Monday, May 15, 2006

All He Was Saying Was “Give Me a Job!”

Mark David Chapman’s mug shot, from December 9, 1980.


Late in the afternoon of December 8, 1980, Mark David Chapman confronted John Lennon as the ex-Beatle emerged from the Dakota. But instead of shooting Lennon, he handed him a copy of Double Fantasy. Yet even more than Lennon’s autograph, Chapman wanted a job. Because he’d read in Lennon’s Playboy interview that sometimes he hired fans off the street.

Here’s how I describe the scene in Nowhere Man:

In his deranged mind [Chapman] figures that he might like to work in the Dakota, and if John hires him, there’ll be no need to kill him.

“Is this what you want?” John asks, scrawling his name and the date on the [album] cover.

Mister Lennon, are there any jobs available in your office? It is a triumph of will [for Chapman] to get the words out.

Paul Goresh, an amateur photographer who haunts the Dakota, snaps a picture—24 hours later it will be on the front page of The Daily News.

“Send in your resume,” John suggests to Chapman. He then climbs into the limousine, which speeds off towards Columbus Avenue.

An excerpt from Nowhere Man (en español) about what it was like to work for John Lennon just ran in Soho, a popular Colombian “lad” magazine (kind of like Maxim). It reminded me of this passage, so I figured I’d post a link to the article. (The original English is, of course, accessible through Amazon’s “Search Inside” feature, though it’s easier to just buy the book.)

While I’m at it, two other Nowhere-Man-related items—an interview in Paniko and a news article about Paniko in the Chilean newspaper La Nación—have recently been published. Para los lectores que hablan español, aquí están los enlaces:

Las drogas de Lennon

Periodismo adolescente se toma la red

(Anybody else who wants to know what these articles say can do a rough translation with Google language tools.)

For the record: Because Nowhere Man has received so much attention in Latin America, I’ve made the effort over the past 18 months to learn Spanish. I’m probably reading on a third-or-fourth-grade level now. Fortunately, I have cooperative editors and a very good translator.


Howard said...

You get better by the day. Perhaps you would like to sell Johns body parts on ebay?
En Espanol...

Robert Rosen said...

If your comment made any sense, I’d respond to it. But since it doesn’t, and it appears your only purpose is to insult me, I’d urge you to confine your postings to your own blog in the future. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

By the way, punctuation is important for credibility. A possessive should have an apostrophe (“John’s”).

Anonymous said...

Robert, in your book you implied that John Lennon was gay do you actually believe this? I think I read in your book that John Lennon was having dreams about Paul McCartney and they were having sex with each other. I read some quotes from John Lennon's past about gay people and said some very hatred thing against them. Also, his ex-wife said he was freaked out about homosexuality. I hope you didn't get your information from Albert Goldman who is the biggest hack job and opportunist. Many other Beatles authors such as Bob Spitz have used his interviews and it pisses me off when they do this. John Lennon was not a homosexual and people say this crap about Elvis and Jimi Hendrix too. How did you do your research on your book?

Robert Rosen said...

Obviously you have not read “Nowhere Man” because I say nothing of the sort. On the contrary, I paint a portrait of a man with a very healthy heterosexual appetite.

In the first chapter of “Nowhere Man,” I describe my research methods in detail. I recommend that you read it. It’s easily accessible through the Amazon “search inside” feature.

Tim said...


I know you studied John Lennon's final days. Were there any evidence of a Beatles reunion? I heard Jack Douglas(Double Fantasy Producer)say that John and Paul was going to write for Ringo the next month (January 1981). This is the real sad part of the murder of John Lennon because we will never know if the Beatles would have gotten back together. They couldn't replace Paul or John but they could have replaced George or Ringo.

Robert Rosen said...

It’s true that in November 1980, a few weeks before he was murdered, John met with Ringo at the Plaza Hotel in New York, and promised to write a few songs for the album Ringo was working on. But I found no evidence that Lennon was considering taking part in a Beatles reunion. On page 90 of “Nowhere Man,” I wrote the following:

“John saw himself as a paranoid ex-Beatle walking the streets of New York City. He was forever trying to escape a Beatle past that was impossible to escape. Paul, more than anything, represented that past. McCartney’s constant demands for a Beatles reunion genuinely repulsed John. Paul, he felt, basically hadn’t changed in 25 years."

John said...

John Lennon was once an Atheist but did he become a Christian at the end of his life? Do you believe that the government killed John Lennon? There is also reports that the Christian right could have plotted to kill him do you believe this?

Robert Rosen said...

John Lennon had a brief flirtation with Christianity in 1977. In a moment of weakness he “accepted Jesus.” But his born-again period passed in about two weeks. You can read about this in more detail in “Nowhere Man” (pgs. 111-112).

I’ve read extensively about the conspiracy theories which say the government/FBI/CIA murdered John Lennon. All these theories are muddled, far fetched, and offer not a shred of concrete evidence. I do not believe the government killed John Lennon. And though I’m sure certain people on the “Christian right” wanted to murder him after he said that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus, I don’t believe Chapman, who considered himself a Christian, was acting on their behalf. I do believe Chapman was a deeply disturbed individual who acted alone.

Anonymous said...

Hey Robert I just noticed your website and I like it a lot. In your opinion who was more talented John or Paul?

Robert Rosen said...

Do you mean this blog or my publisher’s “Nowhere Man” website, Anyway, glad you like it.

John and Paul were both tremendous creative talents who complemented each other and did their best work with the Beatles. I don’t think it’s possible, or fair, to say that one was greater than the other.

Felix said...

What was John Lennon's relationship with Julian at the end of his life? Were they reconnecting? Did Yoko try to separate those two? I know May Pang tried to reconnect John and Julian during the lost weekend.

Robert Rosen said...

John’s relationship with Julian was complicated and difficult. The short answer to your question is yes, they were trying to reconnect. As with many of the questions posted here, the answers can be found in “Nowhere Man.” (Read the “Jude” chapter.) Or, you can read an article about Julian on a great John Lennon site, Absolute Elsewhere. Among other things, the story talks about an open letter Julian posted about his relationship with his father on his own website on the 20th anniversary of John’s murder. Here’s the link: