Lennon, Stevie, & Youtube Closed Captioning

December 8th, 2014


December 8th, 1980. A visibly shaken Stevie Wonder learns of the death of John Lennon while watching Monday Night Football. The announcement by football announcer Howard Cosell of Lennon’s murder is not shown so we do not get to see the exact moment of realization but we see the immediate before and after.


That night, Wonder goes on stage in Oakland and announces Lennon’s death to the crowd. He plays a staggered, disconnected set that night. It is amazing to see him make this announcement. He slows everything down to the point where the audience is hanging on his every word. In any other circumstance, this would be considered “showmanship”. In this case, it was necessary for Wonder to convey the gravity of the situation. One of the most important musical figures of our time, wiped out by an obsessed gunman on the front step of his apartment building. An irreplaceable part of an era now gone forever. You can’t just dash that off. “Hey, John Lennon died tonight. The name of this next song is ‘Isn’t She Lovely'”.


Now here’s the part where it gets funny. I ran the video through the closed captioning function at the bottom of the video and this is what closed captioning came up with. This won’t be as funny if you haven’t watched the video first. I transcribed the cc part from where Stevie is onstage struggling to break the bad news to the crowd in Oakland. This is how Youtube closed captioning interpreted that speech. Punctuation is mine.


Obama, huh. The. I like you acne ridden. Yeah, work. And would I not eyes who maximum men when I think my him. The you don’t know this because I’m yurman unisom didn’t I’m.

I’m I’ll people like this man. Pokemon my someone in the south. Missile 9 replies. My, I’ll tell you who I know you want you can sing this song. Songs about people like him that some unity home and Tom in harassing.

When I’ll instill my heart beating, I mom. Yes, humans. Yes, Mon. The.

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