John Winston Lennon was born on 9 October 1940 at
Oxford Street Maternity Hospital. He lived with his parents, Alfred
and Julia, until the age of five when Alfred deserted Julia and
left her to cope alone. Julia eventually placed John in the care
of her sister, Mimi Smith and her husband George, at 251 Menlove
Avenue, Woolton. In 1946 John's father, Freddie, returned from America
and tried to pursuade his young son to leave the country with him.
The distressed six year old was placed in a compromising situation
but eventually chose not to go with his father and his uncle George,
a gentle man, acted as substitute father until his death in 1954.
John attended Dovedale Road infants school and took a keen interest
in reading and writing, inspired by Alice in Wonderland and the
Just William stories. As a teenager, John's interests turned to
music and the arrival of the skiffle craze had an adverse effect
on his education. Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly were his idols and
were his only interests, much to the displeasure of his teachers.
In 1956 the rebelious 16 year old formed his own skiffle group,
the Quarrymen, inspired by the name of his Quarrybank school.
On 6 July 1957 John was introduced to Paul McCartney following
a Quarrymen performance at a summer garden fete. John was immediately
impressed by Paul's knowledge of the latest music lyrics together
with his ability to tune a guitar. John asked Paul to join the band
and a close friendship duly blossomed as the pair began writing
Despite poor exam results as a result of his musical distractions
and the loss of his mother, John's headmaster recommended him to
the Liverpool College of Art where John studied between 1957 and
1960. John was disappointed with the college and found the fortunes
of his band more appealing. He also found entertainment by continuing
his writing of short stories and cartoon drawing. His doodlings
would eventually be published during the days of Beatlemania. It
was at College that John met Stuart Sutcliffe and Cynthia Powell.
Stuart, a talented artist, joined the band and Cynthia became John's
wife in 1962. John and Stuart formed a close relationship, however,
following the band's second visit to Hamburg, Stuart decided to
stay with girlfriend Astrid Kerchherr. In 1962 Stuart died of a
cerebral haemorrhage. The band had come under attack from a group
of youths a couple of years earlier and it is believed that Stuart's
injuries eventually led to his death.
Charles John Julian Lennon was born on 8 April 1963, John's marriage
to Cynthia was kept quiet in the early days of the Beatles career
in case it had an adverse effect on the group's popularity. Julian
would leave his own stamp on the Beatle's history when at the age
of four his school painting was the inspiration behind 'Lucy In
The Sky With Diamonds'.
In March 1964 at the height of Beatlemania, John's first book 'In
His Own Write' was published and later received a UK literary prize.
A year later 'A Spaniard In The Works' was published and recevied
equally encouraging reviews.
In 1966 an interview by The Evening Standard's Maureen Cleave sparked
the 'We're more popular than Jesus' controversy. John always maintained
that his comments were taken out of context. The repercussions were
more evident in America than they were in Britain and in a press
conference in Chicago, John apologised. Perhaps as a direct result
of the incident, the Beatles performed their last concert later
Having returned to Britain, John accepted Richard Lester's offer
to appear in the film 'How I Won The War'. The film was shot in
Germany and was not a huge success. In November 1966, John met Yoko
Ono for the first time at the Indica Gallery in London and the pair
bonded immediately. In 1968 with John and Yoko living together,
Cynthia filed for divorce. The divorce was uncontested by John and
Cynthia was granted custody of five year old Julian.
1968 also saw John appear in court on charges of marijuana posession.
He was found guilty and fined £150, but more importantly had
a drug conviction on his record which would later come back to haunt
him. John and Yoko's first collaboration, the 'Two Virgins' album
was released and in 1969 the couple married in Gibraltar. The honeymoon
in Amsterdam's Hilton hotel comprised of a 'bed-in' where the press
were invited to view the couple lying in bed. The events of the
wedding and honeymoon were immortalised in the Beatle's 'The Ballad
of John and Yoko'. John's Plastic Ono Band single 'Give Peace A
Chance' was released several months later and he returned his MBE
to the Queen, unhappy with Britain's support of America in Vietnam.
The events of 1969 saw John awarded Man of The Year by Rolling Stone
magazine. On New Years Ever, 1970, Paul McCartney filed a suit in
the High Court formally dissolving the Beatles.
In 1975, having moved to America, Yoko gave birth to John's second
son. Sean Ono Taro Lennon was born on John's birthday. His drug
conviction of 1968 caused the US government to continually attempt
to deport him. For the first five years of Sean's life, John devoted
himself to his new family but by 1980 he returned to the recording
On 8 December 1980, Mark David Chapman stepped out of the shadows
of the Dakota building apartment block and shot John Lennon. The
ex-Beatle was rushed in a police car to the Roosevelt Hospital where
attempts to revive him failed.
On 9 December Britain awoke to the tragic news and shockwaves echoed
throughout the world.
On the Sunday following the murder, thousands of grieving fans
held a vigil on St George's Hall plateau.