John Lennon

Born: October 9, 1940
Died: December 8, 1980,

Occupation: Musician, Singer and Song Writer

Challenges overcome: Dyslexia

Successes, Achievements & Awards:

John Lennon was a musician, singer/songwriter, and political activist born in Liverpool in 1940. He is most famous for being a member of The Beatles band.

After meeting Paul McCartney in 1957 at a church fete, John Lennon asked Paul McCartney to join his skiffle band, The Quarry Men. Together John Lennon and Paul McCartney formed one of the most successful song writing partnerships in musical history. George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best later joined and they changed the band name to The Beatles. They accrued a manager, Brian Epstein, in 1961, after successfully touring Scotland, and gaining popularity from their residency at the Hamburg Club, Reeperbahn, and from the Cavern Club in Merseyside, Liverpool. They signed to EMI label Parlophone in 1962 and released their first single ‘Love Me Do’. Ringo Starr replaced Pete Best as drummer of the band and Stuart Sutcliffe died suddenly from a brain haemorrhage.

Beatlemania struck from 1963 with the band’s ever growing popularity and number of fans. By 1964, John Lennon was a millionaire with his earnings from The Beatles and royalties from song writing with Paul McCartney. He lived in a mansion with his wife Cynthia Lennon, whom he married in 1962, and their son Julian, who was born in 1963.

From 1965, John Lennon was a popular media personality and was often boasted as being a British success story by politicians with the rest of The Beatles. They were also awarded MBE’s in 1965, but Lennon returned his back to the Queen in 1969 in protest of Britain’s involvement in The Nigerian Civil War and its support of the US in Vietnam.

The Beatles split up in 1970. In their time as a band they released 12 Albums in the UK and 5 movies. John Lennon then married his second wife Yoko Ono in 1969, and moved to New York with her in 1971. The American government tried several times to deport John Lennon, as they were unhappy with his political activism and views on the US, but were unable to. He released 6 albums with Yoko Ono from 1968 – 1984 and released 5 solo albums from 1970 –1975. His final album, ‘Double Fantasy’ with Yoko, was released in October 1980, just weeks before his murder outside his apartment building by a crazed fan.

John Lennon gained a number of awards and achievements in his lifetime and after death, including 25 Number 1 singles on the American Hot 100 Chart, and album sales of over 14 million units in the America. Double Fantasy received a Grammy award for Album of the Year in 1981. John also received the BRIT award for outstanding contribution to music in 1982. The Rolling Stone ranked him 5th out of their 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, and a BBC poll ranked Lennon as the 8th Greatest Briton. John Lennon was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, first with The Beatles in 1988, and then again in 1994 for his solo work. In 1987, John was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Challenges Overcome

Struggling with his dyslexia at school, John had trouble concentrating in class and spelling, and became the class clown and troublemaker. He moved onto Quarry Bank High School in 1952. He continued to disrupt classes but excelled in art, and was able to attend the Liverpool College of Art despite failing his O-Level exams, thanks to recommendations from his Aunt and Headmaster. John was thrown out of the college before his final year because of his behaviour.

“A couple of teachers would notice me, encourage me to be something or other, to draw or to paint – express myself,” Lennon explained he was misunderstood as a troublemaker throughout school because of his creativity and troubles with Dyslexia.

Disability Definitions


Dyslexia, also known as Alexia (a brain disorder affecting the ability to read) or developmental reading disorder, is characterised by difficulties when learning to read and with differing language comprehension despite normal or above-average intelligence. This includes difficulty with phonological awareness, phonological decoding, processing speed, orthographic coding, auditory short-term memory, language skills and verbal comprehension, or rapid naming of objects. Dyslexia only affects some skills and abilities and is not linked to a person’s general level of intelligence.


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Information sources:

Please click on the information links below to find out more.

http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/31351?docPos=2 Richard Middleton, ‘Lennon, John Ono (1940–1980)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2011 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/31351, accessed 25 March 2015] – Please note that you will require library subscription or a library card to access the content on this site.

John Lennon. (2015, June 7). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopaedia. Retrieved 12:31, June 8, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=John_Lennon&oldid=665876542

Richard Middleton, ‘Lennon, John Ono (1940–1980)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2011 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/31351, accessed 28 July 2015]

Image source – Wikicommons

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