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Lennon at the Montreal bed-in, 1969
John Lennon
Template:Post-nominals
Background information
Birthname John Winston Lennon
Birthdate (1940-Template:MONTHNUMBER-09)9 1940
Birthplace Liverpool, Merseyside, England, United Kingdom
Death date

Script error: No such module "age".

Deathplace Manhattan, New York, New York, United States
Cause of death
alternate names
Occuptation(s)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
  • activist
Years active 1957–1980
Spouse(s)
Cynthia Powell
(m. 1962; div. Expression error: Unexpected < operator.)
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Yoko Ono
(m. 1969)
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Partner(s)
Children
  • Julian Lennon
  • Sean Lennon
Relatives
Awards
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[[Image:{{{image}}}|250px]]
John Lennon
Background information
Born
Birthname
Birthplace
Died
Deathplace
Also known as
Occupation(s)
Origin
Genres
Members
Former members
Years active
Background
Labels
  • Apple
  • Capitol
  • Geffen
  • Parlophone
  • Polydor
Instruments
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • keyboards
  • harmonica
Associated acts
Notable Instruments
Module2
Module3
Module4
Module5
Module6|
Residence
Parents
  • Alfred Lennon
  • Julia Stanley

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John Winston Ono Lennon, Template:Post-nominals (born John Winston Lennon; 9 October 1940Template:Snds8 December 1980) was an English singer, songwriter, musician, and activist who co-founded the Beatles, the most commercially successful and musically influential band in the history of popular music. He and fellow member Paul McCartney formed a much-celebrated songwriting partnership.

Born and raised in Liverpool, Lennon became involved in the skiffle craze as a teenager; his first band, the Quarrymen, was named the Silver Beatles, and finally evolved into the Beatles in 1960. When the group disbanded in 1970, Lennon embarked on a sporadic solo career that produced albums including John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, and songs such as "Give Peace a Chance", "Working Class Hero", and "Imagine". After he married Yoko Ono in 1969, he added "Ono" as one of his middle names. Lennon disengaged himself from the music business in 1975 to raise his infant son Sean, but re-emerged with Ono in 1980 with the new album Double Fantasy. He was shot and killed in front of his Manhattan apartment three weeks after its release.

Lennon revealed a rebellious nature and acerbic wit in his music, writing, drawings, on film and in interviews. Controversial through his political and peace activism, he moved from London to Manhattan in 1971, where his criticism of the Vietnam War resulted in a lengthy attempt by the Nixon administration to deport him. Some of his songs were adopted as anthems by the anti-war movement and the larger counterculture.

By 2012 (thirty-two years after his death), Lennon's solo album sales in the United States had exceeded 14 million units. He is responsible for 25 number-one singles on the US Hot 100 chart as a writer, co-writer, or performer. In 2002, Lennon was voted eighth in a BBC poll of the 100 Greatest Britons and in 2008, Rolling Stone ranked him the fifth-greatest singer of all time. In 1987, he was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Lennon was twice inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—first in 1988 as a member of the Beatles and again in 1994 as a solo artist.[1]

Biography

1940–1957: Early years

Lennon was born in war-time England, on 9 October 1940, at Liverpool Maternity Hospital, to Julia (née Stanley) and Alfred Lennon. His father was a merchant seaman of Irish descent who was away at the time of his son's birth.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". His parents named him John Winston Lennon after his paternal grandfather, John "Jack" Lennon, and Prime Minister Winston Churchill.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". His father was often away from home but sent regular pay cheques to 9Script error: No such module "String".Newcastle Road, Liverpool, where Lennon lived with his mother;Script error: No such module "Footnotes". the cheques stopped when he went absent without leave in February 1944.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". When he eventually came home six months later, he offered to look after the family, but Julia—by then pregnant with another man's child—rejected the idea.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". After her sister Mimi complained to Liverpool's Social Services twice, Julia gave her custody of Lennon. In July 1946, Lennon's father visited her and took his son to Blackpool, secretly intending to emigrate to New Zealand with him.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Julia followed them—with her partner at the time, 'Bobby' Dykins—and after a heated argument his father forced the five-year-old to choose between them. Lennon twice chose his father, but as his mother walked away, he began to cry and followed her,Script error: No such module "Footnotes". although this has been disputed. According to author Mark Lewisohn, Lennon's parents agreed that Julia should take him and give him a home as Alf left again. A witness who was there that day, Billy Hall, has said the dramatic scene often portrayed with a young John Lennon having to make a decision between his parents never happened.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". It would be 20 years before he had contact with his father again.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

File:Mendipsnationaltrust.JPG

251 Menlove Avenue, where Lennon lived for most of his childhood

Throughout the rest of his childhood and adolescence, Lennon lived at Mendips, 251Script error: No such module "String".Menlove Avenue, Woolton with Mimi and her husband George Toogood Smith, who had no children of their own.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". His aunt purchased volumes of short stories for him, and his uncle, a dairyman at his family's farm, bought him a mouth organ and engaged him in solving Template:Linktext puzzles.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Julia visited Mendips on a regular basis, and when John was 11 years old he often visited her at 1 Blomfield Road, Liverpool, where she played him Elvis Presley records, taught him the banjo, and showed him how to play Ain't That a Shame by Fats Domino.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". In September 1980, Lennon commented about his family and his rebellious nature:

Part of me would like to be accepted by all facets of society and not be this loudmouthed lunatic poet/musician. But I cannot be what I am not ... I was the one who all the other boys' parents—including Paul's father—would say, 'Keep away from him'... The parents instinctively recognised I was a troublemaker, meaning I did not conform and I would influence their children, which I did. I did my best to disrupt every friend's home ... Partly out of envy that I didn't have this so-called home ... but I did... There were five women that were my family. Five strong, intelligent, beautiful women, five sisters. One happened to be my mother. [She] just couldn't deal with life. She was the youngest and she had a husband who ran away to sea and the war was on and she couldn't cope with me, and I ended up living with her elder sister. Now those women were fantastic ... And that was my first feminist education ... I would infiltrate the other boys' minds. I could say, "Parents are not gods because I don't live with mine and, therefore, I know.'Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

He regularly visited his cousin, Stanley Parkes, who lived in Fleetwood and took him on trips to local cinemas.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". During the school holidays, Parkes often visited Lennon with Leila Harvey, another cousin, and the threesome often traveled to Blackpool two or three times a week to watch shows. They would visit the Blackpool Tower Circus and see artists such as Dickie Valentine, Arthur Askey, Max Bygraves and Joe Loss, with Parkes recalling that Lennon particularly liked George Formby.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". After Parkes's family moved to Scotland, the three cousins often spent their school holidays together there. Parkes recalled, "John, cousin Leila and I were very close. From Edinburgh we would drive up to the family croft at Durness, which was from about the time John was nine years old until he was about 16."Script error: No such module "Footnotes". He was 14 years old when his uncle George died of a liver haemorrhage on 5 June 1955 at age 52.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Lennon was raised as an Anglican and attended Dovedale Primary School.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". After passing his eleven-plus exam, he attended Quarry Bank High School in Liverpool from September 1952 to 1957, and was described by Harvey at the time as a "happy-go-lucky, good-humoured, easy going, lively lad".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". He often drew comical cartoons that appeared in his own self-made school magazine called The Daily Howl,Script error: No such module "Footnotes". but despite his artistic talent, his school reports were damning: "Certainly on the road to failure ... hopeless ... rather a clown in class ... wasting other pupils' time."Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

File:John Lennon's stamp collection.jpg

Lennon's childhood stamp collection

In 2005, the National Postal Museum in the US acquired a stamp collection that Lennon had assembled when he was a boy.[2]

In 1956, Julia bought John his first guitar. The instrument was an inexpensive Gallotone Champion acoustic for which she "lent" her son five pounds and ten shillings on the condition that the guitar be delivered to her own house and not Mimi's, knowing well that her sister was not supportive of her son's musical aspirations.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Mimi was sceptical of his claim that he would be famous one day, and she hoped that he would grow bored with music, often telling him, "The guitar's all very well, John, but you'll never make a living out of it".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". On 15 July 1958 (when Lennon was 17 years old) his mother was struck and killed by a car while she was walking home after visiting the Smiths' house.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Lennon failed all his GCE O-level examinations and was accepted into the Liverpool College of Art only after his aunt and headmaster intervened.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Once at the college, he started wearing Teddy Boy clothes and acquired a reputation for disrupting classes and ridiculing teachers. As a result, he was excluded from the painting class, then the graphic arts course, and was threatened with expulsion for his behaviour, which included sitting on a nude model's lap during a life drawing class.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". He failed an annual exam, despite help from fellow student and future wife Cynthia Powell, and was "thrown out of the college before his final year".Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

1957–1970: The Quarrymen to the Beatles

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1957–1966: Formation, commercial break-out and touring years

File:The Beatles with Jimmie Nicol 916-5099.jpg

Lennon (right) performing in 1964 at the height of Beatlemania

At age 15, Lennon formed the skiffle group, the Quarrymen. Named after Quarry Bank High School, the group was established by Lennon in September 1956.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". By the summer of 1957, the Quarrymen played a "spirited set of songs" made up of half skiffle and half rock and roll.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Lennon first met Paul McCartney at the Quarrymen's second performance, which was held in Woolton on 6 July at the St. Peter's Church garden fête. Lennon then asked McCartney to join the band.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

McCartney said that Aunt Mimi "was very aware that John's friends were lower class", and would often patronise him when he arrived to visit Lennon.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". According to Paul's brother Mike, McCartney's father was also disapproving, declaring that Lennon would get his son "into trouble",Script error: No such module "Footnotes". although he later allowed the fledgling band to rehearse in the McCartneys' front room at 20Script error: No such module "String".Forthlin Road.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". During this time, 18-year-old Lennon wrote his first song, "Hello Little Girl", a UK top 10 hit for The Fourmost nearly five years later.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

McCartney recommended his friend George Harrison to be the lead guitarist.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Lennon thought that Harrison—then 14 years old—was too young. McCartney engineered an audition on the upper deck of a Liverpool bus, where Harrison played Raunchy for Lennon and was asked to join.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Stuart Sutcliffe, Lennon's friend from art school, later joined as bassist.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Sutcliffe became "The Beatles" in early 1960. In August that year, the Beatles engaged for a 48-night residency in Hamburg, Germany and were desperately in need of a drummer. They asked Pete Best to join them.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Lennon was now 19, and his aunt, horrified when he told her about the trip, pleaded with him to continue his art studies instead.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". After the first Hamburg residency, the band accepted another in April 1961, and a third in April 1962. Like the other band members, Lennon was introduced to Preludin while in Hamburg,Script error: No such module "Footnotes". and regularly took the drug, as well as amphetamines, as a stimulant during their long, overnight performances.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Brian Epstein managed the Beatles from 1962 until his untimely death in 1967. He had no prior experience managing artists, but he had a strong influence on the group's dress code and attitude on stage.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Lennon initially resisted his attempts to encourage the band to present a professional appearance, but eventually complied, saying, "I'll wear a bloody balloon if somebody's going to pay me".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". McCartney took over on bass after Sutcliffe decided to stay in Hamburg, and Pete Best was replaced with drummer Ringo Starr; this completed the four-piece line-up that would entertain millions of fans until the group's break-up in 1970. The band's first single, "Love Me Do", was released in October 1962 and reached No. 17 on the British charts. They recorded their debut album, Please Please Me, in under 10 hours on 11 February 1963,Script error: No such module "Footnotes". a day when Lennon was suffering the effects of a cold,Script error: No such module "Footnotes". which is evident in the vocal on the last song to be recorded that day, "Twist and Shout".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The Lennon–McCartney songwriting partnership yielded eight of its fourteen tracks. With few exceptions—one being the album title itself—Lennon had yet to bring his love of wordplay to bear on his song lyrics, saying: "We were just writing songsScript error: No such module "String".... pop songs with no more thought of them than that—to create a sound. And the words were almost irrelevant".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". In a 1987 interview, McCartney said that the other Beatles idolised John: "He was like our own little ElvisScript error: No such module "String".... We all looked up to John. He was older and he was very much the leader; he was the quickest wit and the smartest."Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

File:John Lennon 1964 001 cropped.png

Lennon performing in 1964.

The Beatles achieved mainstream success in the UK early in 1963. Lennon was on tour when his first son, Julian, was born in April. During their Royal Variety Show performance that was attended by the Queen Mother and other British royalty, Lennon poked fun at his audience: "For our next song, I'd like to ask for your help. For the people in the cheaper seats, clap your handsScript error: No such module "String".... and the rest of you, if you'll just rattle your jewellery."Script error: No such module "Footnotes". After a year of Beatlemania in the UK, the group's historic February 1964 US debut appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show marked their breakthrough to international stardom. A two-year period of constant touring, moviemaking, and songwriting followed, during which Lennon wrote two books, In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The Beatles received recognition from the British Establishment when they were appointed Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 1965 Queen's Birthday Honours.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Lennon grew concerned that fans who attended Beatles concerts were unable to hear the music above the screaming of fans, and that the band's musicianship was beginning to suffer as a result.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Lennon's "Help!" expressed his own feelings in 1965: "I meant itScript error: No such module "String".... It was me singing 'help'".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". He had put on weight (he would later refer to this as his "Fat Elvis" period),Script error: No such module "Footnotes". and felt he was subconsciously seeking change.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". In March that year he was unknowingly introduced to LSD when a dentist, hosting a dinner party attended by Lennon, Harrison and their wives, spiked the guests' coffee with the drug.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". When they wanted to leave, their host revealed what they had taken, and strongly advised them not to leave the house because of the likely effects. Later, in an elevator at a nightclub, they all believed it was on fire: "We were all screamingScript error: No such module "String".... hot and hysterical."Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Script error: No such module "anchor". In March 1966, during an interview with Evening Standard reporter Maureen Cleave, Lennon remarked, "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrinkScript error: No such module "String".... We're more popular than Jesus now—I don't know which will go first, rock and roll or Christianity."Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The comment went virtually unnoticed in England but caused great offence in the US when quoted by a magazine there five months later. The furore that followed—burning of Beatles records, Ku Klux Klan activity and threats against Lennon—contributed to the band's decision to stop touring.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

1967–1970: Studio years, break-up and solo work

After the Beatles' final commercial concert on 29 August 1966, Lennon was deprived of the routine of live performances; he felt lost and considered leaving the band.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Since his involuntary introduction to LSD, he had increased his use of the drug and was almost constantly under its influence for much of 1967.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". According to biographer Ian MacDonald, Lennon's continuous experimentation with LSD during the year brought him "close to erasing his identity".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The year 1967 saw the release of "Strawberry Fields Forever", hailed by Time magazine for its "astonishing inventiveness",Script error: No such module "Footnotes". and the group's landmark album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which revealed Lennon's lyrics that contrasted strongly with the simple love songs of the Lennon–McCartney's early years.

After the Beatles were introduced to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the group attended an August weekend of personal instruction at his Transcendental Meditation seminar in Bangor, Wales.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". During the seminar, they were informed of Epstein's death. "I knew we were in trouble then", Lennon said later. "I didn't have any misconceptions about our ability to do anything other than play music, and I was scared".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Led primarily by Harrison and Lennon's interest in Eastern religion, the Beatles later travelled to Maharishi's ashram in India for further guidance.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". While there, they composed most of the songs for The Beatles and Abbey Road.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

The anti-war, black comedy How I Won the War, featuring Lennon's only appearance in a non–Beatles full-length film, was shown in cinemas in October 1967.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". McCartney organised the group's first post-Epstein project,Script error: No such module "Footnotes". the self-written, -produced and -directed television film Magical Mystery Tour, released in December that year. While the film itself proved to be their first critical flop, its soundtrack release, featuring Lennon's acclaimed, Lewis Carroll-inspired "I Am the Walrus", was a success.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". With Epstein gone, the band members became increasingly involved in business activities, and in February 1968 they formed Apple Corps, a multimedia corporation composed of Apple Records and several other subsidiary companies. Lennon described the venture as an attempt to achieve, "artistic freedom within a business structure",Script error: No such module "Footnotes". but his increased drug experimentation and growing preoccupation with Yoko Ono, and McCartney's own marriage plans, left Apple in need of professional management. Lennon asked Lord Beeching to take on the role, but he declined, advising Lennon to go back to making records. Lennon approached Allen Klein, who had managed The Rolling Stones and other bands during the British Invasion. Klein was appointed as Apple's chief executive by Lennon, Harrison and Starr,Script error: No such module "Footnotes". but McCartney never signed the management contract.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

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At the end of 1968, Lennon was featured in the film The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus (not released until 1996) in the role of a Dirty Mac band member. The supergroup, composed of Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Mitch Mitchell, also backed a vocal performance by Ono in the film.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Lennon and Ono were married on 20 March 1969, and soon released a series of 14 lithographs called "Bag One" depicting scenes from their honeymoon,Script error: No such module "Footnotes". eight of which were deemed indecent and most of which were banned and confiscated.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Lennon's creative focus continued to move beyond the Beatles and between 1968 and 1969 he and Ono recorded three albums of experimental music together: Unfinished Music No.1: Two VirginsScript error: No such module "Footnotes". (known more for its cover than for its music), Unfinished Music No.2: Life with the Lions and Wedding Album. In 1969, they formed the Plastic Ono Band, releasing Live Peace in Toronto 1969. Between 1969 and 1970, Lennon released the singles "Give Peace a Chance" (widely adopted as an anti-Vietnam-War anthem in 1969),Script error: No such module "Footnotes". "Cold Turkey" (documenting his withdrawal symptoms after he became addicted to heroinScript error: No such module "Footnotes".) and "Instant Karma!" In protest at Britain's involvement in "the Nigeria-Biafra thing"[3] (the Nigerian Civil War),Script error: No such module "Footnotes". its support of America in the Vietnam war and (perhaps jokingly) against "Cold Turkey" slipping down the charts,[4] Lennon returned his MBE medal to the Queen, though this had no effect on his MBE status, which could not be renounced.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Lennon left the Beatles in September 1969,Script error: No such module "Footnotes". and agreed not to inform the media while the group renegotiated their recording contract, but he was outraged that McCartney publicised his own departure on releasing his debut solo album in April 1970. Lennon's reaction was, "Jesus Christ! He gets all the credit for it!"Script error: No such module "Footnotes". He later wrote, "I started the band. I disbanded it. It's as simple as that."Script error: No such module "Footnotes". In later interviews with Rolling Stone magazine, he revealed his bitterness towards McCartney, saying, "I was a fool not to do what Paul did, which was use it to sell a record."Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Lennon also spoke of the hostility he perceived the other members had towards Ono, and of how he, Harrison, and Starr "got fed up with being sidemen for Paul ... After Brian Epstein died we collapsed. Paul took over and supposedly led us. But what is leading us when we went round in circles?"Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

1970–1980: Solo career

1970–1972: Initial solo success and activism

File:John Lennon Imagine 1971.jpg

Advertisement for Imagine from Billboard, 18 September 1971

In 1970, Lennon and Ono went through primal therapy with Arthur Janov in Los Angeles, California. Designed to release emotional pain from early childhood, the therapy entailed two half-days a week with Janov for four months; he had wanted to treat the couple for longer, but they felt no need to continue and returned to London.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Lennon's emotional debut solo album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970), was received with high praise. Critic Greil Marcus remarked, "John's singing in the last verse of 'God' may be the finest in all of rock."Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The album featured the songs "Mother", in which Lennon confronted his feelings of childhood rejection,Script error: No such module "Footnotes". and the Dylanesque "Working Class Hero", a bitter attack against the bourgeois social system which, due to the lyric "you're still fucking peasants", fell foul of broadcasters.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The same year, Tariq Ali expressed his revolutionary political views when he interviewed Lennon. This inspired the singer to write "Power to the People". Lennon also became involved with Ali during a protest against the prosecution of Oz magazine for alleged obscenity. Lennon denounced the proceedings as "disgusting fascism", and he and Ono (as Elastic Oz Band) released the single "God Save Us/Do the Oz" and joined marches in support of the magazine.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

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Critical response was more guarded with Lennon's next album, Imagine (1971). Rolling Stone reported that "it contains a substantial portion of good music" but warned of the possibility that "his posturings will soon seem not merely dull but irrelevant".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The album's title track would become an anthem for anti-war movements,Script error: No such module "Footnotes". while another, "How Do You Sleep?", was a musical attack on McCartney in response to lyrics from Ram that Lennon felt, and McCartney later confirmed,Script error: No such module "Footnotes". were directed at him and Ono. However, Lennon softened his stance in the mid-1970s and said he had written "How Do You Sleep?" about himself.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". He said in 1980: "I used my resentment against PaulScript error: No such module "String".… to create a songScript error: No such module "String".… not a terrible vicious horrible vendettaScript error: No such module "String".[…] I used my resentment and withdrawing from Paul and the Beatles, and the relationship with Paul, to write 'How Do You Sleep'. I don't really go 'round with those thoughts in my head all the time."Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

File:Phoenix-Musical Intrument Museum-John Lennon exhibit.jpg

The Steinway piano that Lennon used to compose the song "Imagine" on exhibit in the Artist Gallery of the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix

Lennon and Ono moved to Manhattan in August 1971, and released "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" in December.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The new year saw the Nixon administration take what it called a "strategic counter-measure" against Lennon's anti-war and anti-Nixon propaganda, embarking on what would be a four-year attempt to deport him. After George McGovern lost the presidential election to Richard Nixon in 1972, Lennon and Ono attended a post-election wake held in the New York home of activist Jerry Rubin.[5][6] Lennon was embroiled in a continuing legal battle with the immigration authorities, and he was denied permanent residency in the US; the issue wouldn't be resolved until 1976.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Depressed, Lennon got intoxicated and left Ono embarrassed after he had sex with a female guest. Her song "Death of Samantha" was inspired by the incident.[7]

Recorded as a collaboration with Ono and with backing from the New York band Elephant's Memory, Some Time in New York City was released in 1972. Containing songs about women's rights, race relations, Britain's role in Northern Ireland and Lennon's problems obtaining a green card,Script error: No such module "Footnotes". the album was poorly received—unlistenable, according to one critic.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". "Woman Is the Nigger of the World", released as a US single from the album the same year, was televised on 11 May, on The Dick Cavett Show. Many radio stations refused to broadcast the song because of the word "nigger".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Lennon and Ono gave two benefit concerts with Elephant's Memory and guests in New York in aid of patients at the Willowbrook State School mental facility.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Staged at Madison Square Garden on 30 August 1972, they were his last full-length concert appearances.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

1973–1975: "Lost weekend"

File:John Lennon last television interview Tomorrow show 1975.JPG

Publicity photo of Lennon and host Tom Snyder from the television program Tomorrow. Aired in 1975, this was the last television interview Lennon gave before his death in 1980.

While Lennon was recording Mind Games in 1973, he and Ono decided to separate. The ensuing 18-month period apart, which he later called his "lost weekend",Script error: No such module "Footnotes". was spent in Los Angeles and New York in the company of May Pang. Mind Games, credited to the "Plastic U.F.Ono Band", was released in November 1973. Lennon also contributed "I'm the Greatest" to Starr's album Ringo (1973), released the same month (an alternate take, from the same 1973 Ringo sessions, with Lennon providing a guide vocal, appears on John Lennon Anthology).

In early 1974, Lennon was drinking heavily and his alcohol-fuelled antics with Harry Nilsson made headlines. In March, two widely publicised incidents occurred at The Troubadour club. In the first incident, Lennon stuck an unused menstrual pad on his forehead and scuffled with a waitress. The second incident occurred two weeks later, when Lennon and Nilsson were ejected from the same club after heckling the Smothers Brothers.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Lennon decided to produce Nilsson's album Pussy Cats, and Pang rented a Los Angeles beach house for all the musicians.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". After a month of further debauchery, the recording sessions were in chaos, and Lennon returned to New York with Pang to finish work on the album. In April, Lennon had produced the Mick Jagger song "Too Many Cooks (Spoil the Soup)" which was, for contractual reasons, to remain unreleased for more than 30 years. Pang supplied the recording for its eventual inclusion on The Very Best of Mick Jagger (2007).[8]

Lennon had settled back in New York when he recorded the album Walls and Bridges. Released in October 1974, it included "Whatever Gets You thru the Night", which featured Elton John on backing vocals and piano, and became Lennon's only single as a solo artist to top the US Billboard Hot 100 chart during his lifetime.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".b A second single from the album, "#9 Dream", followed before the end of the year. Starr's Goodnight Vienna (1974) again saw assistance from Lennon, who wrote the title track and played piano.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". On 28 November, Lennon made a surprise guest appearance at Elton John's Thanksgiving concert at Madison Square Garden, in fulfilment of his promise to join the singer in a live show if "Whatever Gets You thru the Night"—a song whose commercial potential Lennon had doubted—reached number one. Lennon performed the song along with "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "I Saw Her Standing There", which he introduced as "a song by an old estranged fiancée of mine called Paul".Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Lennon co-wrote "Fame", David Bowie's first US number one, and provided guitar and backing vocals for the January 1975 recording.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The same month, Elton John topped the charts with his cover of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", featuring Lennon on guitar and back-up vocals (Lennon is credited on the single under the moniker of "Dr. Winston O'Boogie"). He and Ono were reunited shortly afterwards. Lennon released Rock 'n' Roll (1975), an album of cover songs, in February. "Stand by Me", taken from the album and a US and UK hit, became his last single for five years.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". He made what would be his final stage appearance in the ATV special A Salute to Lew Grade, recorded on 18 April and televised in June.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Playing acoustic guitar and backed by an eight-piece band, Lennon performed two songs from Rock 'n' Roll ("Stand by Me", which was not broadcast, and "Slippin' and Slidin'") followed by "Imagine".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The band, known as Etc., wore masks behind their heads, a dig by Lennon who thought Grade was two-faced.[9]

1975–1980: Hiatus and return

Lennon's only child with Ono, Sean, was born on 9 October 1975 (his thirty-fifth birthday), and he took on the role of househusband, beginning what would be a five-year hiatus from the music industry during which he gave all his attention to his family.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Within the month, he fulfilled his contractual obligation to EMI/Capitol for one more album by releasing Shaved Fish, a compilation album of previously recorded tracks.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". He devoted himself to Sean, rising at 6Script error: No such module "String".am daily to plan and prepare his meals and to spend time with him.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". He wrote "Cookin' (In the Kitchen of Love)" for Starr's Ringo's Rotogravure (1976), performing on the track in June in what would be his last recording session until 1980.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". He formally announced his break from music in Tokyo in 1977, saying, "we have basically decided, without any great decision, to be with our baby as much as we can until we feel we can take time off to indulge ourselves in creating things outside of the family."Script error: No such module "Footnotes". During his career break he created several series of drawings, and drafted a book containing a mix of autobiographical material and what he termed "mad stuff",Script error: No such module "Footnotes". all of which would be published posthumously.

Lennon emerged from his pause in music recording in October 1980 with the single "(Just Like) Starting Over", followed the next month by the album Double Fantasy, which contained songs written during a journey to Bermuda on a 43-foot sailing boat the previous June,Script error: No such module "Footnotes". that reflected his fulfilment in his new-found stable family life.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Sufficient additional material was recorded for a planned follow-up album Milk and Honey (released posthumously in 1984).Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Released jointly by Lennon and Ono, Double Fantasy was not well received, drawing comments such as Melody Maker's "indulgent sterilityScript error: No such module "String".... a godawful yawn".Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

8 December 1980: Death

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File:Strawberry Fields in the Central Park with The Dakota behind.jpg

Strawberry Fields in Central Park with the Dakota in the background

At around 10:50Script error: No such module "String".p.m. (EST) on 8 December 1980, lone gunman Mark David Chapman shot Lennon in the back four times in the archway of the Dakota as Lennon and Ono returned to their Manhattan apartment from the Record Plant. Lennon was rushed in a police cruiser to the emergency room of nearby Roosevelt Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival at 11:00Script error: No such module "String".p.m. (EST).Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Earlier that evening, Lennon had autographed a copy of Double Fantasy for Chapman.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Ono issued a statement the next day, saying "There is no funeral for John", ending it with the words, "John loved and prayed for the human race. Please do the same for him."Script error: No such module "Footnotes". His body was cremated at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. Ono scattered his ashes in New York's Central Park, where the Strawberry Fields memorial was later created.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Chapman avoided going to trial when he ignored his attorney's advice and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 20-years-to-life.[10] In 2016, he was denied parole for a ninth time.[11]

Personal relationships

Cynthia Lennon

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Lennon met Cynthia Powell (1939–2015) in 1957 when they were fellow students at the Liverpool College of Art.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Although Powell was scared of Lennon's attitude and appearance, she heard that he was obsessed with the French actress Brigitte Bardot, so she dyed her hair blonde. Lennon asked her out, but when she said that she was engaged, he screamed out, "I didn't ask you to fuckin' marry me, did I?"Script error: No such module "Footnotes". She often accompanied him to Quarrymen gigs and travelled to Hamburg with McCartney's girlfriend to visit him.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Lennon was jealous by nature and eventually grew possessive and often terrified Powell with his anger and physical violence.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Lennon later said that until he met Ono, he had never questioned his chauvinistic attitude toward women. He said that the Beatles song Getting Better told his own story, "I used to be cruel to my woman, and physically—any woman. I was a hitter. I couldn't express myself and I hit. I fought men and I hit women. That is why I am always on about peace."Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Recalling his July 1962 reaction when he learned that Cynthia was pregnant, Lennon said, "There's only one thing for it Cyn. We'll have to get married."Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The couple wed on 23 August at the Mount Pleasant Register Office in Liverpool. His marriage began just as Beatlemania took hold across the UK. He performed on the evening of his wedding day, and would continue to do so almost daily from then on.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Epstein feared that fans would be alienated by the idea of a married Beatle, and he asked the Lennons to keep their marriage secret. Julian was born on 8 April 1963; Lennon was on tour at the time and did not see his infant son until three days later.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Cynthia attributed the start of the marriage breakdown to Lennon's use of LSD, and as a result, she felt that he slowly lost interest in her.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". When the group travelled by train to Bangor, Wales in 1967 for the Maharishi Yogi's Transcendental Meditation seminar, a policeman did not recognise her and stopped her from boarding. She later recalled how the incident seemed to symbolise the end of their marriage.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". After Cynthia arrived home at Kenwood, she found Lennon with Ono and left the house to stay with friends. Alexis Mardas later claimed to have slept with her that night, and a few weeks later he informed her that Lennon was seeking a divorce and custody of Julian on grounds of her adultery with him. After negotiations, Lennon capitulated and agreed to let her divorce him on the same grounds. The case was settled out of court in November 1968, with Lennon giving her £100,000 ($240,000 in US dollars at the time), a small annual payment and custody of Julian.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Brian Epstein

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The Beatles were performing at Liverpool's Cavern Club in November 1961 when they were introduced to Brian Epstein after a midday concert. Epstein was a homosexual, and according to biographer Philip Norman, one of Brian's reasons for wanting to manage the group was that he was physically attracted to Lennon. Almost as soon as Julian was born, Lennon went on holiday to Spain with Epstein, leading to speculation about their relationship. When he was later questioned about it, Lennon said, "Well, it was almost a love affair, but not quite. It was never consummated. But it was a pretty intense relationship. It was my first experience with a homosexual that I was conscious was homosexual. We used to sit in a café in Torremolinos looking at all the boys and I'd say, 'Do you like that one? Do you like this one?' I was rather enjoying the experience, thinking like a writer all the time: I am experiencing this."Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Soon after their return from Spain—at McCartney's twenty-first birthday party in June 1963—Lennon physically attacked Cavern Club Master of ceremonies Bob Wooler for saying "How was your honeymoon, John?" The MC, known for his wordplay and affectionate but cutting remarks, was making a joke,Script error: No such module "Footnotes". but ten months had passed since Lennon's marriage, and the deferred honeymoon was still two months in the future.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". To Lennon, who was drunk at the time, the matter was simple: "He called me a queer so I battered his bloody ribs in".Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Lennon delighted in mocking Epstein for his homosexuality and for the fact that he was Jewish.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". When Epstein invited suggestions for the title of his autobiography, Lennon offered Queer Jew; on learning of the eventual title, A Cellarful of Noise, he parodied, "More like A Cellarful of Boys".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". He demanded of a visitor to Epstein's flat, "Have you come to blackmail him? If not, you're the only bugger in London who hasn't."Script error: No such module "Footnotes". During the recording of "Baby, You're a Rich Man", he sang altered choruses of "Baby, you're a rich fag Jew".Script error: No such module "Footnotes".Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Julian Lennon

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File:Julian Lennon.jpg

Julian Lennon at the unveiling of the John Lennon Peace Monument in Liverpool, October 2010

Lennon's first son, Julian, was born during his marriage to Cynthia as his commitments with the Beatles intensified at the height of Beatlemania. Lennon was touring with the Beatles when Julian was born on 8 April 1963. Julian's birth, like his mother Cynthia's marriage to Lennon, was kept secret because Epstein was convinced that public knowledge of such things would threaten the Beatles' commercial success. Julian recalled that as a small child in Weybridge some four years later, "I was trundled home from school and came walking up with one of my watercolour paintings. It was just a bunch of stars and this blonde girl I knew at school. And Dad said, 'What's this?' I said, 'It's Lucy in the sky with diamonds.'"Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Lennon used it as the title of a Beatles song, and though it was later reported to have been derived from the initials LSD, Lennon insisted, "It's not an acid song."Script error: No such module "Footnotes". McCartney corroborated Lennon's explanation that Julian innocently came up with the name.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Lennon was distant from Julian, who felt closer to McCartney than to his father. During a car journey to visit Cynthia and Julian during Lennon's divorce, McCartney composed a song, "Hey Jules", to comfort him. It would evolve into the Beatles song "Hey Jude". Lennon later said, "That's his best song. It started off as a song about my son JulianScript error: No such module "String".... he turned it into 'Hey Jude'. I always thought it was about me and Yoko but he said it wasn't."Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Lennon's relationship with Julian was already strained, and after Lennon and Ono moved to Manhattan in 1971, Julian would not see his father again until 1973.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". With Pang's encouragement, arrangements were made for Julian (and his mother) to visit Lennon in Los Angeles, where they went to Disneyland.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Julian started to see his father regularly, and Lennon gave him a drumming part on a Walls and Bridges track.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". He bought Julian a Gibson Les Paul guitar and other instruments, and encouraged his interest in music by demonstrating guitar chord techniques.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Julian recalls that he and his father "got on a great deal better" during the time he spent in New York: "We had a lot of fun, laughed a lot and had a great time in general."Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

In a Playboy interview with David Sheff shortly before his death, Lennon said, "Sean was a planned child, and therein lies the difference. I don't love Julian any less as a child. He's still my son, whether he came from a bottle of whiskey or because they didn't have pills in those days. He's here, he belongs to me, and he always will." He said he was trying to re-establish a connection with the then 17-year-old, and confidently predicted, "Julian and I will have a relationship in the future."Script error: No such module "Footnotes". After his death it was revealed that he had left Julian very little in his will.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Yoko Ono

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File:Lennons by Jack Mitchell.jpg

Lennon and Yoko Ono in 1980, the year John Lennon was murdered.

Two versions exist of how Lennon met Ono. According to the first, told by the Lennons, on 9 November 1966 Lennon went to the Indica Gallery in London, where Ono was preparing her conceptual art exhibit, and they were introduced by gallery owner John Dunbar.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Lennon was intrigued by Ono's "Hammer A Nail": patrons hammered a nail into a wooden board, creating the art piece. Although the exhibition had not yet begun, Lennon wanted to hammer a nail into the clean board, but Ono stopped him. Dunbar asked her, "Don't you know who this is? He's a millionaire! He might buy it." Ono had supposedly not heard of the Beatles, but relented on condition that Lennon pay her five shillings, to which Lennon replied, "I'll give you an imaginary five shillings and hammer an imaginary nail in."Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The second version, told by McCartney, is that in late 1965, Ono was in London compiling original musical scores for a book John Cage was working on, Notations, but McCartney declined to give her any of his own manuscripts for the book, suggesting that Lennon might oblige. When asked, Lennon gave Ono the original handwritten lyrics to "The Word".Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Ono began visiting and telephoning Lennon's home and, when his wife asked him for an explanation, Lennon explained that Ono was only trying to obtain money for her "avant-garde bullshit".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". While his wife was on holiday in Greece in May 1968, Lennon invited Ono to visit. They spent the night recording what would become the Two Virgins album, after which, he said, they "made love at dawn."[12] When Lennon's wife returned home she found Ono wearing her bathrobe and drinking tea with Lennon who simply said, "Oh, hi."Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Ono became pregnant in 1968 and miscarried a male child on 21 November 1968,Script error: No such module "Footnotes". a few weeks after Lennon's divorce from Cynthia was granted.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Two years before the Beatles disbanded, Lennon and Ono began public protests against the Vietnam War. They were married in Gibraltar on 20 March 1969,Script error: No such module "Footnotes". and spent their honeymoon at the Hilton Amsterdam, campaigning with a week-long Bed-In for Peace. They planned another Bed-In in the United States, but were denied entry,Script error: No such module "Footnotes". so held one instead at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, where they recorded "Give Peace a Chance".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". They often combined advocacy with performance art, as in their "Bagism", first introduced during a Vienna press conference. Lennon detailed this period in the Beatles song "The Ballad of John and Yoko".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Lennon changed his name by deed poll on 22 April 1969, adding "Ono" as a middle name. The brief ceremony took place on the roof of the Apple Corps building, made famous three months earlier by the Beatles' Let It Be rooftop concert. Although he used the name John Ono Lennon thereafter, official documents referred to him as John Winston Ono Lennon, since he was not permitted to revoke a name given at birth.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The couple settled at Tittenhurst Park at Sunninghill in Berkshire.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". After Ono was injured in a car accident, Lennon arranged for a king-sized bed to be brought to the recording studio as he worked on the Beatles' last album, Abbey Road.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". To escape the acrimony of the band's break-up, Ono suggested they move permanently to Manhattan, which they did on 31 August 1971.

They first lived in The St. Regis Hotel on 5th Avenue, East 55th Street, then moved to a street-level flat at 105 Bank Street, Greenwich Village, on 16 October 1971. After a robbery, they relocated in 1973 to the more secure Dakota at 1Script error: No such module "String".WestScript error: No such module "String".72nd Street.[13]

May Pang

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File:May Pang 2002.jpg

May Pang

ABKCO Industries was formed in 1968 by Allen Klein as an umbrella company to ABKCO Records and recruited May Pang as a receptionist in 1969. Through involvement in a project with ABKCO, Lennon and Ono met her the following year. She became their personal assistant. After she had been working with the couple for three years, Ono confided that she and Lennon were becoming estranged. She went on to suggest that Pang should begin a physical relationship with Lennon, telling her, "He likes you a lot." Pang, 22, astounded by Ono's proposition, eventually agreed to become Lennon's companion. The pair soon moved to California, beginning an 18-month period he later called his "lost weekend".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". In Los Angeles, Pang encouraged Lennon to develop regular contact with Julian, whom he had not seen for two years. He also rekindled friendships with Starr, McCartney, Beatles roadie Mal Evans, and Harry Nilsson. Whilst drinking with Nilsson, after misunderstanding something Pang said, Lennon attempted to strangle her, relenting only when physically restrained by Nilsson.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Upon returning to Manhattan, they prepared a spare room for Julian when he visited them in their newly rented apartment.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Lennon, hitherto inhibited by Ono in this regard, began to reestablish contact with other relatives and friends. By December he and Pang were considering a house purchase, and he was refusing to accept Ono's telephone calls. In January 1975, he agreed to meet Ono who claimed to have found a cure for smoking. But after the meeting he failed to return home or call Pang. When Pang telephoned the next day, Ono told her that Lennon was unavailable because he was exhausted after a hypnotherapy session. Two days later, Lennon reappeared at a joint dental appointment; he was stupefied and confused to such an extent that Pang believed he had been brainwashed. He told her his separation from Ono was now over, though Ono would allow him to continue seeing her as his mistress.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Sean Lennon

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When Lennon and Ono were reunited, she became pregnant; she had previously suffered three miscarriages in her attempt to have a child with Lennon. She initially said that she wanted to have an abortion, but she changed her mind and agreed to allow the pregnancy to continue on condition that Lennon adopt the role of househusband, which he agreed to do.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Sean was born on 9 October 1975 (Lennon's 35th birthday) and delivered by Caesarean section. Lennon's subsequent hiatus from producing music would span five years. He had a photographer take pictures of Sean every day of his first year and created numerous drawings for him, which were posthumously published as Real Love: The Drawings for Sean. Lennon later proudly declared, "He didn't come out of my belly but, by God, I made his bones, because I've attended to every meal, and to how he sleeps, and to the fact that he swims like a fish."Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Former Beatles

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File:The Beatles in America.JPG

Lennon (left) and the rest of the Beatles arriving in New York City in 1964

Although Lennon and Starr remained consistently friendly during the years that followed the Beatles' break-up in 1970, his relationships with McCartney and Harrison varied. He was initially close to Harrison, but the two drifted apart after Lennon moved to Manhattan. When Harrison was in New York for his December 1974 Dark Horse tour, Lennon agreed to join him on stage, but failed to appear after an argument over Lennon's refusal to sign an agreement that would finally dissolve the Beatles' legal partnership (Lennon eventually signed the papers while holidaying in Florida with Pang and Julian).Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Harrison offended Lennon in 1980 when he published an autobiography that made little mention of him.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Lennon told Playboy, "I was hurt by it. By glaring omissionScript error: No such module "String".... my influence on his life is absolutely zilchScript error: No such module "String".... he remembers every two-bit sax player or guitarist he met in subsequent years. I'm not in the book."Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Lennon's most intense feelings were reserved for McCartney. In addition to attacking him through the lyrics of How Do You Sleep?, Lennon argued with him through the press for three years after the group split. The two later began to reestablish something of the close friendship they had once known, and in 1974, they even played music together again before eventually growing apart once more. During McCartney's final visit in April 1976, Lennon said that they watched the episode of Saturday Night Live in which Lorne Michaels made a $3,000 cash offer to get the Beatles to reunite on the show.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The pair considered going to the studio to make a joke appearance, attempting to claim their share of the money, but were too tired.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Lennon summarised his feelings towards McCartney in an interview three days before his death: "Throughout my career, I've selected to work withScript error: No such module "String".... only two people: Paul McCartney and Yoko OnoScript error: No such module "String".... That ain't bad picking."Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Along with his estrangement from McCartney, Lennon always felt a musical competitiveness with him and kept an ear on his music. During his five-year career break he was content to sit back as long as McCartney was producing what Lennon saw as mediocre material.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Lennon took notice when McCartney released "Coming Up" in 1980, which was the year Lennon returned to the studio and the last year of his life. "It's driving me crackers!" he jokingly complained, because he could not get the tune out of his head.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". That same year, Lennon was asked whether the group were dreaded enemies or the best of friends, and he replied that they were neither, and that he had not seen any of them in a long time. But he also said, "I still love those guys. The Beatles are over, but John, Paul, George and Ringo go on."Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Political activism

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File:Jlbedin3.JPG

Recording "Give Peace a Chance" during the Bed-In for Peace at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal

Lennon and Ono used their honeymoon as a Bed-In for Peace at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel; the March 1969 event attracted worldwide media ridicule.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". During a second Bed-In three months later at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal,Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Lennon wrote and recorded "Give Peace a Chance". Released as a single, the song was quickly interpreted as an anti-war anthem and sung by a quarter of a million demonstrators against the Vietnam War in Washington, DC, on 15 November, the second Vietnam Moratorium Day.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". In December, they paid for billboards in 10 cities around the world which declared, in the national language, "War Is Over! If You Want It".[14]

Later that year, Lennon and Ono supported efforts by the family of James Hanratty (who was hanged for murder in 1962) to prove his innocence.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". According to Lennon, those who had condemned Hanratty were "the same people who are running guns to South Africa and killing blacks in the streets. ... The same bastards are in control, the same people are running everything, it's the whole bullshit bourgeois scene."Script error: No such module "Footnotes". In London, Lennon and Ono staged a "Britain Murdered Hanratty" banner march and a "Silent Protest For James Hanratty",Script error: No such module "Footnotes". and produced a 40-minute documentary on the case. At an appeal hearing years later, Hanratty's conviction was upheld after DNA evidence matched.[15] His family continued to appeal in 2010.[16]

Lennon and Ono showed their solidarity with the Clydeside UCS workers' work-in of 1971 by sending a bouquet of red roses and a cheque for £5,000.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". On moving to New York City in August that year, they befriended two of the Chicago Seven, Yippie peace activists Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Another political activist, John Sinclair, poet and co-founder of the White Panther Party, was serving ten years in prison for selling two joints of marijuana after previous convictions for possession of the drug.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". In December 1971 at Ann Arbor, Michigan, 15,000 people attended the "John Sinclair Freedom Rally", a protest and benefit concert with contributions from Lennon, Stevie Wonder, Bob Seger, Bobby Seale of the Black Panther Party, and others.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Lennon and Ono, backed by David Peel and Rubin, performed an acoustic set of four songs from their forthcoming Some Time in New York City album including "John Sinclair", whose lyrics called for his release. The day before the rally, the Michigan Senate passed a bill that significantly reduced the penalties for possession of marijuana and four days later Sinclair was released on an appeal bond.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The performance was recorded and two of the tracks later appeared on John Lennon Anthology (1998).Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Following the Bloody Sunday incident in Northern Ireland in 1972, in which fourteen unarmed civil rights protesters were shot dead by the British Army, Lennon said that given the choice between the army and the IRA (who were not involved in the incident) he would side with the latter. Lennon and Ono wrote two songs protesting British presence and actions in Ireland for their Some Time in New York City album: "Luck of the Irish" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday". In 2000, David Shayler, a former member of Britain's domestic security service MI5, suggested that Lennon had given money to the IRA, though this was swiftly denied by Ono.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Biographer Bill Harry records that following Bloody Sunday, Lennon and Ono financially supported the production of the film The Irish Tapes, a political documentary with a Republican slant.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

According to FBI surveillance reports (and confirmed by Tariq Ali in 2006) Lennon was sympathetic to the International Marxist Group, a Trotskyist group formed in Britain in 1968.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". However, the FBI considered Lennon to have limited effectiveness as a revolutionary since he was "constantly under the influence of narcotics".Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

In 1973, Lennon contributed a limerick called "Why Make It Sad To Be Gay?" to Len Richmond's The Gay Liberation Book.[17]

Lennon's last act of political activism was a statement in support of the striking minority sanitation workers in San Francisco on 5 December 1980. He and Ono planned to join the workers' protest on 14 December.[18]

Lennon's former personal assistant Fred Seaman (who was earlier convicted for and admitted stealing from Lennon's personal belongings) has claimed that by this time, however, Lennon had also quietly renounced the counterculture views which he had helped promote during the 1960s and 1970s and became more aligned with conservatism and was supportive of Ronald Reagan,[19][20] though whether he had actually aligned to a more conservative world view is disputed. Some commentators noted that Seaman's claims have low credibility, considering that he was a thief who had abused his position to steal from Lennon, and had also earlier released a book with dubious allegations about Lennon which had largely been ignored.[21]

Deportation attempt

Following the impact of "Give Peace a Chance" and "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)"—songs both strongly associated with the anti-Vietnam War movement—the Nixon administration heard rumours of Lennon's involvement in a concert to be held in San Diego at the same time as the Republican National Convention andScript error: No such module "Footnotes". tried to have him deported. Nixon believed that Lennon's anti-war activities could cost him his re-election;Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Republican Senator Strom Thurmond suggested in a February 1972 memo that "deportation would be a strategic counter-measure" against Lennon.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The next month the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) began deportation proceedings, arguing that his 1968 misdemeanor conviction for cannabis possession in London had made him ineligible for admission to the United States. Lennon spent the next three and a half years in and out of deportation hearings until 8 October 1975, when a court of appeals barred the deportation attempt, stating "... the courts will not condone selective deportation based upon secret political grounds."Script error: No such module "Footnotes".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". While the legal battle continued, Lennon attended rallies and made television appearances. Lennon and Ono co-hosted The Mike Douglas Show for a week in February 1972, introducing guests such as Jerry Rubin and Bobby Seale to mid-America.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". In 1972, Bob Dylan wrote a letter to the INS defending Lennon, stating:

John and Yoko add a great voice and drive to the country's so-called art institution. They inspire and transcend and stimulate and by doing so, only help others to see pure light and in doing that, put an end to this dull taste of petty commercialism which is being passed off as Artist Art by the overpowering mass media. Hurray for John and Yoko. Let them stay and live here and breathe. The country's got plenty of room and space. Let John and Yoko stay![22][23]

On 23 March 1973, Lennon was ordered to leave the US within 60 days.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Ono, meanwhile, was granted permanent residence. In response, Lennon and Ono held a press conference on 1 April 1973 at the New York City Bar Association, where they announced the formation of the state of Nutopia; a place with "no land, no boundaries, no passports, only people".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Waving the white flag of Nutopia (two handkerchiefs), they asked for political asylum in the US. The press conference was filmed, and would later appear in the 2006 documentary The US vs. John Lennon.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Lennon's Mind Games (1973) included the track "Nutopian International Anthem", which comprised three seconds of silence.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Soon after the press conference, Nixon's involvement in a political scandal came to light, and in June the Watergate hearings began in Washington, DC. They led to the president's resignation 14 months later. Nixon's successor, Gerald Ford, showed little interest in continuing the battle against Lennon, and the deportation order was overturned in 1975. The following year, his US immigration status finally resolved, Lennon received his "green card" certifying his permanent residency, and when Jimmy Carter was inaugurated as president in January 1977, Lennon and Ono attended the Inaugural Ball.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

FBI surveillance and declassified documents

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File:Lennon FBI Files after ny19p1.jpg

Confidential (here declassified and censored) letter by J. Edgar Hoover about FBI surveillance of John Lennon

After Lennon's death, historian Jon Wiener filed a Freedom of Information Act request for FBI files that documented the Bureau's role in the deportation attempt.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The FBI admitted it had 281 pages of files on Lennon, but refused to release most of them on the grounds that they contained national security information. In 1983, Wiener sued the FBI with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. It took 14 years of litigation to force the FBI to release the withheld pages.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The ACLU, representing Wiener, won a favourable decision in their suit against the FBI in the Ninth Circuit in 1991.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The Justice Department appealed the decision to the Supreme Court in April 1992, but the court declined to review the case.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". In 1997, respecting President Bill Clinton's newly instigated rule that documents should be withheld only if releasing them would involve "foreseeable harm", the Justice Department settled most of the outstanding issues outside court by releasing all but 10 of the contested documents.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Wiener published the results of his 14-year campaign in January 2000. Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI Files contained facsimiles of the documents, including "lengthy reports by confidential informants detailing the daily lives of anti-war activists, memos to the White House, transcripts of TV shows on which Lennon appeared, and a proposal that Lennon be arrested by local police on drug charges".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The story is told in the documentary The US vs. John Lennon. The final 10 documents in Lennon's FBI file, which reported on his ties with London anti-war activists in 1971 and had been withheld as containing "national security information provided by a foreign government under an explicit promise of confidentiality", were released in December 2006. They contained no indication that the British government had regarded Lennon as a serious threat; one example of the released material was a report that two prominent British leftists had hoped Lennon would finance a left-wing bookshop and reading room.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Writing and art

Beatles biographer Bill Harry wrote that Lennon began drawing and writing creatively at an early age with the encouragement of his uncle. He collected his stories, poetry, cartoons and caricatures in a Quarry Bank High School exercise book that he called the Daily Howl. The drawings were often of crippled people, and the writings satirical, and throughout the book was an abundance of wordplay. According to classmate Bill Turner, Lennon created the Daily Howl to amuse his best friend and later Quarrymen bandmate Pete Shotton, to whom he would show his work before he let anyone else see it. Turner said that Lennon "had an obsession for Wigan Pier. It kept cropping up", and in Lennon's story A Carrot in a Potato Mine, "the mine was at the end of Wigan Pier." Turner described how one of Lennon's cartoons depicted a bus stop sign annotated with the question, "Why?". Above was a flying pancake, and below, "a blind man wearing glasses leading along a blind dog—also wearing glasses".Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Lennon's love of wordplay and nonsense with a twist found a wider audience when he was 24. Harry writes that In His Own Write (1964) was published after "Some journalist who was hanging around the Beatles came to me and I ended up showing him the stuff. They said, 'Write a book' and that's how the first one came about". Like the Daily Howl it contained a mix of formats including short stories, poetry, plays and drawings. One story, "Good Dog Nigel", tells the tale of "a happy dog, urinating on a lamp post, barking, wagging his tail—until he suddenly hears a message that he will be killed at three o'clock". The Times Literary Supplement considered the poems and stories "remarkable ... also very funny ... the nonsense runs on, words and images prompting one another in a chain of pure fantasy". Book Week reported, "This is nonsense writing, but one has only to review the literature of nonsense to see how well Lennon has brought it off. While some of his homonyms are gratuitous word play, many others have not only double meaning but a double edge." Lennon was not only surprised by the positive reception, but that the book was reviewed at all, and suggested that readers "took the book more seriously than I did myself. It just began as a laugh for me".Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

In combination with A Spaniard in the Works (1965), In His Own Write formed the basis of the stage play The John Lennon Play: In His Own Write, co-adapted by Victor Spinetti and Adrienne Kennedy. After negotiations between Lennon, Spinetti and the artistic director of the National Theatre, Sir Laurence Olivier, the play opened at The Old Vic in 1968. Lennon and Ono attended the opening night performance, their second public appearance together.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". In 1969, Lennon wrote "Four in Hand"Template:Nsmdnsa skit based on his teenaged experiences of group masturbationTemplate:Nsmdnsfor Kenneth Tynan's play Oh! Calcutta!.[24] After Lennon's death, further works were published, including Skywriting by Word of Mouth (1986); Ai: Japan Through John Lennon's Eyes: A Personal Sketchbook (1992), with Lennon's illustrations of the definitions of Japanese words; and Real Love: The Drawings for Sean (1999). The Beatles Anthology (2000) also presented examples of his writings and drawings.

Musicianship

Instruments played

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File:John Lennon's Les Paul Jr..jpg

Lennon's Les Paul Jr.

Lennon played a mouth organ during a bus journey to visit his cousin in Scotland; the music caught the driver's ear. Impressed, the driver told Lennon of a harmonica he could have if he came to Edinburgh the following day, where one had been stored in the bus depot since a passenger left it on a bus.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The professional instrument quickly replaced Lennon's toy. He would continue to play harmonica, often using the instrument during the Beatles' Hamburg years, and it became a signature sound in the group's early recordings. His mother taught him how to play the banjo, later buying him an acoustic guitar. At 16, he played rhythm guitar with the Quarrymen.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

As his career progressed, he played a variety of electric guitars, predominantly the Rickenbacker 325, Epiphone Casino and Gibson J-160E, and, from the start of his solo career, the Gibson Les Paul Junior.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Double Fantasy producer Jack Douglas claimed that since his Beatle days Lennon habitually tuned his D-string slightly flat, so his Aunt Mimi could tell which guitar was his on recordings.[25] Occasionally he played a six-string bass guitar, the Fender Bass VI, providing bass on some Beatles numbers ("Back in the U.S.S.R.", "The Long and Winding Road", "Helter Skelter") that occupied McCartney with another instrument.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". His other instrument of choice was the piano, on which he composed many songs, including "Imagine", described as his best-known solo work.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". His jamming on a piano with McCartney in 1963 led to the creation of the Beatles' first US number one, "I Want to Hold Your Hand".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". In 1964, he became one of the first British musicians to acquire a Mellotron keyboard, though it was not heard on a Beatles recording until "Strawberry Fields Forever" in 1967.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Vocal style

When the Beatles recorded "Twist and Shout", the final track during the mammoth one-day session that produced the band's 1963 debut album, Please Please Me, Lennon's voice, already compromised by a cold, came close to giving out. Lennon said, "I couldn't sing the damn thing, I was just screaming."Script error: No such module "Footnotes". In the words of biographer Barry Miles, "Lennon simply shredded his vocal cords in the interests of rock 'n' roll."Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The Beatles' producer, George Martin, tells how Lennon "had an inborn dislike of his own voice which I could never understand. He was always saying to me: 'DO something with my voice!Script error: No such module "String".... put something on itScript error: No such module "String".... Make it different.'"Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Martin obliged, often using double-tracking and other techniques.

As his Beatles era segued into his solo career, his singing voice found a widening range of expression. Biographer Chris Gregory writes of Lennon "tentatively beginning to expose his insecurities in a number of acoustic-led 'confessional' ballads, so beginning the process of 'public therapy' that will eventually culminate in the primal screams of "Cold Turkey" and the cathartic John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band."Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Music critic Robert Christgau calls this Lennon's "greatest vocal performanceScript error: No such module "String".... from scream to whine, is modulated electronicallyScript error: No such module "String".... echoed, filtered, and double tracked."Script error: No such module "Footnotes". David Stuart Ryan notes Lennon's vocal delivery to range from "extreme vulnerability, sensitivity and even naivety" to a hard "rasping" style.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Wiener too describes contrasts, saying the singer's voice can be "at first subdued; soon it almost cracks with despair".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Music historian Ben Urish recalls hearing the Beatles' Ed Sullivan Show performance of "This Boy" played on the radio a few days after Lennon's murder: "As Lennon's vocals reached their peakScript error: No such module "String".... it hurt too much to hear him scream with such anguish and emotion. But it was my emotions I heard in his voice. Just like I always had."Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Legacy

File:Lennon Statue, Liverpool.jpg

Statue of Lennon outside the Cavern Club, Liverpool

Music historians Schinder and Schwartz wrote of the transformation in popular music styles that took place between the 1950s and the 1960s. They said that the Beatles' influence cannot be overstated: having "revolutionised the sound, style, and attitude of popular music and opened rock and roll's doors to a tidal wave of British rock acts", the group then "spent the rest of the 1960s expanding rock's stylistic frontiers".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Liam Gallagher and his group Oasis were among the many who acknowledged the band's influence; he identified Lennon as a hero. In 1999, he named his first child Lennon Gallagher in tribute.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". On National Poetry Day in 1999, the BBC conducted a poll to identify the UK's favourite song lyric and announced "Imagine" as the winner.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

File:Mikhail Tarasov & Yoko Ono.jpg

Universal Music Group's Svoy & Yoko Ono at BMI, NYC, in 2004.

In 1997, Yoko Ono and the BMI Foundation established an annual music competition program for songwriters of contemporary musical genres to honor John Lennon's memory and his large creative legacy.[26] Over $350,000 have been given through BMI Foundation's John Lennon Scholarships to talented young musicians in the United States.

In a 2006 Guardian article, Jon Wiener wrote: "For young people in 1972, it was thrilling to see Lennon's courage in standing up to [US President] Nixon. That willingness to take risks with his career, and his life, is one reason why people still admire him today."Script error: No such module "Footnotes". For music historians Urish and Bielen, Lennon's most significant effort was "the self-portraits ... in his songs [which] spoke to, for, and about, the human condition."Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

In 2013, Downtown Music Publishing signed a publishing administration agreement for the US with Lenono Music and Ono Music, home to the song catalogues of John Lennon and Yoko Ono respectively. Under the terms of the agreement, Downtown represents Lennon's solo works – including "Imagine", "Instant Karma (We All Shine On)", "Power to the People", "Happy X-Mas (War Is Over)", "Jealous Guy", "(Just Like) Starting Over" and others.[27]

Lennon continues to be mourned throughout the world and has been the subject of numerous memorials and tributes. In 2002, the airport in Lennon's home town was renamed the Liverpool John Lennon Airport.[28] On what would have been Lennon's 70th birthday in 2010, the John Lennon Peace Monument was unveiled in Chavasse Park, Liverpool, by Cynthia and Julian Lennon.[29] The sculpture, entitled Peace & Harmony, exhibits peace symbols and carries the inscription "Peace on Earth for the Conservation of Life · In Honour of John Lennon 1940–1980".[30]

File:Marx-Lennon Abkhazia stamp.jpg

Groucho Marx and Lennon on a 1994 Abkhazia stamp that parodied Marxism-Leninism

In December 2013 the International Astronomical Union named one of the craters on Mercury after Lennon.[31]

Accolades

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The Lennon–McCartney songwriting partnership is regarded as one of the most influential and successful of the 20th century. As performer, writer or co-writer, Lennon had 25 number one singles on the US Hot 100 chart.a His album sales in the US stand at 14 million units.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Double Fantasy was his best-selling solo album,Script error: No such module "Footnotes". at three million shipments in the US;Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Released shortly before his death, it won the 1981 Grammy Award for Album of the Year.Script error: No such module "Footnotes". The following year, the BRIT Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music was given to Lennon.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Participants in a 2002 BBC poll voted him eighth of "100 Greatest Britons".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Between 2003 and 2008, Rolling Stone recognised Lennon in several reviews of artists and music, ranking him fifth of "100 Greatest Singers of All Time"Script error: No such module "Footnotes". and 38th of "100 Greatest Artists of All Time",Script error: No such module "Footnotes". and his albums John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, 22nd and 76th respectively of "Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time".Script error: No such module "Footnotes".Script error: No such module "Footnotes". He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) with the other Beatles in 1965 (returned in 1969[32]).Script error: No such module "Footnotes". Lennon was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987Script error: No such module "Footnotes". and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

Discography

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  • Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins (with Yoko Ono) (1968)
  • Unfinished Music No. 2: Life with the Lions (with Yoko Ono) (1969)
  • Wedding Album (with Yoko Ono) (1969)
  • John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970)
  • Imagine (1971)
  • Some Time in New York City (with Yoko Ono) (1972)
  • Mind Games (1973)
  • Walls and Bridges (1974)
  • Rock 'n' Roll (1975)
  • Double Fantasy (with Yoko Ono) (1980)
  • Milk and Honey (with Yoko Ono) (1984)

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes
1964 A Hard Day's Night Himself
1965 Help! Himself
1967 How I Won the War Gripweed
1967 Magical Mystery Tour Himself / Ticket Salesman / Magician with Coffee Also Narrator, writer and director (producer uncredited)
1968 Yellow Submarine Himself Cameo at the end
1968 Two Virgins Short Film
1970 Apotheosis Short Film
1970 Let It Be Himself Documentary (executive producer – as The Beatles)

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1965–1966 Not Only... But Also Lavatory Attendant / Guest Episodes: "Episode #1.1" (1965) and "Christmas Special" (1966)

Bibliography

  • In His Own Write (1964)
  • A Spaniard in the Works (1965)
  • Skywriting by Word of Mouth (1986)

See also

Template:Wikipedia books

  • List of peace activists

Template:Portal bar

Notes

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Template:Note Lennon was responsible for 25 Billboard Hot 100 number one singles as performer, writer or co-writer.

Template:Note "Imagine" topped the US singles chart compiled by Record World magazine, however, in 1971.Script error: No such module "Footnotes".

References

Citations

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  2. John Lennon's First Album. Owen Edwards, Smithsonian.com, September 2005. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
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  7. LennoNYC, PBS Television 2010
  8. The Very Best of Mick Jagger liner notes
  9. Madinger, Eight Arms to Hold You, 44.1 Publishing, 2000, ISBN: 0-615-11724-4
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  12. Two Virgins liner notes
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  14. "John Lennons Convey Greetings via Billboards" The New York Times 16 December 1969: 54
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  22. Wiener, Jon. "Bob Dylan's defense of John Lennon". Script error: No such module "webarchive". The Nation, 8 October 2010
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Sources

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  • Script error: No such module "citation/CS1".https://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/100-greatest-singers-of-all-time-19691231
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Further reading

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External links

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Template:John Lennon Template:John Lennon singles Template:The Beatles Template:Yoko Ono Template:Plastic Ono Band Template:Ex-members of the Beatles and the Quarrymen Template:1994 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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