Thirty-five years ago on Tuesday, the music world lost one of its most influential artists, John Lennon. He was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman at the entrance to Lennon’s New York apartment.
A few years before that happened, musicologist and former music producer Doug Pringle got the opportunity to interview Lennon and Yoko Ono for Montreal radio. Pringle joined News Talk Radio’s MainStreet on Tuesday to talk about Lennon.
The interview was a bit of a clandestine operation, with Pringle meeting them in the train they had arrived in the Montreal railway station under the Queen Elizabeth Hotel.
Pringle said they set up all their equipment and did the interview right there in the train. He said they were live on the radio there for about two-and-a-half hours.
“We talked about, you know, everything it seemed like.”
Lennon was, of course, a huge start at the time, so it caused a bit of commotion.
“The whole city of Montreal was going nuts. John Lennon was in town, he was live on the radio. Nobody knew where he was, everybody was running around like crazy trying to figure out what was going on,” remembered Pringle
When the interview was finished Lennon and Ono left to head back to New York. They had done what they came there to do without ever leaving the train.
“He was almost back to New York City before people figured out.”
Pringle said he didn’t realize how significant Lennon would be, and that it would last so long. At the time, Pringle said, he was just excited to interview was of his idols.
“He was such an incredibly vibrant, intelligent, passionate human being. And of course, at that time he was just really, really trying to get the world to understand that we didn’t have to always be at war.”
Lennon was both popular, and important, according to Pringle. He said it wasn’t just the amazing songs he wrote, but what was in the songs, and the ideas he espoused.
“His ideas were all about peace, and living well, and having a good life. It’s those ideas that are still so powerful today. And it’s why we’re celebrating his life 35 years after his death.