Honestly, no matter how thoroughly I prepare for an interview with a musician, I never can be totally certain of what might be revealed. I’ve been rattled more than once by a revelation from a musician for which there had been no previous report, but none more stunning than the one David Bowie gave me when the recording machine was turned off: according to Bowie, New York City police discovered that his name was next on a hit list of targets of John Lennon’s assassin, Mark David Chapman.
At the time of Lennon’s December 8, 1980 murder outside of his Manhattan apartment, David Bowie was starring just blocks away on Broadway in the play The Elephant Man. “I was second on his list,” Bowie told me in the New York studio we shared near Madison Square Garden.”Chapman had a front-row ticket to ‘ ‘The Elephant Man’ the next night. John and Yoko were supposed to sit front-row for that show, too. So the night after John was killed there were three empty seats in the front row. I can’t tell you how difficult that was to go on. I almost didn’t make it through the performance.”
The irony is that David Bowie’s first #1 hit “Fame”, from the Young Americans album which came out exactly forty years ago, was co-written with Lennon who also played guitar on the track. And it was indeed their fame as rock stars which drew Mark David Chapman to stalk them, and subsequently to murder Lennon. –Redbeard