Real-Life Superhero of the Week: John Lennon

John Lennon co-founded The Beatles, one of the most popular bands of all time. But he was more than just one of history’s most influential musicians – and that’s why he’s our Real-Life Superhero of the Week.

Born in Liverpool, England in 1940, Lennon was raised primarily by his mother Julia and his maternal aunts. Growing up, he had very little contact with his father Alfred. Throughout his childhood, Lennon struggled with school but showed an early aptitude for playing the guitar.

In 1957 at age 15, Lennon formed the Quarrymen – a band that Paul McCartney and George Harrison would later join. The three young men plus Peter Best and Stuart Sutcliffe formed The Beatles in 1960. That same year, the band was hired for a 48-night residency in Germany. By 1962, Sutcliffe and Best had left – and Ringo Starr had joined the band as drummer.

This lineup continued touring throughout 1962 and recorded their first album, Please Please Me, in 1963. This album brought The Beatles more popularity, and their single “Love Me Do” reached #17 on the charts. They even performed for the Queen! The U.K. was gripped with Beatlemania so the band decided to try their luck across the pond.

The band’s 1964 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show infected America with Beatlemania. From 1964 to 1966, The Beatles toured all over the country at venues packed with fans dying to see them. But in 1967, the band faced a backlash when Lennon remarked that The Beatles would be bigger than Jesus. The resulting protests made it difficult for them to have live performances. So from 1967 on, they focused on creating music.

Some of their most popular albums were released in the following three years, including Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Abbey Road. But during this period Lennon recorded also 3 albums with Yoko Ono.

Lennon formally left The Beatles in 1969. However, the group’s breakup wasn’t public knowledge until 1970, when McCartney released his own solo album.

Lennon continued to work on his solo career during the early 70s, moving to New York with girlfriend Ono in 1971. It was during this time that he became a vocal critic against the Nixon administration and the war in Vietnam. His song “Give Peace a Chance” was used as an anthem for anti-Vietnam demonstrations around the country.

He and Ono released their protest song “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” in 1971. This proved to be the last straw for the White House. The government officially denied Lennon residency status in 1973, in a situation that would not be resolved until 1976. After President Nixon was forced to resign, the White House had little interest in trying to keep Lennon out of the country any more.

Not only was Lennon against the Vietnam War, but he also protested against the presence of the British Army in Northern Ireland after 14 civil rights protesters were shot by British soldiers in 1972.

Throughout the 70s, Lennon continued to write and create music – both with Yoko Ono and without. But when their son Sean was born in 1975, he took a break from music to care for the baby. For the next five years, Lennon would focus mainly on childcare. He finally released his album Double Fantasy in 1980.

Sadly in December of 1980, Lennon was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman while walking to his apartment with Ono.

At 40 years old, Lennon had been a part of one of the most influential bands of all time and used his platform to speak about important social issues. That’s already more than most people do in a lifetime. But Lennon struggled with drug addiction and was persecuted for his beliefs. The FBI actually had him under surveillance for his activities – but none of that stopped Lennon. His ability to stick to what he believed in is why he’s our Real-Life Superhero of the Week.

Enjoyed this? Check out last week’s hero Neil deGrasse Tyson!

Written by Roselyn Sebastian

Image by Roy Kerwood [CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

John Lennon co-founded The Beatles, one of the most popular bands of all time. But he was more than just one of history’s most influential musicians – and that’s why he’s our Real-Life Superhero of the Week.

Born in Liverpool, England in 1940, Lennon was raised primarily by his mother Julia and his maternal aunts. Growing up, he had very little contact with his father Alfred. Throughout his childhood, Lennon struggled with school but showed an early aptitude for playing the guitar.

In 1957 at age 15, Lennon formed the Quarrymen – a band that Paul McCartney and George Harrison would later join. The three young men plus Peter Best and Stuart Sutcliffe formed The Beatles in 1960. That same year, the band was hired for a 48-night residency in Germany. By 1962, Sutcliffe and Best had left – and Ringo Starr had joined the band as drummer.

This lineup continued touring throughout 1962 and recorded their first album, Please Please Me, in 1963. This album brought The Beatles more popularity, and their single “Love Me Do” reached #17 on the charts. They even performed for the Queen! The U.K. was gripped with Beatlemania so the band decided to try their luck across the pond.

The band’s 1964 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show infected America with Beatlemania. From 1964 to 1966, The Beatles toured all over the country at venues packed with fans dying to see them. But in 1967, the band faced a backlash when Lennon remarked that The Beatles would be bigger than Jesus. The resulting protests made it difficult for them to have live performances. So from 1967 on, they focused on creating music.

Some of their most popular albums were released in the following three years, including Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Abbey Road. But during this period Lennon recorded also 3 albums with Yoko Ono.

Lennon formally left The Beatles in 1969. However, the group’s breakup wasn’t public knowledge until 1970, when McCartney released his own solo album.

Lennon continued to work on his solo career during the early 70s, moving to New York with girlfriend Ono in 1971. It was during this time that he became a vocal critic against the Nixon administration and the war in Vietnam. His song “Give Peace a Chance” was used as an anthem for anti-Vietnam demonstrations around the country.

He and Ono released their protest song “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” in 1971. This proved to be the last straw for the White House. The government officially denied Lennon residency status in 1973, in a situation that would not be resolved until 1976. After President Nixon was forced to resign, the White House had little interest in trying to keep Lennon out of the country any more.

Not only was Lennon against the Vietnam War, but he also protested against the presence of the British Army in Northern Ireland after 14 civil rights protesters were shot by British soldiers in 1972.

Throughout the 70s, Lennon continued to write and create music – both with Yoko Ono and without. But when their son Sean was born in 1975, he took a break from music to care for the baby. For the next five years, Lennon would focus mainly on childcare. He finally released his album Double Fantasy in 1980.

Sadly in December of 1980, Lennon was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman while walking to his apartment with Ono.

At 40 years old, Lennon had been a part of one of the most influential bands of all time and used his platform to speak about important social issues. That’s already more than most people do in a lifetime. But Lennon struggled with drug addiction and was persecuted for his beliefs. The FBI actually had him under surveillance for his activities – but none of that stopped Lennon. His ability to stick to what he believed in is why he’s our Real-Life Superhero of the Week.

Enjoyed this? Check out last week’s hero Neil deGrasse Tyson!

Written by Roselyn Sebastian

Image by Roy Kerwood [CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

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