Annie Leibovitz is an American portrait photographer famous for celebrity photos for magazine layouts. On December 8, 1980, Leibovitz had a scheduled shoot with John Lennon. She had promised him his photo would be on the cover of Rolling Stones Magazine. However, the picture wasn't what she had expected but was almost prophetic. Unfortunately, it would be a posthumous cover photo, even if it was controversial.
The Photo Shoot
Lennon was a rock legend and cultural icon who had risen to the music world's top as a Beatles member. After a decade of hits, the Beatles broke up. Band members embarked on solo careers as the Beatles never reunited. Lennon, who was enjoying success with his solo release called Double Fantasy, was once again at the top of the music world. It had been a challenge getting back in the studio, but Lennon had a new son and was ready to get back to work. Everything changed only a few hours after the photo shoot with Leibovitz.
An unremarkable man stepped out of the shadows and fatally shot Lennon. He had been planning the assassination for several months as he zeroed in on the best time to kill him. The killer moved after Lennon had finished his photo shoot and was on his way to the studio. He had stalked Lennon to the Dakota Apartment building where he lived with Yoko and his son Julian and shot him while he walked to the car.
Lennon’s Final Photo
The last photo shoot with Leibovitz, photographer for Rolling Stones Magazine, produced one of the magazine's most memorable covers. Yoko was lying on the floor with a naked Lennon next curled around her. Yoko was fully clothed, while Lennon was naked Lennon. On its own, the photo was iconic. Coupled with the assassination just hours later, the magazine cover is legendary.