Even though he is long gone, John Lennon is one man whose life will continue to fascinate humanity for generations to come. An iconic musician and songwriter, Lennon rose above his dysfunctional childhood to co-found legendary rock band, The Beatles. With the help of members such as George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr, the group swept the entire globe into a frenzy on their way to becoming one of the most influential musical groups of the 60s.
They released several hit singles back-to-back and won a total of seven Grammy awards. They also sold about 600 million records, making them the most commercially-successful music act of all time. Lennon and his buddies also topped the Billboard Hot 100 a record number of times and, in 2008, were named the most successful artist of all time on the Billboard Hot 100.
On a personal level, John Lennon was a peace activist and consistently campaigned against warfare as well as oppression. Joining hands with second wife, Yoko Ono, he proved to be a thorn in the flesh of several administrations so much so that the American government tried unsuccessfully for many years to get him deported. All these made the Liverpool native a beloved global figure but some, including his own son, have pointed out the seeming hypocrisy in his message of love.
John Lennon Has Been Accused Of Being Cruel To His First Wife, Cynthia
John Lennon was married twice in his lifetime and his first marriage was to artist and illustrator, Cynthia Lennon (née Powell). As the story goes, John first met Cynthia while they were both students at the Liverpool College of Art in 1957. At that time, The Beatles hadn’t yet been formed and he was still playing around local bars with his buddies. His talent shone through though and Cynthia was immediately attracted to this. She, however, did not act on the attraction as she was engaged to a window cleaner named Barry. Two years down the line, the two shared a dance at a July 1959 party and Lennon asked Cynthia out. She turned him down and he mocked her as a “nun”. This left her enraged and she went to bed with him that night just to prove a point.
This marked the beginning of their relationship; the couple dated for about two years during which Lennon manifested some physical abuse tendencies. Cynthia, however, stuck in there and proved to be a calming effect on him as The Beatles grew famous. She later got pregnant and Lennon decided that they had no option but to get married. They ended up doing so in August 1962. The ceremony was quite lackluster and no pictures were taken. Following the marriage, Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein advised the couple to hide their union as it could alienate some of the band’s fans. They heeded his words and continued hiding even after they welcomed a son, named Julian, in April 1963.
Cynthia and Lennon would later come clean with their relationship. Overall, they spent a total of six years as man and wife during which Cynthia supported her husband while he continuously relegated her to the side. The singer also carried on multiple affairs and grew increasingly dependent on LSD, something that bothered his wife to no end. The final straw that broke the camel’s back was in mid-1968 when Cynthia returned to their matrimonial home in Kenwood and found her husband with a lady named Yoko Ono. This marked the end of their union.
The couple’s divorce was settled out of court and John agreed to pay his ex-wife a lump sum of £100,000. He also agreed to put another £100,000 in trust for his son, Julian, and gave sole custody of the boy to his mother.
His Controversial Romance With Yoko Ono Lasted Till Death Did Them Part
John Lennon’s second marriage was to Japanese multimedia artist, singer, and songwriter, Yoko Ono. He and Ono first met on the 9th of November 1966 at the Indica Gallery in London. She was prepping to showcase some of her Avant-Garde art and they ended up having an interesting conversation. They subsequently kept in touch and Ono telephoned and visited Lennon at home over the next few years. His then-wife, Cynthia, noticed this and inquired about the purpose of the visits. The answer was that Ono was just an artist looking for financial support for her work.
Things got to a head in May 1968 when John Lennon invited Ono over to work on some album. They ended up sleeping together and this marked the end of his first marriage. Following his divorce, the couple moved ahead with their relationship and eventually tied the knot on the 20th of March 1969. The ceremony took place in Gibraltar and the bride wore a mini skirt and wide-brimmed hat while her husband wore a white blazer and shirt. Ono and Lennon would remain married till his death and theirs was a truly interesting but controversial relationship.
They collaborated in their agitations for world peace and famously used their Amsterdam honeymoon to stage a series of bed-ins; where they allowed journalists into their hotel room to talk about peace each day. The couple also conducted a performance art, known as ‘bagism’, in which they highlighted issues of stereotype and prejudice. Lennon and Ono also collaborated on music together. They formed a rock band, known as The Plastic Ono Band, which lasted from 1969 to 1974. They also released several joint albums together including Double Fantasy which sold three million copies in the U.S. alone and won the 1981 Grammy award for album of the year.
On the home front, the couple made their home in the United Kingdom, and in 1969, Lennon changed his name to incorporate Ono becoming – John Winston Ono Lennon. The two truly had a creative partnership but experienced issues in the early 70s after relocating to New York. These issues stemmed from Lennon’s potential deportation, the blowback from the Beatles’ breakup, as well as the fact that Yoko was missing her daughter terribly. This caused the couple to separate in July 1973 and Ono encouraged her husband to find love with another lady, which he did for some time. They later got back together in January 1975 and welcomed a son named Sean in October 1975. The couple would remain together till Lennon’s death.
The death of a loved one is a hollowing experience.
After 39 years, Sean, Julian and I still miss him.
Imagine all the people living life in peace.
Yoko Ono Lennon
8 December 2019#enoughisenough #peace #guncontrolnow #gunviolence #nra #guns #gunsafety #firearms #endgunviolence pic.twitter.com/0CfXkvEO93
— Yoko Ono (@yokoono) December 8, 2019
Even though John Lennon has passed away and Yoko Ono has been remarried multiple times, Yoko has never forgotten her enigma of a late husband and is constantly working to keep his memory alive. On what would have been his 45th birthday in 1995, she organized a worldwide broadcast of his bestselling 1971 song, Imagine, which she co-wrote. She has also unveiled museums and peace monuments in honor of her late husband. On the 39th anniversary of his death in December 2019, she described his loss as a harrowing experience and stated that she and his children still missed him. She then went on to call for gun control in the U.S.
The Singer’s 18-Month Affair With May Pang Was With His Wife’s Blessing
During the time that things were strained between Lennon and Yoko Ono, she noticed that her husband had grown close to and fancied their personal assistant named May Pang. She, therefore, encouraged him in that direction and even went ahead to table the proposal before Pang. Lennon and Pang commenced their relationship in mid-1973 and were together for about 18 months during which they lived together in Los Angeles and Manhattan. During this period, she helped him to establish a better relationship with his son, Julian, as she encouraged the boy to fly out and stay with them for periods of time.
The relationship between Pang and Lennon ended unceremoniously in January 1975 when he went back to his lawfully-wedded wife. Ono would later reveal that she encouraged her husband to date Pang as they were both too stressed out from the hate over the breakup of the Beatles. They, therefore, needed rest from each other and this motivated her to set him up with an “intelligent, attractive and extremely efficient woman”. She was however grateful that he came back to her.
Lennon Famously Referred To His First Son, Julian, As An Unplanned Child
John Lennon had two children and the first is Julian Lennon, born by Cynthia in 1963. Julian is a musician and photographer. He has released several albums including Valotte, which sold about 1.6 million copies and fetched him a nomination for Best New Artist at the 1985 Grammys. He has also delved into photography as an art form and did his first exhibition in 2010. Lennon has also penned some books including an NYT bestselling trilogy, Touch the Earth, Heal the Earth, and Love the Earth. The singer is also renowned for his philanthropy; through his The White Feather Foundation, he has raised funds for clean water, indigenous cultures, education, and health. He also supported the victims of the Nepal earthquake in 2015 and has instituted a scholarship for girls in Kenya.
Despite the fact that he is a singer, Julian did not have a great relationship with his dad. The Beatles’ singer famously stated in a 1980 interview with Playboy that the difference between Julian and his second son, Sean, was that Sean was a planned child while Julian was a result of the fact that he was drunk on whiskey or didn’t have contraceptives. He then went on to state that this doesn’t mean he loves the boy any less. Despite these words, Lennon’s actions showed the contrary. He did not make a great effort to keep in touch with Julian after divorcing his mother. It was bandmate, Paul McCartney that kept in touch and even went ahead to compose the popular song, Hey Jude, in a bid to console the little boy.
When Julian achieved success with his first album, it was also Paul that sent him a congratulatory telegram. All this made the young man quite resentful towards his father and he called him out as a hypocrite for preaching peace and love whilst neglecting his closest ones. The neglect also showed in John’s will; John left the lion’s share of his £220 million (now grown to £612.3 million) to Sean and Yoko. To Julian, he gave maintenance of £2400 per year and then a £50,000 trust fund. This obviously did not go down well with the young man but he resisted challenging it for a while so as not to sour the good relations he has with his half-brother and stepmother. He later went to court though and was given £20 million.
He Took Five Years Off from Work In Order To Raise Second Son, Sean
John Lennon’s second son, Sean, is also a musician as well as producer and occasional actor. He was a member of his parents’ band, The Plastic Ono Band, as well. Sean has also joined other bands, such as The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, and has released numerous albums, both solo and band albums. He has also produced songs for artists such as Lana Del Rey and Black Lips; he even has his own record label known as Chimera Music. As an actor, he has featured in TV shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Melrose Place.
As earlier stated, Sean did not come about by accident but became reality after his married parents had already dealt with three miscarriages. This made him quite precious in their sight and his famous father took five years off from work to care for him. During this period, he had a photographer take a picture of him for every day of his first year on earth and later made it into a book. John also expressed his love for Sean by leaving him the bulk of his fortune through his will. They were, therefore, quite close and Sean continues to promote his late father’s legacy through interviews and more. He also maintains a close relationship with his elder brother and has even stated that Julian motivated him to go into music.
His killer, Mark David Chapman, Previously Volunteered At Kids’ Summer Camps
John Lennon was cut down in his prime by Texas native, Mark David Chapman. The story of Chapman is quite unfortunate as he went from a young man who dedicated himself to helping others to a cold-blooded murderer.
Chapman was born on the 10th of May 1955 and came from a family of four which included his mother – Diane, father – David, and a younger sister named Susan. His childhood was dysfunctional, as he dealt with a father dad who was physically abusive and was also bullied at school. He, therefore, acted out for a while, taking drugs and skipping town. He later got his act together in his teenage years and became a born-again Christian.
In his teens, Chapman worked as a counselor at a summer YMCA camp where he was quite popular with the kids. He also successfully helped out with the resettlement of Vietnamese refugees in Arkansas. In the course of doing this, he got to shake hands with President Gerard ford. Chapman took a turn to the dark side after he dropped out of college. He fell into depression and tried to kill himself without success.
Lennon Was Targeted Because Of Statements That Were Deemed Blasphemous
Chapman was formerly a big fan of the Beatles much like everyone else in the 60s. He later turned against them, Lennon specifically, following some acts that he deemed blasphemous from the British musician. First was Lennon’s 1966 statement that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus. Then, there was his 1970 single, God, where Lennon stated that he didn’t believe in God, Jesus or the Bible but only Yoko and himself.
Another thing that further incensed Chapman towards his former idol was his 1971 single, Imagine. He felt that John was being a hypocrite for telling people to imagine living without possessions while he was swimming in millions of dollars, estates, yachts, and the likes. This, therefore, made him target the singer. He also targeted other famous persons such as legendary late-night host, Johnny Carson and then-American president, Ronald Reagan, all in a bid for self-glory.
Chapman Once Told His Wife That He Was Planning To Kill Lennon But She Did Not Take Him Seriously
Chapman began planning to kill John Lennon three months before he actually did it. He first traveled to New York City for that purpose in October 1980 but could not carry it out as he had no weapons. He then returned home and told his wife that he was obsessed with killing Lennon; his wife dismissed it and urged him to get help. She also asked him to work on his relationship with God. By November 1980, Chapman purchased the weapons with which to carry out the act and made his way back to New York in December.
On that fateful day, December 8th, 1980, Chapman waited outside The Dakota (also known as the Dakota Apartments) where Lennon resided with his wife and child. He waited there all day long and eventually saw the couple as they exited the hotel by 5 pm for a recording session and even got Lennon to sign an autograph for him. Almost six hours later, the couple returned and it was as they were making their way back into the building that Chapman fired five shots at Lennon’s back. Four of the five bullets struck the musician who collapsed to the ground and was taken to the hospital by police. John Lennon was pronounced dead on arrival.
He Is Presently Incarcerated In New York And Has Been Denied Parole 11 Times
Having succeeded in killing Lennon, Chapman did not attempt to run away but remained calmly at the scene and peacefully went with the cops who arrested him. He was charged with second-degree murder and initially planned to plead not guilty. He later changed his plea to guilty. After a trial, which lasted for eight months, he was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. Chapman remains in prison to date. He became eligible for parole in 2001 and has been applying, but his application has been rejected 11 times.
Lennon’s widow has argued that his release may jeopardize her safety as well as the safety of Lennon’s children. She has also pointed out that there may even be retribution on him from angry Beatles fans. Chapman is presently incarcerated in Wende Correctional Facility, New York, and his wife lives near the prison. He works as a porter and clerk and is described as a deeply religious and devout fellow. He has also apologized to Yoko for his despicable and creepy actions which were for self-glory.