John Lennon Biography

A brief biography of the legendary John Lennon, his times in The Beatles, and the fateful night he was shot by a crazed gunman.

John Lennon was born in Liverpool in the autumn of 1940. The Battle of Britain had just ended, but the war with Germany was far from over. It was into this unsound environment that John Lennon emerged. Who would have thought that he would become such a multi talented musical genius?

John's early years were certainly not easy. His father worked away for long periods on a ship, and essentially he was raised by his aunt. Subsequently his father emigrated to New Zealand, depriving his son of guidance in his formative years. It is perhaps understandable that John Lennon became disruptive at school. The death of his uncle is also said to have had a weighty impact on the adolescent, and he may have become yet another statistic in the grim Merseyside environment. The turning point in his life though came when he developed a strong interest in skiffle, a type of rock and roll music, whilst in his teenage years.

It was while playing for a skiffle band he had formed at school that he met Paul McCartney. The two struck up an immediate friendship, and developed a fine partnership, writing and composing songs. After performing under several band names the pair, along with George Harrison and Pete Best, settled on calling themselves The Beatles. They played eight-hour shifts at various nightclubs in Hamburg, and were popular at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. The drummer, Pete Best, was not particularly good though and held them back. The decision was made to replace him with Ringo Starr, and soon afterwards The Beatles were signed by George Martin for EMI records.

The band began churning out hit after hit, with numerous number ones. Lennon and McCartney were the creative force behind the group, and the amount of quality material they produced was amazing. They began touring the world and were hugely popular, especially in the US. This all changed however, when at a press conference, John Lennon claimed the band were more popular than Jesus, provoking outrage throughout America. Collectively, they all agreed to put an end to the tours and returned home in 1966.

Around this time, Lennon met Yoko Ono. Although the couple were immediately attracted to each other, John was married to Cynthia Powell and they had a child. It soon became clear to her though, where John's affections lie, and she filed for divorce. John and Yoko subsequently married in 1969. In those early years together, they devoured a fair quantity of psychedelics such as LSD, and stories of violence towards one another were rife in the press.

In 1970, Paul McCartney quit the Beatles, causing tension between himself and John. A year later Lennon released the hugely popular "˜Imagine' album. Together he and Yoko campaigned for world peace. Calling for an end to the Vietnam War offended the American government deeply, and he nearly lost his green card as a result.

From 1975 to 1979, John Lennon produced no music of any real quality, preferring to stay at home with his young son Sean, whom Yoko had borne. If he had known what was to follow it is highly likely that he would have stuck with that peaceful lifestyle.

Unable to repress the musical genius inside himself, he wrote the excellent album "˜Double Fantasy'. On December 8, 1980, he was accosted by a young man outside his plush apartment in New York and asked to sign a copy of the album. Thinking nothing of it Lennon went about his business. Upon returning to the apartment later that day, that young man, the addled and demented Mark Chapman, shot and killed John Lennon.

Chapman was to receive a life sentence for his lunacy, but the rest of the world was deprived of yet more musical brilliance from the former Beatle. Lets all be glad at least, that he gave us a taste of his magic.

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