- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 8, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) - John Lennon’s fans celebrated his life Wednesday by visiting Strawberry Fields, the Central Park garden dedicated in his honor, while a newly released interview he gave shortly before his death showed he was optimistic about his future.

On the 30th anniversary of Lennon’s murder outside his Manhattan apartment building, admirers played his music nearby at Strawberry Fields and placed flowers on a mosaic named for another famous Lennon song, “Imagine.”

“I grew up with his voice,” said Marissa DeLuca, 17, who came to New York from Boston with her father, Paul DeLuca, 50.

“The Beatles are the soundtrack to my childhood,” she said. “His voice is just kind of like home.”

Her father said, “Nothing is timeless like the stuff John and Paul (McCartney) wrote.”

In the interview, conducted just three days before he was gunned down, John Lennon complained about his critics _ saying they were just interested in “dead heroes.” He mused that he had “plenty of time” to accomplish some of his life goals.

In Liverpool, where Lennon was from, hundreds were expected to gather for a vigil Wednesday around the Peace and Harmony sculpture, recently unveiled by Lennon’s former wife, Cynthia, and their son Julian in Chavasse Park.

Jerry Goldman from The Beatles Story, a museum dedicated to the band, said the monument has brought even more people to Liverpool: “The city is very excited that we finally have a focal point at which to remember Lennon and look forward to a vigil that will reach out to people the world over.”

Lennon’s final interview was released to The Associated Press by Rolling Stone on Wednesday. The issue using the full interview will be on magazine stands on Friday. While brief excerpts of Jonathan Cott’s interview with Lennon were released for a 1980 Rolling Stone cover story days after Lennon’s death, this is the first time the entire interview has been published.

“His words are totally joyous and vibrant and hopeful and subversive and fearless,” said Cott in an interview on Tuesday. “He didn’t mince words.”

Lennon saves some of his harshest words for critics who were perennially disappointed with Lennon’s path, in both music and in his life, after leaving the Beatles.

“These critics with the illusions they’ve created about artists _ it’s like idol worship,” he said. “They only like people when they’re on their way up … I cannot be on the way up again.

“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.”

He also predicted that Bruce Springsteen, then hailed as rock’s bright future, would endure the same critical barbs: “And God help Bruce Springsteen when they decide he’s no longer God. … They’ll turn on him, and I hope he survives it.”

But Lennon also talked about trying to be a good father to his youngest son Sean, learning how to relate to a child (he admitted he wasn’t good at play) and spoke of his strong bond with wife Yoko Ono: “I’ve selected to work with … only two people: Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono. … That ain’t bad picking.”

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