John Lennon was a great song writer and musician. He played the rhythm guitar, the piano, and sang. He was in the most popular group in the history of rock music. In 1959, John founded this group, called The Beatles. The original Beatles were John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Pete Best. Brian Epstein became the manager of the Beatles in 1961. Epstein made many changes in the group. John rebelled and did not want to “package” and “clean up” the group in order to please fans. These changes were made anyway despite John’s protests.
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The Beatles had signed a contract with EMI records and were beginning to record with them. On August 16, 1962, Pete Best, the drummer was suddenly fired from the group. Ringo Starr was inducted into the Beatles two days after Best was fired. John Lennon and Paul McCartney shared the credit of songs written by either one of them. The credit simply read Lennon-McCartney. The two as song writers were a perfect mix. John had a quick artistic sense and he was easily excited by new challenges, he projected a sarcastic and rebellious tough-guy personality, who was actually a vulnerable romantic. While Paul projected the sweet image and who was underneath an injured, controlling, perfectionist. By 1964, The Beatles arrived at JFK Airport. They were greeted with mass hysteria. Two days later, more than 73 million people watched them perform live on the Ed Sullivan Show. Four weeks later, The Beatles held the top five music singles in America at the same time.
John was influenced by many things in 1965-1966 such as psychedelia, marijuana, and Bob Dylan. Many felt that these years were the best song writing years of John Lennon’s life. 1966—The Beatles had been touring for over four years, and they, especially John were tired of it. John wanted to spend more time with his wife, Cynthia, and his song, Julian. At one time, they had to do 32 concerts in 19 days. On their next album, Beatles For Sale, the material reflected how unhappy John and Paul were with life on the road. Songs like “I’m a Loser” and “No Reply” spoke of depression and the frenzy of life in the spotlight. John once said, “It’s like we’re four freaks being wheeled out to be seen, shake our hair about, and get back into our cage afterwards.” The Beatles felt that they needed to work only in the studio now. So, on August 29, 1966, The Beatles performed their last live performance ever at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. Almost a year later, Brian Epstein, the Beatles Manager was found dead in his apartment of a suicidal overdose. This caused many problems for the group.
John later admitted that “The Beatles were finished when Eppy died. I knew, deep inside me, that that was it, without him, we’d had it.” John met a Japanese artist name Yoko Ono in 1967. In just a few weeks, the two were inseparable. This new relationship destroyed John’s marriage with Cynthia and eventually destroyed his relationship with Paul McCartney, and the other Beatles. After John’s divorce from Cynthia, John Winston Lennon changed his name to John Ono Lennon in honor of Yoko Ono. He insisted on using “JOHNANDYOKO” as his official signature and identity. John and Yoko were married in the year of 1969. John released his first solo single in 1969, “Give Peace a Chance.” He did not credit this song to Lennon-McCartney, but to The “Plastic Ono Band.” On April 10, 1970, Paul McCartney resigned from the Beatles. The group dissolved officially in 1971. John Lennon and Paul McCartney became rivals after the Beatles broke up. They were at constant competition with records. John released his “Signature” solo album: Imagine in 1971.
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One song on the record, entitled “How do you Sleep?” includes the lines: The only thing you done was Yesterday, And since you’ve gone you’re just, Another Day, How do you sleep? These lines were directed to Paul McCartney. John Lennon recorded seven albums during 1970-1975 which included Imagine–1971 and Rock and Roll–1975. John semi-retired from music in 1975-1980. He was raising his son, Sean, with wife, Yoko Ono. In 1980, John and Yoko released Double Fantasy. By November, their album was climbing to the top of the charts. On December 8, 1980, John Lennon and Yoko Ono left their Dakota apartment to go to the recording studio. A young man named Mark David Chapman approached John, wanting to get his picture taken with him. The two were photographed together. At 10:49 p.m. that night, John and Yoko were returning from the studio when Chapman stepped out of the shadows and gunned down John Ono Lennon at the age of 40.