John Lennon

On this date in 1940, John Lennon was born in Liverpool. A guitar player, Lennon first teamed up with Paul McCartney at the age of 15. In 1960, they founded The Beatles, a pop foursome that took the world by storm in 1962. On March 4, 1966, the London Evening Standard published an interview with John Lennon in which he claimed that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus: "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that. I'm right and I will be proved right. We are more popular than Jesus now. I don't know which will go first—rock and roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me." When the interview was reprinted in America, it was greeted by record-burnings and boycotts. He subsequently apologized for his remarks. Lennon married his second wife, Yoko Ono, in 1969. Despite hit after hit, The Beatles broke up when McCartney left in 1970. Lennon issued his solo hit album, "Imagine," in 1971. When his son, Sean, was born, Lennon became a famous "house husband." In 1980, he came out of retirement to do some recordings. Lennon was shot to death by a deranged fan outside his Dakota apartment building in New York City on Dec. 8, 1980. In an interview Lennon and Yoko gave to Playboy, published in the January 1981 issue, Lennon said: ". . . this whole religion business suffers from the 'Onward, Christian Soldiers' bit. There's too much talk about soldiers and marching and converting. I'm not pushing Buddhism, because I'm no more a Buddhist than I am a Christian; but there's one thing I admire about the religion: There's no proselytizing." Lennon also wrote lyrics saying "I don't believe in Bible" or Jesus: "God is a concept by which we measure our pain." D. 1980.

Imagine

Imagine there's no heaven,
It's easy if you try,
No hell below us,
Above us only sky.
Imagine all the people
Living for today.

Imagine there's no country,
It isn't hard to do.
Nothing to kill or die for,
And no religion, too.
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace--

You may say I'm a dreamer.
But I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us,
And the world will be as one.

—Words and music by John Lennon. 1971 Northern Songs Ltd. (Maclen Music)

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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