Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Hospital Employee Recalls ‘Imagine’ Playing While John Lennon Declared Dead

Hospital Employee Recalls ‘Imagine’ Playing While John Lennon Declared Dead

More than 40 years after the assassination of John Lennon, details about the historic Dec. 8, 1980 event continue to surface. 

In the three-part Apple TV+ docuseries John Lennon: Murder Without a Trial, a hospital nurse, Deartra Solo, recalled working on the Beatles frontman the day he was shot in New York City. 

“When [doctors] called [the time of death], and it was over, and we walked out of that room, the Muzak was playing ‘Imagine,’” she explained. Another nurse, Barbara Kammerer declared, “That was everybody’s ‘Oh sh—‘ moment.” 

The iconic track was released by John Lennon in 1971. It is featured on his album, which has the same name and was known as Lennon’s world peace anthem. Emergency room doctor David Halleran, also spoke about the moment he realized who he was trying to save. “All of a sudden someone says, ‘Hey, that looks like John Lennon,’” he reflected. “And I say, ‘No it’s not, it can’t be, no,’”

Halleran then explained that the staff started going through his clothes and discovered his wallet. “There’s some pictures of him and Sean and Yoko and a white Rolls [Royce] in the background. And it’s like, ‘Oh my God, that is John Lennon.” 

The medical professional then said that he and his team worked on Lennon for 45 minutes before calling his death. “You could’ve heard a pin drop,” Kammerer pointed out. “You still want to do more, but now you know you stop and there’s nothing to say really, unfortunately. It’s just very, very quiet.” 

New York Taxi Driver Witnessed the Assassination of John Lennon

Also in the docu-series, New York taxi driver, Richard Peterson spoke about witnessing John Lennon’s assassination. He recalled picking up two passengers on Dec. 8 and driving them to the Dakota. As he arrived, he saw Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono, step out of a limo and head towards the building. 

“‘Oh! John Lennon must be coming next’” Peterson reflected on his thoughts. “I had never seen him in person. It was sort of like, oh, I can say I saw John Lennon.” 

Peterson also said that he saw John Lennon’s assassin, Mark David Chapman. He described the man as being a “heavyset, chunky guy.” 

“I’m looking at him, looking through the front window of my cab,” he continued. “I’m looking at him shoot him. Five shots. The guy just shot John Lennon. He shot him.”

Peterson originally thought that the scene was part of a movie production. “That’s what I thought, I thought they were making a movie. But I didn’t see no lights or cameras or anything, so I just realized, ‘Hey this ain’t no movie.’”