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Obituary

John Lennon

Frequently Made Queries:
When did John Lennon Die? Answer: 8th December 1980
What caused John Lennon's death? Answer: Gun Shot Injuries.

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John Lennon died aged forty in New York, U.S.A. on photo of John Lennon 8th December 1980 after a crazed gunman named Mark David Chapman shot him in the back four times by the Dakota Building as John and Yoko returned to their New York apartment from the Record Plant. John Lennon was rushed in a police cruiser to the emergency room of nearby Roosevelt Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival at 11:00 p.m. (EST). Earlier that evening, John Lennon had autographed a copy of his album "Double Fantasy" for Chapman.
John's wife Yoko issued a statement the next day, saying "There is no funeral for John", ending it with the words, "John loved and prayed for the human race. Please do the same for him." His remains were cremated at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. Yoko Ono scattered his ashes in New York's Central Park, where the Strawberry Fields memorial was later created.

John Lennon was born on 9th October 1940 in war-time England, at Liverpool Maternity Hospital, to Julia and Alfred Lennon, a merchant seaman of Irish descent, who was away at the time of his son's birth. His parents named him John Winston Lennon. His father was often away from home but sent regular pay cheques which stopped when he went absent without leave in February 1944. When he eventually came home six months later, he offered to look after the family, but Julia, by then pregnant with another man's child, rejected the idea. After her sister, Mimi Smith, twice complained to Liverpool's Social Services, Julia handed the care of John Lennon over to her. In July 1946 John Lennon's father visited Smith and took his son to Blackpool, secretly intending to emigrate to New Zealand with him. Julia followed them, with her partner at the time, 'Bobby' Dykins and after a heated argument John's father forced the five-year-old to choose between them. John Lennon twice chose his father, but as his mother walked away, he began to cry and followed her. It would be 20 years before he had contact with his father again.
Throughout the rest of his childhood and adolescence, John Lennon lived with his aunt and uncle, Mimi and George Smith, who had no children of their own. His aunt purchased volumes of short stories for him, and his uncle, a dairyman at his family's farm, bought him a mouth organ and engaged him in solving crossword puzzles. Julia visited Mendips on a regular basis, and when John was eleven years old he often visited her at 1 Blomfield Road, Liverpool, where she played him Elvis Presley records, taught him the banjo, and showed him how to play "Ain't That a Shame" by Fats Domino.
He regularly visited his cousin, Stanley Parkes, who lived in Fleetwood. Parkes was seven years John's senior and took him on trips to local cinemas.[ During the school holidays, Parkes often visited John Lennon with Leila Harvey, another cousin, often travelling to Blackpool two or three times a week to watch shows. They would visit the Blackpool Tower Circus and see artists such as Dickie Valentine, Arthur Askey, Max Bygraves and Joe Loss, with Parkes recalling that John Lennon particularly liked George Formby. After Parkes's family moved to Scotland, the three cousins often spent their school holidays together there.
John Lennon was raised as an Anglican and attended Dovedale Primary School. After passing his eleven-plus exam, he attended Quarry Bank High School in Liverpool from September 1952 to 1957, and was described by Harvey at the time as, "A happy-go-lucky, good-humoured, easy going, lively lad." He often drew comical cartoons that appeared in his own self-made school magazine called The Daily Howl, but despite his artistic talent, his school reports were damning.
John Lennon failed all his GCE O-level examinations, and was accepted into the Liverpool College of Art only after his aunt and headmaster intervened. Once at the college, he started wearing Teddy Boy clothes and acquired a reputation for disrupting classes and ridiculing teachers. As a result, he was excluded from the painting class, then the graphic arts course, and was threatened with expulsion for his behaviour, which included sitting on a nude model's lap during a life drawing class. He failed an annual exam, despite help from fellow student and future wife Cynthia Powell, and was dismissed from the college before his final year .
At age fifteen, John Lennon formed the skiffle group, the Quarrymen. Named after Quarry Bank High School, he established the group in September 1956. By the summer of 1957, the Quarrymen played a "spirited set of songs" made up of half skiffle and half rock and roll. Lennon first met Paul McCartney at the Quarrymen's second performance, which was held in Woolton on 6 July at the St. Peter's Church garden fête. Lennon then asked Paul McCartney to join the band.
McCartney said that Aunt Mimi "was very aware that John's friends were lower class", and would often patronise him when he arrived to visit Lennon. According to Paul's brother Mike, McCartney's father was also disapproving, declaring that Lennon would get his son "into trouble", although he later allowed the fledgling band to rehearse in the McCartneys' front room at 20 Forthlin Road. During this time, eighteen-year-old John Lennon wrote his first song, "Hello Little Girl", a UK top 10 hit for the group The Fourmost nearly five years later.
Paul McCartney recommended his friend George Harrison as the lead guitarist. John Lennon thought that Harrison, then fourteen years old, was too young. Paul engineered an audition on the upper deck of a Liverpool bus, where Harrison played "Raunchy" for John Lennon and was asked to join. Stuart Sutcliffe, John Lennon's friend from art school, later joined as bassist. John Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Sutcliffe became 'The Beatles' in early 1960. In August that year, the Beatles engaged for a fourty-eight night residency in Hamburg, Germany and were desperately in need of a drummer. They asked Pete Best to join them.John Lennon was now nineteen , and his aunt, horrified when he told her about the trip, pleaded with him to continue his art studies instead. After the first Hamburg residency, the band accepted another in April 1961, and a third in April 1962. Like the other band members, John Lennon was introduced to Preludin while in Hamburg, and regularly took the drug, as well as amphetamines, as a stimulant during their long, overnight performances.
Brian Epstein was the Beatles' manager from 1962. He had no prior experience managing artists, but he had a strong influence on their early dress code and attitude on stage. John Lennon initially resisted his attempts to encourage the band to present a professional appearance, but eventually complied, saying, "I'll wear a bloody balloon if somebody's going to pay me". Paul McCartney took over on bass after Sutcliffe decided to stay in Hamburg, and Pete Best was replaced with drummer Ringo Starr; this completed the four-piece line-up that would endure until the group's break-up in 1970. The band's first single, "Love Me Do", was released in October 1962 and reached number 17 on the British charts. They recorded their debut album, 'Please Please Me' in under ten hours on 11th February 1963, a day when John Lennon was suffering the effects of a cold, which is evident in the vocal on the last song to be recorded that day, "Twist and Shout". The Lennon & McCartney songwriting partnership yielded eight of its fourteen tracks. With few exceptions, one being the album title itself, John Lennon had yet to bring his love of wordplay to bear on his song lyrics, saying: "We were just writing songs - pop songs with no more thought of them than that and the words were almost irrelevant". In a 1987 interview, Paul McCartney said that the other Beatles idolised John: "He was like our own little Elvis ... We all looked up to John. He was older and he was very much the leader; he was the quickest wit and the smartest."
The Beatles achieved mainstream success in the UK early in 1963. John Lennon was on tour when his first son, Julian, was born in April. During their Royal Variety Show performance that was attended by the Queen Mother and other British royalty, John Lennon poked fun at his audience: "For our next song, I'd like to ask for your help. For the people in the cheaper seats, clap your hands ... and the rest of you, if you'll just rattle your jewellery." ] After a year of Beatlemania in the UK, the group's historic February 1964 USA debut appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show marked their breakthrough to international stardom. A two-year period of constant touring, moviemaking, and songwriting followed, during which John Lennon wrote two books, 'In His Own Write' and 'A Spaniard in the Works'. The Beatles received recognition from the British Establishment when they were appointed Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 1965 Queen's Birthday Honours.
John Lennon grew concerned that fans attending Beatles concerts were unable to hear the music above the screaming of fans, and that the band's musicianship was beginning to suffer as a result. John Lennon's "Help!" expressed his feelings in 1965. He had put on weight. He would later refer to this as his "Fat Elvis" period and felt he was subconsciously seeking change. In March that year he was unknowingly introduced to LSD when a dentist, hosting a dinner party attended by John Lennon, George Harrison and their wives, spiked the guests' coffee with the drug. When they wanted to leave, their host revealed what they had taken, and strongly advised them not to leave the house because of the likely effects. Later, in an elevator at a nightclub, they all believed it was on fire. In March 1966, during an interview with Evening Standard reporter Maureen Cleave, John Lennon remarked, "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink ... We're more popular than Jesus now. I don't know which will go first, rock and roll or Christianity." This comment went virtually unnoticed in England but caused great offence in the USA when quoted by a magazine there five months later. The furore that followed; burning of Beatles records, Ku Klux Klan activity and threats against Lennon, contributed to the band's decision to stop touring.
Deprived of the routine of live performances after their final commercial concert on 29th August 1966, John Lennon felt lost and considered leaving the band. Since his involuntary introduction to LSD, he had made increasing use of the drug, and was almost constantly under its influence for much of 1967. According to biographer Ian MacDonald, John Lennon's continuous experience with LSD during the year brought him "close to erasing his identity". 1967 saw the release of "Strawberry Fields Forever", hailed by Time magazine for its "astonishing inventiveness", and the group's landmark album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which revealed John Lennon's lyrics contrasting strongly with the simple love songs of Lennon & McCartney's early years.
After having been introduced to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the group attended an August weekend of personal instruction at his Transcendental Meditation seminar in Bangor, Wales, and were informed of Brian Epstein's death during the seminar. "I knew we were in trouble then", Lennon said later. "I didn't have any misconceptions about our ability to do anything other than play music, and I was scared". Led primarily by George Harrison and John Lennon's interest in Eastern religion, the Beatles later travelled to Maharishi's ashram in India for further guidance. While there, they composed most of the songs for the white album and 'Abbey Road'.
The anti-war, black comedy 'How I Won the War', featuring John Lennon's only appearance in a non–Beatles full-length film, was shown in cinemas in October 1967. Paul McCartney organised the group's first post-Epstein project, the self-written, -produced and -directed television film 'Magical Mystery Tour', released in December that year. While the film itself proved to be their first critical flop, its soundtrack release, featuring Lennon's acclaimed, Lewis Carroll-inspired "I Am the Walrus", was a success. With Epstein gone, the band members became increasingly involved in business activities, and in February 1968 they formed Apple Corps, a multimedia corporation composed of Apple Records and several other subsidiary companies. John Lennon described the venture as an attempt to achieve, "artistic freedom within a business structure", but his increased drug experimentation and growing preoccupation with Yoko Ono, and McCartney's own marriage plans, left Apple in need of professional management. John Lennon asked Lord Beeching to take on the role, but he declined, advising John to go back to making records. John Lennon approached Allen Klein, who had managed The Rolling Stones and other bands during the British Invasion. Klein was appointed as Apple's chief executive by John Lennon, Harrison and Starr, but Paul McCartney never signed the management contract.
At the end of 1968, John Lennon was featured in the film The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus in the role of a Dirty Mac band member. The supergroup, composed of John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Mitch Mitchell, also backed a vocal performance by Ono in the film. John Lennon and Ono were married on 20 March 1969, and soon released a series of 14 lithographs called "Bag One" depicting scenes from their honeymoon, eight of which were deemed indecent and most of which were banned and confiscated. John Lennon's creative focus continued to move beyond the Beatles and between 1968 and 1969 he and Ono recorded three albums of experimental music together: Unfinished Music No.1: Two Virgins (known more for its cover than for its music), Unfinished Music No.2: Life with the Lions and Wedding Album. In 1969, they formed the Plastic Ono Band, releasing 'Live Peace in Toronto' . Between 1969 and 1970, John Lennon released the singles "Give Peace a Chance" (widely adopted as an anti-Vietnam-War anthem in 1969), "Cold Turkey" (documenting his withdrawal symptoms after he became addicted to heroin and "Instant Karma!" In protest at Britain's involvement in the Nigerian Civil War, its support of America in the Vietnam war and John Lennon returned his MBE medal to the Queen, though this had no effect on his MBE status, which could not be renounced.
John Lennon left the Beatles in September 1969, and agreed not to inform the media while the group renegotiated their recording contract, but he was outraged that Paaul McCartney publicised his own departure on releasing his debut solo album in April 1970. John Lennon's reaction was, "Jesus Christ! He gets all the credit for it!" He later wrote, "I started the band. I disbanded it. It's as simple as that." In later interviews with Rolling Stone magazine, he revealed his bitterness towards McCartney, saying, "I was a fool not to do what Paul did, which was use it to sell a record." John Lennon also spoke of the hostility he perceived the other members had towards Ono, and of how he, Harrison, and Starr got fed up with being sidemen for Paul .
In 1970, John Lennon and Yoko Ono went through primal therapy with Arthur Janov in Los Angeles, California. Designed to release emotional pain from early childhood, the therapy entailed two half-days a week with Janov for four months; he had wanted to treat the couple for longer, but they felt no need to continue and returned to London. John Lennon's emotional debut solo album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970), was received with high praise. Critic Greil Marcus remarked, "John's singing in the last verse of 'God' may be the finest in all of rock." The album featured the songs "Mother", in which Lennon confronted his feelings of childhood rejection, and the Dylanesque "Working Class Hero", a bitter attack against the bourgeois social system which, due to the lyric "you're still fucking peasants", fell foul of broadcasters. The same year, Tariq Ali's revolutionary political views, expressed when he interviewed Lennon, inspired the singer to write "Power to the People". John Lennon also became involved with Ali during a protest against Oz magazine's prosecution for alleged obscenity. John Lennon denounced the proceedings as "disgusting fascism", and he and Ono (as Elastic Oz Band) released the single "God Save Us/Do the Oz" and joined marches in support of the magazine.
Critical response was more guarded with Lennon's next album, Imagine. Rolling Stone reported that "it contains a substantial portion of good music" but warned of the possibility that "his posturings will soon seem not merely dull but irrelevant". The album's title track would become an anthem for anti-war movements, while another, "How Do You Sleep?", was a musical attack on McCartney in response to lyrics from Ram that Lennon felt, and McCartney later confirmed, were directed at him and Ono. However, Lennon softened his stance in the mid-1970s and said he had written "How Do You Sleep?" about himself. He said in 1980: "I used my resentment against Paul … to create a song … not a terrible vicious horrible vendetta . I used my resentment and withdrawing from Paul and the Beatles, and the relationship with Paul, to write 'How Do You Sleep'. I don't really go 'round with those thoughts in my head all the time."
Lennon and Ono moved to Manhattan in August 1971, and released "Happy Xmas (War Is Over) in December". The new year saw the Nixon administration take what it called a "strategic counter-measure" against Lennon's anti-war and anti-Nixon propaganda, embarking on what would be a four-year attempt to deport him. After McGovern lost the presidential election to Nixon in 1972, Lennon and Ono attended a post-election wake held in the New York home of activist Jerry Rubin. John Lennon was embroiled in a continuing legal battle with the immigration authorities, and he was denied permanent residency in the US; the issue wouldn't be resolved until 1976.
While John Lennon was recording Mind Games he and Ono decided to separate. The ensuing 18-month period apart, which he later called his "lost weekend", was spent in Los Angeles and New York in the company of May Pang. 'Mind Games', credited to the "Plastic U.F.Ono Band", was released in November 1973. John Lennon also contributed "I'm the Greatest" to Starr's album Ringo (1973), released the same month.
In early 1974, John Lennon was drinking heavily and his alcohol-fuelled antics with Harry Nilsson made headlines. In March, two widely publicised incidents occurred at The Troubadour club. In the first incident, John Lennon placed a menstrual pad on his forehead and scuffled with a waitress. The second incident occurred two weeks later, when John Lennon and Nilsson were ejected from the same club after heckling the Smothers Brothers. John Lennon decided to produce Nilsson's album Pussy Cats, and Pang rented a Los Angeles beach house for all the musicians. After a month of further debauchery, the recording sessions were in chaos, and Lennon returned to New York with Pang to finish work on the album. In April, John Lennon had produced the Mick Jagger song "Too Many Cooks (Spoil the Soup)" which was, for contractual reasons, to remain unreleased for more than 30 years. Pang supplied the recording for its eventual inclusion on The Very Best of Mick Jagger (2007).
John Lennon had settled back in New York when he recorded the album Walls and Bridges. Released in October 1974, it included "Whatever Gets You thru the Night", which featured Elton John on backing vocals and piano, and became John Lennon's only single as a solo artist to top the US Billboard Hot 100 chart during his lifetime. A second single from the album, "#9 Dream", followed before the end of the year. Starr's 'Goodnight Vienna' (1974) again saw assistance from John Lennon, who wrote the title track and played piano. On 28th November, John Lennon made a surprise guest appearance at Elton John's Thanksgiving concert at Madison Square Garden, in fulfilment of his promise to join the singer in a live show if "Whatever Gets You thru the Night"—a song whose commercial potential Lennon had doubted—reached number one. John Lennon performed the song along with "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "I Saw Her Standing There", which he introduced as "a song by an old estranged fiancée of mine called Paul".
John Lennon co-wrote "Fame", David Bowie's first US number one, and provided guitar and backing vocals for the January 1975 recording. The same month, Elton John topped the charts with his cover of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", featuring Lennon on guitar and back-up vocals. John Lennon is credited on the single under the moniker of "Dr. Winston O'Boogie". He and Ono were reunited shortly afterwards. John Lennon released Rock 'n' Roll (1975), an album of cover songs, in February. "Stand by Me", taken from the album and a US and UK hit, became his last single for five years. He made what would be his final stage appearance in the ATV special A Salute to Lew Grade, recorded on 18th April and televised in June. Playing acoustic guitar and backed by an eight-piece band, John Lennon performed two songs from Rock 'n' Roll, "Stand by Me", which was not broadcast, and "Slippin' and Slidin'",followed by "Imagine". The band, known as Etc., wore masks behind their heads, a dig by John Lennon who thought Grade was two-faced.
John Lennon's only child with Ono, Sean, was born on 9th October 1975, and John took on the role of househusband, beginning what would be a five-year hiatus from the music industry during which he gave all his attention to his family. Within the month, John fulfilled his contractual obligation to EMI/Capitol for one more album by releasing Shaved Fish, a compilation album of previously recorded tracks. He devoted himself to Sean, rising at 6 am daily to plan and prepare his meals and to spend time with him. He wrote "Cookin' (In the Kitchen of Love)" for Starr's Ringo's Rotogravure (1976), performing on the track in June in what would be his last recording session until 1980. He formally announced his break from music in Tokyo in 1977, saying, "we have basically decided, without any great decision, to be with our baby as much as we can until we feel we can take time off to indulge ourselves in creating things outside of the family." During his career break he created several series of drawings, and drafted a book containing a mix of autobiographical material and what he termed "mad stuff", all of which would be published posthumously.picture of John Lennon
John Lennon emerged from his pause in music recording in October 1980 with the single "(Just Like) Starting Over", followed the next month by the album 'Double Fantasy' which contained songs written during a journey to Bermuda on a 43-foot sailing boat the previous June, that reflected his fulfilment in his new-found stable family life. Sufficient additional material was recorded for a planned follow-up album Milk and Honey (released posthumously in 1984). Released jointly by John Lennon and Ono, Double Fantasy.
Mark Chapman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

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song: 'Jealous Guy' by John Lennon