Remembering John Lennon

John Lennon - guitarist, singer and songwriter, actor, author, activist - was born 69 years ago on 9 October 1940.

In 1956, strumming banjo chords on his first acoustic guitar, Lennon formed a skiffle group called The Quarrymen, named after his school, The Quarry Bank High School, in Liverpool, England.

John Lennon, playing with The Beatles at France's Olympia Hall, 1 January 1964. Image © Europress/Sygma/Corbis

Within a year he met another singer-songwriter and guitarist named Paul McCartney, who joined The Quarrymen. Soon after, George Harrison, a guitar player almost three years Lennon's junior, was added to the band.

By 1962 they had become The Beatles, and with the key hiring of Ringo Starr as their drummer they changed the face of music.

"If it wasn't for John Lennon, a lot of us would be some place much different tonight. It's a hard world that asks you to live with a lot of things that are unlivable. And it's hard to come out here and play tonight, but there's nothing else to do" - Bruce Springsteen, speaking to the audience at The Spectrum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 10 December 1980, the night after John Lennon was murdered.

Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar WorldGuitar PlayerMusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.