John Lennon (1940 - 1980)

During his last two years as a member of "The Beatles", John Lennon spent much of his time with Yoko Ono on public displays protesting the Vietnam War. He sent back the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) he received from Queen Elizabeth II during the height of Beatlemania "in protest against Britain's involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing and support of America in Vietnam", adding as a joke, "as well as "Cold Turkey" slipping down the charts".
On March 20, 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono were married in Gibraltar, and spent their honeymoon in Amsterdam in a "Bed-In" for peace.
They followed up their honeymoon with another "Bed-In" for peace this time held in Montreal.
During the second "Bed-In" the couple recorded "Give Peace a Chance" which would go on to became an international anthem for the peace movement. They were mainly patronized as a couple of eccentrics by the media, yet they did a great deal for the peace movement, as well as for other pet causes, such as women's liberation and racial harmony.
As with the "Bed-In" campaign, Lennon and Yoko Ono usually advocated their causes with whimsical demonstrations, such as Bagism, first introduced during a Vienna press conference. Shortly after, John Lennon changed his middle name from Winston to Ono to show his "oneness" with his new wife. John Lennon wrote "The Ballad of John and Yoko" about his marriage and the subsequent press it generated. The failed Get Back/Let It Be recording/filming sessions did nothing to improve relations within the band. After both John Lennon and Yoko Ono were injured in the summer of 1969 in a car accident in Scotland, Lennon arranged for Yoko Ono to be constantly with him in the studio (including having a full-sized bed rolled in) as he worked on "The Beatles'" last album, "Abbey Road". While the group managed to hang together to produce one last superior musical work, soon thereafter business issues related to Apple Corps came between them.
John Lennon decided to quit "The Beatles" but was talked out of saying anything publicly. Phil Spector's involvement in trying to revive the "Let It Be" material then drove a further wedge between John Lennon (who supported Spector) and Paul McCartney (who opposed him). Though the split would only become legal some time later, John Lennon and Paul McCartney's partnership had come to a bitter and definite end. Paul McCartney soon made a press announcement, declaring he had quit "The Beatles", and promoting his new solo record. On the morning of December 8, 1980, in New York City, deranged fan Mark David Chapman met John Lennon as he left for the recording studio and got his copy of Double Fantasy autographed. Chapman remained in the vicinity of The Dakota for most of the day as a fireworks demonstration in nearby Central Park distracted the doorman and passers-by. Later that evening, John Lennon and Yoko Ono returned to their apartment from recording Yoko Ono's single "Walking On Thin Ice" for their next album. At 10.50pm, their limousine pulled up to the entrance of the Dakota. Yoko Ono got out of the car first, followed by John Lennon. Beyond the main entrance was a door which would be opened and a small set of stairs leading into the apartment complex. As Yoko Ono went in, John Lennon got out of the car and glanced at Chapman, proceeding on through the entrance to the Dakota. As John Lennon walked past him, Chapman called out "Mr. Lennon?". Just as John Lennon turned, Chapman crouched into a "combat" stance and fired five hollowpoint bullets into John's back and shoulder. One of the bullets fatally pierced his aorta. Still, Lennon managed to stagger up six steps into the concierge booth where he collapsed, gasping "I'm shot, I'm shot". Police arrived within minutes, to find Chapman still waiting quietly outside, reading a copy of J.D. Salinger's novel, "The Catcher in the Rye". The two officers transported John Lennon to the hospital in the back of their squad car as they thought John was too badly hurt to take the risk of waiting for an ambulance. One of the officers asked John Lennon if he knew who he was. Lennon's reply is reported to have been "Yeah", or "I'm John Lennon of "The Beatles", or simply a nod of the head before he passed out. Despite extensive resuscitative efforts in the hospital, John Lennon had lost over 80% of his blood volume and died of shock.
Millions would receive the news that night from Howard Cosell, commentator for ABC's Monday Night Football.