John Lennon and the Beatles: A Cultural Revolution





Period 2 World History


4/4/04


John Winston Lennon was born on October 9, 1940. As a teenager he grew up and learned to play the guitar very well. As he got into his late teens, he met Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison. The Beatles became a huge hit in the UK, and on their first trip to the US they were welcomed by hundreds of thousands of fans (Wright, pg. 23.) But that’s not what I’m here to tell you about. I’m here to tell you about how John Lennon, sometimes with the Beatles, revolutionized the world.


The Beatles are often called the first of their kind. This is true, if you take a good look back into the 1960’s. Musicians were often kept to themselves, and the presented themselves onstage in a formal kind of manner. When the Beatles came, they showed the world a whole new type of rock. Melodic guitar parts and lyrics that got stuck in your head for weeks was the new wave of music, as shown with such artists as Elvis Presley. Not only did you hear a difference in their music, but also how they looked…and acted…on stage. Most of the time they dressed to impress in their collarless suits, a whole new fashion statement to the world. And if you ever went to a show, they often did what other performers didn’t. Smoking, conversing, smashing things around…this was all new to the world of music and it caught on. Bands such as the Who and the Doors often did these kinds of actions on stage, and it pleased the crowds a whole lot (Concord, pg. 31.)


The Beatles not only revolutionized the world of music, but also the world of style and appearance, too. The one thing a lot of people noticed about the Beatles was their hair. All four of the boys sported grown out mop-tops, which was usually a big no-no. But hey, this was the Beatles, and what they say and do, goes. As said before, their collarless suits were a big hit. Many men would sport them to both formal and casual occasions. The Beatles made formalwear casual, and the world picked up on that (Wright, pg. 37.)


Lennon was also known for his revolutionary anti-war efforts and ways of spreading the idea of peace. When he married his last wife, Yoko Ono, they went on a honeymoon to Buenos Aires. They did their first conference with the press in their bed, with a sign saying “Peace.” Lennon and Ono were a very smart couple, and they knew that all the media would promote was violence with the war. So the exploited and manipulated the media to promote peace…. all from their bedside! (Wright, pg. 43.) Later on, Lennon was convicted on drug charges, and wasn’t granted a visa to enter the US. So he went to the closest place he could get to the State’s press: Montreal, Canada. With the Vietnam War breaking out, he wanted to put himself in the middle of the anti-war movement. While staying in the Montreal hotel, he wrote the song “Give Peace a Chance.” He took it a step further by getting a recording team, with all their equipment, to come to his hotel room to record the newly written song. The song was released immediately in the States. Another song that Lennon wrote, “We Shall Overcome,” ended up becoming the anthem to the Civil Rights Movement. (Concord, pg. 42.)


Assassination often occurs with people who revolutionized parts of society and/or the world. These people are often alienated for their ideas and concepts of the world. John Lennon was assassinated on December 8, 1980. Mark David Chapman, a born again Christian, felt that Lennon was trying to brainwash children, and Chapman felt it was his duty to save them; Chapman was fighting a battle in his mind, and he felt that he was “the catcher in the rye.” Chapman waited outside the Dakota in New York City, where Lennon and Ono lived. As they arrived home from a late recording session, Chapman shot at Lennon five times, hitting him two in the back, two in the shoulder, and one completely missing him. He