Alfred E. Newman -
                 The Famous president of MAD Magazine
                             and and his famous quote... "What me Worry? "

"What if God Was One of Us?....He's Have Front Row Seats to All The lakers Games...."
illustrated by Drew Friedman, written by Andrew j. Schartzberg ( MAD * 347, July, 1996

Alfred E. Newman's Famous What Me Worry Band? ..... Read more about the amazing and zanny MAD Magazine below...

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Hi there....welcome to


                                    Mad Magazine

"..Wat Me.....Worry?......".......Alfred E Newman- The Famous President of the MAD Magazine

Mad is an American humor magazine founded by editor Harvey Kurtzman and publisher William Gaines in 1952. Launched as a comic book before it became a magazine, it was widely imitated and influential, impacting not only satirical media but the entire cultural landscape of the 20th century, with editor Al Feldstein increasing readership to more than 2,000,000 during its 1970s circulation peak.[1]

The last surviving title from the notorious and critically acclaimed[2][3] EC Comics line, the magazine offers satire on all aspects of life and popular culture, politics, entertainment, and public figures. Its format is divided into a number of recurring segments such as TV and movie parodies, as well as freeform articles. Mad's mascot, Alfred E. Neuman, is typically the focal point of the magazine's cover, with his face often replacing a celebrity or character that is lampooned within the issue.In 2010, the magazine's oldest and longest-running contributor, Al Jaffee, told an interviewer, "Mad was designed to corrupt the minds of children. And from what I'm gathering from the minds of people all over, we succeeded."[4]

MAD Magazine

The days of potrzebie, Arthur the potted plant, the veeblefetzer and other furshlugginer ideas are long past. Much has changed since Pronto and the Lone Stranger rode into the sunset and ''the usual gang of idiots'' invented the game of ''43-Man Squamish.'' But lives there a mind unsullied by the influence of Mad?

The gap-toothed, mentally challenged grin of the magazine's freckled mascot, Alfred E. Neuman,  has managed to seep into the unconscious of several generations. Roger Ebert said Mad taught him how to be a movie critic. Andy Warhol said it taught him to love people with big ears.

But who is Alfred E. Neuman and why is he still looking at us like that? Isn't he showing his age a bit, now that movies have become parodies of themselves, advertisements have become Madly self-referential entertainments and ''South Park's'' sound effects have replaced ''What -- me worry?''

The answers aren't simple; neither is Alfred. He is a man of many devices. His face actually existed long before Mad existed, goofily appearing on matchbooks, soda advertisements and turn-of-the-century ''dental parlor'' souvenirs. In her history of the magazine, ''Completely Mad,'' Maria Reidelbach suggests that Alfred is an archetypal American trickster, the outsider who becomes the lord of misrule, the inverter of reason and order, thriving in every era.

But now his weakness is unmistakable. In 1972 Mad's circulation reached a peak of over two million. As of April 2009, the magazine has gone quarterly, and 2008 circulation has been estimated at below 200,000. Mad once defined American satire; now it heckles from the margins as all of culture competes for trickster status. What is left to overturn?

Immediately after World War II, though, the magazine's mission was clear: to mock culture's pretense and test its limits. Mad's founder, William M. Gaines, following in the footsteps of his father (who may have invented the American comic book), was coming under increasing attack for his grotesque horror comics. Psychologists, congressmen and newspapers joined in an alliance; The Hartford Courant referred to the ''filthy stream that flows from the gold-plated sewers in New York.'' Gaines responded by stirring the waters further, casting his critics into the roaring current.

Mad burst on the scene in the early 1950s with a series of comic books written by Harvey Kurtzman, considered by many the godfather of underground comics. Cartoonists like Art Spiegelman and Joe Sacco have spoken with reverence of Mr. Kurtzman, whose first comic book, in 1952, was called ''Tales to Drive You MAD: Humor in a Jugular Vein.''

''When you look at the Mad comic book under the direction of Harvey Kurtzman, it blows your mind,'' Mr. Sacco once said. ''It opened cartoonists up to what the possibilities of the medium were. It showed how zany comics could be. It had a profound influence on every great underground cartoonist, from Robert Crumb to S. Clay Wilson.''

And the influence, these cartoonists said, extended into American society. The legions of young boys (the readership has been overwhelmingly male) who would religiously read the magazine were taught how to thumb their noses at authority.

''Mad was more important than pot and LSD in shaping the generation that protested the Vietnam War,'' Mr. Spiegelman, a staff writer and cartoonist for The New Yorker, once said. ''Mad was an urban junk collage that said, 'Pay attention, the media are lying to you -- including this comic book.' ''

The first issues of Mad were themselves a challenge to the pieties of traditional comics, ridiculing their sugary innocence, showing, for example, a seedy Mickey Mouse, badly needing a shave. Reading those early issues, one can follow the editors and writers gradually lifting their gaze and finding similarly hypocritical forces all around them in advertising, movies and business. Even the glories of classic verse turn banal: ''In Levittown did Irving Kahn/ A lovely Cape Cod house decree.''

So for the Mad writers, Alfred's is the moronic face left when authority is stripped of all pretense. But it is also the unfazed visage of the ''gang of idiots'' creating and reading the magazine, who are treated like clods by the surrounding world, but are really immune to its surreptitious designs. The unknowing child with the unyielding smile helps unmask adult venality: Mad's features often transformed children's forms -- nursery rhymes and reading primers -- into sardonic commentaries on adult life.

In all this Alfred E. Neuman helped enshrine the dominant view we still have of the conformist 1950s. And as Mad's editor once explained, the magazine eventually helped shape the 1960s counterculture. But by the late 1970s these notions of opposition had themselves become mainstream. What pretensions could Mad puncture without repeating itself? Young adolescents hardly needed to be tutored in distrusting authority. American popular culture had become a culture of opposition and satire. What could be done in response?

During that same period the British comics known as Monty Python provided one answer by creating a different kind of cultural opposition. Pomposity was ridiculed (recall the Ministry of Silly Walks) but so was the pretense of pointing out pomposity. All forms of politics dissolve into a kind of comic nihilism. The comedy is born not from the brain of a Neumanesque child, but from the minds of hyper-educated adults, who know enough to depend on very little.

But despite our saturation with satire, there have still been targets that come into view in Mad (''Did he need the triple bypass?'' a credit card advertisement asks of a patient undergoing surgery. ''Or was it the miles?'').- Adapted from Is It Still a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World?" by Edward Rothstein, The Times, Sept. 18, 1999, and other Times articles

Mad (magazine)

Mad is an American humor magazine founded by editor Harvey Kurtzman and publisher William Gaines in 1952. Launched as a comic book before it became a magazine, it was widely imitated and influential, impacting not only satirical media but the entire cultural landscape of the 20th century, with editor Al Feldstein increasing readership to more than 2,000,000 during its 1970s circulation peak.[1]

The last surviving title from the notorious and critically acclaimed[2][3] EC Comics line, the magazine offers satire on all aspects of life and popular culture, politics, entertainment, and public figures. Its format is divided into a number of recurring segments such as TV and movie parodies, as well as freeform articles. Mad's mascot, Alfred E. Neuman, is typically the focal point of the magazine's cover, with his face often replacing a celebrity or character that is lampooned within the issue.

In 2010, the magazine's oldest and longest-running contributor, Al Jaffee, told an interviewer, "Mad was designed to corrupt the minds of children. And from what I'm gathering from the minds of people all over, we succeeded."[4]


Debuting in August 1952 (cover date October–November), Mad began as a comic book published by EC, located in lower Manhattan at 225 Lafayette Street. In the early 1960s, the Mad office moved to 485 Madison Avenue, a location given in the magazine as "485 MADison Avenue". The title is trademarked in capitals as MAD.

Written almost entirely by Harvey Kurtzman, the first issue featured illustrations by Kurtzman himself, along with Wally Wood, Will Elder, Jack Davis and John Severin. Wood, Elder and Davis were the three main illustrators throughout the 23-issue run of the comic book.

To retain Kurtzman as its editor, the comic book converted to magazine format as of issue #24 (1955). The switchover only induced Kurtzman to remain for one more year, but crucially, the move had removed Mad from the strictures of the Comics Code Authority. After Kurtzman's departure in 1956, new editor Al Feldstein swiftly brought aboard contributors such as Don Martin, Frank Jacobs and Mort Drucker, and later, Antonio Prohías and Dave Berg. The magazine's circulation more than quadrupled during Feldstein's tenure, peaking at 2,132,655 in 1974; it later declined to a third of this figure by the end of his time as editor.[5] When Feldstein retired in 1984, he was replaced by the team of Nick Meglin and John Ficarra, who co-edited Mad for the next two decades. Since Meglin's retirement in 2004, Ficarra has continued to edit the magazine.

Gaines sold his company in the early 1960s to the Kinney Parking Company, which also acquired National Periodicals (aka DC Comics) and Warner Bros. by the end of that decade. Gaines was named a Kinney board member, and was largely permitted to run Mad as he saw fit without corporate interference.[6]

Following Gaines's death, Mad became more ingrained within the Time Warner corporate structure. Eventually, the magazine was obliged to abandon its long-time home at 485 Madison Avenue, and in the mid-1990s it moved into DC Comics' offices at the same time DC relocated to 1700 Broadway. In 2001, the magazine broke its long-standing taboo and began running paid advertising. The outside revenue allowed for the introduction of color printing and improved paper stock.

In its earliest incarnation, new issues of the magazine appeared erratically, between four and seven times a year. By the end of 1958, Mad had settled on an unusual eight-times-a-year schedule,[7] which lasted almost four decades.[8][9] Gaines felt the atypical timing was necessary to maintain the magazine's level of quality. Mad then began producing additional issues, until it reached a traditional monthly schedule with the January 1997 issue.[10][11] With its 500th issue (June 2009), amid company-wide cutbacks at Time Warner, the magazine temporarily regressed to a quarterly publication[12] before settling to six issues per year in 2010.[13]



Though there are antecedents to Mad’s style of humor in print, radio and film, Mad became a pioneering example of it. Throughout the 1950s, Mad featured groundbreaking parodies combining a sentimental fondness for the familiar staples of American culture—such as Archie and Superman—with a keen joy in exposing the fakery behind the image. Its approach was described by Dave Kehr in The New York Times: "Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding on the radio, Ernie Kovacs on television, Stan Freberg on records, Harvey Kurtzman in the early issues of Mad: all of those pioneering humorists and many others realized that the real world mattered less to people than the sea of sounds and images that the ever more powerful mass media were pumping into American lives."[14] Bob and Ray, Kovacs and Freberg all became contributors to Mad.[15]

In 1977, Tony Hiss and Jeff Lewis wrote in The New York Times about the then 25-year-old publication's initial effect:

The skeptical generation of kids it shaped in the 1950s is the same generation that, in the 1960s, opposed a war and didn't feel bad when the United States lost for the first time and in the 1970s helped turn out an Administration and didn't feel bad about that either... It was magical, objective proof to kids that they weren't alone, that in New York City on Lafayette Street, if nowhere else, there were people who knew that there was something wrong, phony and funny about a world of bomb shelters, brinkmanship and toothpaste smiles. Mad's consciousness of itself, as trash, as comic book, as enemy of parents and teachers, even as money-making enterprise, thrilled kids. In 1955, such consciousness was possibly nowhere else to be found. In a Mad parody, comic-strip characters knew they were stuck in a strip. For example, "Darnold Duck," a parody of Donald Duck, begins wondering why he has only three fingers and has to wear white gloves all the time. He ends up wanting to murder every other Disney character. G.I. Schmoe tries to win the sexy Asiatic broad by telling her, "O.K., baby! You're all mine! I gave you a chance to hit me witta gun butt... But naturally, you have immediately fallen in love with me, since I am a big hero of this story."[16]

Mad is often credited with filling a vital gap in political satire from the 1950s to 1970s, when Cold War paranoia and a general culture of censorship prevailed in the United States, especially in literature for teens. Activist Tom Hayden said, "My own radical journey began with Mad Magazine."[17] The rise of such factors as cable television and the Internet have diminished the influence and impact of Mad, although it remains a widely distributed magazine. In a way, Mad's power has been undone by its own success: what was subversive in the 1950s and 1960s is now commonplace. However, its impact on three generations of humorists is incalculable, as can be seen in the frequent references to Mad on the animated series The Simpsons.[18] Simpsons producer Bill Oakley said, "The Simpsons has transplanted Mad magazine. Basically everyone who was young between 1955 and 1975 read Mad, and that’s where your sense of humor came from. And we knew all these people, you know, Dave Berg and Don Martin– all heroes, and unfortunately, now all dead. And I think The Simpsons has taken that spot in America’s heart."[19] In 2009, The New York Times wrote, "Mad once defined American satire; now it heckles from the margins as all of culture competes for trickster status."[20] Longtime contributor Al Jaffee described the dilemma to an interviewer in 2010: "When Mad first came out, in 1952, it was the only game in town. Now, you've got graduates from Mad who are doing The Today Show or Stephen Colbert or Saturday Night Live. All of these people grew up on Mad. Now Mad has to top them. So Mad is almost in a competition with itself."[21]

Mad's satiric net was cast wide. The magazine often featured parodies of ongoing American culture, including advertising campaigns, the nuclear family, the media, big business, education and publishing. In the 1960s and beyond, it satirized such burgeoning topics as the sexual revolution, hippies, the generation gap, psychoanalysis, gun politics, pollution, the Vietnam War and recreational drug use. The magazine took a generally negative tone towards counterculture drugs such as cannabis and LSD, but also savaged mainstream drugs such as tobacco and alcohol. Mad always satirized Democrats as mercilessly as it did Republicans.[22] In 2007, Al Feldstein recalled, "We even used to rake the hippies over the coals. They were protesting the Vietnam War, but we took aspects of their culture and had fun with it. Mad was wide open. Bill loved it, and he was a capitalist Republican. I loved it, and I was a liberal Democrat. That went for the writers, too; they all had their own political leanings, and everybody had a voice. But the voices were mostly critical. It was social commentary, after all."[23] Mad also ran a good deal of less topical or contentious material on such varied subjects as fairy tales, nursery rhymes, greeting cards, sports, small talk, poetry, marriage, comic strips, awards shows, cars and many other areas of general interest.[24][25]

In 2007, the Los Angeles Times' Robert Boyd wrote, "All I really need to know I learned from Mad magazine", going on to assert:

Plenty of it went right over my head, of course, but that's part of what made it attractive and valuable. Things that go over your head can make you raise your head a little higher. The magazine instilled in me a habit of mind, a way of thinking about a world rife with false fronts, small print, deceptive ads, booby traps, treacherous language, double standards, half truths, subliminal pitches and product placements; it warned me that I was often merely the target of people who claimed to be my friend; it prompted me to mistrust authority, to read between the lines, to take nothing at face value, to see patterns in the often shoddy construction of movies and TV shows; and it got me to think critically in a way that few actual humans charged with my care ever bothered to.[26]
Actor Michael Biehn autographing a copy of Mad #268 (January 1987) which parodies one of Biehn's films, Aliens.

In 1994, Brian Siano in The Humanist discussed the eye-opening aspects of Mad:

For the smarter kids of two generations, Mad was a revelation: it was the first to tell us that the toys we were being sold were garbage, our teachers were phonies, our leaders were fools, our religious counselors were hypocrites, and even our parents were lying to us about damn near everything. An entire generation had William Gaines for a godfather: this same generation later went on to give us the sexual revolution, the environmental movement, the peace movement, greater freedom in artistic expression, and a host of other goodies. Coincidence? You be the judge."[27]

Pulitzer Prize–winning art comics maven Art Spiegelman said, "The message Mad had in general is, 'The media is lying to you, and we are part of the media.' It was basically... 'Think for yourselves, kids.'" William Gaines offered his own view: when asked to cite Mad's philosophy, his boisterous answer was, "We must never stop reminding the reader what little value they get for their money!"

Comics historian Tom Spurgeon picked Mad as the medium's top series of all time, writing, "At the height of its influence, Mad was The Simpsons, The Daily Show and The Onion combined."[28] Graydon Carter chose it as the sixth best magazine of any sort ever, describing Mad's mission as being "ever ready to pounce on the illogical, hypocritical, self-serious and ludicrous" before concluding, "Nowadays, it’s part of the oxygen we breathe."[29] Joyce Carol Oates called it "wonderfully inventive, irresistibly irreverent and intermittently ingenious American."[30] Monty Python's Terry Gilliam wrote, "Mad became the Bible for me and my whole generation."[31] Critic Roger Ebert wrote:

I learned to be a movie critic by reading Mad magazine... Mad's parodies made me aware of the machine inside the skin—of the way a movie might look original on the outside, while inside it was just recycling the same old dumb formulas. I did not read the magazine, I plundered it for clues to the universe. Pauline Kael lost it at the movies; I lost it at Mad magazine.[32]

Rock singer Patti Smith said more succinctly, "After Mad, drugs were nothing."[33]

Court cases

The magazine has been involved in various legal actions over the decades, some of which have reached the United States Supreme Court. The most far-reaching was Irving Berlin et al. v. E.C. Publications, Inc. In 1961, a group of music publishers representing songwriters such as Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers and Cole Porter filed a $25 million lawsuit against Mad for copyright infringement following "Sing Along With Mad," a collection of parody lyrics which the magazine said could be "sung to the tune of" many popular songs. The publishing group hoped to establish a legal precedent that only a song's composers retained the right to parody that song. The U.S. District Court ruled largely in favor of Mad in 1963, affirming its right to print 23 of the 25 song parodies under dispute. Circuit Court Judge Charles Metzner pointedly observed, "We doubt that even so eminent a composer as plaintiff Irving Berlin should be permitted to claim a property interest in iambic pentameter."[34] However, an exception was found in the cases of two parodies, "Always" (sung to the tune of "Always") and "There's No Business Like No Business" (sung to the tune of "There's No Business Like Show Business"). Relying on the same verbal hooks ("always" and "business"), these were found to be overly similar to the originals. The music publishers appealed the ruling, but the U.S. Court of Appeals not only upheld the pro-Mad decision in regard to the 23 songs, it stripped the publishers of their limited victory regarding the remaining two songs. The publishers again appealed, but the Supreme Court refused to hear it, thus allowing the decision to stand.[35][36]

This precedent-setting case established the rights of parodists and satirists to mimic the meter of popular songs. However, the "Sing Along With Mad" songbook was not the magazine's first venture into musical parody. In 1960, Mad had published "My Fair Ad-Man," a full advertising-based spoof of the hit Broadway musical My Fair Lady. In 1959, "If Gilbert & Sullivan wrote Dick Tracy" was one of the speculative pairings in "If Famous Authors Wrote the Comics". Three decades later, Mad was one of several parties that filed amicus curiae briefs with the Supreme Court in support of 2 Live Crew and its disputed song parody, during the 1993 Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. case.[37]

In 1966, a series of copyright infringement lawsuits against the magazine regarding ownership of the Alfred E. Neuman image eventually reached the Supreme Court. New York's Federal Appellate Court had invalidated all previous copyrights, thus establishing Mad's right to the character. This decision was also allowed to stand.[25]


Mad was long noted for its absence of advertising, enabling it to satirize materialist culture without fear of reprisal. For decades, it was the most successful American magazine to publish ad-free,[38] beginning with issue #33 (April 1957) and continuing through issue #402 (February 2001).

As a comic book, Mad had run the same advertisements as the rest of EC's line. The magazine later made a deal with Moxie soda that involved inserting the Moxie logo into various articles. Mad ran a limited number of ads in its first two years as a magazine, helpfully labeled "real advertisement" to differentiate the real from the parodies. The last authentic ad published under the original Mad regime was for Famous Artists School; two issues later, the inside front cover of issue #34 had a parody of the same ad. After this transitional period, the only promotions to appear in Mad for decades were house ads for Mad's own books and specials, subscriptions, and promotional items such as ceramic busts, T-shirts, or a line of Mad jewelry. This rule was bent only a few times to promote outside products directly related to the magazine, such as Parker Brothers Mad Board Game, the video game based on Spy vs. Spy, and the notorious Up the Academy movie, (which the magazine later disowned). Mad explicitly promised that it would never make its mailing list available.

Both Kurtzman and Feldstein wanted the magazine to solicit advertising, feeling this could be accomplished without compromising Mad's content or editorial independence. Kurtzman remembered Ballyhoo, a boisterous 1930s humor publication that made an editorial point of mocking its own sponsors. Feldstein went so far as to propose an in-house Mad ad agency, and produced a "dummy" copy of what an issue with ads could look like. But Bill Gaines was intractable, telling the television news magazine 60 Minutes, "We long ago decided we couldn't take money from Pepsi-Cola and make fun of Coca-Cola." Gaines' motivation in eschewing ad dollars was less philosophical than practical:

We'd have to improve our package. Most advertisers want to appear in a magazine that's loaded with color and has super-slick paper. So you find yourself being pushed into producing a more expensive package. You get bigger and fancier and attract more advertisers. Then you find you're losing some of your advertisers. Your readers still expect the fancy package, so you keep putting it out, but now you don't have your advertising income, which is why you got fancier in the first place—and now you're sunk.[39]

Mad is known for many regular and semi-regular recurring features in its pages, including "Spy vs. Spy", the "Mad Fold-in", "The Lighter Side of..." and its television and movie parodies.

Alfred E. Neuman

The image most closely associated with the magazine is that of Alfred E. Neuman, the boy with misaligned eyes, a gap-toothed smile and the perennial motto "What, me worry?" While the original image was a popular humorous graphic for many decades before Mad adopted it, the face is now primarily associated with Mad.

Mad first used the boy's face in November, 1954. His first iconic full-cover appearance, in which he was identified by name and sported his "What, me worry?" motto, was as a write-in candidate for President on issue #30 (December 1956). He has since appeared in a slew of guises and comic situations. According to Mad writer Frank Jacobs, a letter was once successfully delivered to the magazine through the U.S. mail bearing only Neuman's face, without any address or other identifying information.[39]

Contributors and controversy

Mad has provided an ongoing showcase for many long-running satirical writers and artists and has fostered an unusual group loyalty. Although several of the contributors earn far more than their Mad pay in fields such as television and advertising, they have steadily continued to provide material for the publication.[40] Among the notable artists were the aforementioned Davis, Elder and Wood, as well as Mort Drucker, George Woodbridge and Paul Coker. Writers such as Dick DeBartolo, Stan Hart, Frank Jacobs, Tom Koch, and Arnie Kogen appeared regularly in the magazine's pages. In several cases, only infirmity or death has ended a contributor's run at Mad.

Within the industry, Mad was known for the uncommonly prompt manner in which its contributors were paid. Publisher Gaines would typically write a personal check and give it to the artist upon receipt of the finished product. Wally Wood said, "I got spoiled... Other publishers don't do that. I started to get upset if I had to wait a whole week for my check." Another lure for contributors was the annual "Mad Trip," an all-expenses-paid tradition that began in 1960. The editorial staff was automatically invited, along with freelancers who had qualified for an invitation by selling a set amount of articles or pages during the previous year. Gaines was strict about enforcing this quota, and one year, longtime writer and frequent traveller Arnie Kogen was bumped off the list. Later that year, Gaines' mother died, and Kogen was asked if he would be attending the funeral. "I can't," said Kogen, "I don't have enough pages." Over the years, the Mad crew traveled to such locales as France, Kenya, Russia, Hong Kong, England, Amsterdam, Tahiti, Morocco, Italy, Greece, and Germany.[35] The tradition ended with Gaines' death, and a 1993 trip to Monte Carlo.

Although Mad was an exclusively freelance publication, it achieved a remarkable stability, with numerous contributors remaining prominent for decades.[41] Critics of the magazine felt that this lack of turnover eventually led to a formulaic sameness, although there is little agreement on when the magazine peaked or plunged. Many have written that the key factor is when the reader first encountered Mad.

Proclaiming the precise moment that began the magazine's irreversible decline has long been sport. Mad poked fun at the tendency of readers to accuse the magazine of declining in quality at various points in its history, depending on the age of the critic, in its "Untold History of Mad Magazine," a self-referential faux history in the 400th issue which joked: "The second issue of Mad goes on sale on December 9, 1952. On December 11, the first-ever letter complaining that Mad 'just isn't as funny and original like it used to be' arrives."

Among the most frequently cited "downward turning points" are: creator/editor Harvey Kurtzman's departure in 1957;[42] the magazine's mainstream success;[43] adoption of recurring features starting in the early 1960s;[44] the magazine's absorption into a more corporate structure in 1968 (or the mid-1990s);[45] founder Gaines' death in 1992;[46] the magazine's publicized "revamp" in 1997[citation needed]; or the arrival of paid advertising in 2001.[47] Mad has been criticized[citation needed] for its over-reliance on a core group of aging regulars throughout the 1970s and 1980s and then criticized again[citation needed] for an alleged downturn as those same creators began to leave, die, retire or contribute less frequently. It has been proposed that Mad is more susceptible to this criticism than many media because a sizable percentage of its readership turns over regularly as it ages, as Mad focuses greatly on current events and a changing popular culture.[35] In 2010, Sergio Aragones said, "Mad is written by people who never thought 'Okay, I’m going to write for kids,' or 'I’m going to write for adults.' ... And many people say 'I used to read Mad, but Mad has changed a lot.' Excuse me—you grew up! You have new interests. ... The change doesn't come from the magazine, it comes from the people who grow or don't grow."[48] The magazine's art director, Sam Viviano, has suggested that historically, Mad was at its best "whenever you first started reading it."[49]

Among the loudest of those who insist the magazine is no longer funny are supporters of Harvey Kurtzman, who had the good critical fortune to leave Mad after just 28 issues, before his own formulaic tendencies might have become obtrusive. This also meant Kurtzman suffered the bad creative and financial timing of departing before the magazine became a runaway success.[50]

However, just how much of that success was due to the original Kurtzman template that he left for his successor, and how much should be credited to the Al Feldstein system and the depth of the post-Kurtzman talent pool, can be argued without resolution. In 2009, an interviewer proposed to Al Jaffee, "There's a group of Mad afficionados who feel that if Harvey Kurtzman had stayed at Mad, the magazine would not only have been different, but better." Jaffee, a Kurtzman enthusiast, replied, "And then there's a large group who feel that if Harvey had stayed with Mad, he would have upgraded it to the point that only fifteen people would buy it."[51] During Kurtzman's final two-plus years at EC, Mad appeared erratically (ten issues appeared in 1954, followed by eight issues in 1955 and four issues in 1956). Feldstein was less well regarded creatively, but kept the magazine on a regular schedule, leading to decades of success. (Kurtzman and Will Elder returned to Mad for a short time in the mid-1980s as an illustrating team.)

Many of the magazine's mainstays began retiring or dying by the 1980s. Newer contributors who appeared in the years that followed include Anthony Barbieri, Scott Bricher, Tom Bunk, John Caldwell, Desmond Devlin, Drew Friedman, Barry Liebmann, Kevin Pope, Scott Maiko, Hermann Mejia, Tom Richmond, Andrew J. Schwartzberg, Mike Snider, Greg Theakston, Nadina Simon, Rick Tulka and Bill Wray.

On April 1, 1997, the magazine publicized an alleged "revamp," ostensibly designed to reach an older, more sophisticated readership. However, Salon's David Futrelle opined that such content was very much a part of Mad's past:

The October 1971 issue, for example, with its war crimes fold-in and back cover "mini-poster" of "The Four Horsemen of the Metropolis" (Drugs, Graft, Pollution and Slums). With its Mad Pollution Primer. With its "Reality Street" TV satire, taking a poke at the idealized images of interracial harmony on Sesame Street. ("It's a street of depression,/ Corruption, oppression!/ It's a sadist's dream come true!/ And masochists, too!") With its "This is America" photo feature, contrasting images of heroic astronauts with graphic photos of dead soldiers and junkies shooting up. I remember this issue pretty well; it was one of the ones I picked up at a garage sale and read to death. I seem to remember asking my parents what "graft" was. One of the joys of Mad for me at the time was that it was always slightly over my head. From "Mad's Up-Dated Modern Day Mother Goose" I learned about Andy Warhol, Spiro Agnew and Timothy Leary ("Wee Timmy Leary/ Soars through the sky/ Upward and Upward/ Till he's, oh, so, high/ Since this rhyme's for kiddies/ How do we explain/ That Wee Timmy Leary/ Isn't in a plane?"). From "Greeting Cards for the Sexual Revolution" I learned about "Gay Liberationists" and leather-clad "Sex Fetishists." I read the Mad versions of a whole host of films I never in a million years would have been allowed to see: Easy Rider ("Sleazy Riders"), Midnight Cowboy ("Midnight Wowboy"), Five Easy Pieces ("Five Easy Pages [and two hard ones].") I learned about the John Birch Society and Madison Avenue.[52]

Mad editor John Ficarra acknowledges that changes in culture have made the task of creating fresh satire more difficult, telling an interviewer, “The editorial mission statement has always been the same: 'Everyone is lying to you, including magazines. Think for yourself. Question authority. But it’s gotten harder, as they’ve gotten better at lying and getting in on the joke.”[53]

Mad contributor Tom Richmond has tweaked critics who say the magazine's decision to accept advertising would make late publisher William Gaines "turn over in his grave", pointing out this was impossible because Gaines was cremated.[54]


Mad is known for the stability and longevity of its talent roster, billed as "The Usual Gang of Idiots," with several creators enjoying 30-, 40- and even 50-year careers in the magazine's pages.

According to the "Mad Magazine Contributor Appearances" website, more than 700 contributors have received bylines in at least one issue of Mad, but fewer than three dozen of those have contributed to 100 issues or more.[55] Al Jaffee has appeared in the most issues (461 as of August 2011). The other six contributors to have appeared in more than 400 issues of Mad are Sergio Aragonés, Dick DeBartolo, and Mort Drucker; Dave Berg, Paul Coker and Frank Jacobs have each topped the 300 mark. (The list calculates appearances by issue only, not by individual articles or overall page count; e.g. although Jacobs wrote three separate articles that appeared in issue #172, his total is reckoned to have increased by one.)

Each of the following contributors (including those noted above) has created over 150 articles for the magazine:







The editorial staff, notably Charlie Kadau, John Ficarra and Joe Raiola, also have dozens of articles under their own bylines, as well as substantial creative input into many others.

Other notable contributors

Among the irregular contributors with just a single Mad byline to their credit are Charles M. Schulz, Chevy Chase, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Andy Griffith, Will Eisner, Kevin Smith, J. Fred Muggs, Boris Vallejo, Sir John Tenniel, Jean Shepherd, Winona Ryder, Jimmy Kimmel, Jason Alexander, Walt Kelly, Rep. Barney Frank, Tom Wolfe, Steve Allen, Jim Lee, Jules Feiffer, Donald Knuth and Richard Nixon, who remains the only President credited with "writing" a Mad article.[55]

Contributing just twice are such luminaries as Tom Lehrer, Gustave Doré, Danny Kaye, Stan Freberg, Mort Walker and Leonardo da Vinci. (Mr. da Vinci's check is still waiting in the Mad offices for him to pick it up.) Frank Frazetta (3 bylines), Ernie Kovacs (11), Bob and Ray (12), and Sid Caesar (4) appeared slightly more frequently. In its earliest years, before amassing its own staff of regulars, the magazine frequently used outside "name" talent. Often, Mad would simply illustrate the celebrities' preexisting material.

The magazine has occasionally run guest articles in which notables from show business or comic books have participated. In 1964, an article called "Comic Strips They'd Really Like To Do" featured one-shot proposals by cartoonists including Mell Lazarus and Charles M. Schulz. More than once, the magazine has enlisted popular comic book artists such as Frank Miller or Jim Lee to design and illustrate a series of "Rejected Superheroes." In 2008, the magazine got national coverage[56] for its article "Why George W. Bush is in Favor of Global Warming." Each of the piece's ten punchlines was illustrated by a different Pulitzer Prize–winning editorial cartoonist.

Reprints and foreign editions

In 1955, Gaines began presenting reprints of material for Mad in black-and-white paperbacks, the first being The Mad Reader.[57] Many of these featured new covers by Mad cover artist Norman Mingo. This practice continued into the 2000s, with more than 100 Mad paperbacks published. Gaines made a special effort to keep the entire line of paperbacks in print at all times, and the books were frequently reprinted in new editions with different covers.

Mad also frequently repackaged its material in a long series of "Super Special" format magazines, beginning in 1958 with two concurrent annual series entitled The Worst from Mad and More Trash from Mad. Various other titles have been used through the years.[58] These reprint issues were sometimes augmented by exclusive features such as posters, stickers and, on a few occasions, recordings on flexi-disc, or comic book–formatted inserts reprinting material from the 1952–55 era.

One steady form of revenue has come from foreign editions of the magazine. Mad has been published in local versions in many countries, beginning with the United Kingdom in 1959, and Sweden in 1960. Each new market receives access to the publication's back catalog of articles and is also encouraged to produce its own localized material in the Mad vein. However, the sensibility of the American Mad has not always translated to other cultures, and many of the foreign editions have had short lives or interrupted publications. The Swedish, Danish, Italian and Mexican Mads were each published on three separate occasions; Norway has had four runs cancelled. United Kingdom (35 years), Sweden (34 years) and Brazil (33 years) produced the longest uninterrupted Mad variants.

Mad Kids

Between 2006 and 2009, the magazine published 14 issues of Mad Kids, a spinoff publication aimed at a younger demographic. Reminiscent of Nickelodeon's newsstand titles, it emphasized current kids' entertainment (i.e. Yu-Gi-Oh!, Naruto, High School Musical), albeit with an impudent voice. Much of the content of Mad Kids had originally appeared in the parent publication; reprinted material was chosen and edited to reflect grade schoolers' interests. But the quarterly magazine also included newly commissioned articles and cartoons, as well as puzzles, bonus inserts, a calendar, and the other activity-related content that is common to kids' magazines.[64]

Imitators and variants

Mad has had many imitators through the years. The three longest-lasting of these were Cracked, Sick, and Crazy Magazine. However, most were short-lived. Some of the early comic book competitors were Nuts!, Get Lost, Whack, Riot, Flip, Eh!, From Here to Insanity, and Madhouse; only the last of these lasted as many as eight issues, and some were canceled after an issue or two.[65] Many of these titles appeared in the mid-to-late 1950s, but as the decades went by, more imitators surfaced and vanished, with titles such as Wild, Blast, Parody, Grin and Gag![66]

Most of these productions aped the format of Mad right down to choosing a synonym for the word Mad as their title. Many featured a cover mascot along the lines of Alfred E. Neuman. Even EC Comics joined the parade with a sister humor comic, Panic, produced by future Mad editor Al Feldstein. Two years after EC's Panic had ceased publication in 1956, the title was used by another publisher, producing yet another Mad imitation.

In 1967, Marvel Comics produced the first of 13 issues of Not Brand Echh, which parodied their own superhero titles as well as DC's; the series owed its inspiration and format to the original "Mad" comic books of a decade earlier. From 1973 to 1976, DC Comics published Plop! which featured Mad stalwart Sergio Aragonés and frequent cover art by Basil Wolverton, but was less slavish in its Mad mimicry, relying more on one-page gags and horror-based comedy.

Other U.S. humor magazines of note include former Mad editor Harvey Kurtzman's Humbug, Trump and Help!, as well as the National Lampoon, Spy, and The Onion. However, these titles had their own distinct editorial approach, and did not directly imitate Mad. Of all the competition, only the National Lampoon ever threatened Mad 's hegemony as America's top humor magazine, in the early-to-mid-1970s. However, this was also the period of Mad's greatest sales figures. Both magazines peaked in sales at the same time. The Lampoon topped one million sales once, for a single issue in 1974. Mad crossed the two-million mark with an average 1973 circulation of 2,059,236, then improved to 2,132,655 in 1974.[5]

Gaines reportedly kept in his office a voodoo doll into which he would stick pins labeled with each imitation of his magazine, removing a pin only when the copycat had ceased publishing. At the time of Gaines' death in 1992, only the pin for Cracked remained.[39]

[edit] Other media

Over the years, Mad has branched out from print into other media. During the Gaines years, the publisher had an aversion to exploiting his fanbase and expressed the fear that substandard Mad products would offend them. He was known to personally issue refunds to anyone who wrote to the magazine with a complaint. Among the few outside Mad items available in its first 40 years were cufflinks, a T-shirt designed like a straitjacket (complete with lock), and a small ceramic Alfred E. Neuman bust. For decades, the letters page advertised an inexpensive portrait of Neuman ("suitable for framing or for wrapping fish") with misleading slogans such as "Only 1 Left!" (The joke being that the picture was so undesirable that only one had left their office since the last ad.) After Gaines' death came an overt absorption into the Time-Warner publishing umbrella, with the result that Mad merchandise began to appear more frequently. Items were displayed in the Warner Bros. Studio Stores, and in 1994 The Mad Style Guide was created for licensing use.

[edit] Recordings

Mad has sponsored or inspired a number of recordings. In 1959, Bernie Green "with the Stereo Mad-Men" recorded the album Musically Mad for RCA Victor, featuring music inspired by Mad and an image of Alfred E. Neuman on the cover;[67] it has been reissued on CD. That same year, The Worst from Mad #2 included an original recording, "Meet the Staff of Mad," on a cardboard 33 rpm record, while a single credited to Alfred E. Neuman & The Furshlugginger Five: "What - Me Worry?" (b/w "Potrzebie"), was issued in late 1959 on the ABC Paramount label. Two additional albums of novelty songs were released by Big Top Records in 1962–63: "Mad 'Twists' Rock 'N' Roll" and "Fink Along with Mad." The latter album featured a song titled "It's a Gas," which punctuated an instrumental track with belches (along with a saxophone break by an uncredited King Curtis). Dr. Demento featured this gaseous performance on his radio show in Los Angeles in the early 1970s. Mad included some of these tracks as plastic-laminated cardboard inserts and (later) flexi-discs with their reprinted "Mad Specials." A number of original recordings also were released in this way in the 1970s and early 1980s, such as "Gall in the Family Fare" (a parody of All in the Family), a single entitled "Makin' Out," the octuple-grooved track "It's a Super Spectacular Day," which had eight possible endings, the spoken word Meet the Staff insert, and a six-track, 30-minute Mad Disco EP (from the 1980 Special of the same title) that included a disco version of "It's a Gas." The last turntable-playable recording Mad packaged with its magazines was "A Mad Look at Graduation," in a 1983 Special. A CD-ROM containing several audio tracks was included with issue #350 (October 1996). Rhino Records compiled a number of Mad-recorded tracks as Mad Grooves (1996).[68]

[edit] Stage show

A successful off Broadway production, The Mad Show, was first staged in 1966. The show, which lasted for 871 performances during its initial run, featured sketches written by Mad regulars Stan Hart and Larry Siegel interspersed with comedic songs (one of which was written by an uncredited Stephen Sondheim).[25] The cast album is available on CD.

[edit] Gaming

In 1979, Mad released a board game. The Mad Magazine Game was an absurdist version of Monopoly in which the first player to lose all his money and go bankrupt was the winner. Profusely illustrated with artwork by the magazine's contributors, the game included a $1,329,063-bill that could not be won unless one's name was "Alfred E. Neuman." It also featured a deck of cards (called "Card cards") with bizarre instructions, such as "If you can jump up and stay airborne for 37 seconds, you can lose $5,000. If not, jump up and lose $500." In 1980 a second game was released: The Mad Magazine Card Game by Parker Brothers. In it, the player who first loses all their cards is declared the winner. The game is fairly similar to UNO by Mattel.

[edit] Film and television

Following the success of the National Lampoon–backed Animal House, Mad lent its name in 1980 to a similarly risque comedy film, Up the Academy. It was such a commercial debacle and critical failure that Mad successfully arranged for all references to the magazine (including a cameo by Alfred E. Neuman) to be removed from future TV and video releases of the film, although those references were eventually restored on the DVD version. Mad also devoted two pages to an attack on the movie, titled Throw Up the Academy. The spoof's ending collapsed into a series of interoffice memos between the writer, artist, editor and publisher, all bewailing the fact that they'd been forced to satirize such a terrible film.

A 1974 Mad animated television pilot using selected material from the magazine was commissioned by ABC but the network decided to not broadcast it. Dick DeBartolo noted, "Nobody wanted to sponsor a show that made fun of products that were advertised on TV, like car manufacturers." The program instead was syndicated as a special.[69] In the mid-1980s, Hanna-Barbera developed another potential Mad animated television series which was never broadcast.[70]

Beginning in 1995, Fox Broadcasting Company's MADtv licensed the use of the magazine's logo and characters. However, aside from short bumpers which animated existing "Spy vs. Spy" and Don Martin cartoons during the show's early years, there was no editorial or stylistic connection between the TV show and the magazine. Produced by Quincy Jones, the sketch comedy series was in the vein of Saturday Night Live and SCTV, and ran for 14 seasons. Animated "Spy vs. Spy" sequences have also been seen in TV ads for Mountain Dew soda.[24]

In September 2010, Cartoon Network began airing an animated Mad from Warner Bros. Animation and executive producer Sam Register (Teen Titans, Ben 10, Batman: The Brave and the Bold). The series features short animated vignettes about current television shows, films, games and other aspects of popular culture. Much like MADtv's early years, this series also features appearances by "Spy vs. Spy" and Don Martin cartoons. Producing are Kevin Shinick (Robot Chicken) and Mark Marek (KaBlam!, The Andy Milonakis Show).[71]

[edit] Computer software


In the 1980s, three Spy vs. Spy computer games, in which players could set traps for each other, were made for various computer systems such as the Commodore 64. While the original game took place in a nondescript building, the sequels transposed the action to a polar setting and a desert island.

Not to be confused with the later television show, Mad TV is a television station management simulation computer game produced in 1991[1] by Rainbow Arts for the Mad franchise. It was released on the PC and the Amiga. It is faithful to the magazine's general style of cartoon humor, but does not include any of the original characters except for a brief closeup of Alfred E. Neuman's eyes during the opening screens.

In 1996, Mad #350 included a CD-ROM featuring Mad-related software as well as three audio files.[72] In 1999, Brøderbund/The Learning Company released Totally Mad, a Microsoft Windows 95/98 compatible CD-ROM set collecting the magazine's content from #1 through #376 (December 1998), plus over 100 Mad Specials including most of the recorded audio inserts. Despite the title, it omitted a handful of articles due to problems clearing the rights on some book excerpts and text taken from recordings, such as Andy Griffith's "What It Was, Was Football." In 2006, Graphic Imaging Technology's DVD-ROM Absolutely Mad updated the original Totally Mad content through 2005. A single seven-gigabyte disc, it is missing the same deleted material from the 1999 collection.[73] It differs from the earlier release in that it is Macintosh compatible.

Another Spy vs. Spy video game was made in 2005 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Microsoft Windows. A Mad app was released for iPad on April 1, 2012.[74] It displays the contents of each new issue beginning with Mad #507, as well as video clips from Mad-TV, and material from the magazine's website, The Idiotical.

[edit] See also



[edit] References

  1. ^ Winn, Marie (1981-01-25). "Winn, Marie. "What Became of Childhood Innocence?", ''The New York Times'', January 25, 1981". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  2. ^ Corliss, Richard (April 29, 2004). "The Glory and Horror of EC Comics". Time. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  3. ^ Franklin Harris. "The Long, Gory Life of EC Comics - Reason Magazine". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b "Slaubaugh, Mike. "Mad Magazine Circulation figures''". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  6. ^ [url= Mad] at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Retrieved on February 02, 2011. Archived from the original on March 15, 2012.
  7. ^ MAD (E. C. Publications) 1 (42): 1. November 1958. "MAD - November 1958, Volume I, Number 42, is published monthly except January, April, July and October..." 
  8. ^ MAD (E. C. Publications) (335): 2. May 1995. "MAD - (ISSN 0024 9319) is published monthly except bimonthly for January/February, March/April, July/August and October/November..." 
  9. ^ MAD (E. C. Publications) (336): 2. June 1995. "MAD - (ISSN 0024 9319) is published monthly except bimonthly for January/February, March/April and October/November..." 
  10. ^ MAD (E. C. Publications) (352): 2. December 1996. "MAD - (ISSN 0024 9319) is published monthly except bimonthly for January/February..." 
  11. ^ MAD (E. C. Publications) (353): 2. January 1997. "MAD - (ISSN 0024 9319) is published monthly by E. C. Publications Inc..." 
  12. ^ George Gene Gustines. "Sad News for Mad Fans" The New York Times; January 23, 2009
  13. ^ Mad, Issue 504, pg.4.
  14. ^ Kehr, Dave (2006-08-20). "When Unmanly Men Met Womanly Wome". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Mike Lynch Cartoons: 1977 NY Times: 25 Years of Mad Magazine UPDATED". 2007-08-15. Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  17. ^ Jan Herman. "MAD Magazine + Tom Hayden = SDS" The Huffington Post December 5, 2007
  18. ^ "''Mad'' Collector Resource Center: On the Lighter Side". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  19. ^ Ortved, John; The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History; Faber & Faber; 2009
  20. ^ Carmody, Deirdre (2009-04-13). "MAD Magazine News - The New York Times". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ "MAD About Politics", Insight Editions, 2008; et al
  23. ^ Heller, Jason (2007-03-29). "Al Feldstein | TV | Interview". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  24. ^ a b Absolutely Mad, Graphic Imaging Technology, 2006.
  25. ^ a b c Reidelbach, Maria. Completely Mad, New York: Little Brown, 1991. ISBN 0-316-73890-5
  26. ^ Buhain, Venice (2002-10-14). "The Daily News Online > This Day > Born under a Mad sign". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  27. ^ Siano, Brian (1994). "Tales from the crypt - comic books and censorship - The Skeptical Eye". The Humanist. 
  28. ^ "The Comics Reporter". The Comics Reporter. 2009-04-26. Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  29. ^ GOOD Magazine | Goodmagazine - The 51 Best* Magazines Ever- Words By Graydon Carter, GOOD magazine / Introduction By Bigshot Editor Graydon Carter
  30. ^ Garner, Dwight (2007-07-17). "Garner, Dwight; "Collateral Damage," ''The New York Times'', July 17, 2007". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  31. ^ Gilliam, Terry, Gilliam on Gilliam, Faber & Faber, 1999
  32. ^ Foreword to Mad About the Movies, Mad Books, ISBN 1-56389-459-9
  33. ^ Neuman's Own - New York Times-By Maud Lavin Published: September 14, 2003
  34. ^ "Referenced Case". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  35. ^ a b c Jacobs, Frank. The Mad World of William M. Gaines, Lyle Stuart, 1972.
  36. ^ "Judge's ruling in Irving Berlin et al. v. E.C. Publications, Inc". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  37. ^ Hamby, Barbara (2008-03-07). "Vex Me by Barbara Hamby | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  38. ^ "Mad Economics: An Analysis of an Adless Magazine - Norris - 2006 - Journal of Communication - Wiley Online Library". 2006-02-07. Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  39. ^ a b c Jacobs, Frank. The Mad World of William M. Gaines, Lyle Stuart, 1972
  40. ^ Jack Davis at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Retrieved on February 02, 2011. Archived from the original on March 15, 2012.
  41. ^ "Byline : Published Work » Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  42. ^ "That Old Feeling: Hail, Harvey!". Time. May 5, 2004. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  43. ^
  44. ^ National Lampoon, October 1971
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^ Adams, Sam (2010-11-16). "Sergio Aragonés | Books | Interview". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  49. ^ Evanier, Mark, Mad Art, 2002, Watson-Guptill Publications, ISBN 0-8230-3080-6, pg. 216
  50. ^ "That Old Feeling: Hail, Harvey!". Time. May 5, 2004. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  51. ^ Sacks, Mike, And Here's the Kicker, Writer's Digest Books, 2009, pgs. 222
  52. ^ Futrelle, David (April 8, 1997). "Son of Mad". Salon. Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  53. ^
  54. ^ Richmond, Tom (2008-06-03). "The Mad Blog: Remembering William M. Gaines". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  55. ^ a b "Slaubaugh, Mike; "Mad Magazine Contributor Appearances"". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  56. ^ "Mad Magazine Uses Pulitzer Winners to Tweak Bush". The New York Times. February 4, 2008. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  57. ^ "MAD". 2010-04-21. Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  58. ^ "US Mad Specials Cover Site". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  59. ^ [1] (in Hungarian)
  60. ^ According to issue #111 of the Mexican edition (January 2010), the magazine folded under pressure from Mexico's Public Education Bureau (SEP) over lewd language, from the Mexican government over political content, and a "kid-cover" incident in issue #110 in which an underaged fan tattooed his back on behalf of the magazine without parental permission.
  61. ^ Jacobs, Frank. The Mad World of William M. Gaines, Lyle Stuart, 1972, pg. 191
  62. ^ Jacobs, Frank. The Mad World of William M. Gaines, Lyle Stuart, 1972, pg. 160
  63. ^ "Cover of Swedish ''Mad'' #322". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  64. ^ Mad Kids - Mad Magazine Comics for Kids on KOL
  65. ^
  66. ^
  67. ^ Corliss, Richard (2002-12-31). "Corliss, Richard; "That Old Feeling: What, Me Fifty?" ;; December 31, 2002". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  68. ^ "''Mad'' and Alfred E. Neuman FAQ at". 2002-08-22. Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  69. ^ "The Mad Magazine TV Special (1974)". 2009-10-19. Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  70. ^ "Alfred E. Neuman in animation". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  71. ^ "ICv2". ICv2. Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  72. ^ "Mad CD Bytes: Mad Bungles Bundle with Release of First CD-ROM: 27 Megabytes of Dubious Material in PC-Only Format", idio, September 18, 1996.[dead link]
  73. ^
  74. ^’s-no-joke-mad-magazine-ipad-app-to-be-released-on-april-fool’s-day-alfred-e

[edit] Sources

[edit] External links


New Direction
Contributors to Mad
  • "The Usual Gang of Idiots"
Related articles
As editor
Frequent collaborators
Contributors to EC Comics
DC Comics imprints
Former imprints
Wildstorm imprints
Acquired companies
*Owned jointly with other companies.

    • Jacobs, Frank. The Mad World of William M. Gaines, Lyle Stuart, 1972

    Past foreign editions

    • United Kingdom, 1959–1994
    • Sweden, 1960–1993, 1997–2002;
    • Hungary, 1994–2009;[59]
    • Denmark, 1962–1971, 1979–1997, 1998–2002;
    • France, 1965, 1982;
    • Canada (Quebec), 1991–1992 (Past material in a "collection album" with Croc, another Quebec humor magazine);
    • Argentina, 1977–1982;
    • Norway, 1971–1972, 1981–1993, 1995, 2002–2003;
    • Finland, 1970–1972, 1982–2005
    • Italy, 1971, 1984, 1992;
    • Mexico, 1977–1983, 1984–1986, 1993–1998; 2004–2010[60]
    • Caribbean, 1977–1983;
    • Greece, 1978–1985, 1995–1999;
    • Iceland, 1985; 1987–1988
    • Taiwan, 1990;
    • Israel, 1994–1995;
    • Turkey, 2000–2003.


    Conflicts over content have occasionally arisen between the parent magazine and its international franchisees. When a comic strip satirizing England's royal family was reprinted in a Mad paperback, it was deemed necessary to rip out the page from 25,000 copies by hand before the book could be distributed in Great Britain.[61] But Mad was also protective of its own editorial standards. Bill Gaines sent "one of his typically dreadful, blistering letters" to his Dutch editors after they published a bawdy gag about a men's room urinal.[62] Mad has since relaxed its requirements, and while the U.S. version still eschews overt profanity, the magazine generally poses no objections to more provocative content such as the Swedish edition's 1999 parody of the film Fucking Åmål.[63]

    Current foreign editions

    • Germany, 1968–1995, 1998–present;
    • Brazil, 1974–1983, 1984–2000, 2000–2006, 2008–present;
    • Australia, 1980–present;
    • South Africa, 1985–present;
    • Spain, 2006–present;
    • Netherlands, 1964–1996; 2011–present;


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    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 Singing Give Peace a Chance

    Click here to view  John Lennon Singing Imagine Live

    Click here to read more about the life of John Lennon who lost his life just trying to Give Peace a Chance and trying to get everyone in the world to image a world were everyone loved each other and so there was no more need for wars

    Click here to read more about Yoko Ono-Lennon who is carrying on John Lennon's work to Give Peace a Chance with her special expression where everyone says to everyone else they first meet  "I LOVE YOU" as Yoko Ono-Lennon said during the Love In For Peace days where John and Yoko stayed in Bed For Peace...
    "....if everyone can be happy and love each one will want to kill anyone only sad people want to kill others... happy people do not want to kill anyone..."

    Click here to hear John Lennon's Funny Response

    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

    John Lennon Interview (Funny Response)

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

    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



    1.Imagine Memorial in Strawberry Fields, Central Park West

    2.Strawberry Fields plaque in Central Park West
    3. John and Yoko

    Lennon's views on McCartney

    Southeast view of the Dakota from Central Park West, in front of which the death of John Lennon occurred.
    Police artist's drawing of the murder, The entrance to the Dakota building where Lennon was shot

    Lennon and Chapman, A memorial statue of Lennon in Havana, Cuba, The Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland

    "...IF God Was One of Us...He would have fornt row seats at the lakers games.."..MAD Magazine

    MAD Art - A Visual celebration of the Art of MAD Magazine and the Idiots Who Create It..
    By Mark Evanier

                                        MAD Magazine

    "..What Me.....Worry?......"
    .......Alfred E Newman- The Famous President of the MAD Magazine

    Mad is an American humor magazine founded by editor Harvey Kurtzman and publisher William Gaines in 1952. Launched as a comic book before it became a magazine, it was widely imitated and influential, impacting not only satirical media but the entire cultural landscape of the 20th century, with editor Al Feldstein increasing readership to more than 2,000,000 during its 1970s circulation peak.[1] The last surviving title from the notorious and critically acclaimed[2][3] EC Comics line, the magazine offers satire on all aspects of life and popular culture, politics, entertainment, and public figures. Its format is divided into a number of recurring segments such as TV and movie parodies, as well as freeform articles. Mad's mascot, Alfred E. Neuman, is typically the focal point of the magazine's cover, with his face often replacing a celebrity or character that is lampooned within the issue.In 2010, the magazine's oldest and longest-running contributor, Al Jaffee, told an interviewer, "Mad was designed to corrupt the minds of children. And from what I'm gathering from the minds of people all over, we succeeded."[4]

    MAD Magazine

    "..Unconscious Racists... always find themselves on a supermarket checkout lines manned by their own kind, no mattert how much longer they have to wait...".. MAD Magazine

    The Voice of the Invisible Shadow controlling the world _ MAD Magazine

    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

    "...Elton John's Latest Songs including The Gay I Am and Someone Slugged my Wife Tonight.."...MAD Magazine

     Mad Art 1

    "...If God was one of us... he would have front row seats at all the Lakers games..MAD Magazine..


    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]

    Click here to add text and insert objects.
    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)

    Click here to add text and insert objects.

    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]

    See also: The Beatles discography

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    The Beatles

    Categories: 1940 births | 1980 deaths | Apple Records artists | Alumni of Quarry Bank High School | Best Original Music Score Academy Award winners | British anti-war activists | British people murdered abroad | Capitol Records artists | Critics of religions or philosophies | Deaths by firearm in New York | English actor-singers | English expatriates in the United States | English experimental musicians | English film actors | English male singers | English murder victims | English rock guitarists | English rock pianists | English rock singers | English people of Irish descent | English people of Welsh descent | English singer-songwriters | Feminist artists | Grammy Award winners | Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winners | Ivor Novello Award winners | John Lennon | Members of the Order of the British Empire | Murdered entertainers | Music from Liverpool | Nonviolence advocates | People from Liverpool | People associated with the hippie movement | People murdered in New York | Rhythm guitarists | Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees | Scholars and leaders of nonviolence, or nonviolent resistance | Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees | The Beatles members |The Quarrymen members | Yoko Ono

    Above: Southeast view of the Dakota from Central Park West, in front of which the death of John Lennon occurred.
    Police artist's drawing of the murder, The entrance to the Dakota building where Lennon was shot

    Lennon and Chapman, A memorial statue of Lennon in Havana, Cuba, The Imagine Peace Tower in Iceland

    Death of John Lennon

    John Lennon was an English rock musician who gained worldwide fame as one of the founders of The Beatles, for his subsequent solo career, and for his political activism. He was shot four times (the fifth shot missed) by Mark David Chapman in the entrance hallway of the building where he lived, The Dakota, on December 8th, 1980; Lennon had just returned from the Record Plant Studio with his wife, Yoko Ono.

    Lennon was pronounced dead on arrival at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, where it was stated that nobody could have lived for very long after sustaining such injuries. Even though Lennon arrived at the hospital with virtually no pulse a team of doctors attempted desperately to save his life using various medical procedures. Blood transfusions as well as heart massage was attempted in an effort to save his life. Shortly after local news stations reported Lennon's death, crowds gathered at Roosevelt Hospital and in front of The Dakota. Lennon's cremation was on December 10th, 1980, at the Ferncliff Cemetery inHartsdale, New York; the ashes were given to Ono, who decided not to hold a funeral for him.

    In 2000, the John Lennon Museum was opened at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Saitama, Japan, and two years later, Liverpool renamed its airport to Liverpool John Lennon Airport, and adopted the motto "Above us only sky". On October 9th, 2007, which would have been Lennon's 67th birthday, Ono dedicated a memorial called the Imagine Peace Tower, located on the island of Videy, Iceland. Each year, between October 9th and December 8th, it projects a vertical beam of light high into the sky.

    Day of the murder

    On the morning of December 8, 1980, photographer Annie Leibovitz went to Ono and Lennon's apartment to do a photo shoot for Rolling Stone. She had promised Lennon a photo would make the cover, but initially tried to get a picture with just Lennon alone.[1] Leibovitz recalled that "nobody wanted [Ono] on the cover".[2] Lennon insisted that both he and his wife be on the cover, and after shooting the pictures, Annie Leibovitz left their apartment. After the photo shoot Lennon gave what would be his last ever interview to San Francisco DJ Dave Sholin.[3] At 5:00 p.m., Lennon and Ono left their apartment to mix the track "Walking on Thin Ice" at Record Plant Studio.[4]


    Main article: Mark David Chapman

    As Lennon and Ono walked to their limousine, they were approached by several people seeking autographs, among them Chapman.[5] He silently handed Lennon a copy of Double Fantasy, and Lennon obliged with an autograph.[5] After signing the album Lennon asked him, "Is this all you want?" Chapman nodded in agreement. Photographer and Lennon fan Paul Goresh snapped photos of them both.[6]

    The Lennons spent several hours at the Record Plant studio before returning to the Dakota at about 10:50 p.m. Lennon decided against eating out so he could be home in time to say goodnight to five-year-old son Sean before he went to sleep. They exited their limousine on 72nd Street, even though the car could have been driven into the more secure courtyard.[7]

    The Dakota's doorman, Jose Perdomo, and a cab driver saw Chapman standing in the shadows by the archway.[8] Ono walked ahead of Lennon and into the reception area. As Lennon passed by, Chapman fired five hollow-point bullets at Lennon from a Charter Arms .38 Special revolver.[9] There was an isolated newspaper claim at the time that, before firing, Chapman called out "Mr. Lennon" and dropped into a "combat stance",[10] but this is not stated in court hearings or witness interviews. Chapman has said he did not remember calling out Lennon's name before he shot him.[11] One shot missed, passing over Lennon's head and hitting a window of the Dakota building. However, two shots struck Lennon in the left side of his back and two more penetrated his left shoulder. All four bullets inflicted severe gunshot wounds, with at least one of them piercing Lennon's aorta.[12] Lennon staggered up six steps to the security/reception area, said, "I'm shot," and collapsed. Concierge Jay Hastings covered Lennon with his uniform, and removed his glasses; he then summoned the police. Outside, doorman Perdomo shook the gun out of Chapman's hand then kicked it across the sidewalk.[8] Chapman then removed his coat and hat in preparation for the police arrival to show he was not carrying any concealed weapons and sat down on the sidewalk. Doorman Perdomo shouted at Chapman, "Do you know what you've done?", to which Chapman calmly replied, "Yes, I just shot John Lennon." The first policemen to arrive were Steve Spiro and Peter Cullen, who were at 72nd Street and Broadway when they heard a report of shots fired at the Dakota. The officers found Chapman sitting "very calmly" on the sidewalk. They reported that Chapman had dropped the revolver to the ground, and was holding a paperback book, J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye.[13] Chapman had scribbled a message on the book's inside front cover: "This is my statement. -- The Catcher in the Rye." He would later claim that his life mirrored that of Holden Caulfield, the main protagonist of the book.

    The second team, Officers Bill Gamble and James Moran, arrived a few minutes later. They immediately carried Lennon into their squad car and rushed him to Roosevelt Hospital. Officer Moran said they placed Lennon on the back seat.[14] Moran asked, "Do you know who you are?". There are conflicting accounts on what happened next. In one account, Lennon nodded slightly and tried to speak, but could only manage to make a gurgling sound, and lost consciousness shortly thereafter.[15]

    Lennon was pronounced dead on arrival in the emergency room at the Roosevelt Hospital at 11:07 p.m. by Dr. Stephan Lynn. The cause of death was reported as hypovolemic shock, caused by the loss of more than 80% ofblood volume. Dr. Elliott M. Gross, the Chief Medical Examiner, said that no one could have lived more than a few minutes with such multiple bullet injuries. As Lennon was shot four times using hollow-point bullets, which expand upon entering the target and severely disrupt more tissue as it travels through the target, Lennon's affected organs were virtually destroyed upon impact. Ono, crying "Oh no, no, no, no... tell me it's not true," was taken to Roosevelt Hospital and led away in shock after she learned that her husband was dead.[16] 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."[16] Lennon was cremated on 10 December 1980, at the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York, and his ashes were given to Ono.[17][18] Chapman pleaded guilty to second degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years to life.[19] He is still in prison, having been denied parole five times.[20][21]


    Shortly after local news stations reported the shooting, crowds gathered at Roosevelt Hospital and in front of the Dakota, reciting prayers, singing Lennon's songs and burning candles.[22]

    After hearing the news sent by ABC News chief Roone Arledge, sports announcer Howard Cosell, who had briefly interviewed Lennon on Monday Night Football in 1974, announced the news of Lennon's murder during a televised football game between the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins:

    This, we have to say it, remember this is just a football game, no matter who wins or loses. An unspeakable tragedy, confirmed to us by ABC News in New York City: John Lennon, outside of his apartment building on the West Side of New York City, the most famous, perhaps, of all The Beatles, shot twice in the back, rushed to the Roosevelt Hospital, dead on arrival.

    NBC announced the news during The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. The show was interrupted by an anonymous announcer reading the news bulletin; the show then resumed.

    CBS broke the news during regular programming on the network, with Walter Cronkite and CBS News reporters announcing the news to viewers. Later that evening, Cronkite confirmed Lennon's death, at 11:20 pm.[23]

    When reporters asked Lennon's former Beatles-songwriting partner Paul McCartney for his reaction, McCartney said, "Drag, isn't it?" His response was criticised, but McCartney later stated in a Playboy interview: "I had just finished a whole day in shock and I said, 'It's a drag.' I meant 'drag' in the heaviest sense of the word, you know: 'It's a — DRAG.' But, you know, when you look at that in print, it says, 'Yes, it's a drag.' Matter of fact."[24]McCartney later said, "John will be remembered for his unique contribution to art, music and world peace."[24] Starr and his wife, Barbara Bach, flew to New York to comfort Ono.[25] Harrison later released a tribute song, "All Those Years Ago" which featured background vocals from former bandmatesStarr and McCartney.[26] McCartney himself also recorded a tribute song for Lennon in his 1982 album, Tug of War, entitled "Here Today."

    Lennon's death impacted Harrison more than the other Beatles[citation needed] because Harrison did not get a chance to see Lennon after working with him on several records. Harrison was interviewed for The Beatles Anthology, and when asked about Lennon's death, Harrison said that he received a phone call early in the morning informing him John had been shot and had died. Harrison then dozed off, only to awake later, unsure how to deal with the reality of Lennon's death.[citation needed]

    Memorials and tributes

    Yoko Ono sent word to the chanting crowd outside the Dakota that their singing had kept her awake; she asked that they re-convene in Central Park the following Sunday for ten minutes of silent prayer.[27] On 14 December 1980, millions of people around the world responded to Ono's request to pause for ten minutes of silence to remember Lennon.[28] Thirty thousand gathered in Liverpool, and the largest group—over 100,000—converged on New York's Central Park, close to the scene of the shooting.[28] Lennon continues to be mourned throughout the world and has been the subject of numerous memorials and tributes, principally New York City's Strawberry Fields, a memorial garden area in Central Park across the street from the Dakota building. Ono later donated $1 million for its maintenance.[29] It has become a gathering place for tributes on Lennon's birthday and on the anniversary of his death, as well as at other times of mourning, such as after the11 September attacks and following Harrison's death on 29 November 2001.[27]

    Elton John, who had recorded the number-one hit, "Whatever Gets You thru the Night" with Lennon, teamed with his lyricist, Bernie Taupin and recorded a tribute to Lennon, entitled, "Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)." It appeared on John's 1982 album Jump Up! and peaked at #13 on the US Singles Chart that year.[30] When John performed the song at a sold-out concert in Madison Square Garden in August of 1982, he was joined on stage by Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon.[31]

    Lennon was honoured with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991.[32] In 1994, the unrecognized Republic of Abkhazia issued two postage stamps featuring Lennon and Groucho Marx, spoofing Abkhazia's Communist past. These stamps would have normally borne the portraits of Karl Marxand Vladimir Lenin.[33] On 8 December 2000, Cuba's President, Fidel Castro, unveiled a bronze statue of Lennon in a park in Havana.[34] In 2000, theJohn Lennon Museum was opened at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Saitama, Japan[35] and Liverpool renamed its airport to Liverpool John Lennon Airport and adopted the motto "Above us only sky" in 2002.[36] The 25th anniversary of John Lennon's death was on 8 December 2005.[37]Celebrations of Lennon's life and music took place in London, New York City, Cleveland, and Seattle. The minor planet 4147, discovered 12 January 1983 by B. A. Skiff at the Anderson Mesa Station of the Lowell Observatory, was named in memory of Lennon.[38]

    On 9 October 2007, Ono dedicated a new memorial called the Imagine Peace Tower, located on the island of Videy, off the coast of Iceland. Each year, between 9 October and 8 December, it projects a vertical beam of light high into the sky.[39] Every 8 December there is a memorial ceremony in front of the Capitol Records building on Vine Street in Hollywood, California. Many people light candles in front of Lennon's Hollywood Walk of Fame star outside the Capitol Building.[40] From 28 to 30 September 2007, Durness held the John Lennon Northern Lights Festival which was attended by Julia Baird (Lennon's half-sister) who read from Lennon's writings and her own books, and Stanley Parkes, Lennon's Scottish cousin.[41] Parkes said, "Me and Julia [Baird] are going to be going to the old family croft to tell stories". Musicians, painters and poets from across the UK performed at the festival.[42][43]

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    3. ^ Smith, Harry (2005-12-08). "John Lennon Remembered". CBS News. Retrieved on 8 November 2008.
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    5. ^ a b "Is That All You Want?". Courtroom Television Network. Retrieved on 2008-05-04.
    6. ^ Buskin, Richard (2007-07-03). ""John Lennon Encounters Mark David Chapman"". Retrieved on 2008-05-06.
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    10. ^ "Police Trace Tangled Path Leading To Lennon's Slaying at the Dakota" by Paul L. Montgomery, The New York Times, December 10, 1980, pp. A1,B6 (unverified quotes attributed to NYPD Chief of Detectives James T. Sullivan and in turn to an unnamed witness)
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    12. ^ "John Lennon - After The Music". Robert Soliman. Retrieved on 2008-05-06.
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    25. ^ Buskin, Richard (2007-07-03). ""The World Mourns John Lennon's Death"". Retrieved on 2008-05-06.
    26. ^ "All Those Years Ago". Connolly and Company. Retrieved on 2008-05-05.
    27. ^ a b Gentile, Fiorella Dorotea. "The Central Park Vigil, New York, 14 December 1980". Thou Art. Retrieved on 2008-05-03.
    28. ^ a b Clyde Haberman, "Silent Tribute to Lennon's Memory is Observed Throughout the World," The New York Times, 15 December 1980 pA1
    29. ^ "Strawberry Fields". New York City Parks. Retrieved on 2008-03-17.
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    33. ^ Robinson, Ben. "March Marx Magic". Ben Robinson. Retrieved on 2008-05-06.
    34. ^ "Once-shunned Lennon now feted in communist Cuba". CNN. 2000-12-08. Retrieved on 2008-05-06.
    35. ^ "John Lennon Museum". TAISI Corporation. Retrieved on 2008-05-03.
    36. ^ "Background Information". Liverpool John Lennon Airport. Retrieved on 2008-05-03.
    37. ^ "25th Anniversary of John Lennon’s Death". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved on 2008-05-03.
    38. ^ "Lennon's planet". Retrieved on 2007-12-20.
    39. ^ "The Imagine Peace Tower". Imagine Peace. Retrieved on 2008-05-03.
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    41. ^ Chrystall, Margaret (2007-09-22). "Lennon fans come together". Highland News. Retrieved on 2007-12-24.
    42. ^ Ross, John (2007-05-19). "Village strikes a chord with Lennon festival". The Scotsman. Retrieved on 2007-12-25.
    43. ^ "John Lennon Northern Lights Festival in Durness". Scotland homepage. Retrieved on 2007-12-25
    External links
    John Lennon
    Categories: John Lennon | Deaths by person | 1980 in music
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