Today (December 8th) marks the 40th anniversary of John Lennon's death. As is the custom every year, fans are expected to stand vigil for Lennon across the street from the Dakota building in Central Park's Strawberry Fields. The triangular patch of land was designated by the city of New York in 1984 to celebrate the former Beatle's life and work.
In the fall of 1980, the 40-year-old Lennon had re-entered public life after a self-imposed five-year hiatus to spend time with his young son Sean, travel, and recharge his creative batteries. On November 17th, 1980, Lennon and wife Yoko Ono had released their “comeback” album Double Fantasy, which included such future Lennon standards as “Woman,” “Beautiful Boy,” “Watching The Wheels,” and the album's lead track and single “(Just Like) Starting Over.”
On the night of December 8th, 1980 — with “(Just Like) Starting Over” sitting at Number Six on the singles charts — Lennon and Yoko returned home to their apartment building, the Dakota on Manhattan's Central Park West. They had spent the evening at the Record Plant East recording studio mixing a tune of Yoko's called “Walking On Thin Ice.” Mark David Chapman, who had been stalking Lennon for several days and had received an autograph from Lennon earlier that evening, lay in wait for his return. Chapman, who was living in Honolulu at the time, had made an unsuccessful trip to New York the previous October with the intent of killing Lennon, but couldn't find him.