John Winston Lennon -- composer; musician; one fourth of the famed rock group, The Beatles; husband of Yoko Ono; father of Julian and Sean -- was born on this day in 1940 in Liverpool, England. Itís hard to imagine what the world would be like without his influence on music.
There is hardly a soul anywhere in the world who isnít familiar with the songs he wrote as half of the team of Lennon and McCartney. When The Beatles were no longer touring, John Lennon collaborated with Yoko Ono in avant-garde works. He then began to express his political views through his music, and in some cases, his actions. Live Peace in Toronto was his first gesture for world peace. And, he returned the coveted Order of the British Empire award (the MBE) to protest British involvement in the Nigerian Civil War. He continued his quest for peace in Give Peace a Chance and with his bed-in for peace at the Amsterdam Hilton following his marriage to Yoko Ono.
His music traced his lifestyles, his views, his childhood, his pain, and jubilation: Cold Turkey, Instant Karma, Mother, Working Class Hero, Jealous Guy, Crippled Inside and How Do You Sleep. Imagine, from the LP of the same title, became his best known work. It also made a statement, paying homage to nonmaterialism. Then there was the LP, Sometime in New York City, filled with anti-establishment verses. Mind Games and Walls and Bridges followed.
Whatever Gets You Through the Night was cause for celebration. It was his first solo #1 hit in the U.S. Lennon then recorded an LP with Yoko, each alternating songs on Double Fantasy. He celebrated his son Sean with Beautiful Boy, his wife with Woman and his new life with both in Just like Starting Over.
He had barely begun to start over when, on December 8, 1980, John Lennon was shot to death outside his New York City apartment building.