John Lennon
Rock musician
John Lennon
John Ono Lennon MBE, born John Winston Lennon was an English musician, singer and songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as a founder member of the Beatles, one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Together with Paul McCartney, he formed one of the most celebrated songwriting partnerships of the 20th century.
Biography
John Lennon's personal information overview.
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News
News abour John Lennon from around the web
ARTS | LONG ISLAND; ‘Yoko Ono Imagine Peace’ at Stony Brook University’s Staller Center
NYTimes - over 5 years
IN 1968, Kevin Concannon was a 12-year-old Beatles fan when an avant-garde artist named Yoko Ono started appearing in press stories linking her with John Lennon . “It was my first exposure ever to a real live artist, and especially a real live avant-garde conceptual artist,” recalled Dr. Concannon, who has a doctorate in art history
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Author uncovers Lennon's letters - BBC News
Google News - over 5 years
More than 250 letters and cards sent by John Lennon to his family and friends are to be published for the first time. Author Hunter Davies, who wrote the only official biography of The Beatles in the 1960s, is trying to track down every missive written
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Google News article
Mathew Street Festival newsflash: John Lennon immigration form unearthed - Purple Revolver
Google News - over 5 years
Published Mon 29 Aug 2011 19:27, Last updated: 2011-08-29 An immigration form filled in by Beatle legend John Lennon months before he was shot dead in New York City has been unearthed. The official document which showcases John's irreverent sense of
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Singer Emmanuel Kelly wows The X Factor judges - Herald Sun
Google News - over 5 years
Emmanuel, the adopted son of Children First Foundation boss Moira Kelly, wowed Ronan Keating, Spice Girl Mel Brown, Natalie Bassingthwaighte and Guy Sebastian with his heartfelt performance of the John Lennon classic Imagine on last night's audition
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Signed Beatles record sells for £9000 at auction - BBC News
Google News - over 5 years
Among other highlights was a cap owned by John Lennon which sold for £3200. There were bids made from around the world - with particular interest from Austria, Germany, Australia and the US - for the lots at the auction, part of the annual Beatles ... - -
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John Lennon's funny form up for grabs - Hindustan Times
Google News - over 5 years
PTI The immigration form that was filled in by John Lennon during 1980, is going under the hammer and is expected to reach £15000. Covered with unique answers, it gives an insight into the musician's sense of humour. The form is part of an auction of
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How music affects John Lennon, you & me - NorthJersey.com
Google News - over 5 years
In a phone interview May Pang, ex-girlfriend of John Lennon, said she thinks music's appeal is that "it's universal." One listen to the Beatles as a kid, and Pang, too, was hooked. After hearing the Beatles on the radio, "I wanted to be involved in
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Liverpool John Lennon Airport passengers may benefit from security review - Liverpool Daily Post
Google News - over 5 years
LIVERPOOL John Lennon Airport passengers will no longer have to remove shoes, take off belts and unpack laptops – if airport bosses beef up security in other ways. A new “risk-based approach” unveiled by the
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Yoko Threatens Legal Action Against 'Lennon's Pub' In Scotland - RTT News
Google News - over 5 years
Craig has spoken out against the legal threat, saying that he spent thousands of pounds on merchandise associated with John Lennon. The bar owner says that the bar has been named Lennon's Pub for years and the cease and desist notice came out of the
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Imagine... Lennon: the New York Years, BBC One, review - Telegraph.co.uk
Google News - over 5 years
Chris Harvey reviews Michael Epstein's film about John Lennon and Yoko Ono's time spent in New York City in the 1970s. Former Beatle John Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, leave a US Immigration hearing in New York on April 18, 1972. ... - -
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Colbert Confirms John Lennon Was Secret Republican (VIDEO) - Huffington Post (satire)
Google News - over 5 years
Stephen Colbert had one tip of his hat and one wag of his finger to dole out on Monday night's show, and the tip was a stunner. Apparently, according to one guy who had one conversation with Lennon a long time ago, the former Beatle had gone all
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Air passenger tax protests at Liverpool John Lennon airport - Liverpool Daily Post
Google News - over 5 years
LIVERPOOL John Lennon airport was the focus today of an industry-wide campaign to block Air Passenger Duty (APD) rises in the next Budget. Campaigners wearing 'Hands off our Holiday Mr Taxman' T-shirts were
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of John Lennon
    FORTIES
  • 1980
    Age 39
    Died on December 8, 1980.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 1980
    Age 39
    Lennon's last act of political activism was a statement in support of the striking minority sanitation workers in San Francisco on 5 December 1980.
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    When McCartney released "Coming Up", in 1980, the year Lennon returned to the studio and the last year of his life, he took notice. "It's driving me crackers!" he jokingly complained, because he could not get the tune out of his head.
    More Details Hide Details Asked the same year whether the group were dreaded enemies or the best of friends, he replied that they were neither, and that he had not seen any of them in a long time. But he also said, "I still love those guys. The Beatles are over, but John, Paul, George and Ringo go on." Lennon and Ono used their honeymoon as what they termed a "Bed-In for Peace" at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel; the March 1969 event attracted worldwide media ridicule. At a second Bed-In three months later at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal Lennon wrote and recorded "Give Peace a Chance". Released as a single, it was quickly taken up as an anti-war anthem and sung by a quarter of a million demonstrators against the Vietnam War in Washington, DC, on 15 November, the second Vietnam Moratorium Day. In December, they paid for billboards in 10 cities around the world which declared, in the national language, "War Is Over! If You Want It".
    At around 10:50p.m. (EST) on 8 December 1980, as Lennon and Ono returned to their New York apartment in the Dakota, Mark David Chapman shot Lennon in the back four times in the archway of the building.
    More Details Hide Details Lennon was taken to the emergency room of nearby Roosevelt Hospital and was pronounced dead on arrival at 11:00p.m. (EST). Earlier that evening, Lennon had autographed a copy of Double Fantasy for Chapman. Ono issued a statement the next day, saying "There is no funeral for John", ending it with the words, "John loved and prayed for the human race. Please pray the same for him." His body was cremated at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. Ono scattered his ashes in New York's Central Park, where the Strawberry Fields memorial was later created. Chapman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 20-years-to-life. In 2016, he was denied parole for a ninth time. Lennon and Cynthia Powell (1939 - 2015) met in 1957 as fellow students at the Liverpool College of Art. Although being scared of Lennon's attitude and appearance, she heard that he was obsessed with French actress Brigitte Bardot, so she dyed her hair blonde. Lennon asked her out, but when she said that she was engaged, he screamed out, "I didn't ask you to fuckin' marry me, did I?" She often accompanied him to Quarrymen gigs and travelled to Hamburg with McCartney's girlfriend at the time to visit him. Lennon, jealous by nature, eventually grew possessive and often terrified Powell with his anger and physical violence. Lennon later said that until he met Ono, he had never questioned his chauvinistic attitude to women.
    Lennon emerged from retirement in October 1980 with the single "(Just Like) Starting Over", followed the next month by the album Double Fantasy, which contained songs written during a journey to Bermuda on a 43-foot sailing boat the previous June, that reflected his fulfilment in his new-found stable family life.
    More Details Hide Details Sufficient additional material was recorded for a planned follow-up album Milk and Honey (released posthumously in 1984). Released jointly by Lennon and Ono, Double Fantasy was not well received, drawing comments such as Melody Makers "indulgent sterility... a godawful yawn".
    In September 1980, Lennon commented about his family and his rebellious nature:
    More Details Hide Details He regularly visited his cousin, Stanley Parkes, who lived in Fleetwood. Seven years Lennon's senior, Parkes took him on trips and to local cinemas. During the school holidays, Parkes often visited Lennon with Leila Harvey, another cousin, often travelling to Blackpool two or three times a week to watch shows. They would visit the Blackpool Tower Circus and see artists such as Dickie Valentine, Arthur Askey, Max Bygraves and Joe Loss, with Parkes recalling that Lennon particularly liked George Formby. After Parkes's family moved to Scotland, the three cousins often spent their school holidays together there. Parkes recalled, "John, cousin Leila and I were very close. From Edinburgh we would drive up to the family croft at Durness, which was from about the time John was nine years old until he was about 16." He was 14 years old when his uncle George died of a liver haemorrhage on 5 June 1955 (aged 52).
    He wrote "Cookin' (In the Kitchen of Love)" for Starr's Ringo's Rotogravure (1976), performing on the track in June in what would be his last recording session until 1980.
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    He said in 1980: "I used my resentment against Paul… to create a song… not a terrible vicious horrible vendetta… I used my resentment and withdrawing from Paul and the Beatles, and the relationship with Paul, to write 'How Do You Sleep'.
    More Details Hide Details I don't really go 'round with those thoughts in my head all the time."
  • 1977
    Age 36
    The following year, his US immigration status finally resolved, Lennon received his "green card" certifying his permanent residency, and when Jimmy Carter was inaugurated as president in January 1977, Lennon and Ono attended the Inaugural Ball.
    More Details Hide Details After Lennon's death, historian Jon Wiener filed a Freedom of Information Act request for FBI files documenting the Bureau's role in the deportation attempt. The FBI admitted it had 281 pages of files on Lennon, but refused to release most of them on the grounds that they contained national security information. In 1983, Wiener sued the FBI with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. It took 14 years of litigation to force the FBI to release the withheld pages. The ACLU, representing Wiener, won a favourable decision in their suit against the FBI in the Ninth Circuit in 1991. The Justice Department appealed the decision to the Supreme Court in April 1992, but the court declined to review the case. In 1997, respecting President Bill Clinton's newly instigated rule that documents should be withheld only if releasing them would involve "foreseeable harm", the Justice Department settled most of the outstanding issues outside court by releasing all but 10 of the contested documents.
    He formally announced his break from music in Tokyo in 1977, saying, "we have basically decided, without any great decision, to be with our baby as much as we can until we feel we can take time off to indulge ourselves in creating things outside of the family."
    More Details Hide Details During his career break he created several series of drawings, and drafted a book containing a mix of autobiographical material and what he termed "mad stuff", all of which would be published posthumously.
  • 1975
    Age 34
    Nixon's successor, Gerald Ford, showed little interest in continuing the battle against Lennon, and the deportation order was overturned in 1975.
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    Lennon spent the next three and a half years in and out of deportation hearings until 8 October 1975, when a court of appeals barred the deportation attempt, stating " the courts will not condone selective deportation based upon secret political grounds."
    More Details Hide Details While the legal battle continued, Lennon attended rallies and made television appearances. Lennon and Ono co-hosted The Mike Douglas Show for a week in February 1972, introducing guests such as Jerry Rubin and Bobby Seale to mid-America. In 1972, Bob Dylan wrote a letter to the INS defending Lennon, stating: John and Yoko add a great voice and drive to the country's so-called art institution. They inspire and transcend and stimulate and by doing so, only help others to see pure light and in doing that, put an end to this dull taste of petty commercialism which is being passed off as Artist Art by the overpowering mass media. Hurray for John and Yoko. Let them stay and live here and breathe. The country's got plenty of room and space. Let John and Yoko stay! On 23 March 1973, Lennon was ordered to leave the US within 60 days. Ono, meanwhile, was granted permanent residence. In response, Lennon and Ono held a press conference on 1 April 1973 at the New York City Bar Association, where they announced the formation of the state of Nutopia; a place with "no land, no boundaries, no passports, only people". Waving the white flag of Nutopia (two handkerchiefs), they asked for political asylum in the US. The press conference was filmed, and would later appear in the 2006 documentary The US vs. John Lennon.
    Sean was born on 9 October 1975, Lennon's 35th birthday, delivered by Caesarean section.
    More Details Hide Details Lennon's subsequent career break would span five years. He had a photographer take pictures of Sean every day of his first year, and created numerous drawings for him, posthumously published as Real Love: The Drawings for Sean. Lennon later proudly declared, "He didn't come out of my belly but, by God, I made his bones, because I've attended to every meal, and to how he sleeps, and to the fact that he swims like a fish."
    With the birth of his second son Sean on 9 October 1975, Lennon took on the role of househusband, beginning what would be a five-year hiatus from the music industry during which he gave all his attention to his family.
    More Details Hide Details Within the month, he fulfilled his contractual obligation to EMI/Capitol for one more album by releasing Shaved Fish, a compilation album of previously recorded tracks. He devoted himself to Sean, rising at 6am daily to plan and prepare his meals and to spend time with him.
    In January 1975, he agreed to meet Ono who claimed to have found a cure for smoking.
    More Details Hide Details But after the meeting he failed to return home or call Pang. When Pang telephoned the next day, Ono told her Lennon was unavailable, being exhausted after a hypnotherapy session. Two days later, Lennon reappeared at a joint dental appointment, stupefied and confused to such an extent that Pang believed he had been brainwashed. He told her his separation from Ono was now over, though Ono would allow him to continue seeing her as his mistress. When Lennon and Ono were reunited, she became pregnant, but having previously suffered three miscarriages in her attempt to have a child with Lennon, she said she wanted an abortion. She agreed to allow the pregnancy to continue on condition that Lennon adopt the role of househusband; this he agreed to do.
    Lennon co-wrote "Fame", David Bowie's first US number one, and provided guitar and backing vocals for the January 1975 recording.
    More Details Hide Details The same month, Elton John topped the charts with his cover of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", featuring Lennon on guitar and back-up vocals (Lennon is credited on the single under the moniker of "Dr. Winston O'Boogie"). He and Ono were reunited shortly afterwards. Lennon released Rock 'n' Roll (1975), an album of cover songs, in February. "Stand by Me", taken from the album and a US and UK hit, became his last single for five years. He made what would be his final stage appearance in the ATV special A Salute to Lew Grade, recorded on 18 April and televised in June. Playing acoustic guitar and backed by an eight-piece band, Lennon performed two songs from Rock 'n' Roll ("Stand by Me", which was not broadcast, and "Slippin' and Slidin'") followed by "Imagine". The band, known as Etc., wore masks behind their heads, a dig by Lennon who thought Grade was two-faced.
    Lennon disengaged himself from the music business in 1975 to raise his infant son Sean, but re-emerged with Ono in 1980 with the new album Double Fantasy.
    More Details Hide Details He was murdered three weeks after its release.
  • 1974
    Age 33
    Settled back in New York, Lennon recorded the album Walls and Bridges. Released in October 1974, it included "Whatever Gets You thru the Night", which featured Elton John on backing vocals and piano, and became Lennon's only single as a solo artist to top the US Billboard Hot 100 chart during his lifetime.
    More Details Hide Details A second single from the album, "#9 Dream", followed before the end of the year. Starr's Goodnight Vienna (1974) again saw assistance from Lennon, who wrote the title track and played piano. On 28 November, Lennon made a surprise guest appearance at Elton John's Thanksgiving concert at Madison Square Garden, in fulfilment of his promise to join the singer in a live show if "Whatever Gets You thru the Night"—a song whose commercial potential Lennon had doubted—reached number one. Lennon performed the song along with "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "I Saw Her Standing There", which he introduced as "a song by an old estranged fiancée of mine called Paul".
    In early 1974, Lennon was drinking heavily and his alcohol-fuelled antics with Harry Nilsson made headlines.
    More Details Hide Details Two widely publicised incidents occurred at The Troubadour club in March, the first when Lennon placed a menstrual pad on his forehead and scuffled with a waitress, and the second, two weeks later, when Lennon and Nilsson were ejected from the same club after heckling the Smothers Brothers. Lennon decided to produce Nilsson's album Pussy Cats and Pang rented a Los Angeles beach house for all the musicians but after a month of further debauchery, with the recording sessions in chaos, Lennon moved to New York with Pang to finish work on the album. In April, Lennon had produced the Mick Jagger song "Too Many Cooks (Spoil the Soup)" which was, for contractual reasons, to remain unreleased for more than 30 years. Pang supplied the recording for its eventual inclusion on The Very Best of Mick Jagger (2007).
  • 1972
    Age 31
    In a 2006 Guardian article, Jon Wiener wrote: "For young people in 1972, it was thrilling to see Lennon's courage in standing up to President Nixon.
    More Details Hide Details That willingness to take risks with his career, and his life, is one reason why people still admire him today." For music historians Urish and Bielen, Lennon's most significant effort was "the self-portraits... in his songs which spoke to, for, and about, the human condition." In 2013, Downtown Music Publishing signed a publishing administration agreement for the US with Lenono Music and Ono Music, home to the song catalogues of John Lennon and Yoko Ono respectively. Under the terms of the agreement, Downtown represents Lennon's solo works – including "Imagine", "Instant Karma (We All Shine On)", "Power to the People", "Happy X-Mas (War Is Over)", "Jealous Guy", "(Just Like) Starting Over" and others. Lennon continues to be mourned throughout the world and has been the subject of numerous memorials and tributes. In 2002, the airport in Lennon's home town was renamed the Liverpool John Lennon Airport. In 2010, on what would have been Lennon's 70th birthday, the John Lennon Peace Monument was unveiled in Chavasse Park, Liverpool, by Cynthia and Julian Lennon. The sculpture entitled 'Peace & Harmony' exhibits peace symbols and carries the inscription "Peace on Earth for the Conservation of Life · In Honour of John Lennon 1940–1980". In December 2013 the International Astronomical Union named one of the craters on Mercury after Lennon.
    Staged at Madison Square Garden on 30 August 1972, they were his last full-length concert appearances.
    More Details Hide Details While Lennon was recording Mind Games (1973), he and Ono decided to separate. The ensuing 18-month period apart, which he later called his "lost weekend", was spent in Los Angeles and New York in the company of May Pang. Mind Games, credited to the "Plastic U.F.Ono Band", was released in November 1973. Lennon also contributed "I'm the Greatest" to Starr's album Ringo (1973), released the same month (an alternate take, from the same 1973 Ringo sessions, with Lennon providing a guide vocal, appears on John Lennon Anthology).
    In 1972, Lennon and Ono attended a post-election wake held in the New York home of activist Jerry Rubin after McGovern lost to Nixon.
    More Details Hide Details Embroiled in a continuing legal battle with the immigration authorities, Lennon was denied permanent residency in the US (which wouldn't be resolved until 1976). Depressed, Lennon got intoxicated and had sex with a female guest, leaving Ono embarrassed. Her song "Death of Samantha" was inspired by the incident. Recorded as a collaboration with Ono and with backing from the New York band Elephant's Memory, Some Time in New York City was released in 1972. Containing songs about women's rights, race relations, Britain's role in Northern Ireland and Lennon's problems obtaining a green card, the album was poorly received—unlistenable, according to one critic. "Woman Is the Nigger of the World", released as a US single from the album the same year, was televised on 11 May, on The Dick Cavett Show. Many radio stations refused to broadcast the song because of the word "nigger". Lennon and Ono gave two benefit concerts with Elephant's Memory and guests in New York in aid of patients at the Willowbrook State School mental facility.
  • 1971
    Age 30
    To escape the acrimony of the band's break-up, Ono suggested they move permanently to New York, which they did on 31 August 1971.
    More Details Hide Details They first lived in The St. Regis Hotel on 5th Avenue, East 55th Street, then moved to a street-level flat at 105 Bank Street, Greenwich Village, on 16 October 1971. After a robbery, they relocated to the more secure Dakota at 1West72nd Street, in 1973. ABKCO Industries, formed in 1968 by Allen Klein as an umbrella company to ABKCO Records, recruited May Pang as a receptionist in 1969. Through involvement in a project with ABKCO, Lennon and Ono met her the following year. She became their personal assistant. After she had been working with the couple for three years, Ono confided that she and Lennon were becoming estranged from one another. She went on to suggest that Pang should begin a physical relationship with Lennon, telling her, "He likes you a lot." Pang, 22, astounded by Ono's proposition, eventually agreed to become Lennon's companion. The pair soon moved to California, beginning an 18-month period he later called his "lost weekend". In Los Angeles, Pang encouraged Lennon to develop regular contact with Julian, whom he had not seen for two years. He also rekindled friendships with Starr, McCartney, Beatles roadie Mal Evans, and Harry Nilsson. Whilst drinking with Nilsson, after misunderstanding something Pang said, Lennon attempted to strangle her, relenting only when physically restrained by Nilsson.
    Lennon's relationship with Julian was already strained, and after Lennon and Ono's 1971 move to New York, Julian would not see his father again until 1973.
    More Details Hide Details With Pang's encouragement, it was arranged for him (and his mother) to visit Lennon in Los Angeles, where they went to Disneyland. Julian started to see his father regularly, and Lennon gave him a drumming part on a Walls and Bridges track. He bought Julian a Gibson Les Paul guitar and other instruments, and encouraged his interest in music by demonstrating guitar chord techniques. Julian recalls that he and his father "got on a great deal better" during the time he spent in New York: "We had a lot of fun, laughed a lot and had a great time in general." In a Playboy interview with David Sheff shortly before his death, Lennon said, "Sean was a planned child, and therein lies the difference. I don't love Julian any less as a child. He's still my son, whether he came from a bottle of whiskey or because they didn't have pills in those days. He's here, he belongs to me, and he always will." He said he was trying to re-establish a connection with the then 17-year-old, and confidently predicted, "Julian and I will have a relationship in the future." After his death it was revealed that he had left Julian very little in his will.
    Lennon and Ono moved to New York in August 1971, and in December released "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)".
    More Details Hide Details The new year saw the Nixon administration take what it called a "strategic counter-measure" against Lennon's anti-war and anti-Nixon propaganda, embarking on what would be a four-year attempt to deport him.
    Lennon revealed a rebellious nature and acerbic wit in his music, writing, drawings, on film and in interviews. Controversial through his political and peace activism, he moved to Manhattan in 1971, where his criticism of the Vietnam War resulted in a lengthy attempt by Richard Nixon's administration to deport him, while some of his songs were adopted as anthems by the anti-war movement and the larger counterculture.
    More Details Hide Details By 2012, Lennon's solo album sales in the United States exceeded 14 million and, as writer, co-writer, or performer, he is responsible for 25 number-one singles on the US Hot 100 chart. In 2002, a BBC poll on the 100 Greatest Britons voted him eighth and, in 2008, Rolling Stone ranked him the fifth-greatest singer of all time. He was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987, and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, as a member of the Beatles in 1988 and as a solo artist in 1994.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1970
    Age 29
    Although he and Starr remained consistently friendly during the years following the Beatles' break-up in 1970, Lennon's relationships with McCartney and Harrison varied.
    More Details Hide Details He was close to Harrison initially, but the two drifted apart after Lennon moved to America. When Harrison was in New York for his December 1974 Dark Horse tour, Lennon agreed to join him on stage, but failed to appear after an argument over Lennon's refusal to sign an agreement that would finally dissolve the Beatles' legal partnership. (Lennon eventually signed the papers while holidaying in Florida with Pang and Julian.) Harrison offended Lennon in 1980, when he published an autobiography that made little mention of him. Lennon told Playboy, "I was hurt by it. By glaring omission... my influence on his life is absolutely zilch... he remembers every two-bit sax player or guitarist he met in subsequent years. I'm not in the book." Lennon's most intense feelings were reserved for McCartney. In addition to attacking him through the lyrics of "How Do You Sleep? ", Lennon argued with him through the press for three years after the group split. The two later began to reestablish something of the close friendship they had once known, and in 1974, they even played music together again before eventually growing apart once more. Lennon said that during McCartney's final visit in April 1976, they watched the episode of Saturday Night Live in which Lorne Michaels made a $3,000 cash offer to get the Beatles to reunite on the show. The pair considered going to the studio to make a joke appearance, attempting to claim their share of the money, but were too tired.
    In 1970, Lennon and Ono went through primal therapy with Arthur Janov in Los Angeles, California.
    More Details Hide Details Designed to release emotional pain from early childhood, the therapy entailed two half-days a week with Janov for four months; he had wanted to treat the couple for longer, but they felt no need to continue and returned to London. Lennon's emotional debut solo album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970), was received with high praise. Critic Greil Marcus remarked, "John's singing in the last verse of 'God' may be the finest in all of rock." The album featured the songs "Mother", in which Lennon confronted his feelings of childhood rejection, and the Dylanesque "Working Class Hero", a bitter attack against the bourgeois social system which, due to the lyric "you're still fucking peasants", fell foul of broadcasters. The same year, Tariq Ali's revolutionary political views, expressed when he interviewed Lennon, inspired the singer to write "Power to the People". Lennon also became involved with Ali during a protest against Oz magazine's prosecution for alleged obscenity. Lennon denounced the proceedings as "disgusting fascism", and he and Ono (as Elastic Oz Band) released the single "God Save Us/Do the Oz" and joined marches in support of the magazine.
  • 1969
    Age 28
    Lennon left the Beatles in September 1969, and agreed not to inform the media while the group renegotiated their recording contract, but he was outraged that McCartney publicised his own departure on releasing his debut solo album in April 1970.
    More Details Hide Details Lennon's reaction was, "Jesus Christ! He gets all the credit for it!" He later wrote, "I started the band. I disbanded it. It's as simple as that." In later interviews with Rolling Stone magazine, he revealed his bitterness towards McCartney, saying, "I was a fool not to do what Paul did, which was use it to sell a record." He spoke too of the hostility he perceived the other members had towards Ono, and of how he, Harrison, and Starr "got fed up with being sidemen for Paul... After Brian Epstein died we collapsed. Paul took over and supposedly led us. But what is leading us when we went round in circles?"
    Between 1969 and 1970, Lennon released the singles "Give Peace a Chance" (widely adopted as an anti-Vietnam-War anthem in 1969), "Cold Turkey" (documenting his withdrawal symptoms after he became addicted to heroin) and "Instant Karma!
    More Details Hide Details " In protest at Britain's involvement in the Nigerian Civil War, its support of America in the Vietnam war and (perhaps jokingly) against "Cold Turkey" slipping down the charts, Lennon returned his MBE medal to the Queen, though this had no effect on his MBE status, which could not be renounced.
    Lennon and Ono were married on 20 March 1969, and soon released a series of 14 lithographs called "Bag One" depicting scenes from their honeymoon, eight of which were deemed indecent and most of which were banned and confiscated.
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    After his marriage to Yoko Ono in 1969, he changed his name to John Ono Lennon.
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  • 1968
    Age 27
    Ono became pregnant in 1968 and miscarried a male child they named John Ono LennonII on 21 November 1968, a few weeks after Lennon's divorce from Cynthia was granted. During Lennon's last two years in the Beatles, he and Ono began public protests against the Vietnam War. They were married in Gibraltar on 20 March 1969, and spent their honeymoon at the Hilton Amsterdam campaigning with a week-long Bed-In for Peace.
    More Details Hide Details They planned another Bed-In in the United States, but were denied entry, so held one instead at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, where they recorded "Give Peace a Chance". They often combined advocacy with performance art, as in their "Bagism", first introduced during a Vienna press conference. Lennon detailed this period in the Beatles song "The Ballad of John and Yoko". Lennon changed his name by deed poll on 22 April 1969, adding "Ono" as a middle name. The brief ceremony took place on the roof of the Apple Corps building, made famous three months earlier by the Beatles' Let It Be rooftop concert. Although he used the name John Ono Lennon thereafter, official documents referred to him as John Winston Ono Lennon, since he was not permitted to revoke a name given at birth. The couple settled at Tittenhurst Park at Sunninghill in Berkshire. After Ono was injured in a car accident, Lennon arranged for a king-sized bed to be brought to the recording studio as he worked on the Beatles' last album, Abbey Road.
    Lennon's creative focus continued to move beyond the Beatles and between 1968 and 1969 he and Ono recorded three albums of experimental music together: Unfinished Music No.1: Two Virgins (known more for its cover than for its music), Unfinished Music No.2: Life with the Lions and Wedding Album.
    More Details Hide Details In 1969, they formed the Plastic Ono Band, releasing Live Peace in Toronto 1969.
    At the end of 1968, Lennon was featured in the film The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus (not released until 1996) in the role of a Dirty Mac band member.
    More Details Hide Details The supergroup, composed of Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Mitch Mitchell, also backed a vocal performance by Ono in the film.
  • 1967
    Age 26
    The anti-war, black comedy How I Won the War, featuring Lennon's only appearance in a non–Beatles full-length film, was shown in cinemas in October 1967.
    More Details Hide Details McCartney organised the group's first post-Epstein project, the self-written, -produced and -directed television film Magical Mystery Tour, released in December that year. While the film itself proved to be their first critical flop, its soundtrack release, featuring Lennon's acclaimed, Lewis Carroll-inspired "I Am the Walrus", was a success. With Epstein gone, the band members became increasingly involved in business activities, and in February 1968 they formed Apple Corps, a multimedia corporation composed of Apple Records and several other subsidiary companies. Lennon described the venture as an attempt to achieve, "artistic freedom within a business structure", but his increased drug experimentation and growing preoccupation with Yoko Ono, and McCartney's own marriage plans, left Apple in need of professional management. Lennon asked Lord Beeching to take on the role, but he declined, advising Lennon to go back to making records. Lennon approached Allen Klein, who had managed The Rolling Stones and other bands during the British Invasion. Klein was appointed as Apple's chief executive by Lennon, Harrison and Starr, but McCartney never signed the management contract.
    According to biographer Ian MacDonald, Lennon's continuous experience with LSD during the year brought him "close to erasing his identity". 1967 saw the release of "Strawberry Fields Forever", hailed by Time magazine for its "astonishing inventiveness", and the group's landmark album Sgt.
    More Details Hide Details Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which revealed Lennon's lyrics contrasting strongly with the simple love songs of the Lennon–McCartney's early years. In August, after having been introduced to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the group attended a weekend of personal instruction at his Transcendental Meditation seminar in Bangor, Wales, and were informed of Epstein's death during the seminar. "I knew we were in trouble then", Lennon said later. "I didn't have any misconceptions about our ability to do anything other than play music, and I was scared". Led primarily by Harrison and Lennon's interest in Eastern religion, the Beatles later travelled to Maharishi's ashram in India for further guidance. While there, they composed most of the songs for The Beatles and Abbey Road.
    Since his involuntary introduction to LSD, he had made increasing use of the drug, and was almost constantly under its influence for much of 1967.
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  • 1966
    Age 25
    Deprived of the routine of live performances after their final commercial concert on 29 August 1966, Lennon felt lost and considered leaving the band.
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    In March 1966, during an interview with Evening Standard reporter Maureen Cleave, Lennon remarked, "Christianity will go.
    More Details Hide Details It will vanish and shrink... We're more popular than Jesus now—I don't know which will go first, rock and roll or Christianity." The comment went virtually unnoticed in England but caused great offence in the US when quoted by a magazine there five months later. The furore that followed—burning of Beatles records, Ku Klux Klan activity and threats against Lennon—contributed to the band's decision to stop touring.
  • 1965
    Age 24
    " expressed his own feelings in 1965: "I meant it...
    More Details Hide Details It was me singing 'help'". He had put on weight (he would later refer to this as his "Fat Elvis" period), and felt he was subconsciously seeking change. In March that year he was unknowingly introduced to LSD when a dentist, hosting a dinner party attended by Lennon, Harrison and their wives, spiked the guests' coffee with the drug. When they wanted to leave, their host revealed what they had taken, and strongly advised them not to leave the house because of the likely effects. Later, in an elevator at a nightclub, they all believed it was on fire: "We were all screaming... hot and hysterical."
  • 1964
    Age 23
    After a year of Beatlemania in the UK, the group's historic February 1964 US debut appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show marked their breakthrough to international stardom. A two-year period of constant touring, moviemaking, and songwriting followed, during which Lennon wrote two books, In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works. The Beatles received recognition from the British Establishment when they were appointed Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 1965 Queen's Birthday Honours.
    More Details Hide Details Lennon grew concerned that fans attending Beatles concerts were unable to hear the music above the screaming of fans, and that the band's musicianship was beginning to suffer as a result. Lennon's "Help!
  • 1963
    Age 22
    When the Beatles recorded "Twist and Shout", the final track during the mammoth one-day session that produced the band's 1963 debut album, Please Please Me, Lennon's voice, already compromised by a cold, came close to giving out.
    More Details Hide Details Lennon said, "I couldn't sing the damn thing, I was just screaming." In the words of biographer Barry Miles, "Lennon simply shredded his vocal cords in the interests of rock 'n' roll." The Beatles' producer, George Martin, tells how Lennon "had an inborn dislike of his own voice which I could never understand. He was always saying to me: 'DO something with my voice! Make it different.'" Martin obliged, often using double-tracking and other techniques. As his Beatles era segued into his solo career, his singing voice found a widening range of expression. Biographer Chris Gregory writes of Lennon "tentatively beginning to expose his insecurities in a number of acoustic-led 'confessional' ballads, so beginning the process of 'public therapy' that will eventually culminate in the primal screams of "Cold Turkey" and the cathartic John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band." Music critic Robert Christgau calls this Lennon's "greatest vocal performance... from scream to whine, is modulated electronically... echoed, filtered, and double tracked." David Stuart Ryan notes Lennon's vocal delivery to range from "extreme vulnerability, sensitivity and even naivety" to a hard "rasping" style. Wiener too describes contrasts, saying the singer's voice can be "at first subdued; soon it almost cracks with despair". Music historian Ben Urish recalls hearing the Beatles' Ed Sullivan Show performance of "This Boy" played on the radio a few days after Lennon's murder: "As Lennon's vocals reached their peak... it hurt too much to hear him scream with such anguish and emotion.
    Soon after their return from Spain, at McCartney's twenty-first birthday party in June 1963, Lennon physically attacked Cavern Club MC Bob Wooler for saying "How was your honeymoon, John?" The MC, known for his wordplay and affectionate but cutting remarks, was making a joke, but ten months had passed since Lennon's marriage, and the honeymoon, deferred, was still two months in the future.
    More Details Hide Details To Lennon, who was intoxicated with alcohol at the time, the matter was simple: "He called me a queer so I battered his bloody ribs in". Lennon delighted in mocking Epstein for his homosexuality and for the fact that he was Jewish. When Epstein invited suggestions for the title of his autobiography, Lennon offered Queer Jew; on learning of the eventual title, A Cellarful of Noise, he parodied, "More like A Cellarful of Boys". He demanded of a visitor to Epstein's flat, "Have you come to blackmail him? If not, you're the only bugger in London who hasn't." During the recording of "Baby, You're a Rich Man", he sang altered choruses of "Baby, you're a rich fag Jew". Lennon's first son, Julian, was born as his commitments with the Beatles intensified at the height of Beatlemania during his marriage to Cynthia. Lennon was touring with the Beatles when Julian was born on 8 April 1963. Julian's birth, like his mother Cynthia's marriage to Lennon, was kept secret because Epstein was convinced public knowledge of such things would threaten the Beatles' commercial success. Julian recalls how some four years later, as a small child in Weybridge, "I was trundled home from school and came walking up with one of my watercolour paintings. It was just a bunch of stars and this blonde girl I knew at school. And Dad said, 'What's this?' I said, 'It's Lucy in the sky with diamonds.'" Lennon used it as the title of a Beatles song, and though it was later reported to have been derived from the initials LSD, Lennon insisted, "It's not an acid song."
    They recorded their debut album, Please Please Me, in under 10 hours on 11 February 1963, a day when Lennon was suffering the effects of a cold, which is evident in the vocal on the last song to be recorded that day, "Twist and Shout".
    More Details Hide Details The Lennon–McCartney songwriting partnership yielded eight of its fourteen tracks. With few exceptions—one being the album title itself—Lennon had yet to bring his love of wordplay to bear on his song lyrics, saying: "We were just writing songs... pop songs with no more thought of them than that—to create a sound. And the words were almost irrelevant". In a 1987 interview, McCartney said that the other Beatles idolised John: "He was like our own little Elvis... We all looked up to John. He was older and he was very much the leader; he was the quickest wit and the smartest." The Beatles achieved mainstream success in the UK during the beginning of 1963. Lennon was on tour when his first son, Julian, was born in April. During their Royal Variety Show performance, attended by the Queen Mother and other British royalty, Lennon poked fun at his audience: "For our next song, I'd like to ask for your help. For the people in the cheaper seats, clap your hands... and the rest of you, if you'll just rattle your jewellery."
  • TEENAGE
  • 1960
    Age 19
    Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Sutcliffe became "The Beatles" in early 1960.
    More Details Hide Details In August that year, the Beatles engaged for a 48-night residency in Hamburg, Germany, and desperately in need of a drummer, asked Pete Best to join them. Lennon was now 19, and his aunt, horrified when he told her about the trip, pleaded with him to continue his art studies instead. After the first Hamburg residency, the band accepted another in April 1961, and a third in April 1962. Like the other band members, Lennon was introduced to Preludin while in Hamburg, and regularly took the drug, as well as amphetamines, as a stimulant during their long, overnight performances. Brian Epstein, the Beatles' manager from 1962, had no prior experience of artist management, but had a strong influence on their early dress code and attitude on stage. Lennon initially resisted his attempts to encourage the band to present a professional appearance, but eventually complied, saying, "I'll wear a bloody balloon if somebody's going to pay me". McCartney took over on bass after Sutcliffe decided to stay in Hamburg, and drummer Ringo Starr replaced Best, completing the four-piece line-up that would endure until the group's break-up in 1970. The band's first single, "Love Me Do", was released in October 1962 and reached No. 17 on the British charts.
  • 1958
    Age 17
    On 15 July 1958, when Lennon was 17 years old, his mother, walking home after visiting the Smiths' house, was struck by a car and killed.
    More Details Hide Details Lennon failed all his GCE O-level examinations, and was accepted into the Liverpool College of Art only after his aunt and headmaster intervened. Once at the college, he started wearing Teddy Boy clothes and acquired a reputation for disrupting classes and ridiculing teachers. As a result, he was excluded from the painting class, then the graphic arts course, and was threatened with expulsion for his behaviour, which included sitting on a nude model's lap during a life drawing class. He failed an annual exam, despite help from fellow student and future wife Cynthia Powell, and was "thrown out of the college before his final year". At age 15, Lennon formed the skiffle group, the Quarrymen. Named after Quarry Bank High School, the group was established by him in September 1956. By the summer of 1957, the Quarrymen played a "spirited set of songs" made up of half skiffle and half rock and roll. Lennon first met Paul McCartney at the Quarrymen's second performance, held in Woolton on 6 July at the St. Peter's Church garden fête, after which he asked McCartney to join the band.
  • 1956
    Age 15
    His mother bought him his first guitar in 1956, an inexpensive Gallotone Champion acoustic for which she "lent" her son five pounds and ten shillings on the condition that the guitar be delivered to her own house, and not Mimi's, knowing well that her sister was not supportive of her son's musical aspirations.
    More Details Hide Details As Mimi was sceptical of his claim that he would be famous one day, she hoped he would grow bored with music, often telling him, "The guitar's all very well, John, but you'll never make a living out of it".
  • 1952
    Age 11
    Lennon was raised as an Anglican and attended Dovedale Primary School. From September 1952 to 1957, after passing his eleven-plus exam, he attended Quarry Bank High School in Liverpool, and was described by Harvey at the time as, "A happy-go-lucky, good-humoured, easy going, lively lad."
    More Details Hide Details He often drew comical cartoons which appeared in his own self-made school magazine called The Daily Howl, but despite his artistic talent, his school reports were damning: "Certainly on the road to failure... hopeless... rather a clown in class... wasting other pupils' time." In 2005, the National Postal Museum in the United States acquired a stamp collection which Lennon had formed as a boy.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1946
    Age 5
    In July 1946 Lennon's father visited Smith and took his son to Blackpool, secretly intending to emigrate to New Zealand with him.
    More Details Hide Details Julia followed them—with her partner at the time, 'Bobby' Dykins—and after a heated argument his father forced the five-year-old to choose between them. Lennon twice chose his father, but as his mother walked away, he began to cry and followed her. It would be 20 years before he had contact with his father again. Throughout the rest of his childhood and adolescence he lived with his aunt and uncle, Mimi and George Smith, who had no children of their own, at Mendips, 251Menlove Avenue, Woolton. His aunt purchased volumes of short stories for him, and his uncle, a dairyman at his family's farm, bought him a mouth organ and engaged him in solving puzzles. Julia visited Mendips on a regular basis, and when John was 11 years old he often visited her at 1 Blomfield Road, Liverpool, where she played him Elvis Presley records, taught him the banjo, and showed him how to play "Ain't That a Shame" by Fats Domino.
  • 1944
    Age 3
    His father was often away from home but sent regular pay cheques to 9Newcastle Road, Liverpool, where Lennon lived with his mother; the cheques stopped when he went absent without leave in February 1944.
    More Details Hide Details When he eventually came home six months later, he offered to look after the family, but Julia—by then pregnant with another man's child—rejected the idea. After her sister, Mimi Smith, twice complained to Liverpool's Social Services, Julia handed the care of Lennon over to her.
  • 1940
    Born
    Lennon was born in war-time England, on 9 October 1940 at Liverpool Maternity Hospital, to Julia (née Stanley) (1914-1958) and Alfred Lennon (1912-1976), a merchant seaman of Irish descent, who was away at the time of his son's birth.
    More Details Hide Details His parents named him John Winston Lennon after his paternal grandfather, John "Jack" Lennon, and then-Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
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