John Lennon's Biography
John Winston Lennon was born in Liverpool on 9 October 1940.
John Lennon was educated at Dovedale Primary and Quarry Bank High School - hence The Quarrymen which Lennon formed and Paul McCartney and George Harrison were to join.
Lennon went to Liverpool College of Art, but did not get a degree.
In 1960 The Quarrymen became The Beatles and in 1962 they were joined by a new drummer, Ringo Starr. None of Lennon, McCartney, Harrison or Starr could read or write music.
The Beatles performed in clubs in Hamburg and, famously, The Cavern in Liverpool.
The Beatles had their first single, 'Love Me Do', produced by George Martin on the Parlophone label on 5 October 1962.
In the sixties Beatlemania swept the world. In 1966 Lennon said: "We're more popular than Jesus Christ now. I don't know which will go first, Rock and Roll or Christianity.
John Lennon and the other Beatles received their MBEs on 26 October 1965, but four years later Lennon returned his MBE. He was making a stand about the British stance on Biafra and Vietnam.
The Beatles split in 1970, after John Lennon was concentrating more on Yoko Ono. After divorcing his first wife, Cynthia, in 1968, Lennon married Yoko Ono a year later.
In 1971 Lennon released Imagine.
On 8 December 1980 John Lennon was shot dead by Mark Chapman outside Lennon's New York apartment.
The FBI kept files on John Lennon. Jon Wiener sued the FBI to get them to release withheld sections of their Lennon file.
The following passage describing events after a Bob Dylan concert from Marianne Faithfull's autobiography, 'Faithfull', gives a flavour of John Lennon and The Beatles in the mid-sixties:
"Although I knew John and Paul quite well by this time meeting The Beatles as a group was always a bit of an ordeal. On top of their Olympian fame was their scouse badgering. They would always run things on you ... Anybody new into the crowd had to be ready to go through a terrible gauntlet of verbal abuse in some way....
"Dylan went into the room where the Beatles were sitting all scrunched up on the couch, all of them fantastically nervous. Lennon, Ringo, George and Paul, and Lennon's wife, Cynthia, and one or two roadies. Nobody said anything. They were waiting for the oracle to speak...
"Then Allen Ginsberg came in ... He went over to the chair Dylan was sitting in and plonked himself down on the armrest ... John Lennon broke the silence snarling:
"'Why don't you sit a bit closer then, dearie?'
"The insinuation - that Allen had a crush on Dylan - was intended to demolish Allen, but since it wasn't far from the truth anyway, Allen took it very lightly. The joke was on them, really. He burst out laughing, fell off the arm and onto Lennon's lap. Allen looked up at him and said, 'Have you ever read William Blake, young man'
"And Lennon in his Liverpudlian deadpan said, 'Never heard of the man.'
"Cynthia, who wasn't going to let him get away with this even in jest, chided him: 'Oh, John, stop lying.'
That broke the ice.
"'Lovely gig, man,' Lennon offered, as if he were just passing through.
"Dylan just rocked back and forth hypnotically in his chair. Then he said.'They didn't dig "It's All Right, Ma".'
"'Maybe they didn't get it," said John. "It's the price of being ahead of your time you know.'
"To which Dylan said, 'Maybe, but I'm only about twenty minutes ahead as it is.'
Dylan didn't pay much attention to the Beatles at all actually, except for John. John he adored, so hanging out with John was always good. Paul got a very cool reception ..."
John Lennon was critical of many people. In 2005 the BBC transmitted an interview with Lennon, which was for Rolling Stone magazine in December 1970, eight months after the Beatles disbanded. In it, Lennon said of Paul McCartney:
"We got fed up of being sidemen to Paul after Brian Epstein (Beatles manager) died ... Paul took over and supposedly led us. What's leading us when you wander round in circles?"
In 2021, Sir Paul McCartney gave an interview in which he claimed that John Lennon instigated the break-up of The Beatles.
Back to Top