John Lennon

A founding member of The Beatles, and, along with Paul McCartney, half of one of the most celebrated and influential writing teams in the history of recorded music, John Lennon was a musician, writer and political activist whose tragic death at the hands of a so-called "fan" deified him in the eyes of the world. Through his music with The Beatles and even his solo literary efforts, Lennon brought wit, fire and poetry to his work. In the wake of the band's very public and ugly dissolution in 1970, he emerged from the maelstrom that surrounded the group to forge his own musical identity; first as a raw and uncompromising experimental rocker alongside his controversial bride, Yoko Ono, and later as the composer of such wistful material as "Imagine" and "Woman." An assassin's bullet felled him in front of his New York City apartment on Dec. 8, 1980, but his name and image continued to live on as a symbol of peace and hope for future generations.