I remember when Lennon was killed. I also remember the reactions of his fans. I liked The Beatles, of course, but they were a few years ahead of me. And Lennon’s solo work underwhelmed me. So it’s fair to say that I really didn’t get his importance to Baby Boomers or the powerful emotional connection that many of them felt to him. As a result, I didn’t quite fathom the oppressive pall that seemed to fall over every part of the world inhabited by Boomers when, on December 8, 1980, he was gunned down on the streets of New York City. The Beatles weren’t my band. They weren’t of my generation. John wasn’t my hero. And I had never lost a rock hero before.
But on November 24, 1991 – 20 years ago today – I came to understand perhaps a measure of the grief felt by my older friends and colleagues. On that day the man who had been my rock hero succumbed to AIDS. We had only learned a few days earlier that he even had the disease, and I had no idea that the end would come so quickly. Continue reading