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John Winston Ono Lennon, MBE1940-1980
Composer and Singer
Born in Liverpool he was best known as the founding member of The Beatles, in which he and Paul McCartney formed the massively successful Lennon-McCartney songwriting partnership throughout the 1960s.
Lennon's songwriting was full of pain and hope. His melodies were at times beautiful and at times dark. Lennon's lyrics reflected his personal and career demands, philosophical outlook, his unease with his fame and current events. He and McCartney popularised the use of electronic effects in rock music, paving the way for the harder rock forms of the 1970s and 1980s.
Lennon, on television and in films such as A Hard Day's Night (1964), and by press conferences and interviews, revealed his rebellious, iconoclastic nature and quick, irreverent wit. Lennon channeled his fame and penchant for controversy into his work as a peace activist, artist and author. He was murdered in New York City on December 8, 1980. He was granted the freedom of the City of Liverpool along with the other members of the Beatles.
In 2002, the BBC polled the British public about the 100 Greatest Britons of all time. Respondents voted Lennon into eighth place.