Twenty-five years ago tonight I went to Nathan Phillips Square in front of Toronto City Hall and joined a spontaneous gathering of about 10,000 people shocked by the shooting and death-murder of John Lennon the day before. The shooting made no sense. It still doesn't.
It was a cold night, 9 December 1980. Far colder than during John's concerts in the very same square. People at that concert were in the crowd around me. We talked to strangers. Many lit white candles. Some cried, sobbed, hugged. It was an emotional gathering. We were all shocked at the senseless taking of John Lennon's life. I thing there may have been people talking, giving speeches or something . . . The vigil ended with a spontaneous walk-march by many of the gathered mourners up Yonge Street all the way up to the home of CHUM FM.
A day or two later there was a local musicians tribute show at the El Mocambo. What I remember most clearly from that show, where most of the musicians-bands played a mix of their own and Lennon-Beatles tunes, was Goddo (It's Lonely at the Top But Who Cares) without guitar who stood at the mic and talked, said he just couldn't make music that day, then he gave a reading of the lyrics of "Johnny Was" by Bob Marley:
Woman hold her head and cryA week or so later I moved from Toronto after 15-months of living there and returned a passenger on the train to Nova Scotia.
Cause her son had been
Shot down in the street and died
From a stray bullet
. . .
Johnny was a goodman
Today, I give this small telling from my time in Toronto around John being gunned down. Without planning to, I guess that we paid tribute last night.
T: Little Feat Smooth Sailin' tour 2005
temp: -11 C
Sound: Bob Marley & The Wailers, Babylon by Bus