Adapted from https://www.biographyonline.net/music/john-lennon.html
John Lennon was a British singer – songwriter and a key member of
the Beatles – a musical and cultural phenomenon. After the Beatles,
Lennon went on to have a distinguished solo career. Lennon was also
an icon of the 1960s counter-culture revolution and was an anti-war
“If someone thinks that love and peace is a cliché that must have
been left behind in the Sixties, that’s his problem. Love and peace
are eternal. “
– John Lennon
John Lennon was born, October 1940, during a German air raid in
Oxford Street Maternity hospital, Liverpool. During his childhood,
he saw little of his father Freddie, who went AWOL whilst serving
in the navy. For several years, John was brought up by his mother’s
In his early years John was a mischievous students, who would be
quick to take the mickey out of teachers and other students. His
school reports were often scathing. “Certainly on the road to
failure … hopeless … rather a clown in class … wasting other
With Paul McCartney and George Harrison, the first concert of the
Beatles was at the Cavern club in Liverpool on 21st March, 1961.
After being rejected by many music labels, they eventually signed
an agreement with Parlophone in 1962. George Martin who was
responsible for signing the Beatles, later said he was not particularly
impressed by their demo tapes, but liked their wit and humour – of
which Lennon was usually at the forefront.
Despite his natural rebelliousness, Lennon agreed to the suggestion
of manager Brian Epstein to dress smartly and have similar haircut.
In the early years of the Beatles, the smart suited Beatles were part
of their cultivated image.
Beatlemania became a global phenomenon. It marked a shift in musical
attitudes, especially in the US. The Beatles success of 1964, was
known as the start of the “British Invasion”.
During the 1960s, John Lennon began to frequently take LSD and by
1967 was a heavy user. This also co-incided with a period of
uncertainty, and he considered leaving the Beatles. The death of
Brain Esptein, their manage in 1967 also hit Lennon and the Beatles
hard. However, this was also a period of musical inventiveness,
with new styles of music helping to create some classic recordings,
such as: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
In 1967, John Lennon and the Beatles became more interested in
meditation and Eastern religions. They spent several weeks in the
ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. In India they composed music for
their albums The Beatles and Abbey Road. The visit also saw more
Eastern musical influences begin to percolate into their music.
In 1969 the Beatles started to split up; Lennon was keen to branch
out musically and develop his own solo career. After the break-up
of the Beatles, Lennon pursued a very successful solo career. His
first album was released in 1970 with John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
In the early 1970s, John Lennon also became a figurehead for those
opposed to the Vietnam War. His song “Give Peace a Chance” became
an anthem for the anti-war movement. Due to his anti-war stance
the Nixon administration tried to have him deported, but after a
long struggle he was able to gain a green card in 1976. His song
“Imagine” has also become a tremendously influential song; it has
been voted ‘the most popular song’ by the British public.
In 1975, he retreated from the music world, preferring to spend
time looking after his new son, Sean.
John Lennon married Cynthia Powell in 1963, though the marriage
was kept secret. They had one son, Julian. The marriage broke down
in 1967. Lennon married Yoko Ono in March 1969.
In October of 1980, Lennon made a return to music recording. But,
just two months later on 8 December 1980, John Lennon was shot dead
in Dakota, New York. He was shot by David Chapman – an obsessed fan.
He later pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was imprisoned
By 2012, John Lennon has sold 14 million solo albums, whilst the
Beatles have become the best-selling group of all time – with an
estimated 600 million recording sales worldwide.
Citation: Pettinger, Tejvan. “Biography of John Lennon”, Oxford,
www.biographyonline.net, 28th May. 2007. Updated 31st January, 2017.
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