In the January 2001 issue of SPIN, Elliott Smith paid tribute to the legacy of John Lennon, recalling how his revolutionary music shaped Smith's own approach to songwriting in his formative years. Today, Dec. 8, 2010, on the 30th anniversary of the Beatle's death, revisit Smith's piece on his favorite Lennon songs. Scarily prescient: Smith, who took his own life in 2003, relating to the suicidal subtext of "Yer Blues." My friends and I were just starting to teach ourselves guitar in 1980. I was 11 and really into Beatles songs like "Julia" and "Sexy Sadie"— cool, kaleidoscopic chord changes. I was totally immersed in trying to figure it all out, and it was slowly happening when some madman gunned down the guide. At first, kids at school acted like it was a hoax. It didn't seem real at the time, and to be honest, I rarely think of John Lennon as dead.