John Lennon was an English musician, composer and pacifist of the mid-20th century. He gained a great reputation as the founder of the Beatles, which continue to be one of the most commercially successful bands in the history of music with an estimated more than a billion records sold. Lennon, however, was more than just the founder of The Beatles. While the songwriting collaboration between John Lennon and Paul McCartney was one of the most prolific of all times, he also created a mystery about his person. This biography below describes the scandalous life of the "smart Beatle".
John Winston Lennon was born on October 9, 1940 in the English port city of Liverpool during the Battle of Britain. Named after his paternal grandfather and the then Prime Minister Winston Churchill, he was the child of the Irish-born trader Alfred Lennon and his wife Julia. The marriage of the parents failed because the father was rarely at home and was considered lost for some time. The young John Lennon had to choose a parent. He eventually stayed with his mother, but grew up with her sister Mimi. John had contact with his father again only in the middle of the 1960s.
Already in childhood, the future Beatle was considered a troublemaker. While at Quarry Bank High School, he was more likely to boast about his artistic talent than his grades. Musically, he was influenced by his mother, who played him Elvis Presley, taught the banjo and finally bought Lennon's first guitar.
Despite his disastrous academic achievements, he was admitted to the "Liverpool College of Art". He also continued to notice his negative behavior and did not complete his education. During his school career, however, he met and love his classmate Cynthia Powell, whom he later married in 1962.
Already at the age of 15, in 1956, Lennon founded the after high school named band "The Quarrymen". A year later, John met Paul McCartney, who joined the group the following year. It is also thanks to Paul McCartney that George Harrison, then only 14, was allowed to join the group as lead guitarist, despite reservations from John Lennon. Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best completed the quintet.
Shortly thereafter, in 1960, the band played - now they called themselves "The Beatles" regular concerts in a Hamburg nightclub on the Reeperbahn. Lennon prevailed against the concerns of his aunt, who pleaded for a continuation of the studies. In Hamburg, Lennon also regularly consumed drugs such as Preludin or amphetamines.
Already a year later, the band's career finally took off and the Beatles returned to Hamburg again, this time as a backing band of Tony Sheridan, for another engagement. Meanwhile, Stuart Sutcliffe had left the band and Pete Best was replaced by Ringo Starr. Through her new manager Brian Epstein, the band could finally conclude a record deal with the label EMI.
At the latest with the release of the debut album "Please Please Me" the whole of the UK fell for "Beatlemania". The collaboration between John Lennon and Paul McCartney contributed much of the tracks, laying the foundation for one of the most prolific songwriting collaborations in music history. John developed into a bandleader and attracted attention with his captivating intelligence. He was also the one who took much responsibility for the image of the Beatles.
In 1963 John's son Julian was born. Lennon, however, first conquered Britain and then in 1964 the US and headed with the Beatles to the height of the Beatles hysteria. While the Beatles rode on the wave of success, meanwhile, John Lennon worried about the negative effects of the "Beatlemania", the u.a. in the 1965 published song "Help!" The musical genius wanted to convince with the contents of his compositions, but at the same time was afraid of the obsession of the fans. According to Freda Kelly, the Beatles' longtime secretary, Lennon is convinced she was dying young.
With the drug LSD came the leader of the Beatles in 1966 in touch. From this period also comes the famous quote: "The Beatles are now more popular than Jesus". In the conservative United States, the Christian population took a major stance on this statement, which culminated in the burning of Beatle's records, threats against John Lennon and his apology.
The eccentric avant-garde artist Yoko Ono also made private changes in Lennon's life. The two met in 1966 in a London gallery on each other. Out of this encounter arose an affair that led to the divorce of Lennon's first marriage in 1968 and a later marriage to Yoko Ono in 1969. This connection is considered one of the Beatles' later reasons for separation.
The year 1967 was marked by drug use Lennons. The titles "Strawberry Fields Forever", "Lucy in the sky with diamonds" as well as the album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band "were released. These works are a clear contrast to the early love songs and show very clearly the personal development of Lennon. It was followed by other productions, of which especially the "White Album" and "Abbey Road" are worth mentioning. John Lennon's interest shifted already during this time from the Beatles more and more to Yoko Ono and their own realization.
After more and more disagreements between the band members prevailed, left Lennon tacitly in 1969, the Beatles, who finally broke up in 1970 medial
While still working with The Beatles in 1968 and 1969, Lennon and Ono recorded three experimental music albums together. Together they formed from 1969 the "Plastic Ono Band" and published "Live Peace in Toronto 1969".
While the horrors of the Vietnam War were omnipresent in 1969, Lennon and Ono decided to fight for world peace. They took advantage of the media attention of their wedding, spent their honeymoon in the Hilton Amsterdam hotel's presidential suite and held so-called "bed-ins for peace". The couple invited the press daily for 12 hours in their hotel room, while they sat in their bed and philosophized about peace. The peace hymn "Give Peace a Chance" was also created with these bed-ins.
Until 1970, the former Beatle released the singles "Cold Turkey" and "Instant Karma!". In "Cold Turkey" Lennon describes the withdrawal symptoms of heroin after he developed a dependency.
In the same year, the couple completed a trauma therapy with Dr. Ing. Arthur Janov in Los Angeles. The aim of this form of therapy is to work up emotional childhood traumas. Shortly thereafter, the emotional album "John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band" was published, which has been highly praised. In this work Lennon processed including his childhood in the song "Mother" and produced the stylistically Bob Dylan -like song "Working Class Hero", a critique of the differences of social classes. Inspired by Tariq Ali's revolutionary political views, Lennon released the song "Power to the People" and participated in a protest march against the indictment of the alternative "OZ magazine", the publication of which was to be judicially stopped.
With "Imagine" in 1971, the next album release followed, which was judged more critically. While the title song of the same name is still a hymn of the anti-war movement, Lennon attacked his former companion Paul McCartney and his behavior during the Beatles breakup with "How Do You Sleep?" In the same year Lennon and Ono moved to New York City and published in December as a highlight of the then backlash the single "Happy Xmas (War is over)", a protest song against the controversial Vietnam War, which became a Christmas Evergreen. Together with the single, in a media campaign the couple rented billboards in 12 cities worldwide and published advertisements with the text: "THE WAR IS OVER! If you want - Merry Christmas from John and Yoko ".
Because of Lennon's ongoing activism against the Nixon government, this Lennon tried within the next 4 years to deport. The former Beatle expressed his political frustration through excesses and in the critically-torn album "Some Time in New York City", which was produced together with the group "Elephant's Memory". Especially the title "Woman is the Nigger of the World" met with much opposition.
In 1973, the couple split up and John Lennon spent the next 18 months, later titled "Lost Weekend" with May Pang. During this time, the album "Mind Games" was released. Lennon made headlines during this period but more through his alcoholic escapades with Harry Nilsson.
It was followed by some collaborations with greats like the aforementioned Harry Nilsson, as well as Ringo Starr, Mick Jagger, David Bowie and Elton John. Especially the cooperation with Elton John produced the single "Whatever Gets You Thru the Night" Lennon's only own number 1 hit. The single was part of the 1974 produced album "Walls and Bridges".
The cover album "Rock 'n' Roll" followed a year later. Shortly thereafter, Lennon and Ono joined again, ending the "Lost weekend". The single release "Stand by Me" reached hit status; however, she remained the last single of the next five years.
On October 9, 1975, Joko Ono gave birth to Lennon's second son, Sean. John then retired completely for five years from the music industry, took over the role of the housekeeper and apparently focused entirely on his family life.
It was not until October 1980, the family father again with the single "(Just Like) Starting Over" attention, which was followed by the album "Double Fantasy". On December 8 of the same year, John Lennon was gunned down by attentive and mentally disturbed fan Mark Chapman in front of the Dakota New York City building where the family lived. Lennon was taken to the Roosevelt Hospital; he died before the arrival. That same afternoon, Lennon had signed the album "Double Fantasy" for his later murderer.
After the cremation, no funeral was held for John Lennon. Joko Ono allegedly scattered his ashes in New York City's famous Central Park, which later replaced the "Strawberry Fields" monument. Mark Chapman pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years to life for murder.
In the year 1984 "Milk and Honey" was published, whose contents were already produced at the same time as those of the album "Double Fantasy". There followed a variety of other compilations and compilations.
John Lennon received many more honors post-mortem. Some noteworthy are u.a. "Album of the Year" for "Double Fantasy" at the 24th Grammys, the "BRIT Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music", the "Lifetime Achievement Award" at the 34th Grammys, inclusion in the "Songwriters Hall of Fame" and the recording in the "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame" in 1994.
This biography claims to depict the life of the musical genius John Lennon without value. The resulting image is an artist of the '68 movement who fulfills the classic stereotypes of demonstrating against the establishment, championing world peace and abusing drugs.
The former Beatle, however, was also in search of himself and sought recognition and fame. But it is also exactly this fame that he most feared. These opposites can also be seen elsewhere in Lennon's character, sharpened by his hypocritical "Live as I say, not like me" philosophy.
Despite all the discrepancies, however, the "smart Beatle" could immortalize himself in the hearts of the fans with his unmistakable songs and his ongoing commitment to the peace movement. But it is precisely these fans who seal the self-fulfilling prophecy of his early demise.