John Lennon was born October 9, 1940 in Liverpool, England to a working class family. Lennon lived with his aunt Mimi, after his parents separated when he was just four years old. His aunt Mimi bought him his first guitar. His mother Julia played the banjo and taught John how to play guitar using the banjo chords she knew.
Julia Lennon died after being hit by an off duty police officer's car when John was 18 years old and her death took a great toll on his personal life that can be found in many of his songs throughout his career.
John Lennon first met Paul McCartney in 1957 and invited him to join his band, the Quarrymen. In need of a guitarist, McCartney introduced John Lennon to his friend George Harrison. The Quarrymen later became The Beatles with drummer Pete Best and began playing gigs around Liverpool.
After gaining a fair amount of attention around Europe The Beatles set into the studio for their first recording session. At this session George Martin recommended that the group find a new drummer after becoming displeased with Pete Best. In 1962 Ringo Starr joined The Beatles and the fab four were ready to take the world by storm.
Throughout their career The Beatles became one of the most popular bands to ever exist and influenced music for generations to come. John Lennon and Paul McCartney led the group's songwriting and wrote many classic songs together. The duo is still widely held as the best collaborators in music to date.
Although Lennon and McCartney wrote classic songs together, they did not always see eye to eye. Creative differences and tensions between Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and Starr began to heat up and The Beatles eventually decided to call it quits after their final studio album Abbey Road was recorded.
After The Beatles
After leaving The Beatles John Lennon began a successful solo career that lasted up until his murder in 1980. His albums became international hits that contained songs such as Imagine, Working Class Hero, Nobody Loves You When Your Down and Out, and God.
During his time as a solo musician he released eleven albums, the most famous of which was Imagine. Imagine, his second studio album, was released in 1971 and is considered to be one of the greatest albums of all time. The title track Imagine is one of Lennon's most influential songs and expressed Lennon's beliefs of the world living together in peace.
Imagine may have expresses Lennon's thoughts of peace, but another song was aimed at his old songwriting partner. How Do You Sleep? was written in response to one of Paul McCartney's songs entitled Too Many People. How Do You Sleep? is ripe with Lennon's resentment towards McCartney with lyrics like 'Those freaks was right when they said you was dead. The one you mistake was made was in your head' and 'The only thing you've done was Yesterday'.
Give Peace a Chance
During the early 1970's Lennon was an active anti-war activist who held concerts for peace as well as staging events such as the famous 'bed in for peace'. During this bed in John Lennon gained international media attention and recorded his famous song Give Peace a Chance.
After becoming one of the most influential figures opposing the Vietnam War, the Unites States government made an attempt to deport John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Lennon's telephone was tapped and he told reporters that he was being followed. Lennon's attorney managed to delay his deportation and eventually won the case and John Lennon became a United States citizen.It was later revealed that President Richard Nixon believed that Lennon's protests could cost him re-election to office.
On December 8, 1980 John Lennon was shot and killed by a stalker named Mark David Chapman. Lennon was rushed to the hospital after being shot four times in the back and was pronounced dead on arrival.
Lennon's death came as a shock to millions of fans around the world and memorials were held worldwide. Fans gathered in the streets and played his albums and sang his songs in remembrance of a man who stood for peace and was gunned down. His music is still considered to be classic to this day and his records still sell millions around the world.
Assassination and Legacy
On December 8, 1980 Lennon was gunned down by a man he had signed an autograph for earlier in the day, Mark David Chapman near the entrance of the Dakota apartment building (It was later discovered that Chapman had been stalking Lennon since October).
Lennon was taken to the Emergency Room of The Roosevelt Hospital but was declared dead on arrival. Chapman pleaded guilty to second degree murder and sentenced to 20 years to life in prison where he still resides.
In honor of the former Beatle, the city of New York commissioned a memorial to be created from Lennon inside Central Park. On October 9, 1985 (Lennon's birthday) Strawberry Fields opened in Central Park, and on every October 9 since, a vigil has been held for his memory.
|Please Please Me||1963|
|With The Beatles||1963|
|A Hard Day's Night||1964|
|Beatles For Sale||1964|
|Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band||1967|
|The Beatles (White Album)||1968|
|Let It Be||1970|
|Some Time in New York City||1972|
|Walls and Bridges||1974|
|Rock n' Roll||1975|