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December 8, 1980

07/12/2010
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Backbeat Books will publish December 8, 1980, a new book commemorating the 30th anniversary of the death of John Lennon. The book, by New York Times bestselling author Keith Elliot Greenberg, will be released in November 2010.

December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died is a minute-by-minute account of that tragic day, tracking all of the events leading up to the horrible moment when Mark David Chapman calmly fired his Charter Arms .38 into the rock icon—a shocking act of violence the world is still coming to grips with.

"I've been carrying this story for 30 years," author Keith Elliot Greenberg said. "I was five years old when the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan, and the first movie I ever asked my parents to see was A Hard Day's Night. John Lennon never knew me, but I felt that I knew him, and he understood me. Mark David Chapman felt the same way. But because something misfired in his mind, he decided to take John Lennon away from all of us."

In December 8, 1980, Greenberg takes readers back to New York City and the world John Lennon woke up to. For John and Yoko, the day includes a Rolling Stone photo session with Annie Leibovitz, a long radio interview to promote Double Fantasy, lunch with their son Sean, and work in the studio on a remix of Yoko's new single. At the same time, Chapman creates a bizarre shrine in his hotel room including a marked-up Bible and a copy of The Catcher in the Rye—then spends the afternoon in front of the Dakota. Paul McCartney is in England recording new tracks with producer George Martin. Mayor Koch is in his office, along with the deputy mayor who had once helped Lennon with his immigration battles. As we follow fans, reporters, cops, radio DJs, and more, Greenberg explores the complex lives of these characters, from John Lennon's efforts to heal his relationship with his older son, to the lingering effects of a recent police labor dispute, to the atmosphere at the Lion's Head, where New York Post reporters drank. And as the hours progress and tension builds, the pace accelerates.

A fascinating and moving narrative that encompasses the entire culture as it was that day, December 8, 1980 examines this cultural watershed moment and human tragedy in the spirit of great long-form journalism. Author Keith Elliot Greenberg is a television producer and bestselling author who has written more than 30 nonfiction books. He brings all his skills as an investigator and storyteller to this remarkable work.

Greenberg reflected "Thirty years seems like such a short time. In many ways, I feel like the same person I was then. So do the people I interviewed for the book. But it's important to take a moment like this—I don't want to trivialize it and call it an anniversary—and take stock of what occurred 30 years ago. Think about the music we missed, think about the doors John could have opened, think about Yoko's words to continue his dream of peace and pass it on to the next generation."

December 8, 1980 was acquired by Backbeat Books senior editor Mike Edison. Backbeat will publish the book in English worldwide in November 2010. It will be published simultaneously in China by Law Press and in Japan by Blues Interactions, Inc.

Keith Elliot Greenberg has produced programs for America's Most Wanted, 48 Hours, MSNBC Investigates, VH1, the History Channel, and Court TV. The author of more than 30 books, he has written for Maxim, the Village Voice, the New York Observer, USA Today, Playboy.com, and US Weekly.

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