Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
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There are certain musicians that have reached influential and iconic status throughout the years, with very few being quite on the level that John Lennon achieved. As a member of the Beatles and as a solo performer, Lennon touched the lives of just about everyone that has listened to or performed music. Though his life was tragically cut short, his music remains in everyone’s memory, and will likely be preserved for generations to come.Advertisements:
Lennon was born in Liverpool, England on October 9, 1940, where he had grown up and spent his school years. During his teenage years, Lennon picked up a guitar for the first time as he was becoming interested in music. It was at this time that Lennon had formed a band with some of his friends called the Quarrymen, asking his friend Paul McCartney to join with him. McCartney had also known guitarist George Harrison, and McCartney convinced Lennon to let him audition, landing Harrison with the group.
After first making waves in the Liverpool area, the group changed their name to the Beatles at the beginning of the 1960s. They needed a new drummer, and Pete Best was added. However, just before they started to record their first album, Best was replaced by Ringo Starr, and that four-man lineup would be set for the entirety of the Beatles run. In 1963, they released their first album called “Please Please Me”, following up the same year on “With the Beatles”, both of which were number one in the UK.
It was 1964 in which the “British Invasion” that included the Beatles introduced them to a lot of Americans, with Lennon and McCartney being the two head writers and most prominent members of the group. “Introducing...The Beatles” was released as a number two album in the United States, and they didn’t look back. For the rest of their run, the Beatles released 23 more albums, 14 of which reached the top spot on the US charts such as “A Hard Day’s Night”, “Rubber Soul” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. There was no doubt that the Beatles were massive celebrities, with Lennon famously saying that the group was “bigger than Jesus.”
By the time that 1968 rolled around, Lennon had been working on projects outside of the Beatles. That’s because two years prior, he had met Yoko Ono, an artist that hadn’t really gotten into music before, but that changed after the relationship started with Lennon. In 1968, Lennon released a compilation album with Ono called “Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins”, followed by a second edition the next with “Life with the Lions” and “Wedding Album” the next year.
In 1970, Lennon fully embarked on his solo career, as people were awaiting his first project in his post-Beatles years. The result was “John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band” that reached the top 10 in most charts, becoming certified gold. The next year, Lennon had his biggest solo album success when he released “Imagine” that included the hit song of the same name.
Throughout the rest of the 1970s, Lennon would release several more albums on his own which included “Mind Games”, “Walls and Bridges” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll”. Some of the songs released from these albums included “Mind Games” and “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night”, which became his first solo song to reach number one in the United States.
In November 1980, Lennon and Ono released the album “Double Fantasy”, his third number one album while not a member of the Beatles. This included the number one song “(Just Like) Starting Over” and the number two song “Woman”, but this would unfortunately be his final album. Nobody could’ve predicted that he would pass away just a few weeks later.
It was tragic the way that Lennon had passed away. When he was outside of his hotel with Ono on December 8, 1980 in New York City, he had met a fan named Mark David Chapman who asked him for an autograph on his copy of the album “Double Fantasy”. This wouldn’t be the last time that Lennon encountered Chapman, however. Several hours later after Lennon had been in a music studio, he returned to that same hotel, he saw Chapman standing outside once again, giving the man who he thought was a harmless fan a head nod.
With Lennon’s back turned, Chapman fired multiple shots into the back of Lennon, knocking him down. Paramedics and police rushed to the scene where Lennon was still alive and still responsive. However, he started to lose consciousness and couldn’t be revived en route to the hospital, and he was pronounced dead shortly after 11:00 pm, with most of the United States finding out while watching a Monday Night Football game between the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots with announcer Howard Cosell alerting the millions of viewers about the tragedy.
The world was shocked to find out about Lennon’s death, and there was immediate mourning by his millions of fans. While he might have seem subdued at first when hearing the news, Paul McCartney has since spoken about the death. “I couldn’t take it in,” McCartney said. “Just for days, you just couldn’t think that he was gone. So, yeah, it was just a huge shock and then I had to tell (his wife) Linda and the kids. It was very difficult. It was really difficult for everyone. That was a really big shock, I think, in most people’s lives. A bit like (John) Kennedy, there were certain moments like that.”