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John Lennon

Out of all the Beatles, John Lennon had the most interesting -- and frustrating -- solo career. Lennon was capable of inspired, brutally honest confessional songwriting and melodic songcraft; he also had an undying love of straight-ahead rock & roll. But the extremes, both in his music and his life, were what made him fascinating. Where Paul McCartney was content to be a rock star, Lennon dabbled in everything from revolutionary politics to the television talk-show circuit during the early '70s. After releasing a pair of acclaimed albums, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, in the early '70s, Lennon sunk into an infamous "lost weekend" where his musical output was decidedly uneven and his public behavior was often embarrassing. Halfway through the decade, he sobered up and retired from performing to become a house-husband and father. In 1980, he launched a comeback with his wife Yoko Ono, releasing the duet album Double Fantasy that fall. Just as his career was on an upswing, Lennon was tragically assassinated outside of his New York apartment building in December of 1980. He left behind an enormous legacy, not only as a musician, but as a writer, actor and activist.

Considering the magnitude of his achievements with the Beatles, Lennon's solo career is relatively overlooked. Even during the height of Beatlemania, Lennon began exploring outside of the group. In 1964, he published a collection of his writings called In His Own Write, which was followed in 1965 by A Spaniard in the Works, and in 1966, he appeared in Dick Lester's comedy How I Won the War. He didn't pursue a musical career outside of the group until 1968, when he recorded the experimental noise collage Unfinished Music, No. 1: Two Virgins with his new lover, avant-garde artist Yoko Ono. Two Virgins caused considerable controversy, both because of its content and its cover art, which featured a nude photograph of Lennon and Ono. The couple married in Gibraltar in March 20, 1969. For their honeymoon, the pair staged the first of many political demonstrations with their "Bed-In for Peace" at the Amsterdam Hilton. Several months later, the avant-garde records Unfinished Music, No. 2: Life with the Lions and The Wedding Album were released, as was the single "Give Peace a Chance," which was recorded during the Bed-In. During September of 1969, Lennon returned to live performances with a concert at a Toronto rock & roll festival. He was supported by the Plastic Ono Band, which featured Ono, guitarist Eric Clapton, bassist Klaus Voormann and drummer Alan White. The following month, Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band released "Cold Turkey," which was about his battle with heroin addiction. When the single failed to make the Top Ten in Britain and America, Lennon sent his MBE back to the Queen, protesting Britain's involvement in Biafra, America's involvement in Vietnam and the poor chart performance of "Cold Turkey."

Before the release of "Cold Turkey," Lennon had told the Beatles that he planned to leave the group, but he agreed not to publicly announce his intentions until after Allen Klein's negotiations with EMI on behalf of the Beatles were resolved. Lennon and Ono continued with their campaign for peace, spreading billboards with the slogan "War Is Over! (If You Want It)" in 12 separate cities. In February of 1970, he wrote, recorded and released the single "Instant Karma" within the span of the week. The single became a major hit, reaching the Top Ten in both the U.K. and the U.S.. Two months after "Instant Karma," Paul McCartney announced that the Beatles were splitting up, provoking the anger of Lennon. Much of this anger was vented on his first full-fledged solo album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, a scathingly honest confessional work inspired by his and Ono's primal scream therapy. Lennon supported the album with an extensive interview with Rolling Stone, where he debunked many of the myths surrounding the Beatles. Early in 1971, he released another protest single, "Power to the People," before moving to New York. That fall, he released Imagine, which featured the Top Ten title track. By the time Imagine became a hit album, Lennon and Ono had returned to political activism, publicly supporting American radicals like Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and John Sinclair. Their increased political involvement resulted in the double-album Sometime in New York City, which was released in the summer of 1972. Recorded with the New York hippie band Elephant's Memory, Sometime in New York City consisted entirely of political songs, many of which were criticized for their simplicity. Consequently, the album sold poorly and tarnished Lennon's reputation.

Sometime in New York City was the beginning of a three-year downward spiral for Lennon. Shortly before the album's release, he began his long, involved battle with U.S. Immigration, who refused to give him a green card due to a conviction for marijuana possession in 1968. In 1973, he was ordered to leave America by Immigration, and he launched a full-scale battle against the department, frequently attacking them in public. Mind Games was released in late 1973 to mixed reviews; its title track became a moderate hit. The following year, he and Ono separated, and he moved out to Los Angeles, beginning his year-and-a-half long "lost weekend." During 1974 and 1975, Lennon lived a life of debauchery in Los Angeles, partying hard with such celebrities as Elton John, Harry Nilsson, Keith Moon, David Bowie and Ringo Starr. Walls and Bridges appeared in November of 1974, and it became a hit due to the inclusion of "Whatever Gets You Thru the Night," a song he performed with Elton John. At the end of the year, John helped reunite Lennon and Ono, convincing the ex-Beatle to appear during one of his concerts; it would be Lennon's last performance.

Rock 'n' Roll, a collection of rock oldies recorded during the lost weekend, was released in the spring of 1975. A few months before its official release, a bootleg of the album called Roots was released by Morris Levy, who Lennon later sued successfully. Lennon's immigration battle neared its completion on October 7, 1975, when the U.S. court of appeals overturned his deportation order; in the summer of 1976, he was finally granted his green card. After he appeared on David Bowie's Young Americans, co-writing the hit song "Fame," Lennon quietly retired from music, choosing to become a house-husband following the October birth of his son, Sean Lennon.

During the summer of 1980, Lennon returned to recording, signing a new contract with Geffen Records. Comprised equally of material by Lennon and Ono, Double Fantasy was released in November to positive reviews. As the album and its accompanying single, "(Just Like) Starting Over," were climbing the charts, Lennon was assassinated on December 8 by Mark David Chapman. Lennon's death inspired deep grief from the entire world; on December 14, millions of fans around the world participated in a ten-minute silent vigil for Lennon at 2 p.m. EST. Double Fantasy and "(Just Like) Starting Over" both became number one hits in the wake of his death. In the years after his death, several albums of unreleased recordings appeared, the first of which was 1984's Milk and Honey; perhaps the most substantial was the 1998 four-disc box set Anthology, issued in conjunction with a single-disc sampler titled Wonsaponatime. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

kevin-burns9
john is superb on this rock n roll !!! Stand by me man John is on another plateau!!!on l y JImi HEndrix are in the warehouse Yeah baby!!!rock on!!!pkb45
"Freeda people" lol I dont think thats right
Love him
The thing about Mr. Lennon is his optimism, sad to state, has yet to resonate with the rest of us. Yes Viginia, there is still time to change the way we think, act and feel. We just have to get off of our dead asses. Don't want to miss the next installment of my favorite reality show coming to your TV(home) soon: Who Wants to be a Homeless Person?
Love is an understateme n t of how much this song effects everyone
inkymoose
So amazing and touching song. Great job singing paul. R.I.P.
John Lennon
kevin-burns9
Plastic Ono band was john lennon deep album very powerful music take time to listen!!! Pkb45
Adore this song ....
Imagine - it's all we can do, 'cos it's too late baby...
tjwcaw4
This freaked me out. This isn't fake. Apparently, if you copy and paste this on ten comments in ten minutes, you will have the best day of your life tomorrow. You will either be kissed or asked out. If you break this chain, you will see a little girl in your room tonight. In the next 53 minutes someone will say I love you or I'm sorry.
Love you dude❤️ changed my life and my dads. You stand for whats right. Wish you were president haha ✌️
Watching the Wheels (Acoustic): I LOVE THIS VERSION
<3
Rest in peace John Lennon i love you
The best r.i.p. John we love you !!
Thank you for showing me where to find the beauty and happiness in my life again.
Thank you so much John. The world will forever be in a deep love with your soulful music and beautiful mind.
kevin-burns9
I true lily miss john s creativity on singing with great melodies god bless u john lennon!!!pkb 4 5
yhanks john
Died way too young RIP
Where have the lyrics to all the songs gone?? I just purchased full version and still no lyrics ��
mudwoman9
This song is an open wound. This song rocks!
I love this song
John Lennon was a great man John will live in the hearts of all of us Give Peace A Chance ✌✌✌
fisherstiger s
<3
For all you saying what if he was alive now omgomg. Calm down. John Lennon would be 74. He lived a great life
You are missed John!! And you are so needed here now. ✌️✌️✌️ and ❤️❤️
lulu.gilman
He was such a good man... But he suffered such a tragic death. He deserves to be up right now running and playing with the child he is inside, and making beautiful music. We miss you John Winston Lennon.
October 9, 1940-Decembe r 8, 1980
What a terrible loss this ugly word suffered because of John Lennon's un-timely and tragic death. Thank God for the recordings we have from him.
13 and I this song. I agree.
pamelagrow
Interesting bio. I wouldn't say he 'dabbled' in revolutionar y politics. He seemed pretty committed. If you'd really like to learn more about his politics, check out http://www.i m d b . c o m / t i t l e / t t 0 4 7 8 0 4 9 /
"Imagine"... such a simple song with such a deep and profound impact.
pess and love John Lennon I love you
Beautiful!
I imagine him being alive everyday (:
Imagine John Lennon was still alive.
This song is so amazing ������
Amazing song Lennon you will be missed but always loved
Love this song
Lennon Bus
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WEBSITE: http://johnl e n n o n . s h o p . l i v e n a t i o n . c o m /
Watching the Wheels; I love this song. I love John Lennon. I love the logic in his lyrics, and the music that came with that. I can relate so much to his lyrics.
this is good but killer queen by queen is good
Happy birthday John! Your spirit lives on in our hearts thanks to your beautiful music.
lulu.gilman
Happy birthday! We miss you John! The 40 years of yours was great! We just you could be here for you're 74th!!!! A true singer, songwriter, guitarist, husband, father, peace activist, and legend!!! R.I.P. John, WE MISS YOU!! #LennonTheLe g e n d #WeMissYou #HappyBirthd a y J o h n
Happy birthday. Wish you were here!
ceneberg2014
I Love. John. Lennon
Happy birthday (10/9..numbe r nine...) to the Nowhere Man.
@EFG Not the place, Bro.
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