He was part of one of the most famous, most critically acclaimed, and most popular music acts in all of history...
...one of the most successful songwriting partnerships in musical history.
...and one of the most famous marriages in modern times. He was a stay-at-home dad to his son Sean, and tragically, he was murdered by a delusional fan.
John Lennon had a truly “bigger-than-life” life.
At age 15, in 1956, British lad John Lennon started his first band, The Quarrymen. He soon met Paul McCartney, who asked to join the band; by 1959, George Harrison (who was just 14 years old at the time) joined the band as well. Along with bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, the four changed the band's name to The Beatles. The guys were on their way when they were offered a residency to play music in Hamburg, Germany. Pete Best went along to play drums. Eventually the group returned to England, without Sutcliffe, and replaced Best with drummer Ringo Starr. Now the stage was set for The Beatles to hit it big – with number-one hit after hit. After hit!
Lennon and McCartney wrote approximately 180 songs together. Most, of course, were recorded by The Beatles.
Many songwriting duos have one person who writes the words and another who creates the music for those words—or, sometimes, one person who thinks up the music and another who writes words that fit the tune. Lennon-McCartney were a little different: they both created music and lyrics. Sometimes they worked closely together on a song, “eyeball-to-eyeball,” but other times they wrote songs on their own but had a bit of input from the other. In the latter case, they shared equal writing credit because they had agreed to do just that before they got famous.
After The Beatles broke up, in 1969, John Lennon continued to write and record songs, either solo or with his second wife, Yoko Ono. He retired from “the biz” to raise their son, but just before his murder John Lennon made a comeback with the 1980 album Double Fantasy.
Did you know...?
John Lennon loved to draw and write, and while in high school he used to collect his satirical, nonsensical writings and bizarre drawings in an exercise book he called The Daily Howl. He later published several books of his short stories, poetry, plays, and drawings.
Lennon may owe his musical career to a bus driver who heard him playing a mouth organ and was impressed. The driver gave Lennon a professional harmonic that someone had left on a bus. Lennon later learned to play the banjo, acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitar, piano, and electronic keyboard.
Last year, on what would have been his 70th birthday, the John Lennon Peace Monument was unveiled in his hometown of Liverpool, England. Lennon's first wife and son Julian performed the unveiling.