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Historic Unedited Photos They Don't Want You To See
Publication: Historical Archives. Posted by
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Entertainment
Historic Unedited Photos They Don't Want You To See
Publication: Historical Archives.
Posted by
760a631d0dea2ae92cb6e9f7b157b927
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John Lennon

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Where:
New York City
When:
1980-12-08
Summary:
Lennon is seen here signing a copy of Double Fantasy for Mark David Chapman, who would take the musician's life just hours later.
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John Lennon


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  Where:
New York City

  When:
1980-12-08

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or read more about below

“Imagine there’s no heaven. It’s easy if you try. No hell below us, above us only sky. Imagine all the people living for today…” Undeniably one of the greatest artists to ever live, John Lennon made waves in the music industry in the 1960s when he joined Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr to form The Beatles. Lennon and his bandmates skyrocketed to stardom thanks to albums like A Hard Day’s Night (1964), Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), Yellow Submarine (1969), and Let It Be (1970).

Amid his success with The Beatles, Lennon launched his solo career and gained even greater fame with singles like “Give Peace a Chance” and “Imagine.” After the band’s break-up in 1970, he focused on his career and his marriage to Yoko Ono before retreating from the music business in the mid-1970s to devote all his time and energy to Ono and their son, Sean. Briefly making a comeback in 1980, Lennon’s life was cut short on December 8, 1980, when he was fatally shot by Mark David Chapman upon his return to his Manhattan apartment. As the world mourned the loss of a great musician, Ono made one final statement about her husband saying, “There is no funeral for John… John loved and prayed for the human race. Please do the same for him.”

Life and Career

John Winston Lennon came into this world on October 9, 1940, in Liverpool, England. His father was often traveling for business, but he provided for the family until Lennon’s mother became pregnant with another man’s child. Shortly after, Lennon’s aunt was granted custody of him and gave the youngster the best childhood possible in Woolton. His aunt and uncle had no children of their own, so they showered him with short stories, crossword puzzles, and other toys. His mother often visited him and introduced him to musicians like Elvis Presley and taught him the banjo.

A self-described rebel, Lennon’s interest in music blossomed into his teens as he formed his first band, a skiffle group known as the Quarrymen, in high school. His aunt was skeptical of his dreams to take the stage and often told him, “The guitar’s all very well, John, but you’ll never make a living out of it.” Lennon, however, refused to give up and played the guitar his mother bought for him every day. When she was struck and killed by a car on her walk home in 1958, the 17-year-old Lennon knew he would never forgive himself if he didn’t give music a fair shot. That decision came even easier when he was thrown out of Liverpool College of Art for his rebellious behavior.

By this time, Lennon and Paul McCartney were good friends and played in the Quarrymen together. McCartney brought George Harrison into the band to play lead guitar and Lennon invited Stuart Sutcliffe to play bass. In 1960, they renamed themselves the Beatles and, within months, booked a 48-night residency in Hamburg, Germany. The gig was so successful, the Beatles scheduled several more residencies over the next few years before they achieved mainstream success in the United Kingdom in 1963 after releasing their first hit single, “Love Me Do.”

Before long, Beatlemania was a craze known around the world as Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and drummer Ringo Starr became international icons as they led the British Invasion of the United States pop market. With the release of albums like A Hard Day’s Night (1964), Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), and Yellow Submarine (1969), they broke numerous sales records and even ventured into film with the mock-documentary A Hard Day’s Night (1964). The band followed up with two final albums, Abbey Road (1969) and Let It Be (1970), before they parted ways as the best-selling band in history and the best-selling music artists in the United States with 20 number one hits on the Hot 100, seven Grammy Awards, and an Academy Award.

Shortly before the Beatles broke up, Lennon launched his solo career in April 1970 with singles “Give Peace a Chance” and “Instant Karma.” His marriage to Yoko Ono in 1969 signified a shift in his persona as he produced John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine before retreating from the spotlight in 1975 to spend time with Ono and his son, Sean. He made a minor comeback just five years later in 1980 with his album Double Fantasy but never saw his career take off again due to a grave tragedy that rocked the music world.

Death and Legacy

Excited to work on new music, Lennon spent the evening of December 8, 1980, at the famous Record Plant recording studio in Los Angeles. He and Ono returned to their Manhattan apartment later that evening and were walking toward the door when gunman Mark David Chapman shot Lennon four times in the back at close range. The 40-year-old Lennon was rushed to the local Roosevelt Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Earlier that evening, he autographed a copy of Double Fantasy for Chapman.

As the world mourned Lennon’s death, Ono issued a final statement about her husband saying, “There is no funeral for John… John loved and prayed for the human race. Please do the same for him.” After cremation, his ashes were scattered in New York’s Central Park where his legacy was later honored with the Strawberry Fields memorial. Chapman pled guilty to murder and was sentenced to 20-years-to-life in prison, a sentence he continues to serve.

Today, Lennon’s legacy lives on through his timeless music and lyrics. “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.”