John Lennon: Dyslexic Revolutionary
Visionary musician John Lennon has touched hearts and inspired the world from his first song with his revolutionary band, The Beatles. Since the 1960’s, Lennon has been celebrated for his musical talents and philanthropic acts. Lennon’s untimely death in 1980 could not stop the peaceful musician’s impact on the world.
The work of John Lennon has spanned generations of music lovers and peacemakers alike. From his beautiful lyrics to his acts of kindness, Lennon is famous for his heart and soul. Very few are aware of Lennon’s struggles with the learning disorder, dyslexia, since his childhood. Through his difficulties with reading and writing, Lennon emerged a victorious hero. Lennon’s music and character would not have existed without his perseverance through dyslexia.
The Early Life of John Lennon
Lennon was born on October 9th, 1940, in Liverpool, England. With an absent father and young mother, Lennon grew up in the custody of his aunt Mimi. His guardians would engage him with crossword puzzles and literature, but Lennon would sneak off to visit his mother and listen to rock n’roll records.
Listening to musicians like Buddy Holly and Elvis, Lennon had difficulty memorizing the lyrics he loved so much. He would make up his own words to songs and sparked his desire to write and play music as a career. He received his first guitar from his mother at age 16.
Lennon excelled at art while attending Quarry Bank High School, but his grades were poor and he had difficulty spelling. Reports from his teachers would complain about Lennon’s rowdiness in the classroom, and he was deemed a troublemaker. Due to Lennon’s dyslexia, he had trouble concentrating and turned to writing music.
Lennon failed his general education exams, but was accepted into the Liverpool College of Art with his headmaster and aunt’s referrals. Lennon’s bad behavior continued through college and he was expelled before graduation.
Lennon’s Journey to The Beatles
“The guitar’s all very well, John, but you’ll never make a living out of it,” his aunt famously quoted. Lennon set out to prove her and his teachers wrong and began a career in music.
Shortly before the death of his mother in 1957, Lennon started his first band, ‘The Quarrymen,’ with schoolmates. The group went through multiple line-ups and performed at various festivals and competitions.
Tension was high between the young members, and one fateful show introduced Lennon to his future songwriting partner, Paul McCartney. With McCartney’s urging, Lennon allowed the bassist George Harrison to join the group. The Quarrymen took a hiatus after Lennon’s mother was killed in a road accident, and reformed with multiple name changes. After adopting The Beatles as a moniker, drummer Ringo Starr completed the quartet in 1962.
The Fab Four
The Beatles found popularity in Hamburg, Germany and returned to London to record their debut L.P, ‘Please Please Me.’ The album saw a record of seventeen consecutive number one singles on Great Britain’s music charts. The Beatles amassed such a large following that their fan base and era of music was dubbed ‘Beatlemania.’
They toured the country regularly, creating frenzy and musical history at every stop. The Beatles topped the charts again with a second album, ‘With the Beatles.’ Lennon and his group found their place in the United States in 1963, bringing a media-named ‘British Invasion’ to the country. Lennon and McCartney wrote the album ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ the next year, followed by standout records like ‘Help’ and ‘Rubber Soul.’
The band starred in three popular movies and continued to rule the airwaves with consecutive albums through the 1960’s. All four were named Members of the Order of The British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1965.
“We’re more popular than Jesus now,” Lennon said in an interview in 1966, sparking backlash through the United States and religious organizations. He and the group released the two major albums, ‘Revolver’ and ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,’ and performed a final tour. Pivotal albums ‘Abbey Road’ and ‘Let it Be’ were released before the band broke up.
Lennon’s Relationships and Death
After the breakup of the Beatles, Lennon continued to make music under his name. He wrote and recorded the single ‘Imagine,’ which quickly became the anthem for lovers of peace and harmony around the world. Lennon found love with the artist, Yoko Ono, and the two were married in 1969. The couple collaborated on musical projects and started a family. Sean Lennon was born to the couple in 1975 and joined Lennon’s son, Julian, from his previous marriage.
Lennon and Ono created an anti-war campaign and received controversial reviews. The couple staged peaceful protests and became the poster children for activism. One of their famous protests was the ‘Bed-In For Peace’ where the two refused to leave their hotel room bed on two occasions and invited the media in to cover the event.
On December 8th, 1980, an obsessed fan shot and killed John Lennon outside his New York apartment. The world mourned the loss of an icon. “John loved and prayed for the human race,” Ono reported after his death. “Please pray the same for him.”
Lennon on Dyslexia
“A couple of teachers would notice me, encourage me to be something or other, to draw or to paint – express myself,” Lennon explained. He was misunderstood as a troublemaker throughout school because of his creativity and troubles with dyslexia. Lennon’s loving aunt and headmaster saw through his disability and fought for him to attend college after high school.
Despite his difficulties, Lennon let his talent shine through his music and writing. His beautiful lyrics and activism were grown from his perseverance through dyslexia. Lennon’s strong social skills and creativity were gifts given to him by his learning disability. With his unwavering drive and relentless talent, Lennon has influenced millions for more than 50 years. He is a true motivational hero to the dyslexic community.