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. 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. The Beatles had been touring for over four years in 1966, and they, especially John were tired of it. John wanted to spend more time with his wife, Cynthia, and his son, 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 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.

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.

From my collection of old essays from school

Track 8 of Hamell on Trial's second album, The Chord is Mightier than the Sword could be fiction, but if it is, it's exactly the kind of fiction that suckers me into believing it's truth: great autobiographical storytelling that's utterly steeped in sincerity. It's spoken word with simply amazing acoustic guitar accompaniment --- it's hard to believe that it's just one guy playing, but it really is just Ed at his rockingest.

Update, 31 August 2007: The last time I heard Ed perform this, he improvised a little parenthetical comment at the end about how becoming a father has made him more heartbroken than ever at the thought of John Lennon never knowing his grown son. I love Hamell's take on parenting as a personally and politically radicalizing experience, yes I do.

Lyrics:

True story:
In eighth grade, I was short, had glasses, and a squeaky-ass voice that refused to change.
Two things dominated my thoughts: James Cartino and John Lennon.
Cartino I came in contact with daily, in gym class, where he pounded the shit out of me at every opportunity.
Lennon I came in contact with in my wildest dreams.

In 1971 John Lennon spent a week in my hometown of Syracuse, NY
Yoko gave an exhibit at a museum there
Some friends of mine skipped school and got hired to do odd jobs for her
I'd tell them of my day of Cartino-poundings
They'd tell me of their day with John and Yoko
I was envious as hell.

My friends told me there was to be a private party, and I begged them to sneak me in.
They were skeptical but agreed.
I waited outside the museum for about eight hours
I had to piss real bad but I didn't dare leave
At about midnight, the back door opened and I snuck in
I couldn't believe my luck
I'd be invisible.
I'd watch. I'd wait.

The room was dark and crowded.
I saw Allen Ginsberg and some others I recognized
but no John and Yoko.
After an hour I felt I could risk a much-needed trip to the men's room
I made my way through the crowd, entered a hallway, took a few steps
and looked up to see Lennon approaching
A group from the party had targeted him
From behind me they rushed
I was carried, on a path straight as a bullet
closer... closer... closer... closer... closer...
till my chest slammed into John Lennon's.
Lennon looked down at me and barked:
"Fuck off"
It sucked to be me. I hit the men's room.

The hometown buzz from Lennon's visit lasted a month.
For me, of course, it lasted longer.
Cartino thrashed me the following Monday,
but it didn't seem to hurt as much.
Something had changed for all my life.

I didn't cry when Lennon was murdered, I was bewildered and angry.
I respected him so much, I may even have felt guilty.
Last year, while getting my baggage at LaGuardia Airport,
I found myself standing next to Lennon's son, Sean.
Tall, handsome like his father
With his mother's beautiful eyes
The son Lennon never got to see become a man
It was then that I noticed
I was crying.

Hamell On Trial

Copyright Ed Hamell. Lyrics reproduced by permission --- see Hamell on Trial for full details.

CST Approved

From In His Own Write:

I was bored on 9th of Octover 1940 when, I believe, the Nasties were still booming us led by Madalf Heatlump (Who only had one). Anyway they didn't get me. I attended to varicous schools in Liddypol. And still didn't pass-much to my Auntie's supplies. As a member of the most publified Beatles my and (P, G, and R's) records might seem funnier to some of you than this book, but as far as I'm conceived this correction of short writty is the most wonderfoul larf I've ever ready.
God help and breed you all.


John Lennon had a fairly successful solo career, both before and after the breakup of The Beatles. Some of his recordings even included Ringo Starr on drums. He had a lot of hits, including: Imagine, Instant Karma, Cold Turkey, Whatever Gets You Through the Night, and many more. The solo songs are, generally speaking, quite different from those that he wrote while with The Beatles.

He wasn't just a rock star; he was in a few movies as well. The best known are the ones he did with The Beatles: A Hard Day's Night, Help, Magical Mystery Tour, and Let It Be (also he had a small role in Yellow Submarine). He also starred in the movie How I Won the War in the mid-1960s. In addition to being in movies, he wrote two books: In His Own Write, and A Spaniard in the Works. Both are very interesting. The intro bit to this writeup is an excerpt from In His Own Write.

Another thing that John was famous for was fighting for political causes. His most famous peaceful protests were in Toronto and Amsterdam, and his bed-ins for peace, but he also participated in many benefit concerts. His political activism actually led him to be targeted by the FBI and even Senator Strom Thurmond in the early 1970s.

He was shot by a deranged fan, Mark David Chapman, in December of 1980.


Below is a discography of the solo work that he released. Release dates are for the United Kingdom. There have been many other compilations of his work that have been released since his death, but these are not included.



*Both of these albums were also released in November of 1980 by a different record label.

John Lennon was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. Obviously, he was not there to accept his induction, so, Paul McCartney accepted on his behalf and read this moving (yet sometimes corny) letter to John:

Dear John,

I remember when we first met, at Woolton,
at the village fete. It was a beautiful summer day and I walked in there and saw you onstage.
And you were singing "Come Go With Me" by the Dell Vikings,
but you didn't know the words so you made them up.
"Come go with me to the penitentiary." It's not in the lyrics.

I remember writing our first songs together. We used to go to my house,
my Dad's home, and we used to smoke Ty-Phoo tea with
the pipe my dad kept in a drawer.
It didn't do much for us but it got us on the road.
We wanted to be famous.

I remember the visits to your mum's house.
Julia was a very handsome woman, very beautiful woman.
She had long red hair and she played a ukulele.
I'd never seen a woman that could do that.
And I remember having to tell you the guitar chords
because you used to play the ukulele chords.

And then on your 21st birthday you got 100 pounds off one of your rich relatives up in Edinburgh, so we decided to go to Spain.
So we hitchhiked out of Liverpool, got as far as Paris,
and decided to stop there, for a week. And eventually
got our haircut, by a fellow named Jurgen, and that ended up being the "Beatle haircut."

I remember introducing you to my mate George, my schoolmate, and getting him into the band by playing "Raunchy"
on the top deck of a bus. You were impressed.
And we met Ringo who'd been working the whole season at Butlin camp --
he was a seasoned professional --
but the beard had to go, and it did.

Later on we got a gig at the Cavern club in Liverpool,
which was officially a blues club. We didn't really know any numbers.
We loved the blues, but we didn't know any blues numbers,
so we had announcements like "Ladies and gentlemen,
this is a great Big Bill Broonzy number called
"Wake Up Little Suzie." And they kept passing up little notes --
"This is not the blues, this is not the blues. This is pop."
But we kept going.

And then we ended up touring. It was a bloke called Larry Parnes who gave us our first tour. I remember we all changed names for
that tour. I changed mine to Paul Ramon, George became Carl Harrison,
and although people think you didn't really change your name, I seem to remember you were Long John Sliver for
the duration of that tour. Bang goes another myth.

We'd been on a van touring later and we'd have the kind of
night where the windscreen would break. We would be on the
Motorway going back up to Liverpool. It was freezing so we
had to lie on top of each other in the back of the van,
creating a Beatle sandwich. We got to know each other.
These were the ways we got to know each other.

We got to Hamburg and met the likes of Little Richard,
Gene Vincent...I remember Little Richard inviting us
back to his hotel. He was looking at Ringo's ring and

said, "I love that ring." He said,
"I've got a ring like that. I could give you a ring like that."
So we all
went back to the hotel with him. (We never got a ring).

We went back with Gene Vincent to his hotel room once.
It was all going fine until he reached in his bedside drawer
and pulled out a gun. We said, "Er, we've got to go Gene,
we've got to go...." We got out quick!

And then came the USA -- New York City --
where we met up with Phil Spector, The Ronettes,
Supremes, our heroes, our heroines. And then later in LA,
we met up with Elvis Presley for one great evening.
We saw the boy on his home territory. He was the first person
I ever saw with a remote control on a TV. Boy! He was a hero, man.

And then later, Ed Sullivan. We'd wanted to be famous,
now we were getting really famous. I mean imagine meeting
Mitzi Gaynor in Miami!

Later, after that, recording at Abbey Road.
I still remember doing "Love Me Do." You officially had the vocal
"love me do" but because you played the harmonica,
George Martin suddenly said in the middle of the session,
"Will Paul sing the line 'love me do?" The crucial line.
I can still here it to this day -- you would go "Whaaa whaa,"
and I'd go "loove me do-oo." Nerves, man.

I remember doing the vocal to "Kansas City" --
well I couldn't quite get it, because its hard to do that stuff.
You know, screaming out the top of your head. You came down
from the control room and took me to one side and said,
"You can do it, you've just got to scream it, you can do it."
So, thank you. Thank you for that. I did it.

I remember writing "A Day In the Life" with you,
and the little look we gave each other when we wrote the line
"I'd love to turn you on." we kinda knew what we were doing,
you know. A sneaky little look.

After that there was this girl called Yoko.
Yoko Ono. She showed up at my house one day.
It was John Cage's birthday and she said she wanted to get
hold of manuscripts of various composers to give to him,
and she wanted one from me and you. So I said,
"Well, it's OK by me. But you'll have to go to John."

And she did.....

After that I set up a couple of Brennell recording machines
we used to have and you stayed up all night and recorded "Two Virgins."
But you took the cover yourselves -- nothing to do with me.

And then, after that there were the phone calls to you.
The joy for me after all the business shit that we'd gone through was that
we were actually getting back together and communicating once again.
And the joy as you told me about how you were baking bread now.
And how you were playing with your little baby, Sean.
That was great for me because it gave me something to hold on to.

So now, years on, here we are. All these people.
Here we are, assembled, to thank you for everything that you
mean to all of us.

This letter comes with love, from your friend Paul.

John Lennon, you've made it.
Tonight you are in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame.

God Bless You.
Paul McCartney

The only way you can better John is by copying him exactly.”
-Yoko Ono


John Winston Lennon was born on October 9, 1940. John Winston Ono Lennon died on December 9, 1980. While he was on earth, he was a successful local musician, a worldwide icon, a political activist, and one of the most creative minds on the planet. He gained the adoration of millions of fans, the hatred of every fundamentalist Christian in America, and the ear of nearly everyone on the planet.



Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful…
Beautiful boy.

Through the earlier portions of his life, John lived with his aunt and uncle in Liverpool. His father, a sailor, attempted in 1946 to take John with him to New Zealand. John, however, chose to stay in England, and wouldn’t see his father again for twenty years. He taught himself to play guitar, and his mother taught him to play banjo. In 1958, in an accident that would haunt John throughout his life, his mother Julia Lennon was struck and killed by a drunk driver. As a method of comfort, music became a major portion of his life.



“Those of you in the cheaper seats clap.
The rest of you rattle your jewelry.”

John started a variety of small groups in his youth, but did not come into the public light until 1960, when he started his newest group, the Beatles. They became popular in Hamburg. They became popular in England. They dominated the world charts. Their appearance on the Ed Sullivan show set a record for ratings with 72 million viewers. The Beatles’ appeal was almost universal, until the slip John made in a 1966 interview. Americans did not like celebrities that thought themselves bigger than Jesus.

The London Catholic Herald agreed that his remarks were “…still probably true.



Living is easy with your eyes closed
Misunderstanding all you see.

The crumble of their widespread appeal led the Beatles into a new era of music. The clean pop, identical-haircut songs of the past years were replaced by experiments that would influence music for decades to come. Sergeant Pepper, Revolver, and other albums epitomizing the Beatles “new sound” were led by songs such as Lennon’s own Strawberry Fields Forever and Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Alas, it couldn’t last, and creative differences (which ones still a matter of hot debate) led to the Beatles demise.



The dream is over.
What can I say?

From 1970 on, much of John Lennon’s music was for his own benefit. While some of it held the beauty of earlier hits, a great deal was an exorcism of his thoughts. Yet even when he poured out the things haunting him, the music came out as some of the most powerful ever. John Lennon spent ten years as an ex-Beatle, a decade that traced a course from the newfound freedom of Plastic Ono Band and Imagine through years of problems to his final release, Double Fantasy.



“I don’t want to die at forty.”

John Lennon left his home at the Dakota hotel at 5:00 p.m. on December 9, 1980. On his way out, he autographed a copy of Double Fantasy for a fan. When John returned home that night, the same man was waiting for him. Turning to face the call of “Mr. Lennon,” John was shot four times in the back and chest. He gradually lost consciousness in the back of a police car and was pronounced dead when it arrived at the hospital. His assailant was arrested without a struggle. When asked if he knew what he had done, the assassin’s only reply was:

“I just shot John Lennon.”




A working class hero is something to be.

John Lennon is my hero. He was never perfect. He made mistakes that cost him millions of fans at a stroke, ruined years of his life in drug- and alcohol-induced stupor, and could at times be one of the cruelest men alive. To Cynthia and Julian, he was a terrible husband and father. To Yoko and Sean, he was only mildly better.

But he was always his own. He fought every way he knew how for what he believed in--peace. He found love and stuck with it when others criticized him. His memory and music taught me that you can’t be perfect, but you can always try to be better.


If you want to be a hero, well just follow me.



Sources include:
www.workingclasshero.com
www.john-lennon.net
and various nodes on E2

This has been an entry to tes's quest.

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