John Winston Ono Lennon MBE (born Liverpool, UK, 9 October, 1940; died New York, 8 December 1980) rose to fame with the pop group, the Beatles, a 1960's sensation which, in John's own words, was "more popular than Jesus."
In 1957, Lennon formed a skiffle band called the Quarrymen. Paul McCartney joined later that year, and George Harrison in 1958. After Brian Epstein took over their management in 1961, he got them a recording contract with Parlophone Records, headed by George Martin. Ringo Starr, another musician from Liverpool, also joined the band. After their single "Please Please Me" reached #2 on the UK charts, they recorded their first album and released it in 1963.
Please Please Me became a #1 album and led to the sudden explosion of their popularity. Their concerts all over the world were attended by thousands of screaming fans, but they stopped touring after 1966. In 1969, John Lennon announced he was leaving but this was kept secret until 10 April 1970, when McCartney announced the breakup.
Lennon released a number of singles before the break-up of the Beatles towards the end of 1970: 'Give Peace A Chance', 'Cold Turkey' (both credited to the Plastic Ono Band), and 'Instant Karma'. Perhaps his best-known solo work was 'Imagine', a call for world peace and harmony.
John met Yoko Ono in London on 9 November, 1966. Yoko, twice divorced, already had a daughter, Kyoko Chan Cox, by her second husband. She was pregnant at the time she married John, but the baby miscarried. John and Yoko worked closely together both musically and in a series of political campaigns. They married on 20 March 1969, spent fifteen months separated in 1973-4, and, reconciled, had a son, Sean Taro Ono Lennon, in 1975.
Lennon's life was cut short when a crazed fan, Mark David Chapman, shot him dead outside his New York apartment on 8 December 1980.