John Lennon (1940-1980) was one of the founding members and driving artistic force behind The Beatles, the most successful rock and roll band in history. A teenage Lennon founded the band as The Quarrymen in 1957, later bringing on board Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr to complete the lineup. The band began performing as The Beatles in 1960, signed its first record contract in 1962, and hit #2 on the UK pop charts later that year. Throughout the remainder of the 1960s, The Beatles would ride an unprecedented wave of success and popularity in both their native Britain and the United States. The Beatles were the original rock stars.
After personal and creative tensions between Lennon and McCartney led to the breakup of The Beatles in 1970, Lennon's music moved in a more experimental direction, but he continued to find success as a solo act and in partnership with his wife Yoko Ono. In 1980, a deranged fan named Mark David Chapman shot and killed Lennon on the doorstep of his New York apartment building. Nearly thirty years after his death, Lennon remains and iconic and beloved figure in rock history.