December 8th 1980: John Lennon killed

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John Lennon (1940 – 1980)

On this day in 1980, musician and peace activist John Winston Ono Lennon was shot outside the Dakota Building in New York City. He was killed by a deranged fan, Mark David Chapman, for whom Lennon had given an autograph just a few hours earlier.

 

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Lennon signs an autograph for Chapman

John Lennon is of course known for being a founding member of one of, if not the most, successful act in the world: The Beatles. His first band The Quarrymen later evolved into the Beatles, as eventually, the Fab Four came together. Paul McCartney joined after seeing the Quarrymen perform at a village fair, and George Harrison joined after being recommended by Paul and impressing John with his rendition of ‘Raunchy’ on the guitar. The final member was Ringo Starr, the drummer of Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. And thus John, Paul, George and Ringo came together. John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote many of the Beatles’ early hits, such as ‘Love Me Do’ and ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’, which catapulted them into worldwide fame and ‘Beatlemania’.

 

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The Beatles: Harrison, Starr, McCartney and Lennon

But on this day we do not just remember John Lennon the musician. We remember the man, and the message. Later in life, especially after having met Yoko, Lennon became very involved in peace and activism. He and Yoko staged their famous ‘bed-ins’ for peace, and expressed opposition to the Vietnam War. Lennon was an inspirational figure to millions of people, conveying his simple message of hope and peace. This message is exemplified in his song ‘Imagine’, with its peaceful simplicity and inspirational words.

 

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John and Yoko’s ‘bed-in’ for peace

Lennon lives on as a musical and artistic inspiration, an icon, and a symbol of peace. His poignant message has inspired generations:

 

“Give peace a chance”

 

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