John Lennon's Birthday: October 9
John Lennon, one of the most influential musicians and songwriters in rock history of all time, is being remembered worldwide on his birthday today, October 9. It would have been John Lennon's 69th birthday.
On October 9, 1940, John Lennon was born in Liverpool, England. When he was 4, his parents separated and he ended up living with his Aunt Mimi. At his teenage years, he attended Quarry Bank High School, from which he derived the name of his first band and also the precursor to the Beatles, the Quarrymen Skiffle Band. John formed the band, originally named The Blackjacks, with school friends Eric Griffiths and Pete Shotton in 1955.
In 1957, at age of 17, John Lennon got his first guitar from his mother, and met his future songwriting partner, Paul McCarney for the first time on July 6th. John and Paul had their first gig together four months later, and soon after, Paul's 15-year-old school friend, George Harrison, also joined the band.
In 1960, the band finally settled on the name The Beatles, and became a local live scene regular. The first concert of the Beatles was at the Cavern club in Liverpool on March 21, 1961. After being rejected by several record companies, they eventually signed to EMI's comedy label, Parlophone, in May 1962. In the same year, Ringo Starr joined the Beatles as drummer. In October, the Beatles released their first double-sided original single, "Love Me Do' b/w "P.S. I Love You,"which soon reached #17 on the British charts. Their first #1 single, "From Me To You," was released soon after that in April 1963.
After scoring several his in the UK, the group launched the Beatlemania tidal wave in the U.S. in 1964. Although in 1966, John Lennon caused controversy in the U.S. and angered the deep south Christians with his now infamous quote, "we're more popular than Jesus now," the Beatles still had their records spending a total of 59 weeks topping the charts between 1964 and 1970.
John's prestigious songwriting talent was blossoming through many of his songs, such as "In My Life," "Nowhere Man," "Norweigan Wood," and the single "Help." The band continued their evolution with the release of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," The White Album," and "Abbey Road", as well as singles such as "Strawberry Fields Forever," "Hey Jude," and "All You Need Is Love."
In 1966, a land mark year for John Lennon, the Beatles released "Revolver" and John Lennon first met his future wife/career partner and eccentric artist, Yoko Ono, at an art gallery in London. At that time, John was still married to his first wife Cynthia, but he soon ended this relationship and married Yoko in 1969.
In 1970, the Beatles announced their decision to split, not long before the release of John's first solo studio record, "John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band," in the December of that year, marking the successful launch of John's solo career. During this time, John and Yoko also became a figurehead for the anti-war movement, with songs containing the humanitarian theme such as "Give Peace a Chance," "Merry Xmas (War Is Over)", and the tremendously influential and enduring "Imagine."
After the release of four albums, "Some Time in New York City," "Mind Games," Walls and Bridges," "Rock 'n' Roll," on October 5 1975, John and Yoko had their first son together, Sean. Afterward, John left his whole music career for 5 years to be a devoted father. It was not until November 1980, he returned with the album "Double Fantasy."
On the night of December 8, 1980, at around 10:50 p.m., John Lennon was with Yoko Ono and producer Jack Douglas to record the track "Walking On Thin Ice." After leaving the studio, John went back to his Dakota building to see his young son before he went to sleep. He walked by a man named Mark David Chapman toward the archway entrance. From the street, Chapman fired five shots, four of which hit Lennon's back and shoulder. John staggered into the reception area and declared "I'm shot' before collapsing.
Twenty minutes later, he arrived at Roosevelt Hospital, and was pronounced dead at 11:07 p.m. due to massive blood loss from his gunshot wounds. His body was cremated at Ferncliff Cemetary in Hartsdale, New York, and his ashes were kept by Yoko.
In 1985, Yoko Ono dedicated "Strawberry Fields" in New York's Central Park to the memory of John Lennon, after the song "Strawberry Fields Forever." Every year, fans from all over the world arrive at Strawberry Fields, decorate the memorial in circles of flowers and objects, and pay their respect to one of the most enduring cultural icons of the 20th century.