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:
and various nodes on E2

This has been an entry to tes's quest.