon’s and the second was David Bowie’s. “It’s as if he wanted to kill me, or something, but at least he got my autograph first”, Lennon was heard to quip.

Lennon wasted little time in capitalising on its momentum

Even if the critics were…

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