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John Lennon: Biography, Influence and Beliefs

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John Lennon was born on October 9, 1940, in Liverpool, Merseyside, England, during a German air raid in World War II. At the age of four, his parents separated and he lived with his Aunt Mimi. His father, Alfred Lennon, was not present at his son’s birth and did not pay much attention to him when he was young. Lennon’s mother, Julia, remarried but continued to visit him and Mimi regularly. She played a great influence on Lennon’s artistic abilities, she taught Lennon how to play the piano and the banjo and purchased his first guitar. Lennon was devastated when Julia Lennon was fatally struck by a car driven by an off-duty police officer in July 1958. Her death was one of the most traumatic events in the young 18-year-olds life.

In 1957, Lennon met Paul McCartney and invited him to join his music band, called the Quarry Men, named after his school. Along with George Harrison and Ringo Starr, they eventually formed one of the most successful bands in music history. The Beatles disbanded in 1969 when John Lennon decided to leave, he later released albums with his wife, Yoko Ono, under the name The Plastic Ono Band.

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On December 8, 1980, he was killed by a deranged fan named Mark David Chapman outside his apartment building in New York City .

Lennon was considered the leader of The Beatles, as he founded the original group. McCartney said, ‘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’.

John was cremated at a private ceremony the day after his death. The whereabouts of his ashes have never been revealed. The memorial to John Lennon in Central Park called; ‘Strawberry Fields’ still continues to draw people who leave tributes to him.Policemen struggle to restrain young Beatles fans outside Buckingham Palace as The Beatles receive their MBEs in 1965. John Lennon later returned his MBE in September 1969, in protest against British politics.

Summary of Issue

Throughout Lennon’s life, particularly in the late ’60s and early ’70s, John Lennon began to actively endorse a wide range of progressive and radical political causes. Lennon fought for the anti-war movement as well as Native and African-American rights while professing a deepening interest in feminism. Lennon began to focus his music on politics of his time, making his music a weapon of social and political change. The Englishman protested against US involvement in Vietnam and provided the American anti-war movement with one of its most consequential anthems, ‘Give Peace a Chance’.

In 1971, he also released what is widely recognized as one of the greatest and most important pop songs ever written, a humanist plea and Socialist anthem called ‘Imagine’. Imagine asks the listener to contemplate the destruction of property: ‘Imagine no possessions / I wonder if you can / No need for greed or hunger / A brotherhood of man / Imagine all the people / Sharing all the world.” It was also during the early seventies that Lennon began to express a deeper commitment to the concerns of oppressed people of colour. Lennon supported both Native-American and African-American rights. In a 1972 appearance on ​The Dick Cavett Show,​ Lennon showed support for the 10-point program of the Black Panthers. In 1971, Lennon participated with the Native-American tribe the Onondaga Indians against the government’s planned construction of a freeway through their land .

Lennon’s music in this period sought to reawaken the moral conscience and political consciousness of the people. He wrote songs for Black Panther campaigner Angela Davis and the co-founder of the White Panther Party, John Sinclair. Lennon and Ono’s peace protests were highly individualistic and idiosyncratic. John Lennon and Yoko Ono spent a week in bed in Amsterdam and Toronto to protest the human suffering caused by global conflict, a few months after their marriage in March 1969. The ‘bed-in’ protest follows a light-hearted continuation of Gandhi and King’s principles of non-violence. ‘War will cease when men refuse to fight.” .

Social Impact

On Dec. 8, 1980, Mark David Chapman clutched a .38 Special revolver loaded with hollow-point rounds, took aim and fired four bullets into the back of John Lennon outside his Manhattan apartment. During the March For Our Lives rally in New York, joined by thousands of marchers calling for stricter federal gun laws in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, shooting on Feb. 14, fellow Beatle Paul McCartney, wearing a shirt with ‘We can end gun violence’ emblazoned on the front is apart of the vast group.’One of my best friends was killed in gun violence right around here,’ McCartney told CNN, ‘so it’s important to me.’ McCartney was talking about Lennon, his former bandmate in one of the biggest music groups ever, who was killed more than 30 years ago. When asked whether actions such as the nationwide marches will make a difference in securing more gun control, Sir Paul told CNN: ‘I don’t know’ adding ‘it’s what we can do, so I am here to do it.

Paul McCartney at the March Of Our Lives rally in Manhattan.

The bronze sculpture, Non-Violence, is of a giant Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver with a knotted barrel and the muzzle pointing upwards. Reuterswärd made this sculpture after his friend, the singer and peace activist John Lennon was shot dead in 1980. and Yoko Ono asked him to commemorate Lennon .

Political

Jon Wiener’s ​Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon F.B.I Files​ (2000) talks about how Lennon became the target of FBI surveillance because of his contribution in the anti-war movement and engagement with the leftist politics. The American government appeared genuinely fearful of the singer’s talent and power and would use a past drug offence to threaten the singer.​ ​The FBI files showed that for decades, the government had restricted some immigrants living in the U.S. illegally from deportation because of their sympathetic cases. The Obama administration used that policy to create the original Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or DACA. ‘Eligible individuals who do not present a risk to national security or public safety will be able to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization,’ said President Obama in a 2012 announcement. An expansion of the program, as well as the creation of a program called Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA. But today, the original DACA program covers more than 700,000 young people brought to the U.S. as children — all in part because of that immigrant from Liverpool.

The files cite Lennon’s overseas drug conviction, John and Yoko Ono’s immigration problems, Files indicates bureau desire to see a local police department arrest Lennon drug charges to help the deportation case .

Economical

The 1971 single, ​Imagine, ​written by John Lennon has long been recognized as a world peace anthem for its themes of picturing a world without divisions. Covered and performed by artists from Coldplay to Lady Gaga at events around the world, ​Imagine​ brings a greater sense of unity in humanity. The song always had an idealistic sense of world peace . A previously labour based economy shifted to a knowledge-based economy, which over time deepened the urban-rural split and drove the rise of populism. Recently glimpses of the world become increasingly dividing in a way we have not seen before: most notably first with Brexit, and then the polarized 2016 Presidential election.

Almost half a century later, ​Imagine​ shows a perspective of the world through Lennon’s eyes. While today’s society is more divided than ever, we are starting to move towards the world that Lennon imagined. Lennon describes a world without divisions, physical or otherwise. His lyrics are straightforward — Lennon purposely urges the audience (“it isn’t hard to do”) to actually imagine the conflict-free world he is describing. Upon doing so, he hopes the audience will realize how much of the conflict and division in the world is completely human-made.

After its release as a single, on 11 October 1971, ‘Imagine’ had a huge impact, which helped take the album to the top of the charts. Proving its enduring influence, ‘Imagine’ has gone on to be one of Lennon’s most covered songs, from Ray Charles and Madonna to Elton John and Neil Young. In 1999, Broadcast Media Inc named it one of the Top 100 Songs Of The Century in a list of the most played songs on American radio and television. It was also a centrepiece of the 2012 London Olympics, performed by Emeli Sandé during the opening ceremony and at the closing ceremony. Broadcasts of ‘Imagine’ have also been a centrepiece of every new year’s celebration in Times Square, New York, also being adopted by UNICEF, Amnesty International and WhyHunger to raise awareness of their respective causes. The song’s global reach was stated by ex-US president Jimmy Carter, mentioning that of the “about 125 countries” he and his wife had visited, “in many… you hear John Lennon’s song ‘Imagine’ used almost equally with national anthems”. It has long gone past the point of simply influencing other artists, it is sewn into the fabric of society.

Justification and Civil Disobedience

John Lennon and Yoko Ono held peaceful protests called “Bed-ins For Peace” where they invited journalists and different news stations to join them in their honeymoon suite. This act of protest followed the philosophy of influential world leaders, such as Gandhi. John Lennon was justified because throughout his life he fought for many causes to create a better world and future for the following generations, as he said in his song Imagine, “Imagine all the people/ Sharing all the world”.

John Lennon an activist for love who became a symbol of peace and possibilities. The man who co-founded the most iconic and influential pop music band of all time, The Beatles, was known as much for his talents as a singer-songwriter as for his larger-than-life presence in the public eye. John Lennon was within his rights to peacefully attend and hold protests as he was using his rights of freedom of speech and assembly, he focused his years on the betterment of the world by focusing on politics and global issues, “We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life .”

 

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