John Lennon’s death left not only his ex-Beatles bandmates George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney grieving but also millions of fans the world over. The music icon was fatally shot by Mark Chapman as he and his wife Yoko Ono returned to their New York City home at the Dakota on the evening of December 8, 1980. In a newly unearthed interview, guitarist Harrison opened up about his relationship with Lennon and the last time they saw each other.
Recalling the moment he found out Lennon had been shot, Harrison told a Swedish TV channel in 1990: “I thought maybe he just got wounded.
“It’s hard to accept or to believe at first but it’s no different to anybody having news about anybody they know,” The Beatles star continued.
“I’m sure a lot of people were just as shocked as I was about John Lennon. It’s all nasty business when people get shot.”
Harrison also spoke out about the final time he and Lennon met before his friend’s death.
“I was in New York at his house, at the Dakota,” he said.
Going on to explain how one change in Lennon had taken him by surprise that last time they saw each other, Harrison added: “He was nice. He was running round the house making dinner and he was playing a lot of indie music, which surprised me.
“Because he always used to be a bit like… when I was always playing it,” the Beatle made a dismissive noise and shrugged, laughing.
“He had hundreds of cassettes of all kinds of stuff.”
“It’s knowing he’s on a telephone if you do want to call, that’s the difference,” he added. “Now, you need the big cosmic telephone to speak to him.
“I believe that life goes on. So, to me, I can’t get sad,” Harrison said. “I’m sad I can’t go and play guitars with John, but then I did that anyway.
“We’ll meet again, somewhere down the line.”
Lennon left The Beatles in 1970, leading to a very public feud with his former bandmates.
However, they soon put their spat behind them and had repaired their friendships before he died.
Harrison underwent surgery for throat cancer in 1998 and was treated for lung cancer and a brain tumour in 2001.
He died later that year, surrounded by his wife and son.
“He left this world as he lived in it, conscious of God, fearless of death, and at peace, surrounded by family and friends,” the family said in a statement at the time.
“He often said, ‘Everything else can wait but the search for God cannot wait,’ and ‘Love one another.’”