Paul McCartney inducts John Lennon into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:
In My Life (Beatles – written by John Lennon):
|Birth name||John Winston Lennon|
|Born||9 October 1940
Liverpool, England, UK
|Died||8 December 1980 (aged 40)
New York City, New York, US
|Occupations||Musician, singer-songwriter, record producer, artist, writer|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, keyboards, harmonica, bass guitar|
|Years active||1957–75, 1980|
|Labels||Parlophone, Capitol, Apple, Geffen,Polydor|
|Associated acts||The Quarrymen, The Beatles, Plastic Ono Band, The Dirty Mac, Yoko Ono|
John Ono Lennon, MBE, born John Winston Lennon (9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980) was an English musician, singer and songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as a founder member of The Beatles, one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Together with Paul McCartney, he formed one of the most celebrated songwriting partnerships of the 20th century.
Born and raised in Liverpool, Lennon became involved as a teenager in the skiffle craze; his first band, the Quarrymen, evolved into the Beatles in 1960. As the group disintegrated towards the end of the decade, Lennon embarked on a solo career that produced the critically acclaimed albums John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, and iconic songs such as “Give Peace a Chance” and “Imagine”. After his marriage to Yoko Ono in 1969, he changed his name to John Ono Lennon. Lennon disengaged himself from the music business in 1975 to devote time to raising his infant son Sean, but re-emerged with Ono in 1980 with the new album Double Fantasy. He was murdered three weeks after its release.
Lennon revealed a rebellious nature and acerbic wit in his music, writing, drawings, on film and in interviews. Controversial through his political and peace activism, he moved to New York City in 1971, where his criticism of the Vietnam War resulted in a lengthy attempt by Richard Nixon’s administration to deport him, while some of his songs were adopted as anthems by the anti-war movement.
As of 2012 Lennon’s solo album sales in the United States exceed 14 million units, and as writer, co-writer or performer, he is responsible for 25 number-one singles on the US Hot 100 chart. In 2002 a BBC poll on the 100 Greatest Britons voted him eighth, and in 2008, Rolling Stone ranked him the fifth-greatest singer of all-time. He was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.
Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
There was a tremendous intimacy in everything John Lennon did, combined with a formidable intellect. That is what makes him a great singer. In “Girl,” on Rubber Soul, he starts in this steely, high voice: “Is there anybody going to listen to my story. . . .” It’s so impassioned, like somebody stepping from the shadows in a room. But when he comes to the chorus, you suddenly realize: He’s talking directly to her. When I heard this, as a young teenager, it hit the nail on the head. It embodied the feelings I was living with every day — completely burning with sexual desire, with almost a regret at being so overpowered.
He had a confidence, a certainty about what he was feeling that carried over into everything he sang. One of the things about John Lennon and the Beatles that went by a lot of people was how unusual it was for people in their class, from Liverpool, to be catapulted into the higher reaches of entertainment and society, without disguising their working-class roots and voices. It was such an audacious thing to do, not to change who they were. That was the heart of John Lennon’s singing — to say who he was and where he was from.
~Jackson Browne (Rollingstone.com – 100 greatest singers)
The Tomorrow interview (aired April 28, 1975):
On April 28, 1975, Tomorrow aired what eventually became its most talked about and enduring moment: John Lennon appeared in what would turn out to be his final televised interview. Since at the time Lennon faced deportation proceedings from America over his 1968 misdemeanor conviction for cannabis possession in London, after the first part of the interview during which Snyder covered the regular topics, Lennon’s legal representative – immigration attorney Leon Wildes – joined Lennon on the panel to discuss the details of the case, as the famous musician directed his message at the American public in an appeal of sorts to be allowed to remain in the United States.
- Music historians Schinder and Schwartz, writing of the transformation in popular music styles that took place between the 1950s and the 1960s, say that the Beatles’ influence cannot be overstated: having “revolutionised the sound, style, and attitude of popular music and opened rock and roll’s doors to a tidal wave of British rock acts”, the group then “spent the rest of the 1960s expanding rock’s stylistic frontiers”.
- Liam Gallagher, his group Oasis among the many who acknowledge the band’s influence, identifies Lennon as a hero; in 1999 he named his first child Lennon Gallagher in tribute.
- On National Poetry Day in 1999, after conducting a poll to identify the UK’s favourite song lyric, the BBC announced “Imagine” the winner.
- In a 2006 Guardian article, Jon Wiener wrote: “For young people in 1972, it was thrilling to see Lennon’s courage in standing up to [US President] Nixon. That willingness to take risks with his career, and his life, is one reason why people still admire him today.”
- For music historians Urish and Bielen, Lennon’s most significant effort was “the self-portraits … in his songs [which] spoke to, for, and about, the human condition.”
- Lennon continues to be mourned throughout the world and has been the subject of numerous memorials and tributes. In 2002, the airport in Lennon’s home town was renamed the Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
- In 2010, on what would have been Lennon’s 70th birthday, the John Lennon Peace Monument was unveiled in Chavasse Park, Liverpool, by Cynthia and Julian Lennon.
- The sculpture entitled ‘Peace & Harmony’ exhibits peace symbols and carries the inscription “Peace on Earth for the Conservation of Life · In Honour of John Lennon 1940–1980”.
- In December 2013 the International Astronomical Union named one of the craters on Mercury after Lennon.
Awards & Sales
The Lennon–McCartney songwriting partnership is regarded as one of the most influential and successful of the 20th century.
- As performer, writer or co-writer Lennon has had 25 number one singles on the US Hot 100 chart
- His album sales in the US stand at 14 million units
- Double Fantasy was his best-selling solo album, at three million shipments in the US; Released shortly before his death, it won the 1981 Grammy Award for Album of the Year.
- The following year, the BRIT Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music went to Lennon.
- Participants in a 2002 BBC poll voted him eighth of “100 Greatest Britons“.
- Between 2003 and 2008, Rolling Stone recognised Lennon in several reviews of artists and music, ranking him fifth of “100 Greatest Singers of All Time” and 38th of “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”, and his albums John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, 22nd and 76th respectively of “Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time“.
- He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) with the other Beatles in 1965 (returned in 1969)
- Lennon was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.