With the 20th anniversary of the death of former Beatle John Lennon approaching, many who knew the singer are reflecting on his life. And for those who didn't know him so well, photos of the musician are surfacing at auctions to show new views of the rock icon.
Lennon was shot outside his Manhattan, N.Y., apartment by Mark Chapman on Dec. 8, 1980.
His widow Yoko Ono has been most active in arranging speaking engagements on the event of the anniversary.
In an online chat at ABCNEWS.com, Ono said many fans felt close to Lennon, because "he was very honest about being human. He wasn't trying to put his best foot forward all the time." She also spoke about her recent projects to promote awareness of handgun violence, which have included billboards in New York and Los Angeles with pictures of the glasses her husband wore when he was shot.
When asked about the worldwide success of 1, the collection of Beatles hits that Apple Records says is the fastest-selling album ever, Ono said, "John was the one who put the band together and who named the band The Beatles. He was the leader of the band. I'm sure if he's watching all this, he'd be saying, 'Whoopee.'"
The singer's older son, Julian — born of Lennon's first marriage — posted his ruminations on his Web site. Julian, 37, said he "never really knew the man" and hoped to stop talking about him, "except to say that [The Beatles] were a great influence on my life musically." Julian Lennon enjoyed a brief run of hits in the mid-'80s, including the Top 10 album Valotte and the single "Too Late for Goodbyes."
The post did have bitter language for Ono, however, noting that his relationship with a living Lennon "would have depended on whether he was 'John Lennon' (Dad) or 'John Ono Lennon' (manipulated lost soul).
"Once he was a guiding light, a star that shone on all of us, until he was sucked into a black hole and all of his strength consumed. Although he was definitely afraid of fatherhood, the combination of that and his life with Yoko Ono led to the real breakdown of our relationship."
Paul McCartney, whose name is so frequently uttered in the same breath as Lennon's, made his own statement about the late songwriter, with whom he led The Beatles.
"It is shocking to think that John was killed 20 years ago," McCartney said. "On Friday, I'll be doing what we always enjoyed best together — making music. … I'll be thinking of all the great times that we had together, and I'll be remembering him with all the love in my heart."
Meanwhile, a photograph that is being called the last with McCartney and Lennon together is on the auction block at www.fleetwoodowen.com. The photo, a color Polaroid, was taken in 1974 during the recording of singer Harry Nillson's album Pussycats. Lennon produced the album, and McCartney dropped in on the session unexpectedly. The snapshot, along with 10 others from the session, has so far fetched a high bid of 3,000 pounds; the auction house estimates its value at 10-15,000 pounds. Bidding ends Friday.
Fetching a similar amount of money in the United States were negatives of some of the earliest publicity shots taken of The Beatles. The 1961 photos, taken before Ringo Starr joined the band, hit the block yesterday at Leland's in Seaford, N.Y., with a minimum bid of $25,000.