The Non-Believer: John Lennon
“Part of me suspects that I’m a loser, and the other part of me thinks I’m God Almighty.”
John Ono Lennon, born John Winston Lennon; (9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980), was a lover, an activist, a member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and a founding member of the rock band the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music. With Paul McCartney, he formed a songwriting partnership that is one of the most celebrated of the 20th century. When the group disbanded in 1970, Lennon embarked on a solo career that produced the critically acclaimed albums John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, and iconic songs such as “Give Peace a Chance” and “Working Class Hero”. After his marriage to Yoko Ono in 1969 (largely rumored as the reason the group broke up), he changed his name to John Ono Lennon. Three weeks after their release of Double Fantasy, Lennon was shot and killed.
As of 2012, Lennon’s solo album sales in the United States exceeded 14 million and, as writer, co-writer or performer, he is responsible for 25 number-one singles on the US Hot 100 chart. In 2002, a BBC poll on the 100 Greatest Britons voted him eighth and, in 2008, Rolling Stone ranked him the fifth-greatest singer of all time. He was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.