Twenty-eight years ago today, Mark David Chapman put a vicious end to the life of John Lennon (1940 – 1980). Lennon was the outstanding English songwriter, musician, singer, artist, author and peace activist who became famous worldwide as the founder of the Sixties pop group, The Beatles.
John Winston Lennon was perhaps the more intrepid part of the critically acclaimed and commercially successful Lennon/McCartney partnership, writing songs for The Beatles as well as other artists. Lennon, with his cynical edge, knack for introspection and, at times, wicked humour, and McCartney, with his story-telling optimism and gift for melody, complemented each other unlike any other songwriter duo. In his solo career, Lennon wrote and recorded songs such as “Beautiful Boy”, “Give Peace a Chance”, “Imagine”, “Mother”, “Woman” and “Working Class Hero”.
Lennon revealed his rebellious nature and flippant wit on television, in films such as A Hard Day’s Night (1964), in books such as In His Own Write as well as A Spaniard in the Works, in press conferences, interviews and through his peace actions, such as the bed-ins in Amsterdam and Montreal. He channelled his fame and penchant for controversy into his work as a peace activist, artist and author.
John Lennon had two sons, Julian, with his first wife Cynthia, and Sean, with his second wife, Japanese avant-garde artist Yoko Ono. Both sons have tried their hand at performing. Lennon was murdered in cold blood by Chapman in New York City on December 8th, 1980, as he and Ono returned home from a recording session.
The photo (above) shows John Lennon performing onstage at Madison Square Garden in New York City with Elton John, as a result of having lost a wager that his song “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night” (which Elton John also played and sang on) would hit No. 1 on the pop chart (on November 11th). This event turned into Lennon’s last concert appearance ever (November 28th, 1974).
Lennon’s utopian dream of people living life in peace continues to be shared by many.