Album signed hours before his death
Adam Tait

15:51 10th December 2012

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One of the most startling and unique items in music history is up for sale again.

The album signed by John Lennon for Mark Chapman, just hours before Chapman shot Lennon, is being sold by current owner Gary Zimet.

The news of the records sale also happens to coincide with the 32nd anniversary of the Beatles star's tragic death.

John Lennon stopped to sign the copy of Double Fantasy for Chapman as he left his apartment building in New York on December 8, 1980.

Photographer Paul Goresh was also outside the building at the same time a took a snap of Lennon signing the record with Chapman in the background. The picture has since become infamous.

When Lennon returned to his apartment five hours later with Yoko Ono, Chapman shot him in the back four times.

Chapman took out a copy of book Catcher In The Rye and waited for police to arrive, and the signed copy of Double Fantasy was dropped in a flower planter in the confusion.

It was picked up by a doorman, who handed it to the police as evidence. The record was returned to the doorman once police had finished with it.

The signed record comes with the provenance unlike any other musical artefact.

Included with it are police reports, letters from the district attorney and, gruesomely, Chapman's forensically enhanced finger prints.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono at their bed-in in Amsterdam

This is the third time the record has been sold.

In 1999 the man who first found the record sold it, and it changed hands again several years later.

While Moments In Time's website lists the price as being available only on request, in the past it came with a reserve price of $525,000.

Below: musicians influenced by John Lennon and The Beatles

  • Oasis - Arguably the band most indebted to the Fab Four, Oasis’s Lennon influences run from their music to their stage set-up (former drummer Zac Starkey is the son of The Beatles’ Ringo Star). In a recent interview, Noel Gallagher said the Liverpool band influenced “more now than when I was a kid”.

  • Julian Lennon - It’s hard to imagine starting a music career when John Lennon is your dad, but that’s was Julian Lennon did. So Beatleseque was his music (see ‘Valotte’) that there was a time when he was suggested as a possible replacement in The Beatles for his late father should the rest of the band ever decide to reunite.

  • The Monkees - Created by a US television show in 1965, The Monkees were essentially tailor made to replicate The Beatles’ seemingly unstoppable rise - and it worked. At one point the band were outselling The Beatles and the Rolling Stones combined. No wonder US critics dubbed it Monkeemania.

  • Radiohead - The Beatles music played a big role in shaping Radiohead’s approach to their defining album, 1997’s ‘OK Computer’. The Oxford band frequently listened to the Fab Four in the studio while it was in production, as they would later do again while recording 2003’s ‘Hail To The Thief’.

  • The Smiths - Both Johnny Marr and Morrissey have intimated that they weren’t big fans of The Beatles, but that hasn’t stopped the band’s enthusiasts from highlighting similarities in their music. One notable comparison is The Smiths’ ‘Death Of A Disco Dancer’, which many feel is similar to ‘Dear Prudence’ from the ‘White Album’.

  • Elton John - Lennon and Sir Elton collaboration on the 1974 song ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’, while the singer also later appeared on Lennon’s ‘Whatever Gets You Thru The Night’.

  • David Bowie - Lennon played a pivotal role creating Lennon’s 1975 album ‘Young Americans’, which included a cover of The Beatles song ‘Across The Universe’.

  • Jimi Hendrix - Despite both emerging in the same decade, The Beatles had a clear influence over Hendrix’s song writing. At a gig in London 1967, he paid tribute to the band by opening the show with his own version of ‘Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band’. The Fab Four repaid the guitarist by tipping him for the top in proceeding interviews.

  • The Libertines - On the surface, The Beatles influence over one of the most dysfunction rock groups of the 21st century might not be clear. But dig a little deeper - or rather, to the start - of The Libertines career, and you’ll uncover a swathe of demos riddled with intricate guitar parts and Beatlesesque drum patterns. Our personal favourite are the ‘Legs 11’ demos.

  • Electric Light Orchestra - When ELO formed from the ashes of The Move, they made their Beatles influences known from the outset, saying they wanted to “continue where ‘I Am Walrus’ left off”. They later recorded a still never released tribute song entitled ‘Beatles Forever’, and another track called ‘Can’t Get It Out Of My Head’, which included a line that featured a play on Lennon’s wife Yoko Ono’s name.

  • Tori Amos - Concert pianist Amos recently claimed that her love of The Beatles was behind her decided to embrace rock music. She now regularly includes covers of the Liverpool band’s songs in her set, including ‘Let It Me’ and Lennon’s ‘Imagine’.

  • Green Day - They took their time, but Green Day finally embraced their fondness for The Beatles’ music on their 2009 album ‘21st Century Breakdown’. Both album tracks - ‘Last Night On Earth’ and ‘?Viva La Gloria?’ featured notable Fab Four rhythms.

  • Badfinger - Hailing from Wales in the late 1960s, Badfinger found themselves frequently labeled as Beatlesesque due to their work with some of the Liverpool band’s producers. Most notably, their allied themselves with The Beatles’ chief producer George Martin, and their song ‘No Matter What’ is often compared to Lennon’s songwriting.

  • Pink Floyd - As the 70s began, The Beatles influence on Pink Floyd was all too clear, and it was no surprise given that Syd Barrett and co had recorded at Abbey Road while the Liverpool band were there.

  • The Verve - Like fellow Manchester band Oasis, The Verve were arguably born out of their admiration for The Beatles. From the grand soundscapes of ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ to their more stripped back numbers, the Fab Four’s influence is evident.

  • Queen - There is much online debate about who is better: Queen or The Beatles, but in reality, the 80s rock group will be forever indebted to the Liverpool band. Even guitarist Brian May once said: “I don't think anybody comes close to The Beatles, including Oasis.”

  • Blur - The Britpop band have shied away from discussing The Beatles influence on their career, but you only have to taken a listen to the atypical construction of ‘Beetlebum’ to hear the similarities.

  • Franz Ferdinand - Singer Alex Kapranos paid tribute to The Beatles in 2008, revealing that they had been a big inspiration on the band’s evolution. “We always loved that, for example you’d hear The Beatles anthology discs and you’d hear them doing the demos and it’s nice to hear that the best songwriters in the world started off and they couldn’t get the song together in the beginning,” he said.

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