John Lennon: Poster boy for Beatles
The music and pop culture icon, Lennon is being commemorated Sunday for his music, wordplay and visual arts.
Lennon was the founding member of The Beatles, formed with Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey) in Liverpool, England in 1960.
He was born in England on Oct. 9, 1940 during a German air raid in World War II. A child of divorce, Lennon grew up with his aunt, Mimi.
His mother Julia Lennon was the first person to introduce him to music when she taught him how to play the banjo and piano.
Lennon lost his mother in a car accident in July 1958. His father, Alfred Lennon, a merchant seaman, never had close relations with his son.
At the age of 16, Lennon was not a very successful student and failed most of his classes. He attended the Liverpool College of Arts with the advice of his headteacher.
The prominent musician created a band called the Quarry Men after being inspired by Elvis Presley.
He met McCartney at a church fete in 1957 and invited him to join the band. They formed one of the most prominent songwriting partnerships in music history.
Lennon was introduced to Harrison the following year and included him in the band where their first song was recorded in 1958, Buddy Holly's That'll Be the Day.
The band then was in need of a drummer and settled on Starr.
The Beatles was discovered by Brian Epstein in 1961 at Liverpool's Cavern Club where they performed on a regular basis.
With a new drummer and George Martin as producer, the group released its first single, Love Me Do in 1962.
Lennon met his first wife, Cynthia Powell, in the Liverpool College of Art in 1958, and the couple soon had their first child, Julian, in 1963.
An appearance on the U.S. television in 1964 made The Beatles the first British band popular in America.
After the U.S. tour, they returned to the U.K. to shoot their first film, A Hard Day's Night, and made preparations for their first world tour.
The Beatles was named the Member of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II after their second film, Help!, in 1965.
The band set a new record worldwide by reaching an audience of 55,600 at the Shea Stadium in New York City.
In 1966, The Beatles gave up touring after Lennon said they were more popular than Jesus and the band began to lose appeal.
Upon his divorce with Cynthia in 1968, Lennon married in 1969 to Japanese avant-garde artist Yoko Ono.
Each member of The Beatles started to move in different directions after Lennon's second marriage. Ono's influence on their music irked some members of the band.
McCartney announced The Beatles had officially split on April 10, 1970, a month before the band released the iconic song, Let It Be.
Lennon released his first solo album in 1970 but had the most success in 1971 with his song, Imagine. It ranked third on Rolling Stone's All-Time Best Songs list.
Lennon and Ono were threatened with deportation by then U.S. President Richard Nixon for his activism against the Vietnam War.
In 1976, during his struggle to get a Green Card, which allows foreigners permanent legal residence in the U.S., Ono and Lennon separated but the two reunited and soon the wife was pregnant.
Ono gave birth to a baby son, Sean, on John's 35th birthday. Lennon gave up music to become a more caring father.
Lennon returned to music in 1980 when he began to write songs and recorded an album, Double Fantasy.
A few weeks after the album's release, Mark David Chapman, a deranged fan, shot Lennon in front of his apartment building in New York City.
Lennon lost his life at Roosevelt Hospital at the age of 40 on Dec. 8, 1980.
Lennon's assassination still continues to have a profound impact on pop culture.