NEW YORK — John Lennon's fans celebrated his life Wednesday by visiting Strawberry Fields, the Central Park garden dedicated in his honor, while a newly released interview he gave shortly before his death showed he was optimistic about his future.
On the 30th anniversary of Lennon's murder outside his Manhattan apartment building, admirers played his music nearby at Strawberry Fields and placed flowers on a mosaic named for his song "Imagine."
The steady stream of visitors represented the range of people who love Lennon, from those who watched his career unfold as it happened to those who know only his music.
Father-daughter pair Paul DeLuca, 50, and Marissa DeLuca, 17, came from Boston to mark the day.
"I grew up with his voice," said Marissa DeLuca.
"The Beatles are the soundtrack to my childhood," she said. "His voice is just kind of like home."
Her father said, "Nothing is timeless like the stuff John and Paul (McCartney) wrote."
In Liverpool, England, where Lennon was from, hundreds were expected to gather for a vigil Wednesday around the Peace and Harmony sculpture, recently unveiled by Lennon's former wife, Cynthia, and their son, Julian, in Chavasse Park.
In the newly released interview, conducted just three days before he was gunned down, Lennon complained about his critics — saying they were just interested in "dead heroes" and mused that he had "plenty of time" to accomplish some of his life goals.
The interview, believed to be his last print interview, was released Wednesday to the Associated Press by Rolling Stone magazine, which uses the full interview for a story that will be on stands Friday. While brief excerpts of Jonathan Cott's interview were released for a 1980 Rolling Stone cover story days after Lennon's death, this is the first time the entire interview has been published.
Lennon saves some of his harshest words for critics who were perennially disappointed with his music and life choices after he left the Beatles.
"These critics with the illusions they've created about artists — it's like idol worship," he said. "They only like people when they're on their way up.... I cannot be on the way up again."
Lennon also talked about trying to be a good father to his youngest son, Sean, and learning how to relate to a child (he admitted he wasn't good at play). He also spoke of his strong bond with wife Yoko Ono: "I've selected to work with... only two people: Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono.... That ain't bad picking."