(1940 - 1980)
Leader and co-founder of the British rock quartet The Beatles, Lennon was perhaps the most irreverent and provocative of the group, once famously, and controversially, observing, “We’re more popular than Jesus now.” After a few appearances on British television in 1963, the popular frenzy surrounding The Beatles prompted British newspapermen to coin the word “Beatlemania” to describe the phenomenon. The Beatles continued to be both a popular and musically groundbreaking group until 1970, when personal disagreements among the four members led the group to formally disband. Lennon married Yoko Ono in 1968, released the influential album Imagine in 1971, and saw the birth of his son in 1975. He was shot to death by a deranged fan in front of his Manhattan apartment building in 1980.