On 30th Anniversary of His Death, John Lennon’s Final Interview Released

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John Lennon on the cover of Rolling Stone

AP Photo/Rolling Stone

In an eerie precursor of the tragedy that was to strike, John Lennon said three days before being gunned down by a deranged fan in New York that his critics were just interested in “dead heroes.”

This week’s edition of Rolling Stone is publishing, for the first time, the full interview between Lennon and writer Jonathan Cott. While brief excerpts were used in the cover story days after his death, which occurred on Dec 8, 1980, the music magazine is calling this “The Lost Lennon Tapes.”

(See pictures of Lennon and Yoko Ono’s bed-in.)

Among the highlights: Lennon delivering a scathing tirade toward critics who were disappointed with his post-Beatles path (“What they want is dead heroes, like Sid Vicious and James Dean. I’m not interesting in being a dead (expletive) hero. … So forget ’em, forget ’em.”), a laudable goal of peace and love on earth (“I’ve never claimed to have the answers to life. I only put out songs and answer questions as honestly as I can … But I still believe in peace, love and understanding.”) and even predicted a troublesome road ahead for the man once touted as rock’s bright young thing (“And God help Bruce Springsteen when they decide he’s no longer God. … They’ll turn on him, and I hope he survives it.”)

(See TIME’s 1980 cover story on Lennon’s death.)

Rolling Stone‘s Cott interviewed Lennon at his apartment and studio with the original idea being a cover story to coincide with Lennon and Yoko Ono’s album Double Fantasy, but in light of his death, only snippets got used.

Incredibly, Cott said he hadn’t heard his tapes until recently, when he was cleaning out his closet. “On a strip of magnetic tape, it was sort of a miracle that first of all, the tape had not degraded after 30 years,” Cott said. “All of this sudden, this guy’s voice, totally alive … just made me feel so inspired that I felt that I should really transcribe the whole thing.”

Music fans the world over will be pleased that he did.