Get to Know the Beatles: John Lennon

blog-image If you are a diehard Beatles fan, then you are familiar with the man who is co-responsible with starting it all—John Lennon. Born John Winston Lennon on October 9, 1940 in Liverpool, England, to Alfred and Julia Lennon, he was named after his paternal grandfather John “Jack” Lennon, and England’s Prime Minister at the time of his birth, Winston Churchill. John did not have an easy childhood. His father, Alfred Lennon, was a merchant seaman who was away at the time of John’s birth. It was not uncommon for his father to be away for extended periods of time, but he sent regular paychecks to John’s mother, Julia. His aunt, Mimi Smith, had complained twice to Liverpool’s Social Services concerning John’s welfare at home with his mother. After the second complaint, Julia then turned the care of John over to his aunt Mimi, who took care of John through childhood and adolescence. While living with his Aunt Mimi and Uncle George Smith, Lennon was first introduced to arts and music. Mimi purchased volumes of short stories, while George purchased a mouth organ. It can be said that because of this exposition to musical instruments, John’s musical interest really took off. In 1956, Lennon’s mother, Julia purchased a Gallotone Champion acoustic guitar, Lennon’s first guitar. Julia “lent” the guitar to Lennon on the condition that the guitar be delivered to her home, and not Mimi’s, because Mimi was not supportive of Lennon’s musical aspirations. In fact, Mimi was very skeptical of Lennon’s claim that he would be famous one day, often telling Lennon, “The guitar’s all very well, John, but you’ll never make a living out of it.” In September 1956, at the age of 15, Lennon formed the skiffle group “The Quarrymen”. On July 6, 1957, when performing with The Quarrymen in Woolton, England, Lennon first met Paul McCartney, who Lennon would later ask to join his band. And so, the beginning formation of the Beatles had started—officially becoming a band in 1960! The band accepted a 48-night residency to perform in Hamburg, Germany, in August of 1960. Aunt Mimi was horrified when Lennon told her about the trip, begging him to return to school and continue with his art studies. After nearly a decade of performing around the world with the group that he had formed, Lennon left the Beatles in September of 1969, but did not inform the media of his departure. In the years following the Beatles, Lennon married Yoko Ono and settled in Manhattan, New York. Together, the two formed the Plastic Ono Band, and produced several songs together. In 1975, Lennon’s second son, Sean Lennon, was born. Lennon then took a five-year hiatus from the music industry to stay home and raise his son. He officially announced his break from music in 1977 while in Tokyo, 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 the family.” Lennon’s final singles were produced and released in 1980. “(Just Like) Starting Over” was released in October 1980, followed by the album Double Fantasy in November of the same year. The album contained songs written during a trip that Lennon took to Bermuda on a 43-foot sailing boat the previous June. The album reflected the newfound fulfilment that Lennon found from a stable family life. On the night of December 8, 1980, Lennon and Ono were returning to their New York apartment in the Dakota, when Lennon was shot four times in the back by Mark David Chapman. Chapman lurked in the shadows before stepping out, shooting and fatally wounding Lennon. He was taken to nearby Roosevelt Hospital, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival. The day after his passing, Ono released a statement: “There is no funeral for John. John loved and prayed for the human race. Please do the same for him.” The legend that started with Lennon continues on today through Beatles Tribute Bands. They introduce a whole new generation to the music and genre that Lennon invented, through his talents and years of performing alongside the Beatles. His legacy and the Beatles live on, through Beatles Tribute Bands.  Performing the well-loved music that Lennon helped to create allows us to never forget John Lennon’s incredible contributions to music, and the world.

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