John Winston Ono Lennon, MBE (9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980) was an iconic 20th century composer and singer of popular music with Paul McCartney as Lennon McCartney throughout the 1960s, and was the founding member of The Beatles.
Lennon’s songwriting was an integral part of The Beatles’ profound commercial and critical impact. His melodies, written during the Lennon-McCartney era, and later, in his solo career, are distinctive and unashamedly romantic.
Lennon’s lyrics reflected his personal and career demands, philosophical outlook, his unease with his fame and current events. He and McCartney popularized the use of electronic effects in rock music.
Lennon, on television and in films such as A Hard Day’s Night (1964), and by press conferences and interviews, revealed his rebellious, iconoclastic nature and quick, irreverent wit. Lennon channeled his fame and penchant for controversy into his work as a peace activist, artist and author. He was murdered in New York City in December 1980.
In 2002, the BBC polled the British public about the 100 Greatest Britons of all time. Respondents voted Lennon into eighth place.
Lennon had a profound influence on rock ‘n’ roll and in expanding the genre’s boundaries during the 1960s. He is widely considered, along with McCartney, to be one of the most influential singer-songwriter-musicians of the 20th century.
Many of the songs written exclusively or primarily by Lennon, however, are more introspective — often in the first person — and more personal than McCartney’s.
His most surreal pieces of songwriting, “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “I Am the Walrus”, are examples of his unique style. Lennon’s partnership in songwriting with McCartney involved him – many times – in complementing and counterbalancing McCartney’s upbeat positive outlook with the other side of the coin, as one of their songs, “Getting Better” demonstrates.