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Timeline



"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 on drums.

January 1, 1961
The Beatles make their debut at the Cavern Club in Liverpool.

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 group.

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 producer.

April 8, 1963
Julian Lennon is born to John and Cynthia Lennon at Sefton General Hospital in Liverpool.

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 concert tour.

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 London.

June 1, 1967
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is released in Britain.

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 banned.

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 Lennon.

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 Turkey.”

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 December.

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 "Instant Karma."

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 Prison.

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 Rennie Davis.

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 separation.

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 hearing.

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 Hospital.

December 21, 1980
"(Just Like) Starting Over" (John Lennon) was a hit.