- GRAMMY Live
John Lennon's creative meanderings sprouted from the Beatles' early years in Hamburg, Germany, where the seminal band honed their sound. Lennon's close friendships with original Beatles bassist Stuart Sutcliffe and German artist Astrid Kirchherr served as a precursor to his later pursuits in art and writing.
During the height of the Beatles' fame in 1964, Lennon published a collection of writings titled In His Own Write, which was followed by 1965's A Spaniard In The Works. His first musical venture outside of the Beatles came in 1968 when he recorded the experimental album Unfinished Music, No. 1: Two Virgins with Yoko Ono. Lennon married Ono in 1969 and the pair subsequently released Unfinished Music, No. 2: Life With Lions and Wedding Album, as well as the single "Give Peace A Chance," the latter of which peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was recorded during Lennon and Ono's famous "bed-in" for peace demonstration at the Hilton Amsterdam.
Lennon scored his first Top 5 solo hit in 1970 with "Instant Karma (We All Shine On)" in the months before Paul McCartney announced the breakup of the Beatles, leading Lennon to release his first official solo effort, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, which peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200.
In September 1971 Lennon released Imagine. The album topped the chart on the strength of the title track, which peaked at No. 3 and became a global emblem for peace. "Imagine" was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 1999. Lennon's subsequent battle with U.S. immigration authorities over their refusal to grant him a green card due to a 1968 conviction for marijuana possession led to the release of the politically charged 1972 double album Some Time In New York City and 1973's Mind Games, the latter of which peaked at No. 9.
During a nearly two-year split from Ono, Lennon moved to Los Angeles where he recorded the No. 1 hit "Whatever Gets You Thru The Night," which features Elton John and appears on the No. 1 album Walls And Bridges. After reconciling his relationship with Ono, Lennon was granted a green card in 1976. In November 1980 Lennon issued Double Fantasy. The album climbed to No. 1 and took home Album Of The Year honors at the 24th GRAMMY Awards on the strength of the Top 10 hits "(Just Like) Starting Over," "Woman" and "Watching The Wheels."
On Dec. 8 1980, Lennon was assassinated by Mark David Chapman outside his New York City apartment.