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43 Responses to “ON THE STREET 1980:”

  1. JAMES says:

    Thats one very skinny John!

  2. Adam from Canberra says:

    It’s hard to see these photos knowing what is around the corner, but John really does look timeless in a lot of these 1980 shots: could have been taken yesterday.

  3. Derek says:

    God bless John Lennon!

  4. TheyKnittedHim says:

    Adam! My thoughts exactly!

  5. JAMES says:

    I know its always awkward too say, but I think John was in a lot of trouble at this time, I cant put my finger on it, but I dont buy the fame game on this, something wasnt right, Im from northern england like he was and we dont grow up wanting to look like this, he had some serious issues, but I believe had he lived he would have come through ok, but I dont believe he was at his best here in 1980 and he would have said so later had he lived, god knows what was going on, anyway god bless him, he did plenty in a short life, I read recently how one author said he “fell out of the world” (referring to the event of course)but I’d say he was pushed. God bless him.

  6. Jennifer says:

    Thank you very much for sharing these. I’ve been looking for a copy of the third picture ever since I saw it on TV. : )

  7. Elad says:

    “Skinny” doesn’t begin to describe John at that time! Yikes, just look at his bones!! I can remember thinking at the time of his murder, that maybe if he had some more meat on his bones, he would have had a chance. I realize that’s probably not so, as I later found out he was shot with hollow-point bullets, but even then I realized he was extremely thin. I can remember reading that the doctors at the hospital even commented on his emaciated physical condition. So sad.

  8. Karen says:

    John was emaciated. My God.

  9. JAMES says:

    The last photo kind of demonstrates publicly that John must have thought he looked great, the low buttoned shirt is a look he was going for with confidence here, John was very style conscious to say the least when he wanted to be, so it must be that he liked this look and didnt see himself as skinny, Ive never understood it, but he definitely sounded happy and up at this time, if his macro biotic diet made him feel good then good for him, we’ll never know unless yoko actually reveals something in the book shes eventually writing, I suppose it was his business, he might have gone on an eating binge the next few years who knows, anyway cool shirt!

  10. Brian says:

    Give the man a break.

  11. JAMES says:

    Brian I was a long distance runner, you dont end up with a rib cage so visable as that without something else happening, John was always cool, but this wasnt..as I said it was his own business but we are all fans and he cared about what the fans thought of him, hatwe the word fan anyway that what the loon was, my point is that he was too thin for his age and size, simple as.

  12. Brian says:

    Yeah but james you were saying John was Jesus a few months back, if anyones a loon its people like you, simple as people

  13. Steve says:

    No thinner than he was in mid to late ’68

  14. JAMES says:

    haha!Brian really?look I realise the site can let a few of over indulge at times with a glass or two of the red wine in hand and Im guilty of that, I appreciate all the photos for what Tammy puts them up for really, I wouldnt want any crass comments, its true there are the cranks about out there, I just enjoy real comments I suppose, read mine and you’ll find most are of the humerous variety!have a glass yourself!

  15. Karen says:

    oh no Steve, he is waaay thinner here, in 1980. His ribcage never stuck out like that.

    I agree with James that John must have thought he looked good, given that his shirt was unbuttoned.

    That is part and parcel of someone with an eating disorder (or someone who is, at least, has serious issues about their weight). He wanted to show off that his bones were showing–which they never did in the past.

  16. Chris says:

    About John’s weight: I don’t think anyone brought up the rumor that John was doing heroin again before his death. It was written up in the NY POST and was big news around 1981. I am not sure if he did or not, but that might explain part of his emaciated look.

  17. Chelsea says:

    @Chris: That’s what I was going to mention as well. I’m sure that was part of it. I also know that John was insecure about himself physically (he mentioned that specifically when he talked about being upset that he was chubby–in his opinion–around 1965), so I wonder if he actually had some sort of eating disorder. Of course, that’s just conjecture. The heroin likely had more to do with it.

    I’m just sad that he got back into hard drugs towards the end … he seemed to have found some real happiness with Sean and Yoko, but maybe it wasn’t enough? Anyway, I hope he was happy.

  18. Tammy says:

    There is proof to the contrary about John using hard drugs in his later years, when asked in Playboy about his use he was quite upfront about the occasional joint, or shrooms, but admitted that even alcohol knocked him around too much to bother with it. Yoko ‘did’ slip back into heroin use in April 1980, which she has freely admitted to, but quickly recovered from that. No traces of any drug were found in John’s toxicology tests after his death, not so much as an Asprin, Yoko commented on this as well saying she was grateful that was known, as it would stop people spreading rumours .. obviously the New York Post didn’t see that report.

  19. anonymoustill says:

    Re: John & heroin… wish I could reference the article or where I read it for everyone, but according to Jack Douglas, John was still using at the end. There are other sources as well, but according to Jack, John had a system whereby he did 3 days on followed by 3 weeks off. I can’t see either John or Yoko admitting any heroin use in 1980 in public. For anyone who knows about the circumstances of Sean’s birth, controversial as they are/were, it’s no wonder. That was still a fairly fresh wound. By 1984, Yoko’s public stance was indignance when questioned about her heroin use in the mid 70’s and early 1980’s. She only came clean after the evidence mounted that she was lying. If memory serves, that was around 1988 with the release of the Goldman book, and according to her it was at the end of ’79 and into early ’80.

    I would like to agree with Miss Tammy, but a clean post mortem report doesn’t mean he wasn’t using, it only means he wasn’t using for a certain period before he passed. Certain classes of drugs are metabolized differently and they can leave the system quite rapidly. A lot depends upon whether they’re fat soluble or water soluble. Regardless, I think John was uptight about his weight and using; kind of a double whammy.

    It makes you wonder about the refrain in “I’m So Tired.” The lyrics always made me wonder after I read that piece with Jack.

  20. JAMES says:

    There are so many conflicting reports and views regarding Johns weight/possible drug use, Ive read the books too and read Jack Douglas interviews.

    I think we ALL struggle with certain aspects of Johns fame, perhaps for some reason we all just want to know what makes people tick when they achieve that level of attention and acclaim, its certainly possible John had an eating disorder, for someone of the disposition he was he could certainly have been negatively affected by the 60’s media and his early “fat beatle”stage, to many it was silly, but he must have been impacted by that, particularly in comparrison with McCartney for example who always seemed to gain the most attention for looks(sometimes george!)so his hang ups could have run deep, most of the books regarding John through the seventies testify to his weight/diet obsession. As fo his possible drug use Im completely baffled really, in photographs I have to say he doesnt look to great towards the end, but he was young enough to carry it off as being skinny and maybe even fit, but I dont see that, he was cetainly something of an asthetic and could go to extremes to achieve what he wanted so it may just be in his make up to go skinny in the extreme too without going over the edge health wise, but in terms of drug use Im becoming more sceptical as to what he was telling the media, who could blame him if he was hoodwinking the media and the world? but John also had the knack of complete transparency when he wanted too, his interviews towards the end were indeed upbeat but he could come across as slightly detached from what he was really thinking, he harked back alot to then old days and didnt really nail much else in my opinion, kind of repeated his former self a bit, kept us near but distant enough from himself and why not, he gave the lot before, does it all mean anything?well he was an artist and lived with another artist (he should have married an olympic swimmer or something..who like art!) who did heroin on occassion, if he could re establish himself in the musical world then fine and maybe he sort drugs to counteract his insecurity at that time, we’ll never really know will we?Im sure Yoko will never reveal anything different regarding these isssues she has to much to lose after establishing herself as the keeper of the flame so to speak, John was certainly as complex as it gets I think, if he’d took up running or was seen down the gym 3 times a week(in 1980?ha!)it might be worth dismissing but I think old Johnny boy still needed something else with his sushi, if he didnt Im glad, if he did I still dont blame him too really, what ever gets you through the night eh? He had his issues like all of us I suppose, we just didnt write a hard days night in an hour or knocked off Imagine..

  21. JAMES says:

    ..and like you’ve said Tammy the toxicolgy reports suggested there was nothing, thats if toxicolgy reports are made for crime victims like John Lennon, it was evident he died of gunshot wounds, I’d doubt the coroner would have needed to further investigate, he was cremated the next day, perhaps with high profile people like John, discretion is the key under the tragic circumstances, Im living in western australia at the moment and any one working in construction is tested for use of cannabis, its in the system for weeks after a little usage, I believe even in 1980 it would have been detectable. Hey anyway I hope this isnt all to much, look forward to more photos and sorry its taken a sad twist on Johns 1980 photos, still great to see he was getting about and ready to rock.

  22. Brian says:

    Well, he was a known advocator of drugs, for years, so no surprise if he was using in 1980. Though he was hardly going to be bringing up the subject. (They didn’t call it “Double Fantasy” for nothing!)

    And we always talk about “John in the end” but it was never meant to be “the end”, it just became that way.

    That’s what I mean by give him a break. He’s dead, gone and ain’t coming back, why not just celebrate what was there? not crap like: “if he’d been fatter he might have survived being shot at close range”. jesus…..

    Do you look at a photo of John Lennon in 1980 and think, there’s someone about to be murdered, or do you think, this is a creative person, happy and on the rebound? Personally I’m going for the 2nd one

    Love and peace y’all XX

  23. JAMES says:

    Well put Brian, dont know why I even say “towards the end” really either, I feel the same way just get carried away with writing and making a comment about it all, he was in the midst of life in 1980 and returning to the top of his game, I tend to think more what he’d might be like now and sometimes tammy’s picture create that sense of where he was going, he’d have done the world tour and Im sure we all would have had our own pictures of that , if he was thin, fat, wearing his old gorilla suit or dressed as a new romantic, we’d have all enjoyed the music and welcomed him back!..I got to see haircut 100.

  24. A different Jennifer says:

    Geez, I think John was super skinny but I don’t think he looked as sick as some people here do. I used to think that he did, actually, but John’s positive attitude, his demeanor in all the interviews, and even the encounters people had with him at the time all point to him being rather happy, healthy, and looking forward. I just think John was extremely insecure and sensitive, as most artists are. I never understood this crap of labeling the Beatles this and that, and for someone to refer to him as “The Fat Beatle” when he wasn’t fat in any way is just…ridiculous. John probably took it very seriously , as he appeared to begin losing weight very noticeably from 1966 onward (some of you would know better than me on this).

    But as far as these pics…well, John was extremely thin. But he was on a macrobiotic LIFESTYLE (not really diet). He had been thin for quite some time, actually, and it wasn’t an “all-of-a-sudden-career-comeback” thing. He was really thin from 1966 onward, very thin in the 70’s, and then just extremely thin in the late 70’s to 1980. It could be, people, that his natural body type was thin. If you see pics of him when he was younger-prior to 1964- he was a very thin guy. And as a young man he was super skinny. So maybe his family genetics were on the thinner side.

    If you look at his family members, most of them are pretty thin. I don’t want to buy into all these lurid stories and such. He had matured and was taking fatherhood seriously. I don’t think John was doing hard drugs habitually and, if he was, he probably would have looked FAR worse. His skin and teeth all look great in the 1980 pics. I think he was still a very handsome guy. I mean, he could have afforded maybe 20 pounds, but still very handsome.

    Still so sad he’s gone…

  25. Steve says:

    just coz 2 out of 3 people in the western world these days are obese, it doesn’t mean it’s the norm to be obese – JL was just being ahead of his time in knowing where over-eating gets you as an adult -FAT!

  26. Aeolian Cadence says:

    A heroin “system,” really? Is that even possible with an addiction like that?

  27. jeff says:

    Sorry to disappoint but no hard evidence John was on heroin. Fred Seaman has said no, Yoko has said no, And of course John said no. Jack Douglas has never said John was using heroin in 1980. Show me the interview because I’ve read them all? Also show me an interview with any muscian from Double Fantasy that said John was on heroin?
    IF their was a “problem” it was more than likely some kind of eating disorder although he could have just been thin and nothing more.
    Please don’t state things as fact when their is little to no evidence. It’s just not a nice thing to do.

  28. anonymoustill says:

    I only repeated what I read, and if it offends, so be it. It won’t be the first time something said or written irritated someone, though it was far from my intent. And I said I couldn’t reference the article, can you read? It was a long time ago and it didn’t occur to me over a decade later I’d be called upon to reference it. As it was a long time ago, I might begrudge that it was someone else, but I honestly remember it as Jack. There’s at least one more source who says “yes” to the heroin question at a time when he supposedly wasn’t using. If you’re that knowledgeable, then you know this already. John also denied shooting heroin at any time, but it can be contradicted. Not that it makes a difference really, but just about anything can be debated. And I never said a musician from the DF sessions saw or said anything regarding this matter. It’s not like he went out of his way to do that kind of thing openly. If he did, Fred would have seen it and certainly wrote about it. There is evidence, whether you consider it hard evidence or no is for you to evaluate. I only brought it up because it was mentioned and I had information that supported it. Please don’t take things personally or call me a liar because it isn’t what you want to hear. It’s just not a nice thing to do.

    Cadence, yes it is possible but it depends upon the substance, the level of addiction, and the personality. With alcoholism, it’s quite common. I’m not an addiction specialist but my educational background is in medicine. Sticking with the Beatles, Paul has said he did quite a bit of Coke during the Pepper sessions, but there’s no indication he became addicted. And coke is quite physically addictive, even after just a few uses. Meth and heroin work the same way, but temperament and biochemistry are different in everyone. Even withdrawal symptoms vary wildly for users. My educated guess is he was an addict, at least by the summer of 1968 for which there is supporting evidence. He may have stopped for a time, but continued to dabble here and there, just like with his admitted occasional trips to the cosmos (LSD) as he told Playboy or a joint or a sniff as Fred relates.

    As a footnote, I find it strange that it has been reported that there were no drugs found in his body, but no other details have been related about the post mortem report. We have a death certificate but nothing else. If you’re really after hard evidence, Jeff, then I could argue that there’s not even hard evidence that he was clean when he passed, though I have no problem with what has been said. All you have is what someone has related, and that’s the potential problem with all this. You tend to take what people say as truth in these matters, especially if it isn’t controversial. I just didn’t think it would create a minor stir here as I’m not the only one who read or thought heroin was or may have been a contributing factor in his appearance.

    My apologies in advance, Tammy. I know you don’t like this kind of thing on your blog but I thought I would explain myself (and others) who were thinking along the same lines. Peace.

  29. jeff says:

    I’m part of a hard core circle of Lennon writers/fans from around the globe who keep in constant contact . If Jack Douglas had made any such statements regarding Lennon using heroin in 1980 one of us would be able to reference it within “seconds” Ok? Your entitled to speculations and your opinions but you are mistaken regarding the heroin use in 1980 if you think any such interview ever happened.

  30. Brian says:

    Playboy: “Do you still take acid?”
    John Lennon: “Not in years. A little mushroom or peyote is not beyond my scope, you know, maybe twice a year or something. But acid is a chemical.”

    May Pang describes taking acid (window-panes) with John in 1974 though…

    If you compare John with his contemporaries, you have Pete Townshend on heroin in 1980, Paul says Linda helped him get over a coke habit in the mid 80s (Paul’s mid 40s), John Entwistle dies of coke-induced heart attack aged 57, and good ol’ Keef Richards says he only gave up cocaine at age 63.

    That’s rock stars for you. John Lennon was a rock star.

  31. A different Jennifer says:

    There’s an article that came out regarding John possibly being on drugs. His staff refute it:


  32. anonymoustill says:

    It’s like anything else, Jen – depends who you ask. It would be interesting to know what she thought of Yoko who was admittedly using at the aforementioned time. They were both macrobiotic, but… On the one hand, you have John who was fairly health conscious in some respects yet was using. We haven’t really cleared up just what he was using and we won’t on this blog, but I think we’re all agreed he was using. Have you heard the one where he was scheduled to have the septum of his nose operated on as he had done so much damage through the years from cocaine? His supposed occasional masseuse was the source for that one. That his teeth were rotted out due to heroin? We’ll never know these things for certain, and I think that’s a good thing.

    I stick by my statements, though as I said I can’t reference them. If it’s not on the net, it doesn’t mean it never happened (Lennon writers/fans from around the globe notwithstanding). I’ve been trying to find an interview released through the AP or UPI that MDC gave on the 10th anniversary of the murder. It’s the only time I can recall that MDC ever gave any details regarding what happened as he pulled the trigger. Not what was going through his mind, but what he saw. He went into it very slightly during some court hearings, but the interview for the papers 20 years ago was the most detailed I have yet read. I can’t find it on the net, though I haven’t really broken my backside trying. Point is, it’s there. I read it. I remember it fairly well because it provided new details that hadn’t come out before and that kind of thing sticks with you, especially if you’re attuned to such things as well as a fan. Maybe it will turn up along with some other contentious articles (not necessarily interviews per se), but even then debate will carry on. We’ll always have the music, and ultimately that’s what all brings us to this blog.

  33. A different Jennifer says:

    OMG, what did that creature have to say that’s going to make any difference? He killed an innocent man for no reason. He took a father away from his two sons, a husband away from his wife in a cowardly and violent manner. I hate even thinking about it because I get so mad…John’s passing wasn’t fair, and especially to go in that way.

  34. anonymoustill says:

    You’re right Jen, it won’t make one bit of a difference. Let’s just say it’s an insatiable curiosity. Perhaps it’s also brought about by conspiracy theories. I believe in them, but not in this case. The more we know about that night the better chance we have of putting an end to people trying to make money off tragedy.

  35. steve says:

    “But please not one word of the man who had killed me.
    “Don’t mention his name and his name will pass on.”

  36. My name's Betty says:

    So everyone notices how John started getting thin in 66′? It makes sense why after reading Cynthia’s book saying that he was using LSD regularly after smoking cannabis for “a couple of years” before that. If he started getting a little chubby in 64′ and 65′ I’m guessing it’s because pot gave him the munchies!
    What could mostly explain for his thinness in the late 70’s was all the exercising he did that I read about in the December 2010 issue of Rolling Stone about him. I’m surprised only one person mentioned it. The question asked was: “So you fight against your natural instincts?” A: “Yeah, the same as taking drugs or eating bad food or not exercising”
    When it comes to his death, I feel it was kinda of meant to be but could have been avoided with all those forewarnings foreshadowing (scary how much there could be of one person) and I believe, like many of you, out of respect for John never to mention his killer by name.
    I hope he’s in a good place but I can’t help remember reading about a group of teenagers who had a testimony about seeing John in hell asking Jesus for mercy and then when Jesus said he couldn’t help him he cursed him. Sorry, to be a downer but I’m hoping for the best for John.

  37. steve says:

    his death weren’t ‘meant to be’ – that’s absolute bollocks

  38. A different Jennifer says:

    Betty, that whole last part of your post disturbs me. WTF is that? I am sorry, as it wasn’t YOU but some crap spewed by weird teenagers but seriously? I get sick and tired of reading self-righteous, morally superior rants about John Lennon as a person. The man was as flawed as any other person. We just know about his crap because he was open about it himself, and some of it was grossly exaggerated by hatchet-job writers aching for a buck. John made a few pretty bad mistakes in his life, and he did some other semi-dumb things, but he was also quite aware of his errors and seemed completely understandable that the consequences that befell were his own doing- he OWNED it. No one has the right to judge another person, especially when a person is a) not here to defend himself or b) extremely sorry about his errors and made a conscious effort to move forward and try and be a better person.

    John’s errors, well, they weren’t as “evil” or “wicked” as he has been given credit for. He was just not a good dad to Julian during those formative years because 1) he was creating music and touring in a band that was massively adored and adulated by millions, 2) he was emotionally quite immature and probably had no clue how to act around a child he barely saw, 3) when he divorced Cynthia for Yoko they moved not too long afterward to the US, and unfortunately broken families deal with this stuff all the time

    I think John is attacked and judged all the time for errors he was working on righting in his last years. The whole thing is just a tragedy and for a bunch of teenagers to say he’s in Hell (which I don’t believe in anyway) is just cruel. How about let that poor man and his family rest in peace and enjoy all his great music and art instead? This is why I can’t take some teenagers. They just annoy me.

  39. Tammy says:

    Jennifer, i considered deleting Betty’s post .. just because it leant a little too far into, what *i* consider unpalatable, but didn’t due to being slammed as a censor, be that as it may, a few things here have drifted away from the spirit of posting awesome photo’s of John, which IS what this blog is about, not how someone percieves John to be in eternity, or the view and aftermath of ‘The moment that should never have happened’.

  40. A different Jennifer says:

    Thank you Tammy! Your blog is fabulous and I apologize if I rambled a bit on my posts. There have been some topics regarding John that have really pricked me lately, but I am totally about the pictures and these ones are wonderful!! He looked amazing in 1980, in my opinion.

  41. My name's Betty says:

    Tammy, that was just something I remember reading about. That’s it.
    I love John very much, like a brother I haven’t met. Like all of you! He was a beautiful guy and it saddens me when I read about the tragedies in his life.
    I felt like I was in trouble when you said you were considering deleting my post. I’d like to be on good terms with the blog :) So just let ME know next time what I’m doing wrong.
    And if I haven’t said it yet, thanks for all the photos you share Tammy. 😀

  42. My name's Betty says:

    Jen and steve, you know I don’t think that but I knew it was a touchy kind of thing to write about :/ I actually do believe John’s death was avoidable. The one who shall not be named is fully responsible. but lets just think of john of the genius he was!

  43. Chris says:

    I just thought of something. John might have just as well been so thin do to some chinese herb appetite suppressant. Who knows, that’s a very good likelihood as well as the other rumor.

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