Yoko One recently tweeted out a picture purporting to be the bloody glasses John Lennon was wearing the night he was murdered. They were to shed awareness on gun violence and the fact over a million people have been killed by guns since John Lennon was shot by Mark David Chapman in 1980. When I saw the picture, I immediately thought, that can’t be the actual glasses he was wearing when he was shot, can it? This was 33 years later, did Yoko Ono really keep those glasses, with the blood stains, all these years? Well, I investigated this a little further and discovered a couple of things.
First, those are the actual bloody glasses John Lennon was wearing when he was murdered, with his actual blood. However, that picture was taken over thirty years ago, and appeared on the cover of Yoko Ono’s 1981 album, Season of Glass. The picture Yoko tweeted seems to be a cropped version of that album cover. Here is the original album cover with the photo.
Second, Yoko saved not only his bloody glasses, but the rest of his bloody clothes from the night he was murdered. She was given the bloody clothes by a NYC medical examiner shortly after his death. Yoko saved those items for years afterwards, and the 1981 album cover was not the only time they were shown to the public. In 2009, Yoko actually put the bloody clothes (along with the bag they came in) on display in the now defunct NYC annex of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In addition, she apparently at one point sold replicas of the glasses and shirt Lennon was murdered in for thousands of dollars each.
All this is a bit macabre, as I can’t imagine saving the bloody clothes of a murdered loved one. When the clothes were put up on display in 2009, Yoko said, ‘[i]t was hard to include and I thought I might be criticized.’ but she felt it was ‘important for people to understand what violence is about.’ I applaud her for trying to raise awareness to the horrors of gun violence, but I’m not sure most people would go about it in this way.