CLEVELAND—Calling the recovered projectiles an essential part of pop music history, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame unveiled a new exhibit Wednesday, displaying all 43 of the bullets that Ringo Starr took for John Lennon before Mark David Chapman caught the Beatle drummer off guard on Dec. 8, 1980. “Each round of ammunition in this exhibit stands as a testament to the love Ringo felt for John, a devotion that led him to repeatedly dive in front of his friend to thwart the many would-be assassins who targeted Lennon during concerts, protests, his appearances on The Dick Cavett Show, and recording sessions,” said the organization’s president Greg S. Harris, who observed that each revolver slug, shotgun pellet, and (in one case) artillery shell had been carefully preserved through the decades following their surgical removal from Starr’s body. “Obviously, fans will want to look at the 11 bullets that Ringo famously took from a burst of machine-gun fire during one of Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Bed-Ins For Peace in ’69. But when you see all 43 bullets—which the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has brought together in the same room for the very first time—you really get a sense of how much this heroic drummer sacrificed. Some might quibble that Ringo should have been more prepared for the lethal strike outside the Dakota apartment building that fateful December night, especially considering how many times he’d been shot by Chapman before. But in fact he arrived just seconds too late, having been delayed because he was still recovering from the multiple stab wounds he had received while thwarting a knife attack on George Harrison the same evening.” Museum officials added that three of the bullets on display were especially valuable because they had been fired by Paul McCartney during the sessions for what became known as the White Album.
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