When did he live?
John Lennon was born on October 9th 1940 in Liverpool. He was killed on December 8th 1980 in New York.
Why is he famous?
Lennon was a member of The Beatles, one of the most successful bands in history. Together with Paul McCartney he wrote numerous famous songs and albums, many of which are named in ‘Best’ lists.
After The Beatles split Lennon had a successful solo career.
He was a noted anti-war activist.
Lennon was made an MBE in 1964, but gave it back in 1969.
His murder by Mark Chapman in 1980 made news around the world.
What is his mark on history?
Many of the songs Lennon wrote, both with McCartney and on his own, remain famous to this day.
‘Beatlemania’, the name given to the huge popularity the Beatles received in the 1960s, was a major part of pop and rock’n’roll wave that moved music into the ‘modern’ era.
The changes in style The Beatles went through during their career, from rock’n’roll to ‘hippy’ pyschedelica, remains a blueprint for many bands shifting their styles as they age.
In 2002 Lennon was voted the 8th Greatest Briton of all time by a nationwide poll in the UK.
Lennon’s family life, both as a child and an adult, were messy. His father, a merchant seaman, left the family but later returned, causing strife in his family (his mother had become pregnant with another man by the time his father returned). Lennon also lived with aunt for a while, and his mum was killed by a car when he was 17. Lennon himself married Cynthia Powell in 1962 after she became pregnant with his child, only to dump her for Yoko Ono in 1968.
The relationship with Yoko Ono, and Paul McCartney’s own marriage issues, resulted in The Beatles breaking up. Ono is often labelled ‘the woman who broke up The Beatles’.
Lennon moved to Manhattan in 1971. His popularity and anti-war stance made President Richard Nixon keen to have him deported.
John Lennon was a terrible student. He failed all his O-levels and got thrown out of college for failing exams. He was also seen as a troublemaker, so much so that Paul McCartney’s parents didn’t want Paul socializing with Lennon.
His aunt, Mimi, once told a young Lennon ‘The guitar is all very well, John, but you’ll never make a living out of it.’