John Lennon biography

With Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, 1968On 7 November 1966 he met Japanese artist Yoko Ono at the Indica gallery in London, where she was preparing a conceptual art show. They began a relationship in May 1968, and Cynthia filed for divorce on the grounds of infidelity later that year.

Lennon and Ono began a series of peace protests against the Vietnam war. Lennon returned his MBE to the Queen in 1969, stating: "Your Majesty, I am returning this in protest against Britain's involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam, and against Cold Turkey slipping down the charts. With love. John Lennon of Bag."

The couple married in Gibraltar in March 1969, and spent their honeymoon in Amsterdam staging a 'Bed-in' for peace in the Hilton hotel. The period was documented by Lennon in The Beatles' song The Ballad Of John And Yoko. In April 1969, Lennon changed his name to John Ono Lennon on the roof of Apple.

The Beatles disintegrated in 1969. Lennon left the group in September, but agreed not to announce it while the band were renegotiating their recording contract. When McCartney declared that he had left the group in April 1970, Lennon's reaction was "Jesus Christ! He gets all the credit for it!" He later told Rolling Stone magazine: "I was a fool not to do what Paul did, which was use it to sell a record."

Although Lennon harboured some bitterness towards his former bandmates, he was later quoted as saying "I still love those guys. The Beatles are over, but John, Paul, George and Ringo go on."

The solo years

Lennon's solo career had begun while The Beatles were still together. After three experimental albums recorded with Yoko Ono - Unfinished Music No 1: Two Virgins, Unfinished Music No 2: Life With The Lions and Wedding Album - he recorded Live Peace In Toronto 1969 with Plastic Ono Band, Lennon's solo musical vehicle with an ever-changing line-up.

Three solo singles were released before The Beatles' break-up: Give Peace A Chance, Cold Turkey and Instant Karma.

In 1970 he released the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band album, his most powerful solo release, and followed it up by the enormously popular Imagine. Both were produced by Phil Spector, who Lennon collaborated with several times during the 1970s.

Lennon left the UK for New York in August 1971, never to return. Several solo singles and albums followed, of varying quality, and Lennon increasingly became involved in radical politics.

John Lennon and May PangHis marriage to Yoko Ono had become strained by 1973, and in November they separated. Lennon embarked on what he later called his "lost weekend" for 18 months, in the company of new partner May Pang and a series of drinking companions including Harry Nilsson and Ringo Starr.

Ono and Lennon reconciled in November 1974 following his appearance at Elton John's Thanksgiving concert at Madison Square Garden. He eventually returned to live with her once more at their apartment in the Dakota building, New York City, on 31 January 1975.

The lost weekend was replaced by Lennon's period of house-husbandry. His son Sean Ono Lennon was born on 9 October 1975 - Lennon's 35th birthday - and John withdrew from the music business to raise him.

John and Sean Lennon, 9 October 1980He re-emerged in November 1980 with the release of Double Fantasy, a split album with half the songs recorded by Yoko Ono.

Following its release Lennon began planning a follow-up, Milk And Honey. However, as he and Ono returned from a recording session on the night of 8 December 1980, he was shot by in front of the Dakota building by Mark David Chapman. Earlier that day Lennon had autographed a copy of Double Fantasy for the gunman.

Lennon was pronounced dead on arrival at 11.15pm. The following day Yoko Ono issued a statement, which read:

There is no funeral for John. John loved and prayed for the human race. Please pray the same for him. Love, Yoko and Sean.

22 responses on “John Lennon biography

  1. April

    All I can say is that it still breaks my heart to know John is no longer here. I was 17 when he was senselessly murdered. I can still remember it like it was yesterday. John is the best musician ever, sadly we only got a small sample of his work. He is so greatly missed by so many. We will always have you in our hearts and mind through your creativity. I so glad you were with us as long as you were.

  2. Ken Gledhill

    You forgot to mention the family home before he moved in with his aunt Mimi. He originally lived at 9 Newcastle Road, Wavertree when he was a little boy.

  3. barbara jackson

    May the Lord Jesus, bless and keep your family and friends. I feel your pain. I suppose John had finished his course here on earth, so let’s look forward to seeing him there.

  4. Beatles lover

    I read some where that the night that John got shot Yoko said to the doctors or the news reporters that she didn’t want to announce his death on the tv right away because she said Sean was in front of it.

  5. sammy douglas

    He was controversial yet spiritual. Many never understood him. People misunderstood his words. He would use power of communication to read people. This is partly what resulted to his shooting. He knew folks hated him anyway.

  6. Dagmar

    He was an amazing singer. I saw John ,Paul, George and Ringo 1966 in Essen/ Germany. I will never forget the concert, when i was sixteen!!!

  7. Quarry-Man

    John was a true genius. However his most blatant act of stupidity was when he took up with Yoko. I still blame her for being one of the primary reasons for him wanting to leave the Beatles. It’s still a head scratcher to me why he was attracted to her. She had no real talent, she sang like a cat getting it’s tail pulled, her looks were a 2 on a scale of 1-10, and she was dumb as a stump. I will always believe that she somehow brainwashed him.

  8. Wendy Davison

    I have been a Beatles fan all my life. There music was what helped me when I was growing up. John Lennon will always be a hero to me and I’ll be forever grateful for all of them in my life!

  9. Tim

    Well, Ono was from a wealthy family and as for her being all those great things you have mentioned….you are probably righ…Japan has the worst bands ever becoming famous just because Japanese tend to like crappy music.

  10. manteau

    Whatever or whoever Yoko might be, we should respect her simply because John respected her, and she probably saved him from dying of an OD in 69/70. However, her role in the murder is equivocal, and she couldn’t save him from Ronald Reagan’s minions. I agree with Paul, the assassin’s name should be forgotten, he was just a tool.

  11. CynthiaC

    This site is intended to celebrate the Beatles’ legacy, which really centers around intimate and universal love. What ironic heartbreak that the comment section is soiled by haters and goons.

  12. vince

    John Lennon was probably the most brilliant and prolific music composer of the 20th century. With that brilliance comes a certain inability to relate much as Edison, Tesla and Einstein had difficulty relating. They all shared the commonality of being misunderstood. The man was genius and should there be any doubt look at what he has written and its social impact. He and the rest of the Beatles changed the face of music forever.

    1. SouthofReality

      I like John Lennon, but the most brilliant and prolific composer of the 20th century is probably George Gershwin (discounting classical music) and I would rank Cole Porter, Bob Dylan, and several others above John Lennon.

  13. manteau

    Dear Warptek, John had been an fervent supporter of Jimi Carter back in 1976., He had been an undesirable alien in the US of A from 1972 to 1975, when he eventually was granted his green card. He had won…too easily against a disgraced Nixon. In the meantime, John had nothing to fear from Carter’s team. But in November 1980, two things happened almost at the same time : The election of Ronald Reagan and John’s own return to the forefront of the pop*rock scene. You know what happened.
    Now, if you say politics are a forbidden subject here, we should never talk about John at all! I hate politics, but I’m convinced ( Like Sean ) that John Lennon’s assassination was a political one.

    1. SouthofReality

      In November of 1980, two things happened almost at the same time: John’s return to the forefront of the pop*rock scene and the “Who Shot JR” episode of Dallas. You know what happened …

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