Written: December 2014


December 8th is an emotional date for millions of music fans around the world. On this date, not one, but two icons were cut down in the prime of their lives and careers.

December 8, 1980. New York City. Mark David Chapman walks up to John Lennon and Yoko Ono, as they leave their limo and head toward their apartment building. Chapman pulls out a gun as they walk past, and shoots John five times in the back. He’s rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, where he’s pronounced dead.

(John Lennon: October 9, 1940 – December 8, 1980)

(Photo: John Lennon Archives)

December 8, 2004. Columbus, Ohio. Former Pantera guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott is performing with his new band, Damageplan, when Nathan Gale storms the stage and shoots Darrell in the head three times, killing him instantly. He then continues to fire from the stage, killing three more people and injuring seven others, before a police officer manages to shoot and killed him.

(“Dimebag” Darrell Abbott: August 20, 1966 – December 8, 2004)

(Photo: Supern4ut/Flickr)

These two have been remembered across every social media platform today, but as I read tributes, I noticed something. Many of those who were remembering John didn’t mention Darrell, while those remembering Darrell seemed to feel the need to justify why they’re not paying homage to John.

As far as I’m concerned, these two extremely talented musicians share a similar legacy: creating groundbreaking music that helped change the landscape of their respective genres. Both were struck down way too soon (John was 40; Darrell was 38). Both were branching out on their own, following careers with wildly successful bands (John: Beatles; Darrell: Pantera). 

The Beatles wanted a Revolution. Pantera wanted to Cast a Shadow*

Both bands inspired musical revolutions of sorts, and the deaths of both men continue to cast tremendous shadows in the hearts of their legions of fans.

Give both of these men their due. 

Mourn them equally. 

Celebrate their legacies fully. 

Blast their music loudly.

But, please, don’t feel as though you must mourn just one and forsake the other. The world is big enough for both, and your heart should be big enough, too.

*Note: I took liberties with this song title to make it fit the sentence structure. The exact song title is “I’ll Cast a Shadow”


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