"Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."
October 9, 1940 John Lennon is born at Oxford Street Maternity
Hospital in Liverpool, England, to Julia and Alfred Lennon.
1945 Julia, separated from Alfred, entrusts her son, John
Lennon, to the care of her sister, Mary Elizabeth
Stanley Smith, “Aunt Mimi.”
1956 Aunt Mimi buys John a guitar at Frank Hessy’s
music store. His incessant playing prompts her to
say, “The guitar’s all very well as a hobby, John,
but you’ll never make a living out of it.” John forms
his first group, the Quarrymen.
July 6, 1957 John meets Paul McCartney at the Woolton
Parish Church in Liverpool during a performance by
John’s group the Quarrymen. Impressed by Paul’s
ability to tune a guitar and by his knowledge of
song lyrics, John asks him to join the group.
February 1, 1958 Paul introduces George Harrison to the Quarrymen
at a basement teen club called the Morgue.
George joins the group.
August 1, 1960 The Beatles make their debut in Hamburg, West
Germany, with Stu Sutcliffe on bass and Pete Best
January 1, 1961 The Beatles make their debut at the Cavern Club
November 1, 1961 Local record store manager Brian Epstein is
introduced to the Beatles. He soon signs a
contract to manage them.
April 10, 1962 Stu Sutcliffe dies of a brain hemorrhage. Paul
McCartney switches to bass.
June 1, 1962 The Beatles audition for George Martin at
Parlophone/EMI Records. He agrees to sign the
group, but insists that Pete Best be replaced.
Within months, Richard “Ringo” Starkey joins the
August 23, 1962 John Lennon marries Cynthia Powell.
September 4-11, 1962 The Beatles record their first sessions at EMI
Studios in London, with George Martin as
April 8, 1963 Julian Lennon is born to John and
Cynthia Lennon at Sefton General Hospital in
February 7, 1964 The Beatles begin their first U.S. tour at the
Coliseum in Washington, D.C.
March 23, 1964 John’s first book, In His Own Write, is published
and becomes an instant best-seller.
July 6, 1964 The world premiere of A Hard Day’s Night takes
place in London.
January 1, 1965 John composes “Help!” the title song for the
Beatles’ second film. He later confides that the
lyrics are a cry for help and a clue to the
confusion and despondency he feels.
June 24, 1965 John Lennon's second book, A Spaniard in the
Works, is published.
August 15, 1965 The Beatles play in front of almost 60,000 fans at
Shea Stadium in New York City.
October 26, 1965 The Beatles are awarded England’s prestigious
MBE (Members of the Order of the British Empire).
John comments, “I thought you had to drive tanks
and win wars to get the MBE.”
March 1, 1966 London's Evening Standard publishes an interview
with John Lennon in which he states that the
Beatles are "more popular than Jesus now." The
comment provokes several protests, including the
burning of Beatles records.
July 31, 1966 John Lennon’s comments (made in March) on the
state of Christianity spark protests in the U.S. on
the eve of the Beatles’ 1966 American tour.
August 29, 1966 After their concert at San Francisco’s Candlestick
Park, the Beatles declare this to be their final
September - October 1966 John makes his first appearance away from the
Beatles in the role of Private Gripweed in Richard
Lester’s film How I Won the War. He writes
“Strawberry Fields Forever” during the filming.
November 9, 1966 Yoko Ono and John Lennon meet at a preview of
her art show, Exhibition #2, at Indica Gallery in
June 1, 1967 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is released
September 1, 1967 John writes “I Am the Walrus” while under the
influence of LSD. He also anonymously sponsors
Yoko Ono’s Half a Wind Show (subtitled Yoko Plus
Me) at London’s Lisson Gallery.
May 1, 1968 Apple Corps, Ltd. begins operating in London. It is
the Beatles’ attempt to take control of their own
creative and economic destiny. Later that month,
John invites Yoko to his house in Weybridge. They
make experimental tapes all night.
May 1968 - June 15, 1968 John and Yoko exhibit their first official joint
venture at the Arts Lab in London. Soon after,
they plant acorns outside Coventry Cathedral as a
conceptual “living arts sculpture.”
Summer 1968 John Lennon moves out of his house in Weybridge.
He and Yoko Ono move into Ringo Starr’s
apartment in Montague Square.
July 1, 1968 John Lennon holds his first art exhibition, entitled
You Are Here—To Yoko from John, with Love.
October 18, 1968 John Lennon and Yoko Ono are arrested and
charged with possession of cannabis.
November 1, 1968 John Lennon pleads guilty to marijuana possession
charges. He pays a nominal fine but insists that
the drugs were planted by police.
November 8, 1968 A divorce is granted to John and Cynthia Lennon.
November 11, 1968 John Lennon and Yoko Ono release their first album
together, Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins. The
cover, a full-frontal shot of them naked, is
December 11-12, 1968 The Rolling Stones film the Rock and Roll Circus,
with guests Eric Clapton, John Lennon, Jethro Tull
and the Who.
January 30, 1969 The Beatles make their last performance as a
group on the roof of the Apple building during the
filming of Let It Be.
March 20, 1969 John Lennon and Yoko Ono marry in Gibraltar.
March 25-31, 1969 John Lennon and Yoko Ono celebrate their
marriage by hosting a “bed-in” – their “commercial
for peace” – at the Amsterdam Hilton.
April 22, 1969 John officially changes his name to John Ono
May 26 - June 2, 1969 John Lennon and Yoko Ono conduct a bed-in at
the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal. They record
“Give Peace a Chance,” with Tommy Smothers,
Timothy Leary and others.
June 4, 1969 “The Ballad of John and Yoko” is released.
July 26, 1969 “Give Peace a Chance,” recorded by John Lennon
and the Plastic Ono Band, enters the charts.
August 1, 1969 John and Yoko move to Tittenhurst Park, a
400-acre estate in Ascot.
September 1, 1969 John Lennon returns his MBE. He says it is to
protest the British government’s involvement in
Biafra, its support of the U.S. in Vietnam and the
poor chart performance of his latest single, “Cold
September 12, 1969 John Lennon appears at the Toronto Rock ‘n’ Roll
Revival concert, accompanied by Eric Clapton,
Klaus Voormann, Alan White and Yoko. The Plastic
Ono Band – Live Peace in Toronto is released in
September 13. 1969 At the insistence of the Doors' Jim Morrison, a
Gene Vincent fan, Vincent played at the Toronto
Rock 'n' Roll Revival, sharing the festival bill with
John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band, Chuck Berry and
Jerry Lee Lewis.
December 16, 1969 “War Is Over! If You Want It!” billboards go up in
11 cities around the world, as a Christmas
message from John and Yoko.
January 26, 1970 John Lennon and Phil Spector write and record
July 1, 1971 John Lennon records Imagine in his studio at
Tittenhurst. The title track is inspired by a
message in Yoko Ono’s book Grapefruit.
November 1, 1971 John Lennon appears at a benefit concert at the
Apollo Theater for the families of inmates at Attica
January 1, 1972 The staff of the U.S. Senate Internal Security
Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee prepares
a memo about John Lennon’s involvement with
such radicals as Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman and
February 4, 1972 Senator Strom Thurmond suggests in a secret
memo to Attorney General John Mitchell that John
Lennon be deported.
February - March 1972 John Lennon’s U.S. non-immigrant visa expires. An
extension is granted then revoked. Deportation
proceedings begin, marking the start of John’s
four-year battle to remain in the U.S.
April 1, 1973 John Lennon and Yoko Ono purchase an apartment
at the Dakota on Central Park West and West
72nd Street in New York.
Fall 1973 John Lennon and Yoko Ono begin an 18-month
November 1, 1973 John Lennon's Mind Games is released.
August 1, 1974 John Lennon records the Walls and Bridges album,
writing 10 of the songs in a single week.
November 28, 1974 John Lennon makes his final concert appearance,
with Elton John at Madison Square Garden.
January 2, 1975 John and Yoko are reunited. The Beatles’ final
dissolution takes place in London.
October 9, 1975 Sean Taro Ono Lennon is born at New York
Hospital on John’s 35th birthday.
July 26, 1976 John Lennon’s application to remain in the U.S. as
a permanent resident is approved at a special
1977 - 1979 The majority of John Lennon’s time is spent as a
“househusband” – taking care of Sean – while
Yoko handles the family’s business affairs.
June 1, 1980 John Lennon takes a sailing trip to Bermuda.
There, he begins writing songs again.
October 23, 1980 John Lennon’s first new single, “(Just Like) Starting
Over,” is released.
November 23, 1980 John Lennon's Double Fantasy album is released.
December 8, 1980 John Lennon is shot by a deranged assailant as he
and Yoko return to the Dakota after a recording
session. He is pronounced dead at Roosevelt
December 21, 1980 "(Just Like) Starting Over" (John Lennon) was a hit.