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Thursday, 31 December 2015

John Lennon


John Winston Lennon was born at Liverpool Maternity Hospital on October 9, 1940. The "Winston" came from British Prime Minister Winston Churchill - John would later add "Ono" to his middle name in honor of Yoko.

Photo by Roy Kerwood. Wikipedia Commons

He was brought up by his Aunt Mimi at 251 Menlove Avenue, Woolton, South Liverpool. John lived there with her and her husband George Smith, until mid-1963 when he was 22 years old.

Through visits with his mother, Julia, John learned to play the banjo and she gave him his first guitar in 1956.

251 Menlove Avenue, where Lennon lived for most of his childhood. By Havaska -  Wikipedia

Mimi Smith famously told him: "Music’s all very well, John, but you’ll never make a living from it."

Lennon did poorly in school and got into college through the persuasion of his aunt and headmaster. He was thrown out his final year.


A bus driver gifted Lennon with one of his early musical instruments, giving him a harmonica that Lennon went on to play extensively during early performances and initial recordings with the Beatles.

16-year-old John Lennon met 15-year-old Paul McCartney at a St Peter's Parish Church party in Woolton, Liverpool. Lennon's group The Quarrymen were performing at the do. Impressed by McCartney's ability to tune a guitar and by his knowledge of song lyrics, Lennon asked him to join his band as lead guitarist.

In the late 1950s The Quarrymen was renamed the Silver Beatles (a wordplay on the musical term beat that also paid tribute to rocker Buddy Holly's Crickets) before being shortened to The Beatles.

The Fab Four inspired a worldwide frenzy of Beatlemania, perhaps primarily because they projected the self-image of the 1960s teenager. By the time they led the British invasion of the United States in 1964, the Beatles held the top five spots on the singles recording charts.

John Lennon's book, In His Own Write, was published on March 23, 1964.  It was the first solo effort by one of the Beatles. Lennon weaved whimsical line drawings and sharp satire into a collection of 31 poems and short stories. The book was an immediate hit, quickly selling out its first printing of more than 100,000 copies.

Wikipedia Commons

John Lennon disliked his own voice and once asked Beatles producer George Martin to "smother it with tomato ketchup or something."

His best known song after the break-up of The Beatles is "Imagine." Lennon said the song is "virtually the Communist Manifesto," before adding, "even though I am not particularly a communist and I do not belong to any movement."


John Lennon's first girlfriend  when he was at art college was named Thelma Pickles.

John Lennon married Yoko Ono on March 20, 1969 at the British-owned Rock of Gibraltar in Spain. The Beatles song "The Ballad of John and Yoko" describes their ordeal finding a location for the nuptials.

They originally attempted to marry in Paris, but were caught "standing in the dock at Southampton. Trying to get to Holland or France," as later documented in "The Ballad Of John And Yoko." Passport problems keep them from boarding.

During their honeymoon, John Lennon and Yoko Ono hold their first Bed-In for Peace at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel between March 25 - 31 1969.

John Lennon changed his middle name to Ono on April 22, 1969 in honor of his wife. They recorded the song "John And Yoko" the same day.

John Lennon returned his MBE to Buckingham Palace on November 25, 1969, partly in protest at Britain’s involvement in the Biafran war in Nigeria.

In 1966, on the set of How I Won The War, Lennon was issued a pair of National Health spectacles. Lennon's round, wire-rimmed glasses became part of his iconic public image. He was legally blind without his specs.

John Lennon took delivery of his Rolls-Royce - hand-painted in bright, psychedelic colors - on May 25, 1967.

John Lennon's Rolls-Royce rear, Royal BC Museum, Victoria.

Lennon received his driver’s license at 24-years-old. He was the last Beatle that learned how to drive and was regarded as terrible behind the wheel by all who knew him. The Beatle officially gave up driving when he wound up with 17 stitches after totaling his car in 1969.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono mutually agree to a trial separation on February 4, 1974, which effectively kicked off the former Beatle's notorious eighteen-month "lost weekend." During this time, Lennon would consume lots of drugs and alcohol and -- at Yoko's request -- take up with Ono associate May Pang.

Bed-In for Peace, Amsterdam 1969 - John Lennon & Yoko Ono

At an Auburn, Indiana, auction, Las Vegas surgeon Dr. Lonnie Hammargren paid $325,000 for the psychedelic 1956 Bentley limousine once owned by John Lennon.

John Lennon was the only Beatle who didn't become a full-time vegetarian.


John Lennon was shot aged 40 outside his New York apartment by the deranged fan Mark Chapman on December 8, 1980. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the Roosevelt Hospital. Chapman pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years-to-life in jail.

Yoko One refused to hold a funeral for Lennon, as she felt "his spirit would live forever." Instead, she asked people everywhere to observe ten minutes of silence and prayer for him on December 14, 1980, at 2:00 PM. At that time, the music playing in Central Park stopped, and people all over the world fell silent for ten minutes.

The last picture taken of John Lennon while he was alive had his killer in the frame. Photographer Paul Goresh took a snap of Lennon signing Mark Chapman's album.

Lennon signing a copy of Double Fantasy for Chapman Wikipedia

The actress Lauren Bacall was staying in the same New York apartment building as John Lennon when he was shot. Bacall later recalled she had heard the gunshot but assumed that it was a car tire bursting or a vehicle backfiring.

On October 9, 1990, on what would have been Lennon's fiftieth birthday, "Imagine" was simulcast on radio and television stations all over the world, as people remembered Lennon and his music.

Sources, Artistfacts

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