Background to John Lennon's last words
The Beatles' huge fame in the 1960s drove them from performing on stage, where the audience's screams were so loud that they couldn't hear themselves play. Off stage, things were little different and no member of the group was able to appear in public without being mobbed.
Lennon was told by David Bowie that life might be easier for him in New York, where celebrities were more often left alone. In a BBC radio interview on 6th December 1980, Lennon made this remark about his move to the USA:
"That's what finally made me stay here... Yes, you can walk on the street."
Two days later, and after firing his bodyguards, Lennon was shot in the street by Mark Chapman.
When the singer was leaving his apartment Chapman gave him an LP, which he duly signed. When Lennon returned home later in the day, Chapman shot him four times in the back. He staggered into the building, said "I'm shot" twice and collapsed.
Source: John Ono Lennon, Volume 2, Ray Coleman, 1984.