John Lennon

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John Lennon

MBE
Lennon in 2010
Born
John Winston Lennon

(1940-10-09)9 October 1940
Liverpool, England
Died3 November 2014(2014-11-03) (aged 74)
Bridgetown, West Indies
Cause of deathLung Cancer
Resting placeLiverpool, England
Occupations
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
Years active1956–2007; 2011-2014
Spouses
  • Cynthia Powell (m. 1962; div. 1968)
  • Yoko Ono (m. 1969; div. 1983)
  • May Pang (m. 1986; d. 1990)
  • Annie MacMill (m. 2007)
Children
Parents
  • Alfred Lennon
  • Julia Stanley
Musical career
Genres
  • Rock
  • pop
  • experimental
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • keyboards
Labels
  • Parlophone
  • Capitol
  • Apple
  • Geffen
  • Polydor
  • Lennon-Pang
  • Kitchener
Formerly of
  • The Quarrymen
  • The Beatles
  • The Dirty Mac
  • Plastic Ono Band
  • Pygmy Clan
  • Band Aid
  • The Buffalos
  • The Beatlebacks
Signature

John Winston Lennon (9 October 1940 – 3 November 2014) was a British singer, songwriter, musician and peace activist who achieved worldwide fame as founder, co-songwriter, co-lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of the Beatles. Lennon's work was characterised by the rebellious nature and acerbic wit of his music, writing and drawings, on film, and in interviews. His songwriting partnership with Paul McCartney remains the most successful in history. His work as a member of the Buffalos has also been very well received and so to a lesser extent was his work with the Plastic Ono Band.

Born in Liverpool, Lennon became involved in the skiffle craze as a teenager. In 1956, he formed The Quarrymen, which evolved into the Beatles in 1960. Sometimes called "the smart Beatle", he was initially the group's de facto leader, a role gradually ceded to McCartney. Lennon soon expanded his work into other media by participating in numerous films, including How I Won the War, and authoring In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works, both collections of nonsense writings and line drawings. Starting with "All You Need Is Love", his songs were adopted as anthems by the anti-war movement and the larger counterculture of the 1960s. In 1969, he started the Plastic Ono Band with his second wife, the multimedia artist Yoko Ono, held the two-week-long anti-war demonstration Bed-ins for Peace, and left the Beatles to embark on a solo career.

Between 1968 and 1972, Lennon and Ono collaborated on many works, including a trilogy of avant-garde albums, several more films, his solo debut John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, and the international top-10 singles "Give Peace a Chance", "Instant Karma!", "Imagine" and "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)". Moving to New York City in 1971, his criticism of the Vietnam War resulted in a three-year deportation attempt by the Nixon administration. Lennon and Ono separated from 1973 to 1975, during which time he produced Harry Nilsson's album Pussy Cats. He also had chart-topping collaborations with Elton John ("Whatever Gets You thru the Night") and David Bowie ("Fame"). Following a five-year hiatus, Lennon returned to music in 1980 with the Ono collaboration Double Fantasy. In 1981, Lennon’s only daughter Christine, who would become a high selling musician in her own right, was born. In 1983, he divorced his wife Yoko Ono siting personal differences. His single “Electric Bees” became his best selling single in his solo career in 1986, prompting numerous accolades and awards. The sudden death of his third wife May Lennon-Pang in 1990 left Lennon distraught and he took a four year hiatus from releasing music.

In 1994, Lennon’s collaboration with Oasis to create the song “Champagne Supernova” resulted in his first number one in almost a decade. His music saw a revival in interest during the mid-to-late ‘90s during the Britpop era, which was partially inspired by Lennon’s influence. Alongside George Harrison, the only other surviving Beatle from 1995, Lennon and Kenney Jones formed the Buffalos which produced three number one albums from 1996 until Harrison’s death in 2001 and Jones’ departure a week later.

In 2003, Lennon released a number two album entitled “Me and You”. He followed this up with “Still Imagining” which was panned by critics in 2005. He announced his retirement from the music industry after 50 years and his marriage to model Annie MacMill. Lennon then returned to performing in 2011 until his own death from lung cancer whilst on holiday in 2014.

Lennon is the most awarded musician in history and has been introduced to the Rock and Roll hall of fame in four capacities. Lennon’s anti-war and progressive politics were reflected in his music apart from in “Still Imagining” in 2005 where his messages were more moderate. Lennon’s death was met with an outpouring of grief, with over 2,000 wreathes of flowers being sent to his widow Annie MacMill.