John Winston Ono Lennon, MBE was an English singer and songwriter who co-founded the Beatles (1960-70), the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music. Lennon was born in war-time England, on 9 October 1940 at Liverpool Maternity Hospital, to Julia (née Stanley) (1914-1958) and Alfred Lennon (1912-1976), a merchant seaman of Irish descent, who was away at the time of his son’s birth.
Lennon became involved in the skiffle craze as a teenager; his first band, the Quarrymen, evolved into the Beatles in 1960. When the group disbanded in 1970, Lennon embarked on a solo career that produced the albums John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, and songs such as “Give Peace a Chance”, “Working Class Hero”, and “Imagine”. After his marriage to Yoko Ono in 1969, he changed his name to John Ono Lennon.
By 2012, Lennon’s solo album sales in the United States exceeded 14 million and, as writer, co-writer, or performer, he is responsible for 25 number-one singles on the US Hot 100 chart. In 2002, a BBC poll on the 100 Greatest Britons voted him eighth and, in 2008, Rolling Stone ranked him the fifth-greatest singer of all time. He was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987, and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, as a member of the Beatles in 1988 and as a solo artist in 1994.
At around 10:50 p.m. (EST) on 8 December 1980, as Lennon and Ono returned to their New York apartment in the Dakota, Mark David Chapman shot Lennon in the back four times in the archway of the building. Lennon was taken to the emergency room of nearby Roosevelt Hospital and was pronounced dead on arrival at 11:00 p.m. (EST). Earlier that evening, Lennon had autographed a copy of Double Fantasy for Chapman.
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