“All you need is love.” – John Lennon
Perhaps Mark David Chapman, the deranged fan who shot him, had just about too much love for his idol. Either that or when John Lennon said that, he hadn’t thought it would affect the world so much that it cost him his life.
Singer-songwriter John Lennon was the brains behind The Beatles. In 1957, Lennon met Paul McCartney and invited him to join his music group. Back then, The Beatles had not yet made an appearance in the music scene. When they both formed a musical partnership, it was under a different name but it was the most successful songwriting partnership in the history of music.
John Lennon: The Legend
- Date and Place of Birth: October 9, 1940, in Liverpool, Merseyside, England, United Kingdom
- Date and Place of Passing: December 8, 1980, in New York, United States
Born and Bred in Britain
John Winston Lennon was born in Liverpool during a German air raid in World War II. When he was 4 years old, his parents separated and he went to live with his Aunt Mimi. His father was a merchant seaman, and despite being mostly away at sea, this had not fueled the fatherly urge to see his son more often. He was not even present at his son’s birth and did not see much of his son during his years of growing up. His mother, Julia, remarried and made a point to see her son and Mimi more regularly. She taught him how to play the banjo and the piano, and purchased his first guitar! His mother played an important role during his childhood years, and he was understood to be devastated when she was hit by a car driven by an off-duty police officer in 1958.
The Beginning of ‘The Beatles’
The Quarry Men was Lennon’s first band, an inspirational result of Elvis Presley’s explosion in the rock music scene. A year after Lennon invited McCartney to join the band, the latter introduced George Harrison to Lennon, and soon, Harrison and art college buddy Stuart Sutcliffe became members. In 1960, Pete Best became the drummer for their band. Buddy Holly’s ‘That’ll Be The Day‘ was the first recording they made. Apparently, it was Holly’s group, The Crickets who inspired Lennon’s band to change its name to The Beatles!
In 1961, Brian Epstein became the manager of The Beatles and secured a record contract for the band with EMI, with Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey) as the new drummer, and George Martin as the producer. The band released their first single ‘Love Me Do‘ that hit the British charts at No. 17. Inspired by Roy Orbison, Lennon wrote the band’s follow-up single ‘Please Please Me‘, which topped the charts in Britain. The Beatles became the most popular band in Britain with mega-hit releases like ‘She Loves You‘ and ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand‘.
In 1962, Lennon married Cynthia Powell, and had a son called Julian (named after Lennon’s mother). However, his hopes for a good marriage crumbled due to the huge success of his band, famously known as the Beatlemania. Four years later, they divorced. In 1967, he remarried to Japanese avant-garde artist Yoko Ono, whom he met at the Indica Gallery in 1966.
Beatlemania Takes Flight!
The Beatles became the first British band to break into the big scene in US. Beatlemania had launched a “British Invasion” of rock bands which included the Rolling Stones and the Kinks. The Beatles returned to Britain for their first film titled ‘A Hard Day’s Night‘ (1964) and prepared for their first world tour. Their second film ‘Help!‘ (1965) paved the way for the honour bestowed upon by Queen Elizabeth II of England that they would be named a Member of the Order of the British Empire. In 1965, the band performed to 55,600 fans at New York’s Shea Stadium, a new record for largest concert audience in the history of music. That year, the band returned to England and recorded their breakthrough album ‘Rubber Soul’, notably remembered for extending beyond love songs and pop formulas which the band was previously well-known for.
The Beatles took a break and returned to the studio to expand their experimental sound with a drug-influenced exotic instrumentation with lyrics and tape abstractions. The first sample was the single ‘Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever‘ followed by the album ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band‘ in 1967. The album was considered by many to be the greatest rock project in musical history.
Lennon’s Solo Career
In 1969, John Lennon left The Beatles after the band had completed the recording for ‘Abbey Road‘. A year later, Lennon released his debut solo album ‘John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band’ which featured a raw and minimalist sound followed by “primal-scream” therapy. In 1971, Lennon released the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed track called ‘Imagine‘. The track took No. 3 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s “All-Time Best Songs” list.
In 1973, he and Ono separated. Lennon went to Los Angeles and released hit albums, including ‘Mind Games‘ (1973), ‘Walls and Bridges‘ (1974), and ‘Rock and Roll‘ (1975). It was during this time that Lennon had collaborated with David Bowie and Elton John. A reconciliation took place in 1974 between Lennon and Ono, and were gifted with the birth of their only child, a son named Sean. It was then that Lennon decided to leave the music industry to focus on being a family man.
In 1980, he returned to the music industry with the album ‘Double Fantasy’, featuring the hit single ‘(Just Like) Starting Over‘. Sadly, a few weeks after the release of the album, he was shot several times by a deranged fan, identified as Mark David Chapman. Lennon died at New York’s Roosevelt Hospital on December 8, 1980. He was 40 years old. His death left a profound impact on pop culture. Millions of fans worldwide mourned as record sales tipped the scales. His untimely death evoked deep sadness around the globe today, as he continued to be admired by new legions of fans. In 1987, he was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.
No Shooting Please. Just Posters 🙂
Show a burst of love and support for the British superstar and The Beatles by getting their posters below (we have three of John Lennon himself, and two of The Beatles) at our physical store at Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus or place your order with us on our official Posterific Facebook page!