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John Lennon

1940

John Lennon is born at Oxford Street Maternity Hospital in Liverpool, England, to Julia Stanley and Alfred Lennon.

1945

Julia, separated from Alfred, entrusts her son, John Lennon, to the care of her sister, Mary Elizabeth Stanley Smith, “Aunt Mimi.”

1956

Julia, John Lennon’s mother, bought him his first guitar through a mail order ad. His incessant playing prompts John’s Aunt Mimi to say, “The guitar’s all very well as a hobby, John, but you’ll never make a living out of it.” John forms his first group, the Quarrymen.

1957

John Lennon meets Paul McCartney at the Woolton Parish Church in Liverpool during a performance by John’s group the Quarrymen. Impressed by Paul’s ability to tune a guitar and by his knowledge of song lyrics, John asks him to join the group.

1958

Paul McCartney introduces George Harrison to the Quarrymen at a basement teen club called the Morgue. George joins the group.

1960

The Beatles make their debut in Hamburg, West Germany, with Stu Sutcliffe on bass and Pete Best on drums.

1961

The Beatles make their debut at the Cavern Club in Liverpool.

1961

Local record store manager Brian Epstein is introduced to the Beatles. He soon signs a contract to manage them.

1962

Stu Sutcliffe dies of a brain hemorrhage.

1962

The Beatles audition for George Martin at Parlophone/EMI Records. He agrees to sign the group, but insists that Pete Best be replaced. Within months, Richard “Ringo” Starkey joins the group.

1962

John Lennon marries Cynthia Powell. The marriage will last six years.

1962

The Beatles record their first sessions at EMI Studios in London, with George Martin as producer.

1963

John Charles Julian Lennon is born to John and Cynthia Lennon at Sefton General Hospital in Liverpool.

1964

The Beatles begin their first U.S. tour at the Coliseum in Washington, D.C.

1964

John Lennon’s first book, ‘In His Own Write,’ is published and becomes an instant best-seller.

1964

The world premiere of The Beatles’ ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ takes place in London.

1965

John Lennon composes “Help!” the title song for the Beatles’ second film. He later confides that the lyrics are a cry for help and a clue to the confusion and despondency he feels.

1965

John Lennon’s second book, ‘A Spaniard in the Works’, is published.

1965

The Beatles play in front of almost 60,000 fans at Shea Stadium in New York City.

1965

The Beatles are awarded England’s prestigious MBE (Members of the Order of the British Empire). John comments, “I thought you had to drive tanks and win wars to get the MBE.”

1966

London’s ‘Evening Standard’ publishes an interview with John Lennon in which he states that the Beatles are “more popular than Jesus now.” The comment provokes several protests, including the burning of Beatles records.

1966

John Lennon’s comments on the state of Christianity – made in March, but only lately picked up in the U.S. - spark protests and record burnings on the eve of the Beatles’ 1966 American tour.

1966

After their concert at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, the Beatles declare this to be their final concert tour.

1966

John Lennon makes his first appearance away from the Beatles in the role of Private Gripweed in Richard Lester’s film ‘How I Won the War’. He writes “Strawberry Fields Forever” during the filming.

1966

Yoko Ono and John Lennon meet at a preview of her art show, Exhibition #2, at Indica Gallery in London.

1967

‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ is released in Britain.

1967

John Lennon writes “I Am the Walrus” while under the influence of LSD. He also anonymously sponsors Yoko Ono’s Half a Wind Show (subtitled Yoko Plus Me) at London’s Lisson Gallery.

1968

Apple Corps, Ltd. begins operating in London. It is the Beatles’ attempt to take control of their own creative and economic destiny. Later that month, John invites Yoko to his house in Weybridge. They make experimental tapes all night.

1968

June 15, 1968: John Lennon and Yoko Ono exhibit their first official joint venture at the Arts Lab in London. Soon after, they plant acorns outside Coventry Cathedral as a conceptual “living arts sculpture.”

1968

John Lennon moves out of his house in Weybridge. He and Yoko Ono move into Ringo Starr’s apartment in Montague Square.

1968

John Lennon holds his first art exhibition, entitled You Are Here—To Yoko from John, with Love.

1968

John Lennon and Yoko Ono are arrested and charged with possession of cannabis.

1968

John Lennon pleads guilty to marijuana possession charges. He pays a nominal fine but insists that the drugs were planted by police.

1968

A divorce is granted to John and Cynthia Lennon.

1968

John Lennon and Yoko Ono release their first album together, ‘Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins’. The cover, a full-frontal shot of them naked, is banned.

1968

The Rolling Stones film the ‘Rock and Roll Circus’, with guests Eric Clapton, John Lennon, Jethro Tull and the Who.

1969

The Beatles make their last performance as a group on the roof of the Apple building during the filming of ‘Let It Be’.

1969

John Lennon and Yoko Ono marry on the island of Gibraltar.

1969

John Lennon and Yoko Ono celebrate their marriage by hosting a “bed-in” – their “commercial for peace” – at the Amsterdam Hilton.

1969

John officialy changes his name to John Ono Lennon.

1969

John Lennon and Yoko Ono conduct a bed-in at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. They record “Give Peace a Chance,” with Tommy Smothers, Timothy Leary and others.

1969

“The Ballad of John and Yoko” - a musical summary of Lennon and Ono’s relationship, containing the lines, “The way things are going/They’re gonna crucify me” - is released. Credited to the Beatles, it will reach #8.

1969

“Give Peace a Chance,” recorded by John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band, enters the charts. It will peak at #14, which barely suggests its lasting significance as a peace anthem.

1969

John Lennon and Yoko Ono move to Tittenhurst Park, a 400-acre estate in Ascot.

1969

John Lennon returns his MBE. He says it is to protest the British government’s involvement in Biafra, its support of the U.S. in Vietnam and the poor chart performance of his latest single, “Cold Turkey.”

1969

John Lennon appears at the Toronto Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival concert, accompanied by Eric Clapton, Klaus Voormann, Alan White and Yoko. ‘The Plastic Ono Band – Live Peace in Toronto’ is released in December.

1969

“War Is Over! If You Want It!” billboards go up in 11 cities around the world, as a Christmas message from John Lennon and Yoko Ono.

1970

“Instant Karma (We All Shine On),” credited to John Ono Lennon and produced by Phil Spector, hits #3 on the singles chart. The #1 single that week is “Let It Be,” by the Beatles.

1970

‘John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band,’ Lennon’s debut album as a solo artist, enters the album charts. This stark, confessional recording is regarded by many as his greatest achievement.

1971

John Lennon & Yoko Ono jam with Frank Zappa at the Fillmore East in New York City, recorded for subsequent release on the Plastic Ono Band album ‘Sometime in New York City’.

1971

John Lennon cuts ‘Imagine’ at his home studio. The anthemic title track is inspired by a message in Yoko Ono’s book ‘Grapefruit.’

1971

John Lennon appears at a benefit concert at the Apollo Theater for the families of inmates at Attica Prison.

1972

The staff of the U.S. Senate Internal Security Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee prepares a memo about John Lennon’s involvement with such radicals as Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman and Rennie Davis.

1972

With the expiration of John Lennon’s U.S. non-immigrant visa, deportation proceedings begin. Lennon will wage a four-year battle with the federal government to remain in the U.S.

1972

In a secret memo, Senator Strom Thurmond suggests to Attorney General John Mitchell that John Lennon, whom the government suspects of consorting with “known radicals,” be deported.

1972

‘Some Time in New York City,’ a double album by John Lennon backed by the New York rock group Elephant’s Memory is released.

1972

John Lennon performs at Madison Square Garden. It will be his last concert as a headliner. The show will posthumously be released in 1986 as Live in New York City.

1973

John Lennon and Yoko Ono purchase an apartment at the Dakota on Central Park West and West 72nd Street in New York.

1973

John Lennon and Yoko Ono begin an 18-month separation, during which Lennon embarks on his infamous “lost weekend” in Los Angeles.

1974

John Lennon records his ‘Walls and Bridges’ album. He claims to have written ten of the songs in a single week. The album goes to #1, as does its leadoff single, “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night.”

1974

John Lennon performs three songs with Elton John at Madison Square Garden. It will turn out to be his last public performance.

1975

John and Yoko are reunited. The Beatles’ final dissolution takes place in London.

1975

“#9 Dream,” from John Lennon’s Walls and Bridges, enters the Top Forty, where it will peak, appropriately, at #9.

1975

Sean Taro Ono Lennon is born at New York Hospital on father John Lennon’s 35th birthday.

1975

“Fame,” a song from David Bowie’s ‘Young Americans’ album, tops the US singles charts. It is cowritten by Bowie, John Lennon and guitarist Carlos Alomar.

1976

John Lennon’s application to remain in the U.S. as a permanent resident is approved at a special hearing.

1977

During the next two years, the majority of John Lennon’s time is spent as a “househusband” – taking care of Sean – while Yoko handles the family’s business affairs.

1980

John Lennon takes a cruise to Bermuda, where his songwriting muse is rekindled.

1980

John Lennon’s first new single in more than five years,, “(Just Like) Starting Over,” is released.

1980

1980: ‘Double Fantasy,’ by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, is released.

1980

John Lennon is shot by a deranged assailant as he and Yoko return to the Dakota after a recording session. He is pronounced dead at Roosevelt Hospital.

1980

“(Just Like) Starting Over,” by John Lennon, reaches #1 for the first of five weeks.

1982

John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s ‘Double Fantasy’ wins Album of the Year for 1981 at the 24th Annual Grammy Awards.

1984

“Nobody Told Me,” by John Lennon, from the posthumously released ‘Milk and Honey’ album, cracks the Top Forty. It will peak at #5 and be the last of 13 charting singles by Lennon spanning 15 years.

1984

An opening ceremony is held for Strawberry Fields, an area in New York City’s Central Park dedicated to John Lennon.

1990

On what would have been John Lennon’s 50th birthday, “Imagine” is broadcast simultaneously in 130 countries.

1992

John Lennon is given the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 34th Annual Grammy Awards.

1994

John Lennon is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the ninth annual induction dinner. Paul McCartney is his presenter, and Yoko Ono accepts the award on behalf of her late husband.

1995

“Free as a Bird,” the first new Beatles single in 25 years, is premiered on the televised Beatles Anthology. The song, a 1977 demo by John Lennon completed in 1995 by the three surviving Beatles, reaches #6 on the singles chart in early 1996.

1996

“Real Love,” a 1979 John Lennon demo finished in 1995 by the other Beatles, becomes the second new Beatles single to chart in less than three months. Released as part of ‘The Beatles Anthology’ recordings and TV special, it reaches #11 – not bad for a band that broke up in 1970.

1998

‘John Lennon Anthology,’ a four-CD box set of unreleased songs and performances, is released.