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EXPLOREMY LIBRARY
John Lennon

John Lennon

John Lennon
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It’s been 80 years since John Lennon was born and 40 since he died — an excellent time to appreciate the life and work of one of the most influential figures in modern history. Since the moment the Beatles first made their mark on popular culture in the early 1960s, John, Paul, George and Ringo have been a fixture in our hearts and ears — never far away and never out of style. John Lennon was probably the most personal Beatle of them all. As the leader of the band and a solo artist, he couldn’t help but share what he was going through in his life. Often it was thrilling. Sometimes, it was raw, painful and flawed. But, good or bad, Lennon never hid who he was — and we loved him for his honesty.

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Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Heinrich Bauer Publishing, L. P.
Frequency:
One-off
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in this issue

2 min.
why we love john lennon

Remarkably, it’s been 80 years since John Lennon was born and 40 years since he died — an excellent time to appreciate the life and work of one of the most influential figures in modern history. But have we ever really stopped thinking about John Lennon and what he means to us? Since the moment the Beatles first made their mark on popular culture, John, Paul, George and Ringo have been a fixture in our hearts and ears, never far away and never out of style. If you love the Beatles, you feel like you know them. They’re the coolest, funniest, liveliest friends that you've never met. It doesn’t matter if you’re the same age or were born decades later—the Beatles matter to most of us, and it’s personal. John Lennon was probably…

8 min.
“when i was younger, so much younger than today…”

October 9, 1940: World War II had entered its second year, Britain was leading the effort to stop the Axis powers, the seaport of Liverpool was on the receiving end of heavy raids by the Luftwaffe for several days…and John Lennon was born. His arrival came during a brief lull in the bombings. But with this birth, the world was again changed in a seismic way—it just didn’t know it yet. The rebellious, witty and music-loving nature for which Lennon would become known was inherited from his parents, Julia (née Stanley) and Alfred Lennon, though his relationships with both were inconstant. Amongst her four sisters, Julia was considered the wild one—free-spirited, playful, and defiant. She learned to play the banjo and could pick up tunes by ear. Alfred Lennon—often referred to…

7 min.
“then when i was a teenager, i knew that i had got something going…”

Elvis Presley. Little Richard. Gene Vincent. Carl Perkins. These American pioneers of rock, along with British skiffle musician Lonnie Donegan, left young John Lennon thunderstruck, prompting him to convince his mother to buy him a guitar, learn how to play it, and form his own band. The actual date is unknown, but in or around November 1956, Lennon, about to turn sixteen, recruited his close friend Pete Shotton to join him in his plan to become a rock star. Shotton was the first to admit that he had no musical talent, but Lennon wanted him in anyway, so Shotton took on the washboard as his instrument. They were soon joined, for various lengths of time, by Rod Davis on banjo, Eric Griffiths on guitar, and Colin Hanton on drums, with Bill…

8 min.
“look at me. who am i supposed to be?”

John Lennon’s faith in Brian Epstein seemed to be justified almost from the start—within a month of getting the nod to become their manager, Epstein had arranged for the Beatles to do a studio audition for Decca Records on New Year’s Day, 1962. They recorded fifteen songs, most of which remain available only as bootlegs, though five were included on 1995’s The Beatles Anthology Volume 1. The setlist included three Lennon-McCartney originals (“Hello Little Girl,” “Love of the Loved,” and “Like Dreamers Do”). But the group was dealt a blow when, about a month later, Decca passed on giving the Beatles a recording contract. Looking back ten years later during a radio interview, Lennon said the rejection was justified, explaining that the band’s performance was “terrible… we were terrified, nervous.” All…

4 min.
the best of lennon

01. TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS (1966) Nothing signaled that the Beatles had reached a major creative turning point more than this track. With an ominous feel enhanced by Ringo Starr’s powerful drumming, innovative sound effects including tape loops and backward recordings, lyrics based on The Tibetan Book Of The Dead, and an eerie double-tracked lead vocal by Lennon, “Tomorrow Never Knows” made it abundantly clear that the “moptop” days were over, and a new era had begun. 02. STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER (1967) Sharing a single with Paul McCartney’s “Penny Lane,” Lennon’s psychedelic masterwork served as a harbinger to the next major Beatles event: the recording of the Sgt. Pepper album. Influenced by his use of LSD, John described the song as “psychoanalysis set to music.” One of the most complicated Beatles songs to record,…

8 min.
“relax and float downstream”

On the flight home to Britain following their final concert, at San Francisco's Candlestick Park on August 29, 1966, George Harrison broke into a relieved smile and proclaimed "That's it. I'm not a Beatle anymore." This was almost four years before the Beatles officially broke up, but the sentiment applied to all four overworked and overtired members of the group, especially John. Live performing had been at the core of the band’s existence up to that point and was a key factor in their growth and development as musicians and songwriters. But throughout the exhilaration and chaos of the Beatlemania period, the Beatles discovered that the studio was fast becoming the place where their creativity flourished. So, after some time to rest and recuperate from the road, they set out to…