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John Winston Lennon was born in Liverpool on October 9, 1940 during the height of WWII ~ his father, Fred Lennon, off at sea. His father didn't turn up again until five years later, and when he did he tried to take John away from his mother, Julia, when she refused to restart her life with him. Instead, John grew up in the Liverpool suburb of Woolton, with his Aunt Mimi and Uncle George Smith, at 251 Menlove Ave, which became nicknamed Mendips. Julia died in 1958, in an automobile accident practically in front of Mendips, when John was seventeen. Aunt Mimi ran a very strict household. John very quickly became bored at school, preferring drawing and writing about his classmates and teachers rather than his studies. Rebellious at an early age, he had a very rough school history, sagging off from school (going AWOL from classes) and petty stealing. His future looked bleak until Mimi got the headmaster of the Quarrybank school to write a letter of recommendation for John to the Liverpool Art College, because of his drawings. It was at Liverpool Art College, in 1956, that a friend played him Elvis's Heartbreak Hotel, and John's musical interest was piqued. Then he heard Lonnie Donegan's Rock Island Line on Radio Luxembourg, and became part of the new Skiffle craze by begging his Aunt Mimi until she broke down and bought him a guitar, although she forever told him he would never get anywhere with it. He had already learned to play the harmonica during his childhood, and he taught himself the guitar by applying banjo chords that his mother had taught him. In 1955 he started his own band, the Quarrymen, with his long time pal and fellow troublemaker Pete Shotton, singing all the popular songs, sometimes making up the words when he couldn't get them all off the radio. Also in the Quarrymen were Nigel Walley and Ivan Vaughan, the rest of John's gang. It was Ivan Vaughan who introduced John to his friend, Paul McCartney, in 1957. John married his girlfriend of four years, Cynthia Powell, in 1962. She was pregnant with their son Julian at the time, who was born in April, 1963. Date of Birth: October 9, 1940Place of Birth: Liverpool, EnglandDeceased: December 8, 1980Contribution to the Beatles: Founding member, vocals and band leader. Co-wrote most of the Beatles catalog with Paul McCartney. Founding member of the Beatles. Met Paul McCartney in July, 1957, in Woolton, England. Formed the original Beatles with Stu Sutcliffe, Pete Best, Paul McCartney and George Harrison in 1958. Played rhythm guitar and performed lead vocals for the group until their demise in April, 1970. Pursued a successful solo career with wife Yoko Ono, whom Lennon married in 1969. Lennon had hits in the decade following the Beatles breakup with Imagine and Double Fantasy, as well as with a collaboration with Elton John on the single Whatever Gets You Through the Night. Lennon retired from music in 1975 to spend time with his baby son, Sean (born October 9, 1975). Lennon emerged from retirement in 1980 upon the release of Double Fantasy, a collaborative effort with Ono. Lennon was assassinated on December 8, 1980 by a crazed fan. Posthumous albums include Milk and Honey and Menlove Avenue as well as several song demos contributed to the surviving Beatles by Ono, two of which appeared as "reunion" songs on The Beatles Anthology series in 1995 and 1996. Lennon's Imagine remains one of the most recognized songs in the world. His wife continues to spread Lennon's message of love and hope to the world even today. A portion of New York City's Central Park is named Strawberry Fields after one of the musician's more popular Beatles songs.

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