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John Lennon Birth Anniversary: 5 Songs by The Beatles Singer One Must Listen To

On the singer's 79th birth anniversary, here's looking at 5 of his most popular numbers.

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Updated:October 9, 2019, 2:19 PM IST
John Lennon, The Beatles
John Lennon on Honda Z50. (Image: H&H Classics)

John Winston Ono Lennon, an English singer, songwriter and peace activist who earned worldwide fame as the founder, co-lead vocalist, and rhythm guitarist of the Beatles, was born on October 9, 1940. The musician, who formed his first band, the Quarrymen, in 1957, which would evolve into the Beatles in 1960, saw his lyrics promoting a pacifist message, with some of his songs being adopted as anthems by the anti-war movement.

A controversial peace activist, his criticism of the Vietnam War resulted in a three-year attempt by the Nixon government to deport him. The singer was shot and killed by a fan Mark David Chapman, in the archway of his Manhattan apartment building three weeks after the release of his comeback album Double Fantasy in 1980.

On the singer's 79th birth anniversary, here's looking at 5 of his most popular numbers:

Give Peace a Chance

The anti-war song written by Lennon was released as a single in July 1969 by the Plastic Ono Band on Apple Records. The song, the first solo single issued by Lennon, while he was still a member of the Beatles, became an anthem of the American anti-war movement during the 1970s.

Instant Karma!

Released as a single in February 1970, it focuses on a concept in which the causality of one's actions is immediate rather than borne out over a lifetime. The song reached the top five in the British and American singles charts, competing with the Beatles' "Let It Be" in the US.


The best-selling single of his solo career and a cult classic, the song asks the listener to imagine a world at peace without the barriers of borders or the divisions of religion and nationality. Interestingly, shortly before his death, Lennon admitted that much of the song's lyric and content came from his wife Yoko Ono.

Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

A Christmas single released in 1971, the lyric to the songs are set to the traditional English ballad 'Skewball' and was the seventh single release by Lennon outside his work with the Beatles. In fact, it was also a protest song against the Vietnam War.

How Do You Sleep?

A song from the 1971 album Imagine, it was an angry and scathing composition aimed at his former Beatles band mate and songwriting partner, Paul McCartney. Lennon wrote the song in response to what he thought was personal snubs by McCartney on the latter's Ram album.

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