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The Beatles are considered by many to be the most successful rock band of all time. They were together from 1960 through 1970 where they conquered the UK, the US and the world. They consisted of four members: John Lennon (rhythm guitar, harmonica), Paul McCartney (bass guitar), George Harrison (lead guitar) and Ringo Starr (drums, from August 1962 - 1970).
The band began as a skiffle group formed by John Lennon in Liverpool, UK in early 1957 called The Quarrymen. On 6th July 1957 Paul McCartney met John Lennon at a Quarrymen performance and within a few days had joined the band. George Harrison was introduced to John and the rest of the band by Paul in February 1958, but was not invited to join right away due to his only being 14 years old. Since John and Paul were playing rhythm guitar and they needed a suitable lead guitarist, George was eventually let into the group as the lead guitarist in March 1958. Original Quarrymen drummer Colin Hanton left the band in 1959 and they had to go through a few other drummers and sometimes let drummers from other bands fill in for them. In January 1960, Stuart Sutcliffe, John's close friend from art college joined the band as bassist, agreeing to learn how to play and to remain sort of in the background until he became proficient with his instrument. Over these forming years came changes in name. For a short time they were calling themselves Johnny and The Moondogs. Stuart Sutcliffe suggested Beetles at some point as a similarity to Buddy Holly and the Crickets. Liking the idea, the band changed their name to Long John and The Silver Beetles. This was shortened to The Silver Beetles and then, by August 1960, The Beatles, using an 'a' in the spelling as a pun meant to suggest "beat music".
The acting manager of The Beatles got them started to perform gig's at the Indra Club in Hamburg, Germany beginning in August 1960 and The Beatles had to quickly find a drummer. They hired Pete Best, son of Mona Best, owner of the Casbah Coffee Club where The Beatles/Quarrymen would sometimes play. By October 1960, the band switched clubs and began playing at the Kaiserkeller. Indra Club owner Bruno Koschmider took it personally and reported to the authorities that George Harrison had lied about his age. He was deported from the country in November. The rest of the band eventually made their way back to Liverpool except Stuart Sutcliffe, who decided to remain in Hamburg to be with his new German fiance Astrid Kirschherr. In February 1961 the group began playing in Liverpool's Cavern Club before returning to Hamburg in April 1961 to play at the Top Ten Club. During this time they were recruited to be a back-up band for a recording session by Tony Sheridan, who also performed at the Top Ten. The following October Polydor Records issued a single from these sessions of the song "My Bonnie". A few copies were also released in the US and the UK. When the band returned after their second Hamburg stint, Stuart Sutcliffe had quit the band to remain in Hamburg with Astrid, and Paul McCartney took over bass duties. After returning to Liverpool, The Beatles became regulars at The Cavern Club.
Brian Epstein, manager of North End Music Stores (NEMS) met the band at The Cavern Club in November 1961 and by December it was agreed that he would become their manager. By New Years Day 1962, Epstein had set up an audition in London with Decca Records who turned them down.
During April 1962, while in Hamburg with Astrid, Stuart Sutcliffe died suddenly from a brain hemmorrhage.
Eventually Brian Epstein met up with George Martin, who was running EMI's Parlophone record label and he signed them up, initially only on a one-year renewable contract. George Martin had a problem however with Pete Best's drumming and suggested to Brian using another drummer while in the studio. Since he had also missed a number of engagements due to illness and was not willing to conform to the unified look and hairstyle adopted by the rest of the band, Brian dismissed Pete on 16th August 1962. Richard Starkey accepted the invitation to replace Best. Known as Ringo Starr, he had sat in for The Beatles on numerous occasions already and was previously the drummer for rival band Rory Storm and The Hurricanes.
The first session with George Martin was in June 1962 with Pete Best and did not yield anything worthy of releasing. In September 1962 they recorded their first UK hit single "Love Me Do", which peaked at No. 17 on the British singles charts. The band estblished themselves with the follow up single which they recorded in November 1962 called "Please Please Me". It reached No. 1on the British Melody Maker charts on 2nd March 1963. Less then 3 weeks earlier on 11th February, The Beatles recorded their "Please Please Me" LP in just one day and by the first week in May it also topped the British charts remaining their for an astounding 10 weeks. Their follow up single released in April 1963, called "From Me To You", also topped the British charts. The Beatles fame became the frenzy known as "Beatlemania," but it didn't hit the US right away, where they weren't used to the idea of "foreign" rock stars. Once records were released in the US, other factors hampered their success including lack of adequate promotion by minor record labels, royalties issues, and public disapproval of The Beatles hairstyle. Because their hair covered their foreheads it was considered too long to be seen on men and it took a little time for the majority of Americans to accept this in those days. However, by December 1963, the success of The Beatles in Europe had grown so immense that an adequate promotional campaign in the US could no longer be denied. Their "I Want To Hold Your Hand" single was released on Capitol Records that month, and by the first week in February, it was No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. With their appearance on America's Ed Sullivan Show before 74 million viewers (which represents approximately half of the entire American population at that time) occurring that same week, Beatlemania became rampant in America. Soon afterwards, all of their British releases were re-released in the US and became overwhelmingly successful, along with a motion picture starring The Beatles called "A Hard Day's Night".
Over the next few years The Beatles continued to dominate the record sales charts on both sides of the Atlantic with hit singles like "Can't Buy Me Love", "And I Love Her", "I Feel Fine", "Eight Days A Week", "Ticket To Ride", "Help!", "Yesterday", "Nowhere Man", "We Can Work It Out", "Day Tripper", "Yellow Submarine", "Eleanor Rigby", "Paperback Writer" and more. On 4th April 1964 they held the entire top 5 singles positions on Billboard magazine's singles chart in the US, a feat that has not been topped to this day. Their album sales also dominated the music scene throughout 1964 and 1965.
In 1965 Queen Elizabeth II appointed each of them Members of The Order of the British Empire (MBE). In August of that year they met and jammed a little with Elvis Presley. That same month they played the first stadium sized rock concert at New York's Shea Stadium. The release of their second movie "Help!" was a tremendous success at the box office. By the end of the year they had released their "Rubber Soul" album, regarded as a significant step forward in terms of the seriousness and complexity of their music.
In 1966, The Beatles began to recognize that because they could not hear themselves play at their own shows, due to the frenzy of the screaming fans, their playing was growing sloppier. This, along with the more complex arrrangements their music was taking, made it hard to perform live with the technological limitations of the equipment in 1966. For this reason, as well as some threats toward their safety, they elected to quit touring altogether after 1966. Their last full concert was at San Francisco's Candlestick Park on 29th August 1966. August 1966 also saw the release of their "Revolver" album, giving the first hints of a more pychedelic approach to their music.
During late 1966 and early 1967, the band recorded their album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'', regarded by many publications, critics and music analysts as being the most influential album of all time. Rolling Stone magazine lists it as the greatest album of all time in a 2003 ranking. The album was released in June 1967, preceded by the double a-side No. 1 hit single "Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane". The hit single "All You Need Is Love" followed the Sgt. Pepper album release in July 1967 and also topped the charts in Europe and America.
On the 27th August, 1967, manager Brian Epstein died of an accidental drug overdose. At first it as decided that they would not worry about replacing Brian and carry on by managing themselves. This turned out to be a major source of tension in the months to come.
Later in the year, The Beatles released their "Magical Mystery Tour" double EP set to accompany a television special of the same name that was put together by the band. In the US the double EP was extended into a full length album by adding the single tracks from the two earlier singles in the year and the newest single, "Hello Goodbye".
After recording their first single of 1968, "Lady Madonna", The Beatles visited Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in India to study transcendental meditation. By the time they returned, John and Paul had written enough music to make the next release a two-record set. They formed Apple Records as their own record label. "Hey Jude", their first single under the new label, topped the American singles charts for an incredible 9 weeks. When recording for the next album began in late May 1968, dissent was evident within the group. Their individual styles were emerging to the point where they were in disagreement much of the time in the studio. At one point, Ringo quit the band, causing Paul to have to play drums on several of the tracks. The final product became a double album simply titled "The Beatles". It was an ironic title as the collection of songs were the least group-like effort to date. It was much like a collection of songs by four different solo artists with the other band members acting as supporting musicians. The album featured Ringo's first Beatles composition of his own called "Don't Pass Me By". After its release, the album was dubbed "The White Album" due to its plain white jacket. The album topped the charts during January through early March 1969. Also in 1968, The Beatles appeared in animated form in the movie "Yellow Submarine", which was a fantasy story of a war between the town of Pepperland and the notorious Blue Meanies. The songs "Yellow Submarine" (previously released on their Revolver album) and "All You Need Is Love" appeared on the soundtrack along with some unused recordings from the recent "White Album" and "Sgt. Pepper" sessions.
In January 1969, The Beatles began working on a film documentary project of the recording of their next album originally to be called "Get Back". The band made their last live performance, a short 40 minute set on the rooftop of their Apple Headquarters in London, during the filming. The project was temporarily shelved; however the band did release a single from the sessions titled "Get Back". Keyboardist Billy Preston played with the band on this hit song as well as a few others in the Get Back sessions. In late spring they followed up with another single called "The Ballad Of John and Yoko", before going into the studio together in the summer of 1969 to record their final album together: "Abbey Road".
"Abbey Road" contained the double a-sided single "Something/Come Together". "Something" was the first George Harrison song to appear on the a side of Beatle's single. The overdub session on 20th August 1969 for the track "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" would be the last time all four Beatles worked together in the studio. The album was a tremendous success and again topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. In March 1970, the "Get Back" sessions tapes were given to American producer Phil Spector, who worked on the tapes over the next month. With some added overdubs done the previous January and the recording of George's track "I, Me, Mine" done without John Lennon in the studio, Phil produced the "Let It Be" album. In March the "Let It Be" single was released, and in May 1970 the release of the "Let It Be" album and "The Long and Winding Road" single concluded the recording career of The Beatles as a band. Paul McCartney officially announced the breakup of The Beatles on 10th April 1970, one week before the release of his first solo LP, "McCartney".
Each of The Beatles went on to have successful music careers after the official breakup of the band. On December 8, 1980, John Lennon was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman, a deranged fan. In February 1994, the three surviving Beatles reunited to produce and record additional music for two of John Lennon's unfinished home recordings. The resulting tracks, "Free As A Bird" and "Real Love", premiered on the television documentary "The Beatles Anthology" in 1995. These songs were also included in the three "Beatles Anthology" 2-CD sets released in 1995-96 which also contained a large collection of never before released Beatles material.
In the late 1990's George Harrison was diagnosed with lung cancer and died on November 29, 2001.
Group originally formed as the Quarrymen in Liverpool, England, 1955, by John Lennon (full name, John Winston Lennon; 1940-1980); Paul McCartney (full name, James Paul McCartney; 1942—) joined group in June 1956; George Harrison (1943—) joined group in August 1958; added guitarist Stu Sutcliffe, 1960 (quit group, 1961; died, April, 1962); added drummer Pete Best, 1960 (fired, 1962); drummer Ringo Starr (real name, Richard Starkey; 1940—), August 1962; group performed under numerous names prior to 1962, including Johnny and the Moondogs, the Moonshiners, and Long John and the Silver Beatles.
Group performed in Liverpool, England, area prior to 1960; Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, Sutcliffe, and Best (under name Silver Beatles) performed as backup group for singer Tony Sheridan in Hamburg, Germany, I960; group (minus Sutcliffe) returned to Liverpool to perform at Cavern Club, February 1961; first studio recording session for Capitol/EMI (produced by George Martin), September 4-11,1962; first single, "Love Me Do," released in England, October 5,1962; first number one hit, "Please, Please Me," reached top of British charts, February 1963; subsequently sold over 100 million singles and 100 million albums; conducted major world tours, 1964, 1965, and 1966; discontinued live performances, 1967; appeared in motion pictures, including A Hard Day's Night, 1964, Help, 1965, and Let It Be, 1970; formed own record label, Apple Records, 1968; group disbanded, 1970; McCartney filed for legal dissolution of group, 1971; group legally dissolved, December 30, 1974.
Awards: Group presented with numerous awards, including numerous Grammy Awards. Individual group members decorated Order of the British Empire, 1965.
The United States remained indifferent until, one month before the Beatles' arrival, E.M.I.'s U.S. subsidiary, Capitol Records, launched an unprecedented $50,000 promotional campaign. It and the Beatles' performances on "The Ed Sullivan Show," which opened their first American tour, paid off handsomely. "I Want to Hold Your Hand," released in the United States in January of 1964, hit number one within three weeks. After seven weeks at the top of the charts, it dropped to number two to make room for "She Loves You," which gave way to "Can't Buy Me Love." As many as three new songs a week were released, until on April 4,1964, the Beatles held the top five slots on the Billboard list of top sellers, anther seven in the top one hundred, and four albums positions including the top two. One week later, fourteen of the top one hundred songs were the Beatles'—a feat unmatched before or since.
Also in 1964, long before music videos had become commonplace, the Beatles appeared in the first of several innovative full-length feature films. Shot in black-and-white and well-received by critics, A Hard Day's Night represented a day in the life of the group. Its release one month before the Beatles began their second U.S. tour was timely. Help, released in July of 1965, was a madcap fantasy filmed in color. Exotic locations made Help visually more interesting than the first film, but critics were less impressed. Both albums sold well, though the U.S. versions contained fewer original songs, and Help was padded with pseudo-Eastern accompanying tracks.
The 1965 and 1966 albums Rubber Soul and Revolver marked a turning point in the Beatles' recording history. The most original of their collections to date, both combined Eastern, country-western, soul, and classical motifs with trend-setting covers, breaking any mold that seemed to contain "rock and roll." In both albums, balladry, classical instrumentation, and new structure resulted in brilliant new concepts just hinted at in earlier works like "Yesterday" and "Rain." Songs such as "Tomorrow Never Knows," "Eleanor Rigby," and the lyrically surreal "Norwegian Wood" made use of sophisticated recording techniques—marking the beginning of the end of the group's touring, since live performances of such songs was technically impossible at the time. The Beatles became further distanced from their fans by Lennon's comments to a London Evening Standard writer: "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that, I'm right and will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus Christ now. I don't know which will go first, rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me." While the British dismissed the statement as another "Lennonism," American teens in the Bible Belt took Lennon's words literally, ceremoniously burning Beatle albums as the group finished their last U.S. tour amid riots and death threats.
Acclaimed by critics, with advance sales of more than one million, the tightly produced "conceptual" album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was perhaps the high point of the Beatles' recording career. No longer a "collection" of Lennon-McCartney and Harrison originals, the four-Grammy album was, in a stunning and evocative cover package, a thematic whole so aesthetically pleasing as to remain remarkably timeless. Imaginative melodies carried songs about many life experiences, self-conscious philosophy, and bizarre imagery, as in "A Day in the Life"—a quintessential sixties studio production. The Beatles' music had evolved from catchy love songs to profound ballads, social commentary, and work clearly affected by their growing awareness of and experimentation with Eastern mysticism and hallucinogenic drugs. Song like "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" were pegged as drug-induced (LSD), and even Starr's seemingly harmless rendition of "A Little Help From My Friends" included references to getting "high." Broadening their horizons seemed an essential part of the Beatles' lives and, influenced greatly by Harrison's interest in Indian religion, the Beatles visited the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Bangor, Wales, in 1967. It was there that news of Brian Epstein's death reached them.
The group's next cooperative project was the scripting and directing of another film, Magical Mystery Tour, an unrehearsed, unorganized failure. Intended to be fresh, it drew criticism as a compilation of adolescent humor, gag bits, and undisciplined boredom. The resulting album, however, featured polished studio numbers such as McCartney's "Fool on the Hill" and a curiosity of Lennon's, "I Am the Walrus." The American LP added tracks including "Penny Lane," "Hello Goodbye," and "Strawberry Fields Forever," which were immortalized on short films broadcast by Ed Sullivan. Solo projects in 1967 and 1968 included the acting debuts of Lennon in How I Won the War and Starr in Candy, Harrison's soundtrack to the film Wonderwall, and Lennon's eventual release of his and Yoko Ono's controversial Two Virgins albums.
Growing diversity pointed to disintegration, the early throes of which were evident in 1968 on the two-record set, The Beatles, the first album released by the group's new record company, Apple. The White Album, as it was commonly known, showcased a variety of songs, mostly disjointed, often incomprehensible. According to George Martin, as quoted in The Beatles Forever, "I tried to plead with them to be selective and make it a really good single album, but they wouldn't have it." The unity seen in earlier projects was nudged aside by individuality and what appeared to be a growing rift between Lennon and McCartney. Whereas the latter contributed ballads like "Blackbird," the former groundout antiwar statements, parodied the Maharishi, and continued to experiment with obscure production. Harrison, on the other hand, shone in "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," aided by Eric Clapton's tasteful guitar solo. Starr, for the first time, was allotted the space for an original, the country-western "Don't Pass Me By," which became a number-one hit in Scandinavia where it was released as a single. Overall, critics found the White Album a letdown after the mastery of Sgt. Pepper, though Capitol claimed it was the fastest-selling album in the history of the record industry.
Despite having little to do with its making, the Beatles regained some of their lost status with Yellow Submarine, an animated feature film released in July 1968. A fantasy pitting the big-eyed, colorfully clothed Beatles against the squattish Blue Meanies, the film was visually pleasing if not initially a big money-maker. The group spent minimal time on the music, padding it with studio-session throwaways and re-releases of "All You Need Is Love" and "Yellow Submarine" itself. The remainder of 1968 and 1969 showed the individual Beatles continuing to work apart. Starr appeared in the film The Magic Christian, and Lennon performed live outside the group with Yoko Ono, whom he had married, and the Plastic Ono Band.
After spending months filming and recording the documentary that would later emerge as the Let It Be film and album, the Beatles abandoned thirty hours of tape and film to producer George Martin. Since editing it down would make release before 1970 impossible, the album was put on hold. Instead, for the final time, the Beatles gathered to produce an album "the way we used to do it," as McCartney was quoted in Philip Norman's book, Shout! The result was as stunning in its internal integrity as Sgt. Pepper had been. Schisms seemed to vanish on Abbey Road, with all Beatles at their best. Lennon showed himself sardonic but controlled in "Come Together" and "I Want You—She's So Heavy," McCartney crooned ballads and doo-wop rockers alike in "Golden Slumbers" and "Oh! Darling!"; and Harrison surpassed both of them with "Here Comes the Sun" and "Something," hailed by Lennon as the best track on the album. Starr, always in the back-ground, provided vocals for "Octopus's Garden" and uncompromising and creative drumming throughout. Wrote Schaffner, "The musicianship is always tasteful, unobtrusive, and supportive of the songs themselves.... The Beatles never sounded more together." Yet another Grammy winner, it was a triumphal exit from the 1960s, and its declaration, "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make," read like an epitaph until the "post mortem" release of the heavily edited Let It Be.
American producer Phil Spector took over the Let It Be clean-up project from George Martin in 1970. The resulting album, brought out after fifteen months of apathy, bickering, and legal battles, was a mixture of raw recordings, glimpses of the Beatles in an earlier era, and heavily dubbed strings and vocals—as on McCartney's "Long and Winding Road." Though most tracks were tightly and effectively edited, critics said the album lacked the harmony of earlier endeavors. According to Schaffner, Lennon later told Rolling Stone, "We couldn't get into it... . I don't know, it was just a dreadful, dreadful feeling .. . you couldn't make music .. . in a strange place with people filming you and colored lights." The film, which strove to show the Beatles as honestly and naturally as possible, gave further evidence of disintegration. Band members were shown quarreling, unresponsive to McCartney's attempts to raise morale. Said Alan Smith of the New Musical Express, quoted by Roy Carr and Tony Tyler in The Beatles: An Illustrated Record, "If the Beatles soundtrack album 'Let It Be' is to be their last, then it will stand as a cheapskate epitaph, a cardboard tomb-stone, a sad and tatty end to a musical fusion which wiped clean and drew again the face of pop music."
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Out of all The Beatles, John Lennon had the most interesting, and frustrating solo career. Lennon was capable of inspired, brutally honest confessional songwriting and melodic songcraft; he also had a tendency to rest on his laurels, churning out straight-ahead rock & roll without much care. But the extremes, both in his music and his life, were what made him fascinating. Where Paul McCartney was content to be a rock star, Lennon dabbled in everything from revolutionary politics to the television talk-show circuit during the early '70s. After releasing a pair of acclaimed albums, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, in the early '70s, Lennon sunk into an infamous "lost weekend" where his musical output was decidedly uneven and his public behavior was often embarrassing. Halfway through the decade, he sobered up and retired from performing to become a house-husband and father. In 1980, he launched a comeback with his wife Yoko Ono, releasing the duet album Double Fantasy that fall. Just as his career was on an upswing, Lennon was tragically assassinated outside of his New York apartment building in December of 1980. He left behind an enormous legacy, not only as a musician, but as a writer, actor and activist.
Considering the magnitude of his achievements with The Beatles, Lennon's solo career is relatively overlooked. Even during the height of Beatlemania, Lennon began exploring outside of the group. In 1964, he published a collection of his writings called -In His Own Write, which was followed in 1965 by A Spaniard in the Works, and in 1966, he appeared in Dick Lester's comedy How I Won the War. He didn't pursue a musical career outside of the group until 1968, when he recorded the experimental noise collage Unfinished Music, No. 1: Two Virgins with his new lover, avant-garde artist Yoko Ono. Two Virgins caused considerable controversy, both because of its content and its cover art, which featured a nude photograph of Lennon and Ono. The couple married in Gibraltar in March 20, 1969. For their honeymoon, the pair staged the first of many political demonstrations with their "Bed-In for Peace" at the Amsterdam Hilton. Several months later, the avant-garde records Unfinished Music, No. 2: Life With the Lions and The Wedding album were released, as was the single "Give Peace a Chance", which was recorded during the Bed-In. During September of 1969, Lennon returned to live performances with a concert at a Toronto rock & roll festival. He was supported by the Plastic Ono Band, which featured Ono, guitarist Eric Clapton, bassist Klaus Voormann and drummer Alan White. The following month, Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band released "Cold Turkey", which was about his battle with heroin addiction. When the single failed to make the Top Ten in Britain and America, Lennon sent his MBE back to the Queen, protesting Britain's involvement in Biafra, America's involvement in Vietnam and the poor chart performance of "Cold Turkey".
Before the release of "Cold Turkey", Lennon had told The Beatles that he planned to leave the group, but he agreed not to publicly announce his intentions until after Allen Klein's negotiations with EMI on behalf of The Beatles were resolved. Lennon and Ono continued with their campaign for peace, spreading billboards with the slogan "War Is Over! (If You Want It)" in 12 separate cities. In February of 1970, he wrote, recorded and released the single "Instant Karma" within the span of the week. The single became a major hit, reaching the Top Ten in both the U.K. and the U.S.. Two months after "Instant Karma", Paul McCartney announced that The Beatles were splitting up, provoking the anger of Lennon. Much of this anger was vented on his first full-fledged solo album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, a scathingly honest confessional work inspired by his and Ono's primal scream therapy. Lennon supported the album with an extensive interview with Rolling Stone, where he debunked many of the myths surrounding The Beatles. Early in 1971, he released another protest single, "Power to the People", before moving to New York. That fall, he released Imagine, which featured the Top Ten title track. By the time Imagine became a hit album, Lennon and Ono had returned to political activism, publicly supporting American radicals like Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and John Sinclair. Their increased political involvement resulted in the double-album Sometime in New York City, which was released in the summer of 1972. Recorded with the New York hippie band Elephant's Memory, Sometime in New York City consisted entirely of political songs, many of which were criticized for their simplicity. Consequently, the album sold poorly and tarnished Lennon's reputation.
Sometime in New York City was the beginning of a three-year downward spiral for Lennon. Shortly before the album's release, he began his long, involved battle with U.S. Immigration, who refused to give him a green card due to a conviction for marijuana possession in 1968. In 1973, he was ordered to leave America by Immigration, and he launched a full-scale battle against the department, frequently attacking them in public. Mind Games was released in late 1973 to mixed reviews; its title track became a moderate hit. The following year, he and Ono separated, and he moved out to Los Angeles, beginning his year-and-a-half long "lost weekend." During 1974 and 1975, Lennon lived a life of debauchery in Los Angeles, partying hard with such celebrities as Elton John, Harry Nilsson, Keith Moon, David Bowie and Ringo Starr. Walls and Bridges appeared in November of 1974, and it became a hit due to the inclusion of "Whatever Gets You Through the Night", a song he wrote with Elton John. At the end of the year, John helped reunite Lennon and Ono, convincing the ex-Beatle to appear during one of his concerts; it would be Lennon's last performance.
Rock & Roll, a collection of rock oldies recorded during the lost weekend, was released in the spring of 1975. A few months before its official release, a bootleg of the album called Roots was released by Morris Levy, who Lennon later sued successfully. Lennon's immigration battle neared its completion on October 7, 1975, when the U.S. court of appeals overturned his deportation order; in the summer of 1976, he was finally granted his green card. After he appeared on David Bowie's Young Americans, co-writing the hit song "Fame", Lennon quietly retired from music, choosing to become a house-husband following the October birth of his son, Sean Lennon.
During the summer of 1980, Lennon returned to recording, signing a new contract with Geffen Records. Comprised equally of material by Lennon and Ono, Double Fantasy was released in November to positive reviews. As the album and its accompanying single, "(Just Like) Starting Over", were climbing the charts, Lennon was assassinated on December 8 by Mark David Chapman. Lennon's death inspired deep grief from the entire world; on December 14, millions of fans around the world participated in a ten-minute silent vigil for Lennon at 2 p.m. EST. Double Fantasy and "(Just Like) Starting Over" both became number one hits in the wake of his death. In the years after his death, several albums of unreleased recordings appeared, the first of which was 1984's Milk and Honey; perhaps the most substantial was the 1998 four-disc box set Anthology, issued in conjunction with a single-disc sampler titled Wonsaponatime. artistdirect.com
This information is provided as a brief overview and not as a definitive guide, there are other sources on the net for that. If however you have a story or information that is not generally known we would love to hear from you. Content@rokpool.com.