More than 40 years after John Lennon was assassinated by Mark David Chapman, close friends of the late The Beatles frontman revealed he had eerie thoughts about death months before his historic death.
During a recent interview with PEOPLE, Lennon’s collaborator Jack Douglas spoke about the last time he saw the musician alive. “He was very positive,” Douglas recalled. “[He and his wife Yoko Ono] were both just so happy.”
Douglas, who had a musical partnership with John Lennon nearly a decade before his death, explained that the musician didn’t expect to “set the world on fire” with any new songs or projects. “But it didn’t matter to him. He just wanted to tell the truth about where he was in life at 40 years old. And he felt really good about it.”
Lennon was notably making plans for the future. He even said that he wanted to have a reunion with “the boys,” who are his The Beatles bandmates. He came up with the idea to have him and the other Beatles be backup for Ringo Starr’s then-new album.
“[Beatles engineer] Geoff Emerick used to say to me all the time, ‘I wish I knew the John that you knew,’” Douglas continued. “Because he knew the angry John. And when I first started working with John, he was a bit angry and a bit impatient. He didn’t like to wait around for anything in the studio… When it came time to do Double Fantasy, I knew how he responded to everything.”
John Lennon Once Said His Death Was Going to Be ‘Bigger Than Elvis’
Meanwhile, Douglas recalled John Lennon talks about his death every so often over the years. “He would say things like, ‘I might be gone soon,’” Douglas stated. “He would say, ‘When I die, it’s going to be bigger than Elvis.’”
Douglas pointed out that Lennon would insist on keeping journals to have everything documented. “It felt like he had a feeling something was coming,” Douglas continued. “And he was very intuitive about things. Extremely. Almost supernaturally about things.”
Douglas said the night John Lennon was assassinated was when he worked late on a Karen Lawrence & the Pinz record. “I would normally get out of the limo and just walk out Central Park West to our apartment. And that played very heavily on me for many years.”
Following Lennon’s death, Douglas and Ono had a private memorial service in the studio. “We went to the studio, 11 or 12 at night, and I had an assistant bring out everything we could find in the vault,” he added. “It was talking, his music, anything. And we sat there until dawn just listening to different things that John had done. And that was the only service that there was. It was just Yoko and I.”
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