John Lennon is of course best known as the founder, co-songwriter, co-lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of the Beatles, whose song-writing partnership with Paul McCartney remains one of the most successful in history. Sometimes called ‘the smart Beatle’, Lennon initially was the group’s de facto leader, a role he gradually ceded to McCartney.

Through his song-writing in the Beatles, he embraced myriad musical influences, initially writing and co-writing rock and pop-oriented hit songs in the band’s early years, then later incorporating experimental elements into his compositions in the latter half of the Beatles’ career as his songs became known for their increasing innovation. But John Lennon wasn’t just a very successful musician. He soon expanded his work into other media by participating in numerous films, including How I Won the War, and authoring the collections of nonsense writings and line drawings In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works.

Starting with ‘All You Need Is Love’, his songs were adopted as anthems by the anti-war movement and the larger counterculture of the 1960s. In 1969 he started the Plastic Ono Band with his second wife, multimedia artist Yoko Ono, held the two-week-long anti-war demonstration Bed-ins for Peace, and left the Beatles to embark on a solo career.

Between 1968 and 1972, Lennon and Ono collaborated on many works, including a trilogy of avant-garde albums, several more films, and his solo debut John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band with ‘Give Peace a Chance’ and ‘Imagine’. Moving to New York City in 1971, his criticism of the Vietnam War resulted in a three-year deportation attempt by the Nixon administration. Lennon and Ono separated from 1973 to 1975, during which time he had chart-topping collaborations with Elton John (‘Whatever Gets You thru the Night’) and David Bowie (‘Fame’). Following a five-year hiatus, Lennon returned to music in 1980 with the Ono collaboration ‘Double Fantasy’. He was murdered by a Beatles fan, Mark David Chapman, three weeks after the album’s release.

We are very grateful to our Russian friend Yuri for encouraging us to include this artist.

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