Ringo Starr opens up in 2011 about the death of John Lennon

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John Lennon died 42-years-ago this week on December 8, 1980. The Beatles star was murdered outside his home, The Dakota, in New York City. His death affected people around the world, but his nearest and dearest friends were devastated by the tragic loss. All except George Harrison, who was reportedly very angry about the events.

Harrison’s life was recounted in the Martin Scorsese documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World. In the feature, Harrison’s wife, Olivia Harrison, revealed her husband’s thoughts following Lennon’s tragic murder. She said Harrison was “really angry” at Lennon for his lack of preparation.

She said he was furious that “John didn’t have a chance to leave his body in a better way”.

The widow went on to reveal Harrison carried out “daily practices” to ensure his transition from life to death would be “easier” for him. This was a practice from his Hare Krishna beliefs.

Olivia said: “George put so much emphasis and importance on the moment of death, of leaving your body. That was very – that’s really what he was practising for.”

Olivia noted that Harrison was inspired by something the Dalai Lama once said. She recalled: “‘And what do you do in the morning?’ He said: ‘I do my practice, I do my mantras, I do my spiritual practice.’ ‘And how do you know it will work?’ He said: ‘I don’t. I’ll find out when I die.'”

She added: “[George thought:] ‘I’m practising this so that when I die, I will know how to leave my body, and I’ll be familiar, and I won’t be frightened.'”

Harrison was a follower of the Hare Krishna tradition, and this way of thinking helped him deal with the “transition” into death for him and those around him.

As a result, Harrison later confessed that Lennon’s death “didn’t affect his life too much”.

Harrison explained: “If we’d have still been in a working relationship it would’ve changed it more. The thing is, I hadn’t seen him for so long. I mean, for all I know he could still be there now because I didn’t see him for two years anyway. Occasionally maybe he’d send a postcard.”

He went on to add: “It’s knowing he’s on a telephone if you do want to call, that’s the difference. Now, you need the big cosmic telephone to speak to him.”

Harrison added: “I believe that life goes on. So, to me, I can’t get sad. 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.”

On the other hand, Ringo Starr was furious about the circumstances of Lennon’s death.

Ringo had, as well, known Lennon since he was a young man in Liverpool. And when he learned of the star’s murder, he “didn’t know what to do”.

He recalled: “We lose a lot of people in our business early. When John went I was in the Bahamas. I was getting a phone call from my step-kids in LA saying: ‘Something’s happened to John.’ And then they called and said: ‘John’s dead.'”

He tearfully said: “I didn’t know what to do. And I still well up that some bastard shot him. But I just said: ‘We’ve got to get a plane.’ We got a plane to New York, and you don’t know what you can do. We went to the apartment… And Yoko just said: ‘Well, you just play with Sean. Keep Sean busy.’ And that’s what we did.”

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