|Pop star, composer, songwriter, and recording artist, born in Liverpool, Merseyside, NW England, UK. John Lennon was "The Beatles" rhythm guitarist, keyboard player, and vocalist, and a partner in the Lennon - McCartney song-writing team. |
He married Japanese artist Yoko Ono (1933) - his second marriage - in 1969. Together they invented a form of peace protest by staying in bed while being filmed and interviewed, and the single recorded under the name of "The Plastic Ono Band", "Give Peace a Chance" (1969), became the "national anthem" for pacifists.
He had five more chart singles between 1971-1974, but only "Imagine" (1971) had any immediate impact.
On the birth of his son, Sean (1975), John Lennon retired from music to become a house-husband. Five years later he recorded "(Just Like) Starting Over", but he was shot and killed by a deranged fan just before its release.
His death affected millions of people, record sales soared, and he continues to be admired by new generations of fans.
John Lenon was born on the October the 9th 1940.
Both of his parents had musical background and experience, though neither pursued it seriously.
John Lennon lived with his parents in Liverpool until his father, Fred Lennon, a merchant seaman, walked out on the family. His mother, Julia, then decided that she was unable to care for her son, and so gave him to her sister Mimi.
Although John lived apart from his mother he still kept in contact with her through regular visits, and during this time Julia was responsible for introducing her son to a lifelong interest in music by teaching him how to play the banjo.
On July 15th, 1958 - when John Lennon was 17 - his mother was killed after she was struck by a car driven by a drunken off-duty police officer. Later, in 1968, John Lennon wrote songs entitled "Julia", "My Mummy's Dead" and "Mother"in honour of his mother as well as naming his firstborn son, Julian, after her.
His Aunt Mimi was able to get him accepted into the Liverpool College of Art by showing them some of his drawings, and it was there that he met his future wife, Cynthia Powell.
However, John Lennon steadily grew to hate the conformity of art school and, like many young men of his age, became increasingly interested in Rock 'n' Roll music and American singers like Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly.
Eventually, in the late 1950s, John Lennon formed his own skiffle group called "The Quarry Men", which later became "Johnny and the Moondogs", followed by "The Silver Beetles" (a tribute to Buddy Holly's "Crickets") and soon afterwards was shortened to "The Beatles".
John Lennon had a profound influence on rock and roll, and in expanding the genre's boundaries during the 1960s. He is widely considered, along with fellow-writing partner Paul McCartney, as one of the most influential singer-songwriter-musicians of the 20th century.
John Lennon's most surreal pieces of songwriting, "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "I Am the Walrus", are fine examples of his unique style.
John Lennon's partnership in songwriting with Paul McCartney many times involved him in complementing and counterbalancing Paul McCartney's upbeat, positive outlook with the other side of the coin, as one of their songs.
A firestorm of protest swelled from the southern Bible Belt area, as conservative groups publicly burning "Beatles" records and memorabilia. Radio stations banned Beatles music and concert venues cancelled performances. Even The Vatican got involved with a public denouncement of Lennon's comments. He than later appologysed on an interview. The Vatican accepted his apology and the furor eventually died down, but constant Beatlemania, mobs, crazed teenagers, and now a press ready to tear them to pieces over any out-of-context quote was too much to handle.
"The Beatles" soon decided to stop touring, and indeed, never performed a scheduled concert again. From this point onward "The Beatles" were a studio band (perhaps the first ever).
Freed from the problem of having to compose music they could recreate live on stage, they could explore the technological limits of music and create unique and original sounds.
On November 9, 1966, after their final tour ended and right after he had wrapped up filming a minor role in the film "How I Won The War", John Lennon visited an art exhibit of Yoko Ono's at the "Indica art gallery" in London.
John Lennon began his love affair with Yoko Ono in 1968 after returning from India and leaving his estranged wife Cynthia, who filed for divorce later that year.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono were from then on inseparable in public and private, as well as during "Beatles" recording sessions.
The press was extremely unkind to Yoko Ono, posting a series of unflattering articles about her, one even going so far as to call her "ugly".
This infuriated John Lennon, who rallied around his new partner and said publicly that there was no John and Yoko, but that they were one person, JohnAndYoko.
These developments led to friction with the other members of the group, and heightened the tension during the 1968 "White Album" sessions.
Some "Beatles" fans blame Yoko Ono for "The Beatles"' breakup, but the band had been growing apart almost immediately after the death of their manager Brian Epstein in 1967.
John Lennon in particular cited Epstein as the glue which had held them all together; in his absence (together with the influence of drugs, outside friends, alternate collaborating partners, and marriages/relationships), "The Beatles" interpersonal relationships simply disintegrated.
During his last two years as a member of "The Beatles", John Lennon spent much of his time with Yoko Ono on public displays protesting the Vietnam War. He sent back the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) he received from Queen Elizabeth II during the height of Beatlemania "in protest against Britain's involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing and support of America in Vietnam", adding as a joke, "as well as "Cold Turkey" slipping down the charts".
On March 20, 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono were married in Gibraltar, and spent their honeymoon in Amsterdam in a "Bed-In" for peace.
They followed up their honeymoon with another "Bed-In" for peace this time held in Montreal.
During the second "Bed-In" the couple recorded "Give Peace a Chance" which would go on to became an international anthem for the peace movement. They were mainly patronized as a couple of eccentrics by the media, yet they did a great deal for the peace movement, as well as for other pet causes, such as women's liberation and racial harmony.
As with the "Bed-In" campaign, Lennon and Yoko Ono usually advocated their causes with whimsical demonstrations, such as Bagism, first introduced during a Vienna press conference.
Shortly after, John Lennon changed his middle name from Winston to Ono to show his "oneness" with his new wife. John Lennon wrote "The Ballad of John and Yoko" about his marriage and the subsequent press it generated. The failed Get Back/Let It Be recording/filming sessions did nothing to improve relations within the band.
After both John Lennon and Yoko Ono were injured in the summer of 1969 in a car accident in Scotland, Lennon arranged for Yoko Ono to be constantly with him in the studio (including having a full-sized bed rolled in) as he worked on "The Beatles'" last album, "Abbey Road".
While the group managed to hang together to produce one last superior musical work, soon thereafter business issues related to Apple Corps came between them.
John Lennon decided to quit "The Beatles" but was talked out of saying anything publicly. Phil Spector's involvement in trying to revive the "Let It Be" material then drove a further wedge between John Lennon (who supported Spector) and Paul McCartney (who opposed him).
Though the split would only become legal some time later, John Lennon and Paul McCartney's partnership had come to a bitter and definite end.
Paul McCartney soon made a press announcement, declaring he had quit "The Beatles", and promoting his new solo record.
On the morning of December 8, 1980, in New York City, deranged fan Mark David Chapman met John Lennon as he left for the recording studio and got his copy of Double Fantasy autographed.
Chapman remained in the vicinity of The Dakota for most of the day as a fireworks demonstration in nearby Central Park distracted the doorman and passers-by.
Later that evening, John Lennon and Yoko Ono returned to their apartment from recording Yoko Ono's single "Walking On Thin Ice" for their next album.
At 10.50pm, their limousine pulled up to the entrance of the Dakota.
Yoko Ono got out of the car first, followed by John Lennon. Beyond the main entrance was a door which would be opened and a small set of stairs leading into the apartment complex.
As Yoko Ono went in, John Lennon got out of the car and glanced at Chapman, proceeding on through the entrance to the Dakota.
As John Lennon walked past him, Chapman called out "Mr. Lennon?". Just as John Lennon turned, Chapman crouched into a "combat" stance and fired five hollowpoint bullets into John's back and shoulder.
One of the bullets fatally pierced his aorta.
Still, Lennon managed to stagger up six steps into the concierge booth where he collapsed, gasping "I'm shot, I'm shot".
Police arrived within minutes, to find Chapman still waiting quietly outside, reading a copy of J.D. Salinger's novel, "The Catcher in the Rye".
The two officers transported John Lennon to the hospital in the back of their squad car as they thought John was too badly hurt to take the risk of waiting for an ambulance. One of the officers asked John Lennon if he knew who he was.
Lennon's reply is reported to have been "Yeah", or "I'm John Lennon of "The Beatles", or simply a nod of the head before he passed out.
Despite extensive resuscitative efforts in the hospital, John Lennon had lost over 80% of his blood volume and died of shock.
Millions would receive the news that night from Howard Cosell, commentator for ABC's Monday Night Football.