John Lennon is born at Oxford Street Maternity Hospital in Liverpool, England, to Julia Stanley and Alfred Lennon.
Julia, separated from Alfred, entrusts her son, John Lennon, to the care of her sister, Mary Elizabeth Stanley Smith, “Aunt Mimi.”
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.
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.
Paul McCartney introduces George Harrison to the Quarrymen at a basement teen club called the Morgue. George joins the group.
The Beatles make their debut in Hamburg, West Germany, with Stu Sutcliffe on bass and Pete Best on drums.
The Beatles make their debut at the Cavern Club in Liverpool.
Local record store manager Brian Epstein is introduced to the Beatles. He soon signs a contract to manage them.
Stu Sutcliffe dies of a brain hemorrhage.
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.
John Lennon marries Cynthia Powell. The marriage will last six years.
The Beatles record their first sessions at EMI Studios in London, with George Martin as producer.
John Charles Julian Lennon is born to John and Cynthia Lennon at Sefton General Hospital in Liverpool.
The Beatles begin their first U.S. tour at the Coliseum in Washington, D.C.
John Lennon’s first book, ‘In His Own Write,’ is published and becomes an instant best-seller.
The world premiere of The Beatles’ ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ takes place in London.
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.
John Lennon’s second book, ‘A Spaniard in the Works’, is published.
The Beatles play in front of almost 60,000 fans at Shea Stadium in New York City.
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.”
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.
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.
After their concert at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, the Beatles declare this to be their final concert tour.
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.
Yoko Ono and John Lennon meet at a preview of her art show, Exhibition #2, at Indica Gallery in London.
‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ is released in Britain.
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.
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.
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.”
John Lennon moves out of his house in Weybridge. He and Yoko Ono move into Ringo Starr’s apartment in Montague Square.
John Lennon holds his first art exhibition, entitled You Are Here—To Yoko from John, with Love.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono are arrested and charged with possession of cannabis.
John Lennon pleads guilty to marijuana possession charges. He pays a nominal fine but insists that the drugs were planted by police.
A divorce is granted to John and Cynthia Lennon.
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.
The Rolling Stones film the ‘Rock and Roll Circus’, with guests Eric Clapton, John Lennon, Jethro Tull and the Who.
The Beatles make their last performance as a group on the roof of the Apple building during the filming of ‘Let It Be’.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono marry on the island of Gibraltar.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono celebrate their marriage by hosting a “bed-in” – their “commercial for peace” – at the Amsterdam Hilton.
John officialy changes his name to John Ono Lennon.
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.
“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.
“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.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono move to Tittenhurst Park, a 400-acre estate in Ascot.
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.”
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.
“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.
“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.
‘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.
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’.
John Lennon cuts ‘Imagine’ at his home studio. The anthemic title track is inspired by a message in Yoko Ono’s book ‘Grapefruit.’
John Lennon appears at a benefit concert at the Apollo Theater for the families of inmates at Attica Prison.
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.
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.
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.
‘Some Time in New York City,’ a double album by John Lennon backed by the New York rock group Elephant’s Memory is released.
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.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono purchase an apartment at the Dakota on Central Park West and West 72nd Street in New York.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono begin an 18-month separation, during which Lennon embarks on his infamous “lost weekend” in Los Angeles.
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.”
John Lennon performs three songs with Elton John at Madison Square Garden. It will turn out to be his last public performance.
John and Yoko are reunited. The Beatles’ final dissolution takes place in London.
“#9 Dream,” from John Lennon’s Walls and Bridges, enters the Top Forty, where it will peak, appropriately, at #9.
Sean Taro Ono Lennon is born at New York Hospital on father John Lennon’s 35th birthday.
“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.
John Lennon’s application to remain in the U.S. as a permanent resident is approved at a special hearing.
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.
John Lennon takes a cruise to Bermuda, where his songwriting muse is rekindled.
John Lennon’s first new single in more than five years,, “(Just Like) Starting Over,” is released.
1980: ‘Double Fantasy,’ by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, is released.
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.
“(Just Like) Starting Over,” by John Lennon, reaches #1 for the first of five weeks.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s ‘Double Fantasy’ wins Album of the Year for 1981 at the 24th Annual Grammy Awards.
“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.
An opening ceremony is held for Strawberry Fields, an area in New York City’s Central Park dedicated to John Lennon.
On what would have been John Lennon’s 50th birthday, “Imagine” is broadcast simultaneously in 130 countries.
John Lennon is given the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 34th Annual Grammy Awards.
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.
“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.
“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.
‘John Lennon Anthology,’ a four-CD box set of unreleased songs and performances, is released.