Posts Tagged ‘The Beatles’
John Lennon. So much springs to mind when you hear that name: Co-founder of The Beatles, half of one of the most influential songwriting partnerships of all time, political activist, music icon. This week the music world and his fans will celebrate what would have been his 75th birthday.
John Lennon was born October 9, 1940 in Liverpool, England. His aunt gave him his first guitar on which he taught himself to play. At age 15, he formed his first band, the Quarrymen. Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr joined as the band evolved eventually becoming perhaps the most well-known and beloved band of the 20th century, The Beatles. John and Paul began their writing partnership in 1962. Lennon and McCartney formed what some consider the greatest songwriting team of all time. They created the majority of The Beatles songbook, and the group ushered in the British invasion in the early 1960s behind their lyrics.
After The Beatles broke up in 1970, John embarked on a solo career at times collaborating with his wife Yoko Ono. Songs like “Give Peace a Chance” reflected his political and social activism and put him under the watchful eye of the U.S. which wanted to deport him. “Imagine” became the best-selling single of his solo career in 1971 and remains a favorite of many to this day. Yoko called it “the most successful message song of all time.”
In two months, on December 8, fans will mark the 35th year of John Lennon’s death. His impact on popular music continues to be seen in those singers, songwriters and musicians who recognize him as an influence, and his legacy endures beyond the music world. One can only imagine the words and music he would have created had he not been murdered by a deranged fan’s bullet. It’s easy if you try.
It’s my birthday too. So Lennon and McCartney wrote in “Birthday” and the Beatles recorded in 1968 which also happens to be the year of my birth. Hearing this song (earworm!) got me to wondering who else was born on July 21. My search led me to three men renowned in their respective fields. Two share a sad connection. The other is perhaps not as well-known, but without whose forethought you may not be reading this blog.
One of the 20th century’s most influential writers was born July 21, 1899. Ernest Hemingway was known for understated, but direct writing about things he knew personally, especially war, nature and love. animal. He became the writer for the post-World War I generation. While his second novel, The Sun Also Rises, published in 1925, is widely considered his greatest, he followed it with novels also expressed among his best works, A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls. His last story, The Old Man and the Sea, about an aging fisherman and his pursuit of a giant fish would garner him the Pulitzer Prize (1953) and be cited in his awarding of the Nobel Prize for literature (1954). Sadly, after years of declining mental and physical health, Ernest Hemingway committed suicide in 1961.
Someone you may not be familiar with is Marshall McLuhan. A Canadian media theorist and philosopher, he was born July 21, 1911. He studied mass media effects on perception and behavior, and his work is considered cornerstone in the field. He coined the famous phrase “The medium is the message”—the medium influences how the message is perceived. However, his greatest work may have been his “’prediction” of the internet as early as 1964.
Robin Williams was one-of-a-kind. A stand-up comedian and actor who could take on just about any role, he was born July 21, 1951. He rose to fame playing an alien on the television show Mork & Mindy. On the big screen he became known for both comedic (Good Morning, Vietnam, Mrs. Doubtfire) and dramatic roles (Dead Poets Society, Awakenings) as well as his improvisational skills. It would be for a dramatic turn in Good Will Hunting that he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1998. Like Ernest Hemingway, Robin Williams suffered from depression and deteriorating physical health which led to him taking his life in 2014.
Who was born on your birthday? Find out and then go to eLibrary to learn more about that person–famous or not. You might be surprised what you’ll learn.