John Lennon (1940-1980)

One of the great musical icons of all time.

His undeniable genius as a performer and composer and a charismatic personality is combined with his notorious social and political prominence, signified by messages of peace, concord and love in an honest, emotional, visceral, intimate personal projection.

sheet music John Lennon

John Winston Lennon was born on October 9, 1940, in the city of Liverpool (England), son of Julia Stanley and Fred Lennon, a sailor who spent long periods at sea and who did not see his son until five years after his birth, when he was already living with his aunt Mimi (Mary Smith) and his uncle George at 251 Menlove Ave in Woolton.

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Mimi and George took care of little Johnny after being asked to take care of the child by Julia, who, of a more libertine nature than her sister, felt incapable of raising her son, especially with the presence of her new companion, John Dykins.

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When he returned to Liverpool, Fred arrived with the intention of leaving with his son for New Zealand, a fact that was prevented by Julia, who returned custody to her sister Mimi.

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With a strict education from his uncles, little John manifested himself as a rebellious boy, paying little attention to his studies and dedicating himself mainly to drawing, an ability that later prompted his aunt Mimi to ask him for a letter of recommendation by the director of Quarry Bank Grammar School, so that he could enter Liverpool Art College.

Starting in the mid-1950s, the young John Lennon began to listen to music ardently, devouring skiffle and rock’n’roll and admiring Elvis Presley, Lonnie Donegan, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins.

The Liverpool teenager’s dream was to imitate his idols and try to form a band. He had to get a guitar. His aunt Mimi bought him a second-hand one.

After the death in 1955 of her uncle George, to whom John was very close, Julia began to spend much more time with her son.

John, despite the distance, admired his mother and her way of being, much more permissive than his Aunt Mimi.

He also taught him how to play Grandpa’s old banjo, with which he learned to play Buddy Holly’s song “That’ll Be The Day.”

In this happy time of reconciliation between mother and son, a tragic event occurred that devastated John.

His mother Julia died in 1958 due to a collision by a police officer who was driving while intoxicated.

In 1955 Lennon formed his first skiffle group called The Blackjacks.

After a week, they changed their name to The Quarrymen, a name derived from the Quarry Bank school.

It was made up of John Lennon, Bill Smith and Pete Shotton, his close friend from youth adventures.

Later, people like Eric Griffiths, Nigel Whalley, Rod Davis, Colin Hanton, Eric Griffiths, Len Garry and Ivan Vaughan passed through the band, who introduced John to a boy called Paul McCartney, a rock’n lover, in July 1957. ‘roll and accomplished instrumentalist who wowed Lennon with his guitar, immediately adding him to the lineup.

Shortly after, McCartney recommended a young guitarist, George Harrison, to John.

The rest is history…

In September 1957, and at Liverpool Art College, John met Cynthia Powell, whom he married on August 23, 1962.

In April 1963, his son Julian was born.

At art school, he also met Stuart Sutcliffe.

Cynthya and John, who had already begun a relationship with the Japanese Yoko Ono since 1966, divorced in 1968.

On March 20, 1969, Yoko and John were married in Gibraltar.

Cynthia died on April 1, 2015, in Mallorca after suffering from cancer. She was 75 years old at the time of her death.

Before breaking up with the Beatles, John Lennon had already begun a solo career that always had the support of his second wife.

Together they had completed the album “Two Virgins” (1968) in 1968, an experimental work that gained notable fame for the cover on which they appeared completely naked.

John Lennon’s pacifist convictions took root even more with Yoko, and the couple did not hesitate to spend their honeymoon publicly in a room at the Hilton hotel in Amsterdam (Holland), events they called ‘Bed-in for peace.’

They later continued their avant-garde adventures with “Life With Lions” (1969).

Also in her pacifist desire, she recorded the single “Give Peace a Chance” (number 2 in England and 14 in the United States) and returned her decoration to the Queen to protest the Biafran conflict.

When the honeymoon ended, Lennon appeared at the 1969 edition of the Toronto Festival, Canada, with a lineup made up of guitarist Eric Clapton, bassist Klaus Voorman, drummer Alan White and Yoko Ono herself, with whom He edited “Live Peace in Toronto” (1969).
This association was named Plastic Ono Band.

A few days later, he got into the studio and recorded the heroin-themed single “Cold Turkey” with the Plastic Ono Band (numbers 14 and 30).

The Beatles were practically finished at that time.

It was Paul McCartney, taking the opportunity to publicize his first solo album, who publicly announced the dissolution of the band on April 11, 1970.

All this despite the fact that Lennon had previously informed him that he was going to leave the group but that he was not yet going to comment publicly until they all did so together.

For this reason, Lennon, and even Harrison, were slow to rekindle their friendship with Macca.

Previously, John himself, who was already working for him, had presented the single produced by Phil Spector “Instant Karma” (number 5 in the United Kingdom and 3 on the Billboard).

The ex-Beatles’s debut solo album was the masterful “Plastic Ono Band” (1970), an LP also produced by Spector, dull, vibrant, emotionally charged, in which John completely bared his feelings.

Topics like “Mother”, “Isolation”, “Love”, “Working Class Hero” or “God” are songs included in this sensational album.

The single “Power To The People” (number 7 in the United Kingdom and 11 in the US) was his first work in 1971 before recording his most popular single and album “Imagine” (1971) (number 1 in almost the whole world).

Again with Spector in the studio, the album contains songs like “Jealous Guy”, “Gimme Some Truth” or “How Do You Sleep?”, a piece dedicated to Paul McCartney.

He then presented the Christmas single “Happy Xmas (War is Over)”, a song that reached number 4 in England and number 3 in the United States.

Established in the United States since September 1971, Lennon, who never resided in England permanently, became a leftist political activist who frequently appeared alongside Yoko Ono at anti-war demonstrations and contacted radicals such as Jerry Rubin (who Over the years he became a successful and millionaire businessman).

“Sometime In New York City” (1972), with “Woman Is The Nigger Of The World”, exemplifies these trends well in its content.

That year, John Lennon played live in August at Madison Square Garden in New York. This double album received poor reviews and lower sales than his previous work, reaching number 11 in England and 48 in the United States.

Furthermore, the North American Government took it out on the ex-Beatles and did not stop continually harassing him to expel him from the country.

This harassment stopped in 1975 after a judicial appeal ruling that granted him the famous green card.

The notable “Mind Games” (1973) contains important songs, among which the eponymous single stood out.

After this LP (number 13 in Great Britain and 9 on the Billboard), Yoko and John, who had begun a relationship with his secretary May Pang, decided to separate, a fact that Lennon took advantage of to move to Los Angeles and enter a dangerous spiral of alcohol and drugs alongside Harry Nilsson (for whom he produced the album “Pussy Cats”), Keith Moon, David Bowie, Elton John and Ringo Starr.

The so-called “Lost Weekend” lasted a year and a half.

After that period, Lennon returned with Yoko Ono.

With one of the participants of the famous weekend, Elton John (with whom he last appeared on stage in 1974 in addition to being godfather to his son Sean) Lennon obtained a number 1 single with the song “Whatever Gets You Through ‘The Night.’

The LP that includes that song is “Walls And Bridges” (1974), an album with the hypnotic cut “#9 Dream”.

The album managed to reach the top in the United States, while in England it reached number 6.

His next work was a tribute to the music that influenced him as a child.

The album, co-produced by Phil Spector and simply titled “Rock’n’Roll” (1975), was recorded in Los Angeles at the time and contains his well-known version of “Stand By Me.”

After his son Sean was born, Lennon retired from the musical world for a long time, but not before having co-composed the successful single “Fame” with Bowie and guitarist Carlos Alomar.

At the dawn of the new decade, John Lennon returned to record a very good album called “Double Fantasy” (1980), an LP produced by Jack Douglas that included magnificent songs like “(Just Like) Starting Over”, “Woman”, “I’m Losing You”, “Watching The Wheels” or “Dear Yoko”.

When it seemed that Lennon had regained his melodic inspiration, a brainless man named Mark Chapman murdered him at the door of his New York apartment on December 8, 1980.

The man had died, and the myth was born.

He was only 40 years old.

He was cremated.

John was posthumously inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1994.

STAND BY ME (Ultimate Mix, 2020) – John Lennon (official music video HD)

Lyrics:

STAND BY ME
When the night has come and the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we see
No I won’t be afraid, no I won’t be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darling, darling stand by me
Oh, now, now, stand by me, stand by me, stand by me

If the sky that we look upon should tumble and fall
And the mountain should crumble to the sea
I won’t cry, I won’t cry, no I won’t shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darling, darling stand by me
Oh, stand by me, stand by me, stand by me, stand by me
Whenever you’re in trouble won’t you stand by me
Oh, now, now, stand by me, oh, stand by me, stand by me, stand by me
Darling, darling stand by me, stand by me
Oh stand by me, stand by me, stand by me

Written by Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller

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