Lennon Remembered 1940-1980
John Lennon would have observed a milestone birthday today, his 70th. He was born October 9, 1940 in Liverpool, England and became famous as one of the Beatles.
The four lads from across the pond took the world by storm, first arriving in the U.S. in 1964. The shaggy-haired young men appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, which marked their breakthrough to international stardom.
Lennon's impact on popular music culture was far-reaching. Music historians acknowledge that the group revolutionized the sound, style, and attitude of popular music and opened rock and roll's doors to a tidal wave of British rock acts."
John married his first wife Cynthia in 1962 and they had a son Julian Lennon. The marriage was kept secret for years because manager Brian Epstein thought it would ruin John's image with fans.
In 1966 John met Yoko Ono in an art gallery in London, where she was preparing her art exhibit. He once told her: "Do you know why I like you? Because you look like a bloke in drag."
He and Yoko were married in Gibraltar in 1969 and began protesting against the Vietnam War, staging a week-long Bed-In for peace in Amsterdam. The couple moved permanently to New York in August 1971.
President Nixon put Lennon under FBI surveillance and tried to have him deported. After 14 years of litigation, the now declassified FBI documents were released in 2000. They included accounts of Lennon's detailed daily activities. The story was eventually told in the documentary The U.S. vs. John Lennon.
More after the jump - including iconic photos:
John and Yoko became estranged in 1973 and Lennon began an 18 month relationship with the couple's personal assistant May Pang. She convinced him to reconnect with his son after a two year lapse, and also helped him to rekindle friendships with Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. Lennon often referred to this year-and-a-half period as 'The Lost Weekend'.
Ono and Lennon reunited in 1975 and their son Sean Lennon was born nine months later on John Lennon's 35th birthday.
On December 8, 1980 at 10:50 pm, Mark David Chapman shot Lennon in the back four times at the entrance to his New York apartment building. The musician was taken to the emergency room at Roosevelt Hospital and was pronounced dead on arrival at 11:07 pm. Lennon died at age 40.
The next day Ono released a statement: "There is no funeral for John. He loved and prayed for the human race. Please pray the same for him." His body was cremated and his ashes were scattered in New York's Central Park, where the Strawberry Fields memorial was later created.
Chapman pleaded guilty to second degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years to life. He remains in prison, having been repeatedly denied parole.
May Pang eventually published a memoir John Lennon: The Lost Weekend. Later she put together a book of photographs from her 18 months with Lennon. The photo journal, Instamatic Karma, was published in 2008 - PHOTOS HERE.
Sean Lennon recently invited Lady Gaga into Yoko Ono's apartment to play John Lennon's iconic white Steinway piano.