Give Peace a Chance

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Gus McCann Dublin In My Tears

Uploaded on 25 Oct 2010 busking


Gus Mc Cann - Rocky Road To Dublin

Uploaded on Feb 11, 2010 Dublin

Gus McCann-The Best Irish Voice in the world..
discovered by the Fringe Shows Have Talent Team singing in Graft Street, Dublin in 2008
Gus McCann has been invited to perform at  the International Fringe Festival.. known as the IF Fest


Anyone that is incontact with Gus McCann please ask Gus to email the IF Fest at


he Great American Novel
                 The Film
    You will never view the world again the same .......
                            after seeing

 The Great American Novel
       A must see film.....there is no doubt that  everyone in the world will demand that the film 

The Great American Novel  
is shown in their town ...NYTToday
 Undergrtound vidoe of Tryranny in China

The Great American Novel Promo Video _Two
The Great American Novel- Theme Song for the Film -The Great American Novel
 to organise The Great American Novel to be shown in your town please email 

bruce.alexander@inlnews.comn or

John Lennon Singing - Give Peace a Chance

IN THE YEAR 2013- It is Easier to Kill a Million people thaN CONTROL A MILLION PEOPLE

Zbigniew Brzezinski - Easier to kill a million people than to control them.




Israeli Prime MinisterMenachem Begin engages Brzezinski in a game of chess at Camp David

U.S. President Jimmy Carter with Brzezinski and Cyrus Vance atCamp David in 1977


Zbigniew Brzezinski - Easier to kill a million people than to control them.



The Great Americal Novel- The Dream that never happened
INL News Movie coming to your cinema soon
Email the INL News to find out about having The Great American Novel showed in your town

Promo for the Great American Novel -Part 3

John Lennon talking about Government targets

The Beatles- Widgy Interview Video One


The Beatles- Widgy Interview Video Two

The Beatles- Widgy Interview Video Three

Gus McCann singing "Imagine" in his home town of Dublin.
Gus McCann sings the two songs in the movie "Give Peace A Chance",
one is "Imagine" and the other is Gus McCann's own song "Wide Eyes" which he sings on behalf of John Lennon to Yoko Ono to express John's deep and everlasting love he has for Yoko Ono
The Fringe Shows Have Talent Team anounce a new movie

                         Give Peace A Chance

                         Give Peace A Chance


                                        John Lennon
                                        Yoko Ono
                                        Dar Williams

                 Das Contras Band

                                        Richard Walker,

                                                         Gus MacCann

                                 Gus McCann in Dublin with good friend Eliah,
                           famous 12 string Guitarist from California
                          out celebrating the 2008 Dublin Fringe Festival.
                          Gus McCann was discovered by the USA Weekly News
                          At the Edinburgh and Dublin Fringe Festivals
                          where Gus McCann received a USA Weekly News 100 Star Award

             Soon to be showing at your local cinema

A film about a story that had to be told, which has been dedicated to the memory of John Lennon who spent a great part of his life bringing to the world the idea that we should try to Imagine a world were there were no borders, no hatred, and a world where people make love not war and left is all with the most profound and important statement of all

                Give Peace A Chance

The Movie Give Peace A Chance
has been by Yoko Ono states in her letter below that she supports projects that are for a good purpose to promote peace and goodwill in the world.  The Fringe Shows Have Talent Team are hoping Yoko will come to the special world launch of the movie Give Peace a Chance  proposed to be held in Mayfair, London in March or April, 2009.
In a letter YokoOno wrote on behalf of John Lennon and herself and the Spirit Foundation which was formed by John and Yoko to aid people from all occupations, races and classes that have been troubled. The funds raised from the movie "Give Peace A Chance" and other films and Fringe Shows Have Talent Collectors DVD's made by the Fringe Shows Have Talent Team, will be used to purchase a freehold hotel to be used as a centre where artists involved in music, film, dance, theater, comedy, dance, art and all other forms of arts can live and work to develop their art and funds will also be used for other forms of funding to support struggling artists involved in music, film, dance, theater, comedy, dance, art and all other forms of arts  that perform each year at Fringe Festivals around the world in an attempt to get recognition to their particular form of art. The artists performing in the movie "Give Peace A Chance" were all discovered at the Edinburgh and Dublin Fringe Festivals by the Fringe Shows Have Talent Team who are work for no pay to help discover and promote talented emerging artists who perform at fringe festivals around the world each year.
if you want to contact the Fringe Shows Have Talent Team through their web site

Give Peace a Chance 

Asahi newspapers     18th of January 1981 
(I wish to express my appreciation from my heart)

Yoko Ono Lennon 

I would like to thank you most warmly for sending the consideration such as a letter and telegrams from every place in the world, such as America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Such an expressed sympathy is great consolation for me, because John, and I believed the compatriotic love which transcends a difference of a race, a religion and a colour. It received the sympathy from the people of all occupations, classes. Furthermore, also in the jail which moved me profoundly and a heart warming feeling.  Moreover, I express gratitude also, the fund brought to  " Spirit Foundation "It now amounted $100,000 that have gathered are summing total of 50 cents, $1 dollar, $5 dollar. John and I held down the staff of Spirit Foundation to the minimum limit. It had only three staff, a lawyer who is our friend, John and I, and also unpaid, of cause.John and I have paid all the expense of this association individually. There is no reason to change this system. Therefore, it stays as it is in the future, the fund from everyone entirely, adding also interest to that, is delivered to the people who have been troubled at the end of year. " Spirit Foundation " had not participated in the activity and the advertisement at the outside in order to be simple and effective management, this policy will be continued in the future.  Thankful also the people who being worried about that, there is a direction, some people have gained coattail benefits after John's death. Although there is also direction in this regards, to write the report about Lennon to mass communications, and receiving a manuscript fee as to feel guilty.However such consideration is unnecessary. If there is a person who gains a little money from writing a tribute to memory of John, unless it's not something of malice, I approve. As you know, John was a person who has a sense of humour and rich in an understanding.   This is what John would say" whatever gets you through your life ". I think, He thought like that using his name and have a slightly good meal is better rather than have guilt feelings. Please use the money which was obtained such a way, for the children and those who love, considering a good use. If  any funds remain, please present to people who are in trouble. However, formal permission cannot be given from me to use John's name for such things. Because, it becomes unfair if permission is given to some people and other people are not given. If you have the plan of profit from the scheme which using John's name, would you please tell us about the plan and intention, whether it's an individual or company, spontaneously, in consideration of his family's feelings and legal right. Asking you to use John's name will be satisfied us.  

I thank you also for people who showed anger to John's death.

I also have the same anger.

I am angry also with myself who was not able to protect John. I have got angry to myself and also all of us who left the society until this far as it breaks up into parts.

If there is something meaningful revenge I think that it is changing  society to encourage it to be based on a foundation of love and reliance  while we still have time to do so.
John thought that is possible.
If there is any comfort, it is that we can only exhibit confidently that we will be able to bring about a change in direction and peaceful world which can be completed on the earth for yourselves and posterity.We and everybody should just love one person respectively. Love induces love. If that be right,probably we can prevent to laps into insanity with each other. Moreover, probably, it is avoidable that each turns to violence. It does not have violence in weapons but is in our heart. Those who pull a trigger are not criminals rather all of us who has been admitted to do so, is guilty. When John collapsed suddenly beside me I did not understand, Where is an enemy, would be by whom? I felt that it was in the middle of guerrilla warfare. I have continued telling my staff who tries to hide a razor's edge and newspaper articles from me that show me all, any telegrams, a letter and a message. I understood nothing. I had to know.

I looked at the photograph of the dead body. John looked peaceful like the photograph of the back cover of Imagine.
" John, are you trying to tell me something ? "

I looked at the photograph of the scene where John is signing. The photograph was repeatedly running on television. Without knowing why, I felt to more suffer to look at it than a dead body photograph. John was in a hurry in that afternoon. He did not need to sign. However, John had signed in front of the man who watched and betrayed after that. I look at the photograph Also It was running on TV,  John cast down his head toward to forward. Although, of cause for signing, the posture was bit strange

as John.  At that time, I had noticed that the signature for John go into a heavenly gate is carried out.  

of both, John and I is just fitting in one, But John said we have two bodies as good luck would have it, is for convenience and more delightful than one. We believed this. Recently, we called ourselves "Group".  It was for recording. John often said and teased me for the fun of that  "  I like two of you ".

In the past 5 years I worked in the office of lower story and  John worked at the apartment of upper story in daytime.  I am in a lower story as usual however, John has gone to the upper story all the time. I consider that I have an obligation to write this letter to you. I think whether I was all able to reply to the question from you. However, this is my maximum limit at this point. This letter is instead of an interview, a meeting, and a conference etc which is asked from you. I would like to have a time to be private. Would you please understand that this is something I am not able to do and from at first cannot do.  Hope you will sympathize with me. 

With love

Yoko Ono Lennon ( signature)

11.01. 1981 mIn New York City  

This letter written by Yoko One was translated from the original letter Yoko One published in Japanese, in a Japanese newspaper

John Lennon singing Imagine in 1969

Click here to here John Lennon Singing Imagine


Click here to here John Lennon Live


Click here to see Yoko Ono Lennon speaking about her feelings on the forgiveness of Mark Chapman for pulling the trigger of the gun that killed her husband John Lennon


Click here to see John and Yoko in bed for peace


Cick here to see John Ono Lennon and Yoko Ono Lennon's views on Government Officials and police who appear to have have made John  Lennon a government target and set John Up on his drug charge that was being used against him in his attempts to gain the right to stay in the USA to find Yoko's Daughter


Click here to see John Lennon and friends singing Give Peace A Chance


Everything we have learnt is a lie

 The Great American Novel- sung by Martin Joseph- The Theme Song From The Film The Great American Novel

A.Crowley: 33° Mason who knew about human sacrifice (4/11/2007)

33° Mason, Aleister Crowley would definitely get some votes in the "most wicked man who ever lived contest" and is the clear cut favorite for the title of "The Father of Modern Satanism". Crowley's wicked life and his intimate association with Freemasonry are both well known.

Crowley himself was terribly decadent. A happily heroin-addicted, bisexual Satan worshiper, he asked people to call him "The Beast 666." Crowley believed that he was literally the antimessiah of the apocalypse.

During the first World War, Crowley transferred his activities to America. The press proclaimed him "the wickedest man in the world." He also spent time in Italy, but was expelled because Italian authorities accused his disciples of sacrificing human infants in occult rituals. According to one source, Crowley resided in the Abbey of Thelema near Cefalu Sicily, and revived ancient Dionysian ceremonies. During a 1921 ritual, he induced a he-goat to copulate with his mistress, then slit the animal's throat at the moment of orgasm.


 Read more about Aleister Crowly further below on this page

Exclusive Interview With Leo Zagami, Ex-Illuminatus, on Greg Szymanski's Radio Show

  Part One

 Part Two

Please listen to:

 The Entities - A Song from The Film The Great American Novel

 Stuck In Babylon - ASong from The Film The Great American Novel

 The Great American Novel=The Theme Song From The Film The Great American Novel

,Arctic Beacon -
(Posted here: Sunday, January 07, 2007)

 Please listen to:
Is the Illuminati's house of cards falling apart because of countries like Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea? Listen to Alex Jones interviewing Robert Gaylon Ross Sr., author of the famous "Who is Who of the Elite?" -, Feb 06, 2006 -
(Posted here: Feb 13, 2006)

 Strong Winds- Written and sung by TripTyle -Song From The Film The Great American Novel

Song From The Film The Great American Novel

Friday Night with Jonathan Ross
This interview  by Jonathan Ross with Yoko Ono-Lennon are a must watch

Click here to view Jonathan Ross Interviewing Yoko Ono-Lennon-Part1

Click here to view Jonathan Ross Interviewing Yoko One-Lennon- Part2

  • Airs Next:BBC-1 at Friday 10:35 PM (60 min.)
  • Status:Returning Series
  • Premiered:November 2, 2001
  • Show Categories:Talk Shows
With a cheeky gag never too far away and a wit sharper than his own suits, don't expect the guests to get an easy ride on the way to plugging their latest film, book, session in rehab or range of underpants. Funny, likeable and unlike any other chat show host, if you get to sit with Jonathan you're doing something right. Either that, or you're just Ricky Gervais.

Click here to view John Lennon & Yoko Ono stage a 'bed-in'

Click here to view Yoko One-Lennon discussing

forgiving Mark Chapman for shooting John Lennon


Click here to view Yoko Ono-Lennon interview with Jay Leno


Click here to view Yoko Ono-Lennon interview with Barbara Waters


Click here to view interview with Sean Ono-Lennon on his album Friendly Fire Part 1


Click here to view interview with Sean Ono-Lennon on his album Friendly Fire Part 2


Click here to view interview with Sean Ono-Lennon on his album Friendly Fire Part 3


Click here to view interview with Sean Ono-Lennon on his album Friendly Fire Part 4


Click here to view interview with Sea Ono-Lennon on his album Friendly Fire Part 5


Click here to view interview with Sean Ono-Lennon on his album Friendly Fire Part 6

Click For more info of Sean Ono-Lennon and his album Friendly Fire

Click here to view early interview with the Beatles Part 1

Click here to view early interview with the Beatles Part 2

Click here to view early interview with the Beatles Part 3

Click here to view a Promo for Attempt 3.4- The Movie produced by the Fringe Shows Have Talent Team at the 2007 the Edinburgh Fringe Festival soon to be at your local cinema as the beginning of many alternative cinema filmed live from Fringe Performances around the world

Click here to view John Lennon Signing Give Peace a Chance

Click here to view  John Lennon Singing Imagine Live


John Lennon Interview (Funny Response)

Yoko one on Jonathan Ross Show video one

Yoko one on Jonathan Ross Show video Two

John Lennon and Yoko Ono Dick Cavett Show Excerpt 1

John Lennon and Yoko Ono Dick Cavett Show Excerpt 2

John Lennon and Yoko Ono - Dick Cavett Show Excerpt 3


John Lennon and Yoko Ono Dick Cavett Show Excerpt 4


John Lennon and Yoko Ono Dick Cavett Show Excerpt 5

John Lennon and Yoko Ono Dick Cavett Show Excerpt 6

John Lennon-on Yoko Breaking Up the Beatles


John Lennon talks about drugs & Kyoko Cox


John Lennon on Government Targets


1.Imagine Memorial in Strawberry Fields, Central Park West
2.Strawberry Fields plaque in Central Park West
3. John and Yoko
Rethinking John Lennon’s Assassination

The FBI’s War on Rock Stars

By Salvador Astucia

Author’s Personal Thoughts

John Lennon was one of the most beloved and influential people who lived in the Twentieth Century. Although his only claim to fame was singing, playing guitar and writing songs, once he achieved superstar status with his rock group, the Beatles, he used his enormous celebrity to promote the cause of peace. He therefore became a threat to those who profit from war. When the world learned of his murder on December 8, 1980, the outpouring of love and grief for the slain Beatle was overwhelming. In life, John Lennon held no position of direct power. He was not an elected official. He was not a president, a king, or religious leader. He led no crusade, formed no political party. He was merely an entertainer who spoke openly about issues he believed were important. Many have compared the world’s reaction to his death to that exhibited when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

I personally was so grief-stricken by Lennon’s sudden death that I became physically ill and quickly developed an ear infection which required antibiotics. I recall stopping at a pharmacy to get my prescription filled, clearly grief-stricken and sick, but I stood in line waiting to pay the cashier for the prescription drugs I needed. Beside me in another line, I heard a young man—a few years older than me—whistling I’ve Just Scene a Face by the Beatles. I knew I was not alone in my pain. For years, I had difficulty reading about his murder. It was so painful to think of someone I felt was my brother being cut down so violently, so brutally. But time has a way of healing wounds. As I grew older I watched some of my loved ones pass on, which gave me strength to reflect on John Lennon’s murder and other tragic events which occurred in my life, but beyond my personal circle of friends and family.

In the final chapter of my book, Opium Lords, (April 2002) I suggested that Lennon was the victim of a government sponsored assassination. Admittedly I focused mainly on motive rather than details of the case because I had not devoted much time to researching the rock star’s murder when I wrote Opium Lords. Nevertheless, I was intrigued that Lennon’s younger son, Sean, had publicly stated his belief that his father was likely assassinated by the United States government. In recent years, Sean reportedly made the following statement:

[He] was a counterrevolutionary and was very dangerous to the government. If he had said ‘Bomb the White House tomorrow,’ there would have been 10,000 people who would have done it. The pacifist revolutionaries are historically killed by the government, and anybody who thinks Mark Chapman was just some crazy guy who killed my dad for his own personal interest is insane or very naive. It was in the best interest of the United States to have my dad killed. And you know, that worked against them, because once he died, his power grew. So I mean, fuck them! They didn’t get what they wanted.1

A short while ago I decided to research John Lennon’s murder in depth.

As I suspected Sean was absolutely correct. There was a conspiracy.

The United States government had reason to silence John Lennon.

I will discuss motive shortly, but for now, let us focus on the crime scene itself.

Regardless of motive or the accused killer’s state of mind, I will demonstrate that

Mark David Chapman is completely innocent and should therefore be released from

prison as soon as possible. Here is a brief summary of my findings:

  • Lennon’s wounds were on the wrong side of his body.

  • The autopsy revealed four wounds to the left side of the upper body: t

  • wo in the left shoulder, two in the left side of the back. On Dec. 10, 1980, (

  • two days after the murder) the New York Times published a diagram showing

  • where Lennon and Chapman were standing when the fatal shots were fired. C

  • hapman was reportedly standing to Lennon’s right, several feet behind him.

  • Before shooting, Chapman allegedly called to the victim, "Mr. Lennon."

  • As Lennon turned, Chapman fired five shots; four hit Lennon.

  • Since Chapman was reportedly standing to Lennon’s right in back of him, Lennon would certainly have turned to his right in response to Chapman’s call. This means the right side of Lennon’s body was facing Chapman as he turned. The wounds should have been on the right side of the body, but surprisingly they were on the left.

  • The doorman at the Dakota on the night of the shooting was an anti-Castro Cuban, Jose Perdomo; Chapman’s primary accuser. It is widely known that Cuban exiles have been used extensively by the intelligence community since the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.

  • Patrolman Peter Cullen, one of the officers in the first police car responding to the shooting, believed the shooter was a handyman at the Dakota, not Chapman. Cullen thought Chapman "looked like a guy who worked in a bank." Perdomo convinced Cullen that Chapman was the assailant.

  • Hours after the shooting, the New York Times reported that Lennon was shot near the main lobby in the Dakota entryway. The next day the NYT reported that he was shot near the entrance of the Dakota, about 20-to-25 feet away from the spot originally reported. The shift in location was apparently needed because police and witnesses found Chapman at the entrance of the Dakota building, not 20-to-25 feet inside.

  • Lennon’s true assassin was probably the handyman (aka, elevator operator) who fired from inside or near a service elevator located across from the concierge stand where Lennon collapsed after being shot. Shooting from the service elevator would easily hit the left side of Lennon’s body which is where the wounds were located.

  • Mark David Chapman has never been judged legally insane, although opinion leaders within the American news media continually portray him as crazy. He pled guilty to the crime, thereby forfeiting his right to a trial. As a result, he has spent the last 22 years of his life in Attica State penitentiary for a crime he did not commit.

  • Facts indicate that Chapman was likely the victim of mind control—a combination of drugs, hypnosis or both—which caused him to commit numerous self-incriminating acts; however, murder was not one of them. Ironically, Chapman himself believes he shot Lennon, although he cannot recall several key details of the crime. The power of suggestion is an incredible tool.

  • There are no known witnesses to the crime; however, several "crime scene witnesses" observed events shortly before and after the shooting.

  •  But I have found no statements from any person who actually observed

  • Chapman shoot Lennon; not even Yoko Ono.

Fear of Assassination

One of the reasons the Beatles stopped touring in 1966 was because they feared John

would be assassinated. On July 29, 1966, Datebook published John’s interview

with British journalist Maureen Cleave. Datebook had quoted John out of context,

where he stated that the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus."

The American magazine’s misrepresentation of the innocent statement created

nti-Beatle reactions around America, particularly in the South. On August 12, 1966,

just before the Beatles next tour began, John held a press conference in Chicago to

explain his comments about Christianity and apologize. On August 19, 1966, t

he Beatles performed at a Memphis concert and someone let off a firecracker. T

he entire Beatles’ entourage reportedly looked at John, thinking he had been shot.2

Tony Barrow was public relations manager for the Beatles at that time and witnessed the incident. The following is an excerpt from an interview Barrow gave years later where he

discussed John’s remarks about Christianity, the Beatles last tour,

and the exploding firecracker in Memphis:

BARROW: The third and final phase of that horrendous year [1966] was the last tour of the United States, where we began with Beatle records being burned and John Lennon under the direct threat of assassination from religious zealots in the southern United States, the Bible Belt states. It was the misconstruing of his comment about Jesus Christ’s diminishing popularity, which wasn’t in any way boastful. It was just a comment he made. By the time it reached certain southern states, it was taken very badly by certain religious factions and there was the threat of death hanging over that whole tour.

I do recall that once we did get down to that area, the southern states, that a firecracker was let off during the concert in Memphis and everybody, all of us at the side of the stage, including the three Beatles on stage, all looked immediately at John Lennon. We would not at that moment have been surprised to see that guy go down. Of course, that was 14 years too early for that. John had halfheartedly joked about the Memphis concert in an earlier press conference, and when we got there everything seemed to be controlled and calm, but underneath somehow, there was this nasty atmosphere. It wasn’t a happy day at all. It was a very tense and pressured kind of day.3

That incident apparently affected John deeply for the rest of his life.

Two years later he wrote a rather bizarre song entitled "Happiness is a Warm Gun,"

which appeared on the Beatles White Album. But once you understand

about the firecracker incident in Memphis in 1966, the song seems rather down to earth.

John Lennon - background

John Winston Lennon was born October 9, 1940 in Oxford Street Maternity Hospital, in the port city of Liverpool, England, during a lull in the WWII bombing of the city. John was the only child of Julia Stanley (b. March 12, 1914 – d. July 15, 1958) and Alfred Lennon (b. December 14, 1912 – d. April 1, 1976) who were married in Liverpool on December 3, 1938. John had two sons: Julian Lennon (b. April 8, 1963) and Sean Lennon (b. October 9, 1975), the elder son from the union with first wife, Cynthia Powell; the younger son from the union with second wife, Yoko Ono. John had five half-siblings (three maternal half-sisters and two paternal half-brothers).


His half-sisters were Julia Dykins Baird (b. 1947), Jackie Dykins (b. 1949), and Victoria Elizabeth Williams* (b. June 19, 19454)—Julia and Jackie being the offspring of mother Julia and common law husband, John "Bobby" Dykins (b. 1918 - d. 1966); Victoria being the offspring of mother Julia and Taffy Williams. John’s half-brothers were David Henry Lennon (b. February 1969) and Robin Francis Lennon (b. October 1973) from the union of his father and second wife Pauline Jones. John never met his two half-brothers (his father’s sons) who were easily young enough to be John’s sons. John apparently never knew Victoria either; she was reportedly adopted by a Norwegian Captain and his family.

John’s father—Alfred "Freddy" Lennon—was in the Merchant Navy when John was born and consequently was at sea for long stretches of time. World War II pushed the young couple apart and eventually they divorced. John was raised by his mother Julia’s sister, Mary Elizabeth "Mimi" Stanley (b. 1903 - d. December 6, 1992), and her husband George Toogood Smith (b. 1903 - d. June 5, 1955). John grew up at the Smith’s upper middle-class home, a semi-detached house, known as "Mendips" at 251 Menlove Avenue, Woolton. The Smiths had no children of their own.

John lost contact with his father but remained close to his mother, who visited him often at Menlove Avenue. John frequently visited Julia and her common law husband, John "Bobby" Dykins, and their two daughters, Julia and Jackie, at the family’s Liverpool flat. John experienced two traumatic events before he reached adulthood. When he was fourteen, John’s Uncle George died suddenly of a brain hemorrhage. George was 52. Three years later, when John was 17, Julia was killed in a traffic accident when an off duty policeman ran her down as she walked home from Mimi's house. Julia was 44. John never fully recovered emotionally from the shock of losing his mother so tragically, but he transferred his pain into music and inspirational poetic lyrics which would capture the imagination of the world a few years later. That’s really the essence of all art: channeling the artist’s emotions into a creative outlet. And John’s singing voice—when in top form—seemed to radiate from records directly to the listeners’ hearts. He didn’t have strong technical technique; mainly raw, uninhibited emotion. And the sound of his voice was totally unique.

Years later, John’s half-sister Julia Dykins Baird described her mother’s musical and creative influence over John:

JULIA BAIRD: Where did John get his musical talents? Oh, from my mother definitely. Some people, like my cousin, Leila, said that my mother had far more talent than John ever had because he only inherited a slight spot of it. The whole family is biased toward my mother, of course, beautifully so. But she did really have enormous talent. She was a very creative person. She did paintings on the wall, directly on the wall. We grew up with all that around the kitchen chimney. And she would always play. If she was reading us something like "The Teddy Bear’s Picnic" [a children’s story], we’d get the da, da, da, da and the mouth organ and stuff like that. We got it all. Everything was well decorated.

Of course, John was six and a half years older than me, so she was beginning to teach him. She’d been taught the banjo by her grandfather. She’d inherited this beautiful mother-of-pearl, four-string banjo, a very big one. She used to play "That’ll Be the Day" by Buddy Holly, one of the ones John sang later. I remember us standing over him, making him play it again and saying, "Yes, it will hurt. Press harder. Press harder. Yes, it hurts."…5

John eventually migrated from the banjo to the guitar and became friends with two other guitar players, Paul McCartney (b. June 18, 1942), George Harrison (b. February 25, 1943 - d. November 29, 2001). By 1955, the three teenagers were enamored with the new American musical craze, rock ‘n’ roll, and imitated the genre’s leader, Elvis Presley. Eventually the threesome picked up drummer Richard Starkey (aka, Ringo Starr; b. July 7, 1940) and evolved into the Beatles, the most influential rock group of the Twentieth Century. In 1964, "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "Love Me Do," and "She Loves You" stayed at the top of the American charts for months, simultaneous with Capitol Records’ sudden release of nearly 60 Beatles recordings—packaged in five albums—to the American public.* Consequently, their music dominated the airwaves for nearly two years and ushered in Beatlemania, the mass hysteria among their teenage fans across the globe. The songwriting team of John Lennon and Paul McCartney epitomized rock creativity in the Sixties. John added to the Beatles’ mystique with the publication of two humorous books, "A Spaniard in the Works" and "In His Own Write."

On August 23, 1962, John married artist Cynthia Powell (b. September 10, 1939). On April 8, 1963, the couple had a son, Julian Lennon. In July 1964, the young family moved to the "Kenwood" mansion in Weybridge, England. But fame, fortune and constant touring took its toll on the marriage. John and Cynthia divorced on November 8, 1968. On March 20, 1969, John married avant garde Japanese artist Yoko Ono (b. February 18, 1933). The couple quickly became outspoken critics of America’s military involvement in Vietnam. John began recording with Yoko, apart from the Beatles, in the Plastic Ono Band. They recorded memorable anti-war songs such as "Give Peace a Chance," "Instant Karma," "Happy Christmas (War is Over)," and "Imagine."

John also began to express political opinions regarding Britain’s persecution of the Irish. His empathy for the Irish probably came from his hometown, Liverpool, a city closely linked to Ireland culturally and geographically. The famous North-England port city is about 120 miles east of Dublin, separated by the Irish Sea. A high level of Irish immigration to Liverpool occurred during and after the Irish potato famine of 1845 through 1848. Consequently, many of the Irish customs became part of Liverpool’s culture, most notably the prominence of the Roman Catholic Church in a Protestant nation historically opposed to Catholicism and known for its oppression of Irish Catholics.6 Like many Liverpudlians, John was raised Roman Catholic, and consequently, was viewed as a second class citizen within the British social order. In fact, John’s heritage was apparently Irish-Catholic on both the maternal and paternal sides of his family. According to Edward MacLysaght’s book, The Surnames of Ireland, "Lennon" is an Irish surname from Counties Cork, Fermanagh, and Galway.7 "Stanley" (the surname of John’s mother) is a common English name which—according to MacLysaght—"is on record in Ireland since the Thirteenth Century, mainly in the Counties Louth and Meath" and "is now fairly numerous in both Leinster and parts of Munster."8

John’s Irish heritage would certainly explain his innate rebellious nature and his eventual public positions on several Irish political struggles. Contrary to popular belief, John’s opinions about Ireland were probably sincere convictions he held his entire life, being the apparent descendant of Irish immigrants who migrated to Liverpool. Ireland was under British colonial rule for centuries, but became a sovereign, independent, democratic state in 1937, although Northern Ireland remains under British rule to this day. In 1972, John wrote and recorded a song, "Sunday Bloody Sunday,"* which describes how British soldiers shot and killed thirteen Irish civilian demonstrators in the Northern Ireland city of Derry on January 30, 1972.9 Sunday Bloody Sunday appeared on John’s 1972 album, Some Time In New York City. On the same album was "The Luck of the Irish," co-written by John and Yoko, which discusses how the British have persecuted the Irish for a thousand years. Although these songs are considered highly political by many, they are quite similar to other Irish popular songs about British atrocities in Ireland, most notably Pete St. John’s "The Fields of Athenry" which has become a de facto national anthem of Ireland.

John took similar positions, not directly in support of the Irish, but in general opposition to British rule. In 1969, John became active in clearing the name of James Francis Hanratty, a British citizen tried by the British government and subsequently executed (hanged) on April 4, 1962 for the murder of Michael Gregsten (36) and the rape and attempted murder of Valerie Storie (22) on August 22, 1961. Irregularities in the Hanratty case paved the way to ending capital punishment in Britain. On December 11, 1969, John and Yoko startled a crowd of fans outside the Kensington Odeon in London at the premiére of Ringo Starr’s movie, The Magic Christian, by carrying a banner reading "Britain Murdered Hanratty." Three days later, on December 14, 1969, John and Yoko attended a speech made by Hanratty’s father at Speaker’s Corner, Hyde Park, during which the elder Hanratty declared his son’s innocence.10

John was encouraged to express himself politically by his second wife, Yoko Ono. Yoko is the oldest of three children from the marriage of Eisuke Ono and Isoko Yasuda Ono. Prior to World War II, the Ono family was part of Japanese aristocracy,* but they lost everything after Japan’s defeat in World War II. Yoko said later that during the war years she was always hungry, and the family was often reduced to begging for food door to door. Eventually the Ono family acquired new wealth and social prominence in post-war Japan.

Eight years older than John, Yoko had been married twice before. Her first husband was Julliard student, Toshi Ichiyangi. Her second husband was Tony Cox. She and Cox had a daughter, Kyoko Cox (b. August 8, 1963). Many Beatle fans disliked Yoko; many accused her of breaking up the Beatles. In 1998, Yoko reflected on her life with John:

YOKO ONO: They say that Venus was jealous of lovers. Forget Venus. In our case it was the whole world. But as far as we were concerned, we felt lucky that we had found each other. Aside of the fact that we were both rebellious and emotional, we were true opposites. John was tallish. I was smallish. John made music for the people. I made music for the avant-garde…John was humble, in a way only a very successful person could be. I was proud, like most people living in an Ivory Tower, who never had to test the big water. Coming from a semi-working class background, John was street-wise. I was totally inexperienced when it came to the games of the real world. And we felt so, so lucky that we fell in love with each other. It was a blessing neither of us expected at that time in our lives. We couldn’t take our eyes off one another. We couldn’t get enough of each other. But the outside pressure was very strong. It was so strong, that sometimes we had to separate from each other in order to protect our love. We thought we were clever, that we did everything right, and nothing and nobody could tear us apart. Never, never, never. But it happened: our separation. So sudden, too. He was taken away from me for good.11

In 1971, John and Yoko moved to New York City to find Kyoko, who was being kept away from Yoko by Cox. In June 1973, John and Yoko moved to the Dakota, a chic condominium complex in Manhattan. Shortly after moving in, John and Yoko separated for 15 months, but eventually reconciled. On October 9, 197512 (John’s 35th birthday), Yoko gave birth to a son, Sean. John spent the ensuing five years in seclusion but returned to public life in the fall of 1980. He was assassinated on December 8, 1980. A memorial to John—"Strawberry Fields"—stands in New York City's Central Park West.13

The day after John was killed, Yoko publicly asked people to send donations, in lieu of flowers, to the Spirit Foundation, then located at 1 Battery Park Plaza, New York, NY 10004. She described the Spirit Foundation as "John’s personal charitable foundation." Yoko said the foundation was set up a year earlier by John with a grant of $100,000. The Foundation’s assets were devoted to the following causes: Hale House, East Harlem Family Health Service, Covenant House, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, New York Foundling Hospital, St. Barnabas House Salvation Army, the WBAI-Pacifica radio network, the Police Athletic League and the New York City Police Department Vest Fund to purchase bulletproof vests for officers and WNET, the public television channel.14

1 Geoffrey Giuliano, Lennon in America, p. 222
2 Two sources describe the firecracker incident in Memphis: (1) David Pritchard & Alan Lysaght, The Beatles: An Oral History, p 224; (2) Marie Clayton & Gareth Thomas, John Lennon: Unseen Archives, p 167. The date of the Memphis concert (August 19, 1966) is shown on a 1966 tour schedule on a Beatles webpage:
3 David Pritchard & Alan Lysaght, The Beatles: An Oral History, p 224
4 Ray Coleman, Lennon: The Definitive Biography, p 88
5 David Pritchard & Alan Lysaght, The Beatles: An Oral History, pp. 5-6
6 SOURCES: (1) Encyclopedia Britannica: Liverpool; (2) American Automobile Association (AAA): Map of England, Wales & Republic of Ireland
7 Edward MacLysaght, The Surnames of Ireland, p 194
8 ibid, p 278
9 Remembering Bloody Sunday,
10 SOURCES: (1) Ray Coleman, Lennon: The Definitive Biography, p 710; (2) Marie Clayton & Gareth Thomas, John Lennon: Unseen Archives, pp. 283, 285 & 287
11 Yoko Ono, Lennon Anthology: Introduction, pp. 2-5
12 Ray Coleman, Lennon: The Definitive Biography, pp 590 & 595. (Page 590 states that John and Yoko’s separation began in the autumn of 1973. Page 595 states that the separation lasted for 15 months.)
13 SOURCES (Lennon bio): (1) Ray Coleman, Lennon: The Definitive Biography;
 (2) Hunter Davis, The Beatles, Second Revised Edition; (3) David Pritchard & Alan Lysaght,
The Beatles: An Oral History; (4);
14 SOURCES: (1) Announcement, New York Times, Dec. 10, 1980, "Yoko Ono Asks Mourners to Give To a Foundation Lennon Favored;" (2) Paul L. Montgomery, New York Times, Dec. 11, 1980, "Suspect in Lenon’s Slaying is Put Under Suicide Watch," p B3


The Entities by Ian Pummell- Song From The Film The Great American Novel

Stuck In Babylon written and sung by Geronemo-

George Galloway MP will be joining the protest at the BBC in Edinburgh this afternoon
Wed January 28th Demonstrate  at the BBC 
PROTEST at the BBC's decision not to air the DEC Appeal for Gaza
Edinburgh - BBC East Scotland, The Tun, Holyrood Rd  5.30pm (called by Scottish PSC and supported by Edinburgh Stop the War Coalition)
SPSC will project the DEC's Appeal for Gaza onto the wall of the BBC building in Edinburgh. Speakers include Pauline Goldsmith (one of the four signatories of the actors' boycott letter) and George Galloway 


Mounting Protests at BBC


Wed January 28th
Glasgow - BBC Scottish HQ, Pacific Quay  4.30pm
(called by Stop the War)

Edinburgh - BBC East Scotland, The Tun, Holyrood Rd   5.30pm
(called by Scottish PSC)

SPSC will project the DEC's Appeal for Gaza onto the wall of the BBC building.
Speakers include Pauline Goldsmith, one of the four signatories of the actors' boycott letter BBC.


Protesters will today gather outside the BBC in Glasgow and Edinburgh against the controversial decision by the BBC not to air a Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) crisis appeal for the people of Gaza .


Mick Napier, chair of the SPSC, said, “The BBC’s decision to impede the humanitarian appeal on behalf of the people of Gaza comes on top of this well-substantiated record of pro-Israeli bias.  It also comes to a population who see yet another invasion in the Middle East where the British government is on the wrong side and believe that the BBC is even more so. The Sun newspaper never recovered on Merseyside from its appalling misreporting of the Hillsborough disaster and the BBC may never recover from this similar violation of deeply held convictions.  The great majority of British people clearly feel that Palestinians have been savaged and that denying aid to the victims is sadistic.”

 Samena Dean, from the Islamic community said: “This has nothing to do with impartiality, but everything to do with Mark Thompson’s views on the conflict.  He clearly wants to help Israeli punish the Palestinians for resisting the Occupation and the Siege.  Mark Thompson visited Israel in 2005 and held talk with Ariel Sharon, the man responsible for the massacres at Sabra and Shatila.  By the very fact that Mark Thompson would meet Sharon shows that he would rather ‘Aunty Beeb’ peddle Israeli propaganda then help to relive a humanitarian crisis in Gaza .”

 1. The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign started in autumn 2000 in response to the Palestinian second uprising against Israeli occupation (intifada). The SPSC has branches and groups of supporters in several Scottish cities and universities, as well as individual members across Scotland .
For further information, contact:


2. BBC defends Gaza appeal decision:

The BBC has defended a decision not to air a TV fund-raising appeal for Gaza , saying it wanted to avoid compromising public confidence in its impartiality.


3. BBC under pressure over Gaza emergency appeal

The BBC came under mounting pressure today to screen an emergency appeal for Gaza , after ITV, Channel 4 and Five all announced they will show it.


4. DEC would normally raise about £10 million:

A national appeal from the DEC would normally raise about £10 million, but without the broadcasts the total is certain to be lower.


5. DEC Access and Impartiality
The DEC members are committed to humanitarian principles including independence and have confirmed they are able to work without hindrance from the Hamas controlled authorities both to identify who are the most needy and to channel assistance to them directly, either through their own staff or well established local non governmental partners. The DEC members have submitted lists of partners and their banking arrangements, to insure proper systems are in place


6. General Background

The State of Israel was founded through the systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948. This event, known as the 'Nakbah', or catastrophe, to Palestinians, saw the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of them from their homes. Those expelled are still refused their rights under international law to return to return home. The crimes committed against the Palestinian people did not end in 1948 however, and daily theft of land and resources continues as Israel pushes forward its policy of replacing the Palestinian people with Jewish immigrants from around the world.


Lennon rehearsing "Give Peace a Chance" in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1969

Lennon rehearsing "Give Peace a Chance" in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1969

The Beatles arriving in the U.S. in 1964.

John Lennon in 1964, John Lennon and Yoko Ono (1969). John Lennon giving  his peace sign

The entrance to the Dakota building where Lennon was shot
Lennon's comic, "The Daily Howl".

Birth name John Winston Lennon
Born 9 October 1940
Liverpool, England
Died 8 December 1980 (aged 40)
New York City, New York, United States
Genre(s) Rock, pop rock, psychedelic rock, experimental rock, rock and roll
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, Writer, Poet, Artist, Peace activist, actor
Instrument(s) Vocals, guitar, piano, bass, harmonica, banjo
Years active 1957 – 1976, 1980
Label(s) Parlophone, Capitol, Apple, EMI, Geffen, Polydor
Associated acts The Quarrymen, The Beatles, Plastic Ono Band, The Dirty Mac

Notable instrument(s)
Rickenbacker 325
Epiphone Casino
Gibson J-160E
Martin D-28
Fender Bass VI
Les Paul Junior

Mendips; George and Mimi Smith's home, where Lennon lived for most of his childhood and adolescence.
Lennon's guitars.

John Lennon in 1964

John Lennon

John Winston Ono Lennon,[1][2] MBE (born John Winston Lennon; 9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980) was an English rock musician, singer, writer, songwriter, artist, actor and peace activist who gained worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles. Lennon along with Paul McCartney formed one of the most influential and successful songwriting partnerships and "wrote some of the most popular music in rock and roll history".[3] Lennon revealed his rebellious nature and wit on television, in films such as A Hard Day's Night, in books such as In His Own Write, and in press conferences and interviews. He was controversial through his work as a peace activist, artist, and author.

After The Beatles, Lennon launched a successful solo career, during which he wrote and recorded many songs such as "Give Peace a Chance" and "Imagine". After a self-imposed "retirement" from 1976 to 1980, Lennon reemerged with a comeback album, but was murdered one month later in New York City on 8 December 1980.

Lennon had two sons: Julian Lennon, with his first wife Cynthia Lennon, and Sean Ono Lennon, with his second wife, avant-garde artist Yoko Ono.

In 2002, respondents to a BBC poll on the 100 Greatest Britons voted Lennon into eighth place. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Lennon number 38 on its list of "The Immortals: The Fifty Greatest Artists of All Time" and ranked The Beatles at number one. He was also ranked fifth greatest singer of all time by Rolling Stone in 2009.[4]

Early years: 1940–1957

John Winston Lennon was born in the Liverpool Maternity Hospital, Oxford Street, Liverpool, to Julia Lennon (née Stanley) and Alfred (Alf, or Freddie) Lennon, during the course of a German air raid in World War II. Julia's sister, Mary Smith, (Mimi) ran through the blacked out back roads to reach the hospital. A two mile trek to the hospital, she used the explosions to see where she was going.[5][6][7] He was named after his paternal grandfather, John 'Jack' Lennon, and Winston Churchill.[7] Alf was a merchant seaman during World War II, and was often away from home, but sent regular pay cheques to Julia, who was living with the young Lennon at 9 Newcastle Road, Liverpool, but the cheques stopped when Alf went AWOL in 1943.[8][9] When Alf eventually came home in 1944, he offered to look after his wife and son, but Julia (who was pregnant with another man's child) rejected the idea.[10] After considerable pressure from her sister, Mary "Mimi" Smith (who contacted Liverpool's Social Services to complain about Julia), she handed the care of Lennon over to Mimi.[11] In July 1946, Alf visited Mimi and took Lennon to Blackpool, secretly intending to emigrate to New Zealand with him.[12] Julia followed them, and after a very heated argument, Alf made the five-year-old Lennon choose between Julia or him, and Lennon chose him twice. As Julia walked away, however, Lennon began to cry and followed her. Alf then lost contact with Lennon until the height of Beatlemania, when father and son met again.[13]

John Winston Lennon was born in the Liverpool Maternity Hospital, Oxford Street, Liverpool, to Julia Lennon (née Stanley) and Alfred (Alf, or Freddie) Lennon, during the course of a German air raid in World War II. Julia's sister, Mary Smith, (Mimi) ran through the blacked out back roads to reach the hospital. A two mile trek to the hospital, she used the explosions to see where she was going.[5][6][7] He was named after his paternal grandfather, John 'Jack' Lennon, and Winston Churchill.[7] Alf was a merchant seaman during World War II, and was often away from home, but sent regular pay cheques to Julia, who was living with the young Lennon at 9 Newcastle Road, Liverpool, but the cheques stopped when Alf went AWOL in 1943.[8][9] When Alf eventually came home in 1944, he offered to look after his wife and son, but Julia (who was pregnant with another man's child) rejected the idea.[10] After considerable pressure from her sister, Mary "Mimi" Smith (who contacted Liverpool's Social Services to complain about Julia), she handed the care of Lennon over to Mimi.[11] In July 1946, Alf visited Mimi and took Lennon to Blackpool, secretly intending to emigrate to New Zealand with him.[12] Julia followed them, and after a very heated argument, Alf made the five-year-old Lennon choose between Julia or him, and Lennon chose him twice. As Julia walked away, however, Lennon began to cry and followed her. Alf then lost contact with Lennon until the height of Beatlemania, when father and son met again.[13]

Throughout the rest of his childhood and adolescence, Lennon lived with his Aunt Mimi and her husband George Smith, who had no children of their own, in Woolton, in a house called "Mendips" (251 Menlove Avenue). Mimi bought volumes of short stories for Lennon, and George, who was a dairyman at his family's farm, engaged Lennon in solving crossword puzzles, and bought him a harmonica. (Smith died on 5 June 1955).[14][12] Julia Lennon visited Mendips almost every day, and when Lennon was 11 he often visited her at 1 Blomfield Road, Liverpool. Julia taught Lennon how to play the banjo, and played Elvis Presley's records for him. The first song he learned was Fats Domino's "Ain't That A Shame".[15][16]

Lennon was raised as an Anglican and attended Dovedale County Primary School until he passed his Eleven-Plus exam.[17][18] From September 1952 to 1957, he attended the Quarry Bank High School in Liverpool, where he was known as a "happy-go-lucky" pupil, drawing comical cartoons and mimicking his teachers.[19][20][21]

Julia bought Lennon his first guitar in 1957, which was a Gallotone Champion acoustic (a cheap model that was "guaranteed not to split").[22] Julia insisted it be delivered to her house and not to Mimi's, who hoped that Lennon would grow bored with music; She was sceptical of Lennon's claim that he would be famous one day, often telling him, "The guitar's all very well, John, but you'll never make a living out of it."[22][23] On 15 July 1958, when Lennon was 17, Julia was killed on Menlove Avenue (close to Mimi's house) when struck by a car driven by an off-duty police officer.[24][25] Her death was a bond between Lennon and Paul McCartney, who also had lost his own mother (to breast cancer) on 31 October 1956.[26]

Lennon failed all his GCE O-level examinations, and was only accepted into the Liverpool College of Art with help from his school's headmaster and Mimi. There, Lennon met his future wife, Cynthia Powell, when he was a Teddy Boy.[27] Lennon was often disruptive in class and ridiculed his teachers, resulting in them refusing to have him as a student.[28][29] Lennon failed an annual Art College exam despite help from Powell, and dropped out before his last year of college.[30]

The Beatles: 1957–1970

When Lennon decided that he wanted to try making music himself, he and fellow Quarry Bank Grammar School friend, Eric Griffiths, took guitar lessons at Hunts Cross in Liverpool, although Lennon gave up the lessons soon after.[31] Lennon started The Quarrymen in March 1957.[32] On 6 July 1957, Lennon met McCartney at the Quarrymen's second concert at the St. Peter's Church Woolton Garden fête.[33][34] McCartney's father told his son that Lennon would get him "into a lot of trouble", but later allowed The Quarrymen to rehearse in the front room at 20 Forthlin Road.[35][36] There, Lennon and McCartney began writing songs together. The first song Lennon completed was "Hello, Little Girl" when he was 18 years old, which later became a hit for the Fourmost.[37] McCartney convinced Lennon to allow George Harrison to join the Quarrymen (even though Lennon thought Harrison to be too young) after Harrison played the song "Raunchy" for Lennon on the upper deck of a bus.[38] Harrison joined the band as lead guitarist, and Stuart Sutcliffe — Lennon's friend from art school — later joined as bassist.[39][40] After a series of name changes, the group decided on The Beatles. Lennon was always considered the leader of the group, as McCartney explained: "We all looked up to John. He was older and he was very much the leader - he was the quickest wit and the smartest and all that kind of thing."[41][42]

Allan Williams became the Beatles' first manager in May 1960, after they had played in his Jacaranda club.[43] A few months later he booked them into Bruno Koschmider's Indra club in Hamburg, Germany.[44][45] Lennon's Aunt Mimi was horrified when he told her about the trip to Hamburg, and pleaded with him to continue his studies.[46] After the first residency Sutcliffe left The Beatles to concentrate on his artwork, and to be with his girlfriend, Astrid Kirchherr. McCartney took over as bass player for the group.[47] Koschmider reported McCartney and drummer Pete Best for arson after the two attached a condom to a nail in the 'Bambi' (a cinema where they were staying) and set fire to it.[48] They were deported, as was Harrison for working under age.[49] A few days later Lennon's work permit was revoked and he went home by train.[50]

After Harrison turned 18 and the immigration problems had been solved, The Beatles went back to Hamburg for another residency in April 1961. While they were there, they recorded "My Bonnie" with Tony Sheridan.[51] News of Sheridan and The Beatles' record was published on the front page of Mersey Beat — a Liverpool music magazine — which was available at Brian Epstein's music store, and prompted Epstein to order extra copies from Polydor.[52] In April 1962, The Beatles went back to Hamburg to play at the Star-Club, and were told that Sutcliffe had died two days before they arrived.[53] This was another blow for Lennon, after losing his uncle and his mother.[53]

On 9 May 1962, George Martin signed The Beatles to EMI's comedy label, Parlophone. After their first recording session, Martin voiced his displeasure with Best.[54] It was decided that Ringo Starr, drummer with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, should join, although it was left to Epstein to inform Best. Epstein dismissed Best on 16 August 1962, almost exactly two years after Best had joined the group.[55][56] The Beatles released their first double-sided original single, "Love Me Do" b/w "P.S. I Love You" on 5 October; it reached #17 on the British charts (although Starr did not play on these tracks, Martin having secured the services of Andy White, a session drummer, before he knew Best had been replaced). On 11 February 1963, the group recorded their first album Please Please Me in one day with Lennon suffering from a common cold.[57] Originally the Lennon-McCartney songs on the first pressing of the album, as well as the single "From Me to You" and its B-side "Thank You Girl", were credited to "McCartney-Lennon", but this was later changed to "Lennon-McCartney".[58] Lennon and McCartney usually needed an hour or two to finish a song, most of which were written in hotel rooms after a concert, at Wimpole Street — Jane Asher's home — or at Cavendish Avenue; McCartney's home[59] or at Kenwood (Lennon's house).[60] The album and single hit #1 in Britain, and EMI offered the album to their U.S. subsidiary, Capitol Records, but they turned it down.[61] Epstein finally secured a deal with Vee-Jay Records; a predominantly black R&B and gospel label.[62] Neither the single or the accompanying album, Introducing The Beatles were successful in the US. By the time the group recorded "She Loves You", they were dropped from Vee Jay and once again, Capitol declined to release their records. EMI were forced to release it on the even more obscure Swan Records label.[63] It did eventually hit #1 in January 1964, after Capitol Records finally released "I Want To Hold Your Hand" in America. Following their historic appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Beatles would embark on a two-year non-stop period of productivity: constant international tours, making movies, and writing hit songs. Lennon wrote two books, In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works,[64] while The Beatles achieved recognition from the British Establishment when they were appointed Members of the Order of the British Empire in the 1965 Queen's Birthday Honours.[65]

Lennon complained that nobody heard them play for all the screaming, and their musicianship was beginning to suffer.[66] By the time he wrote his 1965 song "Help!", Lennon had put on quite a bit of weight and said he was subconsciously crying out for help and seeking change.[67]

The catalyst for this change occurred on 4 March 1966, when Lennon was interviewed for the London Evening Standard by Maureen Cleave, and talked about Christianity by saying: "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I do not know what will go first, rock 'n' roll or Christianity...We're more popular than Jesus now."[68] Five months later, an American teen magazine called Datebook reprinted part of the quote on its front cover.[69]

The American Bible Belt protested in the South and Midwest, and conservative groups staged public burnings of Beatles' records and memorabilia.[70] Radio stations banned Beatles music and concert venues cancelled performances. Even The Vatican got involved with a public denouncement of Lennon's comments. On August 11, 1966, the Beatles held a press conference in Chicago, Illinois, in order to address the growing furore.

Lennon: "I suppose if I had said television was more popular than Jesus, I would have gotten away with it, but I just happened to be talking to a friend and I used the words "Beatles" as a remote thing, not as what I think - as Beatles, as those other Beatles like other people see us. I just said "they" are having more influence on kids and things than anything else, including Jesus. But I said it in that way which is the wrong way."

Reporter: "Some teenagers have repeated your statements - "I like the Beatles more than Jesus Christ." What do you think about that?"

Lennon: "Well, originally I pointed out that fact in reference to England. That we meant more to kids than Jesus did, or religion at that time. I wasn't knocking it or putting it down. I was just saying it as a fact and it's true more for England than here. I'm not saying that we're better or greater, or comparing us with Jesus Christ as a person or God as a thing or whatever it is. I just said what I said and it was wrong. Or it was taken wrong. And now it's all this."

Reporter: "But are you prepared to apologise?"

Lennon: "I wasn't saying whatever they're saying I was saying. I'm sorry I said it really. I never meant it to be a lousy anti-religious thing. I apologise if that will make you happy. I still don't know quite what I've done. I've tried to tell you what I did do but if you want me to apologise, if that will make you happy, then OK, I'm sorry."[71]

The governing members of the Vatican accepted his apology and the furor eventually died down, but constant Beatlemania, mobs, crazed teenagers, and now a press ready to tear them to pieces over any quote was too much to handle. The Beatles soon decided to stop touring, and indeed, never performed a scheduled concert again.

Lennon later wrote, "I always remember to thank Jesus for the end of my touring days; if I hadn't said that The Beatles were 'bigger than Jesus' and upset the very Christian Ku Klux Klan, well, Lord, I might still be up there with all the other performing fleas! God bless America. Thank you, Jesus."[68]

In a 2008 article marking the 40th anniversary of the Beatles' "White Album" release, the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, published a statement about Lennon's remark about Jesus and The Beatles' popularity: "The remark by John Lennon, which triggered deep indignation, mainly in the United States, after many years sounds only like a 'boast' by a young working-class Englishman faced with unexpected success, after growing up in the legend of Elvis and rock and roll. The fact remains that 38 years after breaking up, the songs of the Lennon-McCartney brand have shown an extraordinary resistance to the passage of time, becoming a source of inspiration for more than one generation of pop musicians." [72]

Lennon left The Beatles in September 1969 (Starr had previously left and then returned during 1968, and Harrison had left on 10 January 1969, during the filming for Let It Be, but returned after a Beatles' meeting at Starr's house two days later).[73] Lennon agreed not to make an announcement while the band renegotiated their recording contract, but McCartney released a question-and-answer interview that he had written himself in April 1970, declaring that he was no longer a member of The Beatles.[74] Lennon's reaction when told was, "Jesus Christ! He [McCartney] gets all the credit for it!" Lennon later told Rolling Stone: "I was a fool not to do what Paul did, which was use it to sell a record," (McCartney's first solo album) and later wrote, "I started the band. I finished it."[75]

In 1970, Jann Wenner recorded an interview with Lennon that was played on BBC radio in 2005. The interview reveals Lennon's bitterness towards McCartney and the hostility he felt that the other members had for Ono. Lennon said: "One of the main reasons The Beatles ended is because we got fed up with being sidemen for Paul. After Brian Epstein died we collapsed. Paul took over and supposedly led us. But what is leading us when we went round in circles?"[76] Lennon later expressed his displeasure with the scant credit Harrison gave him as an influence in his autobiography, I Me Mine, and was unhappy that McCartney's songs, such as "Yesterday", "Hey Jude" and "Let It Be", were more often covered than his own contributions. Lennon also spoke warmly of his former band members, however, by saying: "I still love those guys. The Beatles are over, but John, Paul, George and Ringo go on."[34]

Solo career

At the end of 1968, Lennon performed as part of the group Dirty Mac, in The Rolling Stones' film Rock and Roll Circus. The supergroup, made up of Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Mitch Mitchell, also backed Ono's performance.[77] Lennon and Ono were married on 20 March 1969, and he soon released a series of 14 lithographs called "Bag One" depicting scenes from their honeymoon.,[78] eight of which were deemed indecent and most were banned and confiscated.[79]

Lennon and Ono recorded three albums of experimental music together: Unfinished Music No.1: Two Virgins, [80] an album known more for its cover than the musical content, Unfinished Music No.2: Life with the Lions, and Wedding Album. His first "solo" album was Live Peace in Toronto 1969—recorded prior to the breakup of The Beatles—recorded at a Rock 'n' Roll Festival in Toronto with The Plastic Ono Band. He also recorded three solo singles: the anti-war anthem, "Give Peace a Chance", "Cold Turkey", and "Instant Karma!". Following The Beatles' split in 1970, Lennon released John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, a raw emotional album that dealt with Lennon's pain in losing his mother and split with The Beatles. It included "Working Class Hero", which was banned by BBC Radio for its inclusion of the word "fucking".[81]

His album Imagine followed in 1971, and the title song would later become an anthem for anti-war movements. The song "How Do You Sleep?" was widely perceived as a personal attack against McCartney, although Lennon later claimed that he wrote the song about himself.[82][83] On 31 August 1971, Lennon left England for New York, and released the "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" single in December of 1971.[84] To advertise the single, Lennon and Ono paid for a billboard in Times Square, which read, "WAR IS OVER" in large text with "if you want it" in much smaller text underneath.[85] Some Time in New York City was released in 1972. Recorded with Elephant's Memory, it contained songs about women's rights, race relations, Britain's role in Northern Ireland, and Lennon's problems obtaining a United States Green Card.[86] Lennon had been interested in left-wing politics since the late 1960s, and reportedly donated money to the Trotskyist Workers Revolutionary Party.[87]

In 1972, Lennon released "Woman Is the Nigger of the World". Many radio stations refused to broadcast the song, although Lennon was allowed to perform it on The Dick Cavett Show.[88] On 30 August 1972 Lennon and Elephant's Memory gave two benefit concerts at Madison Square Garden in New York to benefit the patients at the Willowbrook State SchoolStaten Island.[89] These were to be Lennon's last full-length concert appearances.[90] mental facility on

In November 1973, Lennon released Mind Games, which was credited to "the Plastic U.F.Ono Band". He also wrote "I'm the Greatest" for Starr's album Ringo (his own demo version of the song appears on the John Lennon Anthology) and produced "Too Many Cooks (Spoil The Soup)" for Mick Jagger. In September 1974, Lennon released Walls and Bridges and the single "Whatever Gets You Thru the Night" (a #1 duet with Elton John). A second single from the album, "#9 Dream", was released in December. He wrote "Goodnight Vienna" for Starr, and played piano on the recording.[91] On 28 November, Lennon made a surprise guest appearance at Elton John's Thanksgiving concert at Madison Square Garden after he lost a bet with John that "Whatever Gets You" would reach #1.[92] Lennon performed "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", "Whatever Gets You Thru the Night" and "I Saw Her Standing There". Lennon rush-released Rock 'n' Roll, an album of cover songs, in February 1975 – with Phil Spector as producer – before Roots: John Lennon Sings the Great Rock & Roll Hits was released (issued by Morris Levy on the Adam VIII label).[93]

Lennon made his last stage appearance on ATV's 18 April 1975 special called A Salute to Lew Grade performing "Imagine", "Stand By Me" (cut from the televised edition), and "Slippin' and Slidin'" from his Rock 'n' Roll LP.[94] Lennon's backup band was BOMF (also known as "Etc." that evening).[95] The band members wore two-faced masks which were digs at Grade, with whom Lennon and McCartney had been in conflict because of Grade's control of The Beatles' publishing company. Dick James, The Beatles' publisher, had sold his majority share in Maclen Music (Lennon's and McCartney's publishing company) to Grade in 1969. During "Imagine", Lennon interjected the line "and no immigration too", a reference to his battle to remain in the United States.[86] In October 1975, Lennon fulfilled his contractual obligation to EMI/Capitol for one more album by releasing Shaved Fish, a greatest hits compilation. On 9 October 1975 – Lennon's 35th birthday – his son Sean Ono Lennon was born. Lennon wrote and recorded "Cookin' (In The Kitchen of Love)" with Ringo Starr in June 1976, his last recording session until his 1980 comeback.[96] In 1977, Lennon announced he would be taking three years off to raise Sean. Lennon emerged from retirement in November 1980, releasing Double Fantasy, which also featured Ono. In June 1980, Lennon had traveled with Sean to Bermuda for a sailing trip on a 43-foot sloop, where he wrote songs for the album.[97] The name of the album was taken from a species of freesia flowers that Lennon had seen in the Bermuda Botanical Gardens. He liked the name and saw it as a perfect description of his marriage to Ono.[98] After the release of the album, Lennon started planning the next album, Milk and Honey.[99] Lennon was asked whether the group were dreaded enemies or the best of friends in 1980. He replied that they were neither, but had not seen any of them for a long time. Lennon said that the last time McCartney had visited Lennon they had watched the episode of Saturday Night Live, in which Lorne Michaels made a $3,000 cash offer to get The Beatles to reunite on the show.[100] They had considered going to the studio to appear as a joke, but were too tired.[34] This event was fictionalized in the 2000 television film, Two of Us.[101]

Marriages and relationships

In one of his last major interviews, in September 1980, Lennon said that he had never questioned his chauvinistic attitudes towards women until he met Ono. Lennon was always distant with his first son, Julian, but was close to his second son, Sean, calling him "My pride". Near the end of Lennon's life, he said that he accepted the role of househusband, after taking on the role of a wife and mother in his relationship with Ono.[34]

Cynthia Lennon

Cynthia Powell met Lennon at the Liverpool Art College in 1957.[27] Although Lennon was not her type, she was attracted to him. After hearing Lennon comment favorably about another girl who looked like Brigitte Bardot, Powell changed the color of her hair to blonde.[102] Their relationship started after a college party before the summer holidays when Lennon asked Powell to go a pub with him and some friends.[103] Powell told him she was engaged (to a young man called Barry, in Hoylake) so Lennon stormed off, shouting, "I didn't ask you to fucking marry me, did I!?"[104] Lennon was often jealous, and once slapped Powell across the face (knocking her head against the wall) the day after he saw her dancing with Sutcliffe.[105] In mid-1962, Powell discovered she was pregnant with Lennon's child.[106] They were married on 23 August at the Mount Pleasant Register Office in Liverpool. Manager Epstein thought a married Beatle might alienate some fans and insisted the Lennons keep their union a secret. John Charles Julian Lennon was born in Sefton General Hospital on 8 April 1963.[107]

Lennon was on tour and would not see Julian for three days, and shortly after went on holiday to Spain with Epstein, which would lead to speculation of an affair between the two (Epstein was widely known to be homosexual). Shortly afterwards, at Paul McCartney's twenty-first birthday party, a drunken Lennon physically attacked Cavern Club MC Bob Wooler for saying "How was your honeymoon, John?" (Wooler was referring to Lennon's marriage, and not Lennon's holiday in Spain with Epstein).[108] In 1991, a fictionalized account of the Lennon/Epstein holiday was made into an independent movie called The Hours And Times.[109] Lennon was distant to Julian, who felt closer to McCartney than to his father. Julian later said, "I've never really wanted to know the truth about how dad was with me. There was some very negative stuff talked about me ... like when he said I'd come out of a whiskey bottle on a Saturday night.[34] Stuff like that. You think, where's the love in that? Paul and I used to hang about quite a bit ... more than dad and I did. We had a great friendship going and there seems to be far more pictures of me and Paul playing together at that age than there are pictures of me and my dad."[110]

Cynthia Lennon had become aware of Lennon's infidelities, but cites his increasing drug use[111] When Lennon and The Beatles went to Bangor to meditate, Powell and Lennon were separated on the train platform. A policeman, who did not recognize her, kept her from boarding the train. As she watched Lennon's train pull out of the station, she broke into tears. In the documentary Imagine she explained, "Normally I wouldn't have broken down, I'd have kept my cool... I knew I'd get there anyway. But at that point I felt so sad. This was symbolic of our life... I'm getting off at this station."[112] Lennon later tried to sue Powell for divorce, claiming she had committed adultery and not him.[113] When it was discovered that Ono had become pregnant, Powell petitioned Lennon for divorce. During negotiations Lennon refused to give his wife any more than £75,000, supposedly saying, "What have you done to deserve it? Christ, it's like winning the bloody pools." The case was settled out of court, with Powell receiving £100,000, £2,400 annually, custody of Julian and the Lennons' house (Kenwood).[114] for their growing apart. She was also aware of Lennon's friendship with Ono. Eventually, according to Powell, she actually suggested to Lennon that perhaps Ono was the woman for him.

When Lennon and Ono moved to New York, Julian would not see his father again until 1973.[115] During the time Lennon and Ono were separated, he lived with his personal assistant, May Pang. With Pang's encouragement, it was arranged for Julian (and Powell) to visit Lennon in Los Angeles, where they went to Disneyland.[116] Julian started to see his father more regularly, and played drums on "Ya Ya" from Lennon's 1974 album Walls and Bridges.[117][118] Lennon also bought Julian a Gibson Les Paul guitar, and a drum machine[119][120] In his 1980 Playboy interview, Lennon was quoted as saying: "Sean was a planned child, and therein lies the difference. I don't love Julian any less as a child. He's still my son, whether he came from a bottle of whiskey or because they didn't have pills in those days. He's here, he belongs to me, and he always will."[34] In an interview shortly before his death, Lennon said he was trying to re-establish a connection with the then 17-year-old Julian, and confidently predicted that "Julian and I will have a relationship in the future." Both Julian and Sean Lennon went on to have recording careers years after their father's death.[121] After Lennon's death, it was revealed that Julian was not mentioned in Lennon's will.[122] It was said that Ono gave Julian £20 million, which Julian refuted by saying that it was minimal compared to the figure reported.[110] for Christmas in 1973, and encouraged Julian's interest in music by showing him some chords.

Yoko Ono

There are two versions of how Lennon and Ono met: The first version says that on 9 November 1966, Lennon went to the Indica gallery in London, where Ono was preparing her conceptual art exhibit, and they were introduced by gallery owner John Dunbar.[123][124][34] The second version is that in late 1965, Ono was in London compiling original musical scores for a book that John Cage was working on.[125] She knocked on McCartney's door, but he declined to give her any manuscripts as he kept all his originals, but suggested that Lennon might oblige. When asked, Lennon gave the original handwritten lyrics to "The Word" from Rubber Soul to Ono. They were reproduced in Cage's book, Notations.[126] Lennon was intrigued by Ono's "Hammer A Nail" Piece: patrons hammered a nail into a wooden board, creating the art piece. Lennon wanted to hammer a nail in the clean board, but Ono stopped him because the exhibit had not opened. Dunbar then said to Ono, "Don't you know who this is?" Ono had not heard of The Beatles but relented, on the condition that Lennon pay her five shillings. Lennon then said, "I'll give you an imaginary five shillings and hammer an imaginary nail."

Lennon began his physical relationship with Ono—seven years his senior—in May 1968, after Lennon returned from India, where he had received numerous postcards from Ono, who was in London.[85] As Cynthia Lennon was in Greece on holiday, Lennon invited Ono to his home, where they spent the night recording what would become the Two Virgins album, and later said they made love at dawn.[127][128] When Cynthia returned home she found Lennon and Ono, who was wearing Cynthia's bathrobe, drinking tea together. Lennon simply said, "Oh, Hi".[129] Cynthia filed for divorce later that year, on the grounds of Lennon's adultery, which was proven by Ono's pregnancy. Ono later miscarried John Ono Lennon II on 21 November 1968.[130]

During Lennon's last two years in The Beatles, he and Ono began public protests against the Vietnam War. Lennon sent back his MBE insignia in 1969, which Queen Elizabeth had bestowed upon him in 1965.[131] He wrote: "Your Majesty, I am returning this in protest against Britain's involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam, and against "Cold Turkey" slipping down the charts. With love. John Lennon of Bag."[132][133] The couple were married in Gibraltar on 20 March 1969, and spent their honeymoon in Amsterdam campaigning for an international "Bed-In" for peace. They planned another "Bed-in" in the United States, but were denied entry. The couple then went to neighbouring Montréal, and during a "Bed-in" at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel recorded "Give Peace a Chance".[134] Lennon and Ono often combined advocacy with performance art, as in their "Bagism", which was first introduced during a Vienna press conference. Lennon detailed this period in The Beatles' song "The Ballad of John and Yoko".[135] In April 1969, on the roof of Apple Records, Lennon changed his name to John Ono Lennon.[136] After Ono was injured in a car accident, Lennon arranged for a king-sized bed to be brought to the recording studio as he worked on The Beatles' last album, Abbey Road.[137] To escape the acrimony of The Beatles' breakup, Ono suggested they move permanently to New York, which they did on 31 August 1971. They first lived in the St. Regis Hotel on 5th Avenue, East 55th Street, and then moved a loft at 105 Bank Street, Greenwich Village, New York City, on 16 October 1971. After a robbery, they relocated to the more secure Dakota at 1 West 72nd Street, in February 1973.[138]

May Pang and the "Lost Weekend"

In June 1973, Ono decided that she and Lennon should separate. Ono suggested that he take their personal assistant, May Pang, as a companion.[139] Lennon soon moved to California with Pang, and embarked on an eighteen-month period he would later call his "Lost Weekend."[110] While Lennon and Pang were living in L.A., Lennon's drunken behavior was widely reported by the media. Lennon also took the opportunity to get reacquainted with his son, Julian, whom he had not seen in four years.[140]

In May 1974, Lennon and Pang returned to New York where he began work on Walls and Bridges. On the evening of 23 August 1974, both Lennon and Pang claimed to have seen a U.F.O. in the sky from their balcony. Lennon mentioned the sighting in the booklet accompanying the Walls and Bridges album.[141] When Lennon lost a bet to Elton John and joined on stage at Madison Square Garden in November 1974, Ono was in the audience.[142][142] Although Lennon would later claim he had no idea she was there, it was he who arranged for her seats.

In December 1974, Harrison was in New York on the Dark Horse tour, and Lennon agreed to join him on stage, but they had an argument over Lennon's refusal to sign the agreement that would legally dissolve The Beatles partnership, which was meant to be at New York's Plaza Hotel on 19 December 1974. Lennon finally signed the papers in Walt Disney World in Florida, while on holiday there with Pang and Julian.[140] In January 1975, Lennon co-wrote and recorded "Fame" with David Bowie and Carlos Alomar which became Bowie's first U.S. #1 hit (in September).[143]

On 31 January 1975, the Lennons reunited and, on 9 October 1975 – Lennon's 35th birthday – Ono gave birth to a son, Sean Ono Lennon. Lennon didn't release any new records until 1980. He cited many reasons for his hiatus from music, primarily that he had been under contract since he was 22 years old and he was now free, rock 'n' roll was not as interesting as it once was, and his limited relationship with his first son influenced his decision to become a family man.[34]

Political activism

Lennon and Ono used their honeymoon at the Amsterdam Hilton, in March 1969, as a "Bed-in for Peace" that attracted worldwide media coverage.[110] At the second "Bed-in" in Montreal, in June 1969, they recorded "Give Peace a Chance" in their hotel room at The Queen Elizabeth. The song was sung by a quarter million demonstrators in Washington, D.C. at the second Vietnam Moratorium Day, on 15 October 1969.[144] When Lennon and Ono moved to New York City in August 1971, they befriended peace activists Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman. Lennon performed at the "Free John Sinclair" concert in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on 10 December 1971.[145] Sinclair was an antiwar activist and poet who was serving ten years in state prison for selling two joints of marijuana to an undercover policeman.[146] Lennon and Ono appeared on stage with David Peel, Phil Ochs, Stevie Wonder and other musicians, plus antiwar radical and Yippie member, Jerry Rubin, and Bobby Seale of the Black Panthers[147]. Lennon performed the song, "John Sinclair", which he had just written, calling on the authorities to "Let him be, set him free, let him be like you and me". Some 20,000 people attended the rally, and three days after the concert the State of Michigan released Sinclair from prison.[148] This performance was released on the two-CD John Lennon AnthologyAcoustic (2004). Lennon later performed the song on the David Frost[145] (1998) and the album Show accompanied by Ono and Jerry Rubin.

In 1972, the Nixon Administration tried to have Lennon deported from the U.S., as Richard Nixon believed that Lennon's support for George McGovern could lose him the next election.[149] Republican Senator Strom Thurmond suggested, in a February 1972 memo, that "deportation would be a strategic counter-measure" against Lennon.[150] The next month the Immigration and Naturalization Service began deportation proceedings against Lennon, arguing that his 1968 misdemeanor conviction for cannabis possession in London had made him ineligible for admission to the U.S. Lennon spent the next four years in deportation hearings.[86] While his deportation battle continued, Lennon appeared at rallies in New York City and on TV shows, including a week hosting the Mike Douglas Show in February 1972, where Jerry Rubin and Bobby Seale appeared as his guests.[151]

On 23 March 1973, Lennon was ordered to leave the U.S. within 60 days, while Ono was granted permanent residence.[152] In response, Lennon and Ono held a press conference at the New York chapter of the American Bar Association on 1 April 1973 to announce the formation of the conceptual state of "Nutopia"; a place with "no land, no boundaries, no passports, only people", and all of its inhabitants would be ambassadors.[153] The Lennons asked for political asylum in the U.S. while waving the white flag of Nutopia; two white handkerchiefs. The entire press conference can be seen in the 2006 documentary released by Lions Gate, The U.S. vs. John Lennon.[154] In June 1973, Lennon and Ono made their last political statement by attending the Watergate hearings in Washington, D.C.[155]

Lennon's order of deportation was overturned in 1975. After Lennon’s death, historian Jon Wiener filed a Freedom of Information request for FBI files on Lennon.[156] The FBI admitted it had 281 pages in its files on Lennon but refused to release most of them, claiming they were national security documents. In 1983, Wiener sued the FBI with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. The case went to the Supreme Court[157] The story is told in the documentary The U.S. vs. John Lennon, by David Leaf and John Scheinfeld, released in theaters in September 2006, and on DVD in February 2007. The final 10 documents in Lennon's FBI file were released in December 2006.[158] before the FBI settled out of court in 1997; releasing all but 10 of the contested documents.

In 1976, Lennon's U.S. immigration status was finally resolved favorably, and he received his green card. Nixon's successor, Gerald Ford, showed little interest in continuing the battle. When Jimmy Carter was inaugurated as president on 19 January 1977, Lennon and Ono attended the Inaugural Ball.[159][160]

Drugs, meditation and primal therapy

Lennon was first given drugs in Hamburg, Germany, as The Beatles had to play long sets and were often given Preludin by customers or by Astrid Kirchherr, whose mother bought them for her.[161] McCartney would usually take one, but Lennon would often take four or five, and later took amphetamines called "Black Bombers" and "Purple Hearts".[161][162] The Beatles first smoked cannabis with Bob Dylan in New York in 1964; Dylan mistakenly interpreted the lyric "I can't hide" from "I Want to Hold Your Hand" as "I get high" and presumed that The Beatles were already familiar with the drug.[163][164] Lennon later said The Beatles "smoked marijuana for breakfast", and that other people had trouble talking to them, because they were sniggering all the time.[34]

In a 1995 interview, Cynthia said there were problems throughout their marriage because of the pressures of The Beatles' fame and rigorous touring, and because of Lennon's increasing use of drugs.[165] During his first marriage Lennon tried LSD, and read The Psychedelic Experience by Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert, and Ralph Metzner, which was based on, and quoted from, the Tibetan Book of the Dead.[166][167] He later used heroin, and wrote about the withdrawal symptoms he experienced in "Cold Turkey".[168] On 24 August 1967, The Beatles met the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at the London Hilton, and later went to Bangor, in North Wales, to attend a weekend of personal instruction.[169] The time Lennon later spent in India at the Maharishi's ashram was productive, as most of the songs recorded for The White Album, and Abbey Road were composed there by Lennon and McCartney.[170] Although later turning against the Maharishi, Lennon still advocated meditation when interviewed.[171]Greece, leaving Lennon at Kenwood with Pete Shotton; his school friend and so-called assistant. In 1968, Cynthia Lennon went on vacation to

In 1970, Lennon and Ono went through primal therapy with Dr. Arthur Janov in Los Angeles, California. The therapy consisted of releasing emotional pain from early childhood. Lennon and Ono ended the sessions before completing a full course of therapy, as Ono constantly argued with Janov.[34][172] The song "Mother" is based on Lennon's experience and understanding of Primal Therapy.[173]


Each of The Beatles was known, especially during Beatlemania, for their sense of humour. During live performances of "I Want to Hold Your Hand", Lennon often changed the words to "I want to hold your gland", because of the difficulty hearing the vocals above the noise of screaming audiences. At the Royal Variety Show in 1963 — in the presence of members of the British royalty — Lennon told the audience, "For our next song, I'd like to ask for your help. For the people in the cheaper seats, clap your hands... and the rest of you, if you'll just rattle your jewellery."[174] Lennon put on weight during 1965, and later said, "It was my fat-Elvis period."[175]

During the "Get Back" sessions, Lennon introduced "Dig a Pony" by shouting, "I dig a pygmyCharles Hawtrey and the Deaf Aids; phase one in which Doris gets her oats!" The phrase was later edited to precede "Two of Us" on Let It Be. Lennon often counter-pointed McCartney's upbeat lyrics, as in "Getting Better": by

McCartney: "I've got to admit it's getting better, a little better, all the time."
Lennon: "Can't get no worse."[176]

Lennon appeared in various television comedy shows, such as the Morecambe and Wise show with the rest of The Beatles, and played a doorman in a gents' toilet in Not Only But Also.[177][178] Lennon's humour could also be cruel, such as when Brian Epstein asked Lennon for a title for Epstein's autobiography, and Lennon answered: "How about Queer Jew ?"[179] When Lennon heard that the title of the book would be A Cellarful of Noise, he said to a friend: "More like A Cellarful of Boys."[179]

Writing and art

Lennon started writing and drawing early in life, with encouragement from his Uncle George, and created his own comic strip in his school book, which he called "The Daily Howl". It contained drawings—frequently of crippled people—and satirical writings, often with a play on words. Lennon wrote a weather report saying, "Tomorrow will be Muggy, followed by Tuggy, Wuggy and Thuggy."[180][181] He often drew caricatures of his school teachers, and when he was in Hamburg he sent love poems and drawings to Cynthia (his future wife) once writing, "Our first Christmas, I love you, yes, yes, yes."[182]

When Liverpool's Mersey Beat magazine was founded, Lennon was asked to contribute. His first piece was about the origins of The Beatles: "A man appeared on a flaming pie, and said you are Beatles with an 'A'."[183] The first two books by Lennon are examples of literary nonsense: In His Own Write (1964) and A Spaniard in the Works (1965). Ono later allowed the works of Lennon to be published after his death: Skywriting by Word of Mouth (1986) and Ai: Japan Through John Lennon's Eyes: A Personal Sketchbook (1992), which contained Lennon's drawings illustrating the definitions of Japanese words. Real Love: The Drawings for SeanThe Beatles Anthology included writing and drawings by Lennon.[184]Stanley Unwin.[185] followed in 1999. Lennon's love of nonsense language was influenced by his appreciation for


Throughout his solo career, Lennon appeared on his own albums (as well as those of other artists, like Elton John) under such pseudonyms as Dr Winston O'Boogie, Mel Torment (a play on singer Mel Tormé), and The Reverend Fred Gherkin. He and Ono (as Ada Gherkin "ate a gherkin", and other sobriquets) also travelled under such names, thus avoiding unwanted public attention.[186]

Lennon also named his session musicians under various different band names during his career, including:

  • The Plastic Ono Band (for the Plastic Ono Band album)
  • The Plastic Ono Band with the Flux Fiddlers (Imagine)
  • The Plastic U.F.Ono Band (Mind Games)
  • The Plastic Ono Nuclear Band/Little Big Horns and the Philharmanic Orchestrange (Walls and Bridges)


On the night of 8 December 1980, at around 10:49 p.m., Mark David Chapman shot Lennon in the back four times (the fifth shot missed) in the entrance of the Dakota. Earlier that evening, Lennon had autographed a copy of Double Fantasy for Chapman[187] who had been stalking Lennon since October.

Lennon was taken to the Emergency Room of nearby Roosevelt Hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival at 11:07 p.m. On the following day, Ono issued a statement: "There is no funeral for John. John loved and prayed for the human race. Please pray the same for him. Love, Yoko and Sean."[188] Chapman pleaded guilty to second degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years to life where he remains, having been denied all requests for parole.[189][190]

Lennon's body was cremated at Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York; his ashes were then kept by Yoko.[191][192]

Three weeks before his death, John Lennon had fired his bodyguard. His reply was that any killer would shoot the bodyguard first. When he was still a Beatle, Lennon was asked how he might die. Lennon replied: “I'll probably be popped off by some loony.“[193]

Awards with The Beatles

BRIT Awards:

Solo career

  • 1982 Grammy Award - Album of the Year (for Double Fantasy)
  • 1982 BRIT Awards - Outstanding contribution to music.[194]
  • 2002 In 2002, a 100 Greatest Britons BBC poll voted Lennon into eighth place.[195]
  • In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Lennon number 38 on its list of "The Immortals: The Fifty Greatest Artists of All Time".[196]
  • In 2008, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Lennon number 5 on its list of "100 Greatest Singers of All Time".[197]


Yoko Ono

Ono at the opening ceremony of her art exhibition in São Paulo, Brazil. November 2007.
Ono at the opening ceremony of her art exhibition in São Paulo, Brazil. November 2007.

Birth name Yoko Ono
Born February 18, 1933 (age 75)
Tokyo, Japan
Genre(s) Avant-garde, rock, pop, electronica, fluxus
Occupation(s) Artist
Instrument(s) Vocals, piano
Years active 1961–present
Label(s) Apple, Geffen, Polydor, Rykodisc, Astralwerks
Associated acts John Lennon
The Plastic Ono Band

John Lennon and Yoko Ono (1969).

Lennon and Yoko recording "Give Peace a Chance".

Yoko Ono delivering flowers to Lennon's memorial in 2005.

The Dakota, Ono's residence since 1973

Yoko Ono

Yoko Ono Lennon (??·??? Ono Yoko?, kanji: ?? ??), born in Tokyo on February 18, 1933, is a Japanese artist and musician. She is known for her work as an avant-garde artist and musician, and her marriage and works with musician John Lennon.

Early life

Yoko was born to mother Isoko Ono, the granddaughter of Zenjiro Yasuda of the Yasuda[1] Two weeks before she was born, her father was transferred to San Francisco. The rest of the family followed soon after. In 1937, her father was transferred back to Japan and Ono was enrolled at Tokyo's Gakushuin University, one of the most exclusive schools in Japan, which, before World War Two, was open only to those descended from aristocrats (in the House of Peers) or the imperial family. banking family, and to father Eisuke Ono, who worked for the Yokohama Specie Bank and a decendant of an Emperor of Japan. In 1940, the family moved to New York City, where Ono's father was working. In 1941, her father was transferred to Hanoi and the family returned to Japan. Ono was then enrolled in an exclusive Christian primary school run by the Mitsui family. She remained in Tokyo through the great fire-bombing of March 9, 1945. During the fire-bombing, she was sheltered with other members of her family in a special bunker in the Azabu district of Tokyo, far from the heavy bombing. After the bombing, Ono went to the Karuizawa mountain resort with members of her family. The younger members of the imperial family were sent to the same resort area. Ono has said that she and her family were forced to beg for food while pulling their belongings in a wheelbarrow; and it was during this period in her life that Ono says she developed her "aggressive" attitude and understanding of "outsider" status when children taunted her and her brother, who were once well-to-do. Other stories have her mother bringing a large amount of property with them to the countryside which they bartered for food. One often quoted story has her mother bartering a German-made sewing machine for sixty kilograms of rice with which to feed the family. Her father remained in the city and, unbeknownst to them, was eventually incarcerated in a prisoner of war camp in China. In an interview by Democracy Now's Amy Goodman on October 16, 2007, Ono said of her father "He was in French Indo-China which is Vietnam actually... in Saigon. He was in a concentration camp." By April 1946, the Peers' school was reopened and Ono was enrolled. The school, located near the imperial palace, had not been damaged by the war. She graduated in 1951 and was accepted into the philosophy program of Gakushuin University, the first woman ever to be accepted into that department of the exclusive university. However, after two semesters, she left the school.[2]

Education, marriage, and family

Ono's family moved to Scarsdale, New York after the war. She left Japan to rejoin the family and enrolled in nearby Sarah Lawrence College. While her parents approved of her college choice, they were dismayed at her lifestyle, and, according to Ono, chastised her for befriending people they considered to be "beneath" her. In spite of this, Ono loved meeting artists, poets and others who represented the "Bohemian" freedom she longed for herself. Visiting galleries and art "happenings" in the city whetted her desire to publicly display her own artistic endeavors. La Monte Young, her first important contact in the New York art world, helped Ono start her career by using her Lower East Side loft as a concert hall. At one concert, Ono set a painting on fire; fortunately John Cage had advised her to treat the paper with flame retardant.

In 1956, she married composer Toshi Ichiyanagi. They divorced in 1962 after living apart for several years. On November 28 that same year, Ono married American Anthony Cox. Cox was a jazz musician, film producer and art promoter. He had heard of Ono in New York and tracked her down to a mental institution in Japan, where her family had placed her following a suicide attempt. Ono had neglected to finalize her divorce from Ichiyanagi, so their marriage was annulled on March 1, 1963 and Cox and Ono married on June 6. Their daughter, Kyoko Chan Cox, was born on August 8, 1963.

The marriage quickly fell apart (as observers describe Tony and Ono threatening each other with kitchen knives) but the Coxes stayed together for the sake of their joint career. They performed at Tokyo's Sogetsu Hall with Ono lying atop a piano played by John Cage. Soon the Coxes returned to New York with Kyoko. In the early years of this marriage, Ono left most of Kyoko's parenting to Cox while she pursued her art full-time and Tony managed publicity. After she divorced Cox for John Lennon on February 2, 1969, Ono and Cox engaged in a bitter legal battle for custody of Kyoko, which resulted in Ono being awarded full custody. However, in 1971, Cox disappeared with eight-year-old Kyoko, in violation of the custody order. Cox subsequently became a Christian and raised Kyoko in a Christian group known as the Church of the Living Word (or "the Walk"). Cox left the group with Kyoko in 1977. Living an underground existence, Cox changed the girl's name to Rosemary. Cox and Kyoko sent Ono a sympathy message after Lennon's 1980 murder. Afterwards, the bitterness between the parents lessened slightly and Ono publicly announced in People Magazine that she would no longer seek out the now-adult Kyoko, but still wished to make contact with her.

Ono and Kyoko were reunited in 1994. Kyoko lives in Colorado and avoids publicity.


Ono was a reluctant member of Fluxus, a loose association of Dada-inspired avant-gardeGeorge Maciunas, a friend of Ono's during the 60s, admired her work and promoted it with enthusiasm. Maciunas invited Ono to help him promote the Fluxus movement, but she declined because she did not necessarily consider Fluxus a movement and she wanted to remain an independent artist[3]. John Cage was one of the most important influences on Ono's performance art. It was her relationship to Ichiyanagi Toshi, who was a pupil of John Cage’s legendary class of Experimental Composition at the New School, that would introduce her to the unconventional avant-garde, neo-Dadaism of John Cage and his protégés in New York City. artists that developed in the early 1960s. Fluxus founder

Almost immediately after John Cage finished teaching at the New School of Social Research in the Summer of 1960, Ono was determined to rent a place to present her works along with works of other New York avant-garde artists. She eventually found a cheap loft in downtown Manhattan at 112 Chambers Street that she used as a studio and living space[4]. Composer La Monte Young urged Ono to let him organize concerts in the loft, and Ono acquiesced[4]. Both artists began organizing a series of events in Ono’s loft at 112 Chambers Street, and both Young and Ono claimed to have been the primary curator of these events[5], but Ono claims to have been eventually pushed into a subsidiary role by Young.[6] The Chambers Street series hosted some of Ono’s earliest conceptual artwork including Painting to Be Stepped On, which was a scrap of canvas on the floor that became a completed artwork upon the accrual of footprints. Participants faced a moral dilemma presented by Ono that a work of art no longer needed to be mounted on a wall, inaccessible, but an irregular piece of canvas as low and dirty as to have to be completed by being stepped on. Ono was an explorer of conceptual art and performance art. An example of her performance art is "Cut Piece", performed in 1964 at the Sogetsu Art Center in Tokyo. Cut Piece had one destructive verb as its instruction: “Cut.” Ono executed the performance in Tokyo by walking on stage and casually kneeling on the floor in a draped garment. Audience members were requested to come on stage and begin cutting until she was naked. Cut Piece was one of Ono’s many opportunities to outwardly communicate her internal suffering through her art. Ono had originally been exposed to Jean-Paul Sartre’s theories of existentialism in college, and in order to appease her own humanly suffering, Ono enlisted her viewers to complete her works of art in order to complete her identity as well. Besides a commentary on identity, Cut Piece was a commentary on the need for social unity and love. It was also a piece that touched on issues of gender and sexism as well as the greater, universal affliction of human suffering and loneliness. Ono performed this piece again in London and other venues, garnering drastically different attention depending on the audience. In Japan, the audience was shy and cautious. In London, the audience participators became zealous to get a piece of her clothing and became violent to the point where she had to be protected by security. An example of her conceptual art includes her book of instructions called Grapefruit. This book, first produced in 1964, includes surreal, Zen-like instructions that are to be completed in the mind of the reader, for example: "Hide and seek Piece: Hide until everybody goes home. Hide until everybody forgets about you. Hide until everybody dies." The book, an example of Heuristic art, was published several times, most widely distributed by Simon and Schuster in 1971, and reprinted by them again in 2000. Many of the scenarios in the book would be enacted as performance pieces throughout Ono's career and have formed the basis for her art exhibitions, including one highly publicized show at the Everson Museum in Syracuse, New York that was nearly closed by a fan riot. Ono was also an experimental filmmaker who made sixteen films between 1964 and 1972, and gained particular renown for a 1966 film called simply No. 4, but often referred to as "Bottoms". The film consists of a series of close-ups of human buttocks as the subject walks on a treadmill. The screen is divided into four almost equal sections by the elements of the gluteal cleft and the horizontal gluteal crease. The soundtrack consists of interviews with those who are being filmed as well as those considering joining the project. In 1996, the watch manufacturing company Swatch produced a limited edition watch that commemorates this film. (Ono also acted in an obscure exploitation film of the sixties, Satan's Bed.) John Lennon once described her as "the world's most famous unknown artist: everybody knows her name, but nobody knows what she does."[7] Her circle of friends in the New York art world has included Kate Millett, Nam June Paik, Dan Richter, Jonas Mekas, Merce Cunningham, Judith Malina, Erica Abeel, Fred DeAsis, Peggy Guggenheim, Betty Rollin, Shusaku Arakawa, Adrian Morris, Stefan Wolpe, Keith Haring, and Andy Warhol, as well as Maciunas and Young. In 2001, YES YOKO ONO, a forty-year retrospective of Ono's work, received the prestigious International Association of Art Critics USA Award for Best Museum Show Originating in New York City. (This award is considered one of the highest accolades in the museum profession.) In 2002 Ono was awarded the Skowhegan Medal for work in assorted media. In 2005 she received a lifetime achievement award from the Japan Society of New York. Ono received an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Liverpool University in 2001; in 2002 she was presented with the honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts from Bard College.

She currently has an exhibition at the Baltic on Gateshead Quayside. Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Click here to read more about Yoko On's Life before, during and after being with John Lennon

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