"Music is everybody's possession. It's only publishers who think that people own it."

Happy birthday John Lennon!

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John Lennon (October 9, 1940–Decemeber 8, 1980) was an English musician and a founding member of The Beatles. Along with his writing partner Paul McCartney, the two made up one of the most successful songwriting teams of all time. Among their most popular works were songs like "Imagine," "Across the Universe," "All My Loving," "Hey Jude," "Please Please Me", and nearly two hundred more completed by the pair. During the height of their popularity, Lennon was perhaps the most visible members of The Beatles, and a dramatic increase in fame led to his divorce from Cynthia Lennon and subsequent high profile marriage to Yoko Ono. Lennon also became known for his political activism and advocacy for world peace, though Lennon was reportedly abusive in his relationships with loved ones. Lennon left The Beatles in 1969 and went on to pursue a solo career.

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Lennon was born in Liverpool, England and was primarily raised by his Aunt Mimi, although he was often visited by his mother Julia. Julia's death in 1958, when struck fatally by a car driven by an off-duty policeman, was one of the most traumatic events of his young life. In 1957, Lennon met Paul McCartney, and along with fellow local students George Harrison, Pete Best, and Stuart Sutcliffe, they formed The Beatles.

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Then in 1961, the group was discovered by Brian Epstein who landed them a recording contract with EMI. Ringo Starr replaced Pete Best and they released their first single, "Love Me Do" in October 1962. Next, Lennon wrote "Please Please Me" which became a hit song in England, and led to the group's rapid rise to fame, both at home and overseas. Their next few hits, like "She Loves You" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand" propelled The Beatles to stardom and the all-encompassing phenomenon of 'Beatlemania.'

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The group made films that featured their songs, like A Hard Day's Night and Help! In August 1965, The Beatles set the record for the world's then-largest concert audience in music history, with their Shea Stadium performance.

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Following an extended break, The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band, heavily influenced by the group's recent experimentation with mind-altering substances. Brian Epstein died in 1967, and the band travelled next to India, during which they also composed most of the songs for The Beatles and Abbey Road.

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During this time. Lennon's marriage to his first wife Cynthia Powell suffered as a result of their changing lifestyles, along with accusations of infidelity, and the two split in 1968.

The following year, Lennon married Yoko Ono, a Japanese-American avant-garde artist. Ono famously clashed with Paul McCartney and their constant tension eventually persuaded Lennon to leave the band. In 1969, Ono and Lennon released their single "Give Peace A Chance," and Lennon made his official departure from the band in September 1969, though it was kept secret until 1970, just before the release of Let It Be.

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Lennon and Ono moved to the United States and continued to make music, but their marriage began to suffer, and Ono is reported to have suggested that Lennon take a mistress, May Pang. When the couple finally reconciled in 1974, they went on to have their only child, a son named Sean, born on John's 35th birthday in 1975.

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On April 24, 1976, SNL producer Lorne Michaels famously offered The Beatles $50 million for a single reunion show. At the time, Lennon was in fact with Paul McCartney, with whom he had recently reconciled, and the two briefly considered making the short trip to 30 Rock from John's apartment at The Dakota, but decided against it. That night in 1976 was the last time that the two old friends would see each other. In December 1980, Lennon was shot outside his apartment by a deranged fan, Mark David Chapman. Lennon died as a result of his injures at Roosevelt Hospital on December 8, 1980 at the age of 40. McCartney later said of Lennon, "John is kinda like a constant ... always there in my being ... in my soul, so I always think of him".

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Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Thursday, 09 October 2014
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