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History and career of John Lennon and songs to death

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Remembering John Lennon on his birthday appears as an almost indispensable celebration, to remember and retrace the history of a man, in front of an artist, who made the history of his time; but above all he left a legacy that is difficult and impossible to erase.

There are many generations who did not know him and who today, despite everything, sing his songs and recognize his face in the murals scattered around the world, in the t-shirts and, for the lucky ones, in the discs jealously guarded by the grandparents. or parents.

John Lennon Yoko Ono@Ansa credits

Yes, because when we talk about an artist like John Lennon we have to do it on tiptoe, but with the awareness that he is a myth, a legend for many who have been lucky to hear his voice live and for many others who have come to know his fame and his story through what has been said of him.

John Lennon and the Beatles

John Lennon was undoubtedly The Beatles, but his story certainly says a lot more. Multifaceted artist able to play different instruments and write lyrics that have become real hymns. Growing up with his aunt Mimi, after the separation of his parents, he began to approach the world of music as a teenager and as an autodidact. He first played the harmonica then the guitar, fascinated by the rock’n’roll of Bill Haley and Elvis Presley. A traumatic event resonated in his life and, in part, will always be part of his musical career: the death of his mother hit by a car in 1958. And it was precisely in those years that his talent joined that of Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr: thus were born the Beatles.

The British group’s first hit was the 1963 single Please Please Me. But it was in 1964 that the ‘boys from Liverpool’ reached their peak, becoming the number one band in the world, before hitting the big screen with Help. In 1965, the Beatles performed to an adoring audience of 55,600 fans at New York’s Shea Stadium. A record which the history of music remembers as the greatest ever achieved. Along with Paul McCartney, John Lennon wrote some of the most legendary lyrics featured on hit albums such as Revolver at Sgt. Pepper’s, White Album and Abbey Road. But it is precisely after the recording of the latter that the union within the group begins to waver.

The Beatles@Ansa credits

Yoko Ono

Already in the 1960s, another chapter of his personal and artistic life had opened for John Lennon. After the separation from his first wife, he had met Yoko Ono in an art gallery with whom he had fallen in love and with whom he had already recorded three albums of experimental electronic music. For many, those years were seen as John Lennon’s betrayal of the Beatles. And for many, Yoko Ono was precisely the cause of this “betrayal”. But beyond the assumptions, we can say that in this phase the revolutionary part of Lennon develops. His militant soul emerges so much that in 1969, before his farewell to the Beatles, John goes out with Yoko and a new group, the Plastic Ono Band, a live album, Live Peace in Toronto. The album featured Give Peace a Chance, an anthem against wars in the world.

During these years, the couple also organized the famous protest bed-ins. In other words, demonstrations where they lay in their pajamas in front of the press, talking about war and praising peace. When in 1970, after one of the greatest hits in the history of music, Let it be, the Beatles broke up, John Lennon devoted himself entirely to his business with Yoko Ono. From this period the famous song Working Class Hero. Text charged with symbolic value in which John Lennon is the spokesperson for all those who are “voiceless”: the working class. Of these children who have become adults and who have never had the real possibility of choosing. “As soon as you are born, they make you feel small. By not giving you time instead of it all.”

Yoko Ono John Lennon@Ansa credits

To imagine

The definitive solo triumph came for John Lennon in 1971 with what has been embraced as one of the most important pacifist anthems of all time: Imagine. A text in which John Lennon draws a world without wars in which there are no borders, homelands, properties, inequalities. Where the world is one. “You can say I’m a dreamer” – you can tell me I’m a dreamer – “But I’m not the only one” – but I’m not alone. After the release of albums of another level, in 1975, John Lennon decided to withdraw into private life. He only returned to the studio to record in 1980 with Double Fantasy. A record that has become his will. A few weeks after the album was released, a 25-year-old boy, Mark David Chapman, fired five shots at him. “I was shot” – they shot me – these are the last words before I pass out. He shot him four times in front of the Dakota Building, the building where he lived.

On October 9, 2022, John Lennon would have turned 82. Perhaps he would still have been an undisputed talent in international music, perhaps he would have retired to private life with his great love Yoko Ono. But on December 8, 1980, his flame ceased to burn, so suddenly. And since then, many questions, doubts and dreams have remained hanging and unanswered. But there remains only one certainty: John Lennon was and will be one of the most incredible personalities, before being an artist, that the world has ever known. His words say so. Its name says it, which sounds like a legend and which, sometimes, is pronounced with difficulty so as not to risk profaning this free, pure and, perhaps, immortal spirit.

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