John Lennon: An Inspiring and Peaceful Performer Essay
John Lennon: An Inspiring and Peaceful Performer
John Lennon was one among many inspiring and peaceful performers of his time. Lennon first began to perform with his first band, the Quarrymen, named after his high school the Quarry Bank School, at the age of sixteen. This was the year 1956, after World War II. His hometown was still recovering from the aftermath, both physically and emotionally. Lennon’s big musical break happened when he joined the Beatles, around 1960. At this time, his hometown celebrated popularity for its “Merseybeat sound” (Edmondson xvi). John Lennon broke away from the Beatles and started his own solo project in 1969. His solo career focused on antagonizing the modern Vietnam War waging on. John Lennon motivated people to live serenely through his music.
John Lennon’s songs became very famous for their political and peaceful encouragement. “All You Need is Love,” was written in 1967 while Lennon was still performing with the Beatles. The song became popular due to its straightforward and clear message of love and peace. The song also poked fun at nations overrun by propaganda. “Give Peace a Chance” was also a song released by John Lennon as part of his solo career. The song was written in 1969, during the Vietnam War. John Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, wrote it at their Bed In for Peace, where they would stay in bed for a week to protest the Vietnam War, with the intention of making it an anthem of peace. Finally, “Imagine,” one of Lennon’s most famous peace anthems, was released in 1971. “Imagine” became renowned as being the opening and main track of John Lennon’s album, “Imagine,” and for speaking out against violence and war. The song announced to the world a positive message about picturing a period of peace and what the world would be like without conflict. Acclaimed for spreading a bulletin of harmony, John Lennon’s songs were and are still considered enlightening.
John Lennon’s life contributed greatly to his musical success. “John Winston Lennon was born October 9, 1940 in Liverpool, England.” (Edmondson xi) Liverpool was a city where “from the time of the Civil War, ocean liners traveled between Liverpool and the US on a regular basis, sharing music, stories, and culture” (Edmondson xvi). American sailors brought their music to Liverpool, introducing artists such as Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and Carl Perkins, therefore influencing John Lennon and the Beatles.
The American music inspired Lennon to write songs with the same classic rock and bluesy feel. During his time, Liverpool was still a city recovering from the aftermath of World War II. The city was still filled with crumbled buildings and economic challenges, “a quiet middle-class neighborhood” (Edmondson xi). For this reason, John Lennon’s music was not recognized until he performed in another, busy, bustling city with the Beatles. Lennon attended the high school Quarry Bank School. Here, he and his classmates formed their first band, the Quarrymen, which in turn inspired John to take a larger step in his musical career. John Lennon’s musical achievements have been a result of his growing-up in Liverpool.
John Lennon and his music became a historical figure in peace and serenity. Lennon desired for his music to become legendary so that his message of love and passion to the world would be delivered. Lennon made sure that his music was not only aimed at common civilians of the time, but also government officials of many countries. He felt that the governments were caught up in spending their money and lives on fighting wars and telling lies to their people to reassure their safety. Lennon spoke out against propaganda through many of his songs, including “All You Need is Love.” Although John Lennon was not able to change laws or the thinking of government, he and the Beatles did manage to help fuel the Hippie Era. This was a time when ordinary citizens, mainly teenagers, would try to rebel against all figures of authority including parents and politicians to spread their message of cessation and embracing nature. It was the “hippies” that were crazed in the Beatles and also wanted their moral to be noticed. Lennon’s songs, rather successfully, were written so that the world would try and consider thinking about unity in their society.
Effects made by John Lennon are still seen in the world around everybody. Lennon is still widely known as a political activist and musician. Because the Beatles were able to gain so much popularity around the world, John Lennon still had fans when he broke away from the band to start on his solo singing career. Today, it is a rare occurrence to find someone who has never heard his name or doesn’t know who he was. Sings John Lennon in his celebrated song, “Imagine,” “Imagine there’s no countries, it isn’t hard to do; Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too; Imagine all the people living in peace.”
In these lines, Lennon points out that if there were no society, there would not be violent wars. Many people agreed that acuteness and weapons would have been limited, if not never used, if humans did not develop into changing the earth for their own greedy purposes. “In 1985, to commemorate what would have been John’s 45th birthday, Yoko [Ono] arranged to have 2.5 acres of land in Central park named ‘Strawberry Fields’ in John’s memory (after the song ‘Strawberry Fields Forever,’ written by Lennon). The land is just across the street from the Dakota, and includes a large round mosaic with the word ‘Imagine’ in the center. Fans often leave flowers, candles, and other memorabilia in the space to honor John” (Edmondson xxii). Even today, John Lennon’s music has affected many perspectives of how humans are living life and interacting with each other.
John Lennon was able to inspire many artists. After he and the Beatles performed in America, they started what is known as the “British Invasion.” British bands inspired by the Beatles during the British Invasion including the Rolling Stones, The Kinks, and the Animals were all the rage. All of a sudden, American and English teenagers could not get enough of the British bands. Multiple musicians were able to gain familiarity with classic rock thanks to John Lennon.
John Lennon’s political activism did not necessarily sit well with some parts of society. Especially because of “Give Peace a Chance” and his bed-ins for peace, the Nixon administration conflicted against him and attempted to have his residency from the United States taken away from him. Not only his stern idea for harmony, but his use of heroin had a fraction of society frown upon him. Additionally, his image didn’t improve in the best way when a terrorist organization was discovered to have a name similar to a title of a song by the Beatles. The group, called Revolutionary Force 9, questioned the Beatles for their coincident song title, “Revolution 9.” Finally, on December 8, 1980, Lennon was murdered by someone who supposedly seemed like a crazed fan. The probably mad citizen murdered John outside his New York City home on December 8, 1980. John Lennon wasn’t socially accepted by everybody in the world.
John Lennon and his written music made dissimilarities in the world and the thoughts of its people. Without him, many musicians, including those from the British Invasion, wouldn’t have been motivated to play their music. The Beatles truly popularized taking a European twist on American rock music. Lennon has supported protesting peacefully. Therefore, citizens who sing “Give Peace a Chance” at their protests in order to speak out against the government would probably not exist without John Lennon. Plus, not many halcyon songs would sound like the “Imagine” we have come to love. John Lennon has been an influence musically and politically to the world.
Edmondson, Jacqueline. John Lennon: A Biography. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2010.
Hammet, William. “John Lennon’s Political Activism.” (Online) Date written unknown. http://www.johnlennonandthemercystreetcafe.com/lennonactivism.html
(Visited: April 11, 2011)