John Winston Lennon, MBE (9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980) was an English musician and singer-songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles, one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Along with fellow Beatle Paul McCartney, he formed one of the most successful songwriting partnerships of the 20th century.
Born and raised in Liverpool, Lennon became involved as a teenager in the skiffle craze; his first band, The Quarrymen, evolved into The Beatles in 1960. As the group disintegrated towards the end of the decade, Lennon embarked on a solo career that produced the critically acclaimed albums John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, and iconic songs such as "Give Peace a Chance" and "Imagine". After his marriage to Yoko Ono in 1969, he changed his name to John Ono Lennon. Lennon disengaged himself from the music business in 1975 to devote time to his infant son Sean, but re-emerged in 1980 with a new album, Double Fantasy. He was murdered three weeks after its release.
Lennon revealed a rebellious nature and acerbic wit in his music, his writing, his drawings, on film, and in interviews, becoming controversial through his political and peace activism. He moved to New York City in 1971, where his criticism of the Vietnam War resulted in a lengthy attempt by Richard Nixon's administration to deport him, while his songs were adopted as anthems by the anti-war movement.
As of 2010, Lennon's solo album sales in the United States exceed 14 million units, and as writer, co-writer or performer, he is responsible for 25 number-one singles on the US Hot 100 chart. In 2002, a BBC poll on the 100 Greatest Britons voted him eighth, and in 2008, Rolling Stone ranked him the fifth-greatest singer of all-time. He was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.
The U.S. vs. John Lennon
The U.S. vs. John Lennon is a 2006 documentary film about English musician John Lennon's transformation from a member of The Beatles to a rallying anti-war activist striving for world peace during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The film also details the attempts by the United States government under President Richard Nixon to silence him. The film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival and its North American premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. It was released in New York City and Los Angeles, California on 15 September 2006, and had a nationwide release on 29 September. A soundtrack composed of John Lennon tracks was released by Capitol Records and EMI on 26 September 2006.
The film makes extensive use of archival footage of John and Yoko Ono, and includes a famously hard-hitting interview conducted by anti-war reporter Gloria Emerson.
The U.K. release was on December 8, 2006, 26 years to the day after the death of John Lennon. The DVD was released on February 13, 2007 in the United States. The film made its cable television debut in the U.S. on August 18, 2007 on VH1 Classic
The film explores the political activism that Lennon became strongly involved in with the Beatles and after the band ended. John Lennon is established as being a potential political threat to the American government, and therefore much of the film covers the theme of 'silencing' him and other popular figures that became involved in anti-war activism. Throughout the film the audience can see both sides of the situation: the audience sees the protests and events Lennon and Yoko Ono organised, such as the famous "Give Peace A Chance" rally and concepts such as bagism and bed peace.
We also see the increasing fear experienced by the US government and CIA. This build-up of paranoia and fear for control led to the eventual deportation notice sent to John Lennon's house, informing him that 'his temporary stay in the USA was now over'. The film debunks and exposes the somewhat bizarre behaviour of the CIA and police department over John Lennon and other contemporary figures' behaviour, referring also to different modern issues like drug abuse.
The film features a montage of various mediums. There are videos of performances of songs and interviews of Lennon at the time, recordings of Yoko Ono both present and from the late 1960s and 1970s, as well as a basic story structure of retelling the story of John Lennon's attempts to spread a message of peace amongst the USA and, on a wider scale, the entire Western world during the Vietnam War.
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