Birth and Childhood
John Lennon was born in a non-musical family on 9th October 1940, to Fred (Alfred) Lennon, a merchant seaman, and Julia Lennon, in Liverpool. After a couple of years, Fred Lennon decided to walk out on the family, and left John with Julia (though there is a story that says Julia was pregnant with a child from another man and she insisted that they separate).
John spent the initial years of his life with his mother, before she thought that she was not able to take care of him, and decided to give the custody of John to her sister Mimi (Mary Smith) and her husband George Smith in Woolton.
When John was 5 years old, Fred tried to secretly take him away to another country. However, Julia did not allow this, and he had to leave John behind unwillingly. Since then, John and Fred met only a couple of times, till the latter died.
John attended Dovedale County Primary School in Liverpool and then Quarry Bank High School, which was the inspiration behind the name of his first band 'Quarrymen', founded in 1955. His mother died in an accident when he was 17 years old (according to some people she was killed by an off duty Police Officer, while some people say she died in a bus accident).
After failing in his GCE O-Level exams, John could not secure a seat in any college. It was with the timely help of his school's headmaster that he got accepted into the Liverpool College of Art.
Journey in Music
After Smith's death in 1955, Julia started visiting John almost daily. Slowly, he too started visiting her and started learning the banjo from her. It was because of Julia that he started taking interest in music and listened to Elvis Presley.
He received his first guitar from Julia, in 1957; which eventually proved to be the last gift from his mother, before she died in an accident. Quarrymen was the very first band John formed when he was just 15 years old.
In 1956, he met Paul McCartney with whom he started writing songs and formed a group. It was just the start of Paul and John's friendship; in the near future, they would work together. He wrote his first song 'Hello, Little Girl' when he was 18, which later became a hit.
After changing the name of their band a few times, they finally settled for 'The Beatles', and he became the band's de facto leader due to his qualities (quick wit, presentation, smartness, and personality).
In 1960, Allan Williams became Beatles' first manager, after they performed in Allan's club Jacaranda. In next few months, Allan booked and facilitated the very first tour for Beatles for Bruno Koschmider's Club, Germany. Before the band could start their tour, they faced few set-backs.
Sutcliffe left the band to concentrate on his studies, and a couple of the other members were deported for illegal activities or for being underage. Authorities revoked John's work permit and sent him back. After sorting out the legal problems, Beatles set out on their tour to Hamburg and the band recorded music with Tony Sheridan.
The Beatles were then booked for a number of musical tours. The band also kept working on their new albums and recorded new songs. Beatles recorded their very first album 'Please Please Me', in 1963.
John was an intelligent but outspoken person, who sometimes unintentionally made statements which left the band red-faced in public. One such incident happened in 1966, when he stated in an interview that "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I do not know what will go first, rock 'n' roll or Christianity...we are more popular than Jesus now".
The quote was publicized by the media and Beatles faced strong protests in public; their records and posters were burnt and tours were called off. Later in 1966, Beatles held a press conference in Chicago, in order to douse the fire burning in the hearts of people protesting against the band.
At the press conference, John Lennon apologized and stated that the real intention behind saying those lines was something else but was taken in a very wrong way. John separated from the band in 1969, with some sour memories.
He had developed differences with band members and even with McCartney. According to him, Paul McCartney always took the credit and all the band members were fed up of being sidemen. After leaving the band, John pursued a solo career in music. He also helped Ono with her career.
Soon after John and Ono's marriage, he released 'Bag One', a series of about 14 lithographs (most of them were banned and considered to be indecent). Ono and he recorded new albums; some together as a team and some solo.
Along with pursuing his solo career, John continued working with other artists and made appearances in music tours until 1977, when he took three years off from music to raise his son Sean. After three years, he made his comeback with some more recordings.
John Lennon met his first wife Cynthia Powell, at the Liverpool Art College, in 1957. Their love story was no less than a movie. He and Cynthia were attracted to each other. Cynthia was engaged to another guy and they had feelings for each other which led to jealousy in John's heart when he saw Cynthia dancing with Sutcliffe.
He shouted at her when she mentioned about her engagement with another guy. The relationship grew and in 1962, Cynthia became pregnant with John's child. Soon after that, he married Cynthia on August 23rd. In April 1963, Cynthia gave birth to a child in a general hospital. Their child, a son, was named John Charles Julian Lennon.
The relationship between John and Julian was not very sweet and even he was not loyal to Cynthia. Cynthia knew that he was attracted towards Ono and she suggested that he could marry Ono if he wished. Later, Cynthia filed for divorce and made an out-of-court settlement with him after Ono became pregnant.
John, after the divorce and settlement with Cynthia, married Yoko Ono and moved to New York. But, they separated around 1972. This is when, John and Julian started meeting each other. John, in his last few years, tried to re-establish his relationship with Julian, and stated that the latter belonged to him and he was sure that things would work out.