Pinoy victims of EJKs, ‘You’ve got a friend’ in James Taylor

21 Dec

“When you stop growing you start dying. An addict never stops growing. A user is a continual state of shrinking and growing in his daily cycle of shot-need for shot completed.”
― William S. Burroughs

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW JERSEY — When a visiting friend asked me in September this year to accompany her to the place where John Lennon was assassinated in New York City 37 years ago, I first pointed to her the former residence of James Vernon Taylor in the Upper West End Avenue in Manhattan.
Taylor lived in the next building from Lennon.
“I’m interested on John Lennon’s apartment. Bring me there,” the friend badgered me.
We walked from Central Park’s Strawberry Fields (where Lennon’s ashes had been scattered by Yoko Ono after cremation and where Lennon’s “Imagine” song had been playing non-stop) before proceeding to Dakota, in the gate of Lennon’s apartment where he was shot in the head by Mark David Chapman on December 8, 1980.
It was Taylor who first had an eerie encounter with Chapman, then 26-year-old Texan, 24 hours before Lennon’s murder.
Could he have prevented the assassination of one of music industry’s most talented, charismatic and highly-regarded artists in history?


In a 2010 interview with BBC, the now 68-year-old American singer-songwriter and guitarist, revealed that Chapman “…had sort of pinned me to the wall and was glistening with maniacal sweat and talking some freak speak about what he was going to do and his stuff with how John was interested, and he was going to get in touch with John Lennon. And it was surreal to actually have contact with the guy 24 hours before he shot John.”
After Lennon was officially declared dead in the nearby Roosevelt Hospital, Taylor alleged he heard Chapman “shot–five, just as quick as you could pull the trigger, about five explosions.”
Taylor, born in Boston, Massachusetts, stayed in New York City as he was on a methadone maintenance program to cure him of his drug addiction.
Yes, fellas. The singer who popularized “You’ve Got a Friend”, “Fire and Rain”, “How Sweet It Is (to be loved by you)”, “Handy Man”, “Your Smiling Face”, was a former drug addict.
Taylor was in the news in the Philippines after he cancelled his Manila concert in February 2017 in protest of the extra-judicial killings (EJK).


In his personal blog (, the five-time Grammy Award winner, wrote dated December 20, 2016:
I’ve been eagerly looking forward to playing for my Philippine audience ever since we added Manila to our tour of the Pacific this coming February. So it saddens me to cancel our concert there. I don’t think of my music as being particularly political but sometimes one is called upon to make a political stand.
The scourge of addiction is a worldwide problem and does serious harm, not only to the addict but to our society. For a sovereign nation to prosecute and punish, under the law, those responsible for the illegal trade in drugs is, of course, understandable, even commendable; but recent reports from the Philippines of summary executions of suspected offenders without trial or judicial process are deeply concerning and unacceptable to anyone who loves the rule of law.
I offer my heartfelt apologies for any inconvenience or disappointment this may cause my Filipino friends but I must now announce that I will not be performing in Manila this February. All tickets sold will, of course, be fully refunded. I am grateful to my promoter, Renen de Guia, for his patience and understanding.
This decision will, in no way, affect my plans to perform as announced in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.
James Taylor

To all victims of EJKs in the Philippines, as well as other drug dependents targeted by summary executions, let’s listen to a song from “a friend”:  You’ve Got A Friend
By James Taylor
When you’re down and troubled
And you need a helping hand
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night
You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, oh yeah baby, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you’ve got to do is call
And I’ll be there, ye, ye, ye
You’ve got a friend
If the sky above you
Should turn dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind should begin to blow
Keep you head together
And call my name out loud now
Soon you’ll hear me knocking at you door
You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, oh yes I will, to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall, ye
All you have to do is call…


Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: