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John Winston Lennon (later John Winston Ono Lennon) (October 9, 1940 - December 8, 1980) is best known as a singer, songwriter and guitarist for the British rock band The Beatles. His creative career also included the roles of solo musician, political activist, artist, actor and author. As half of the legendary Lennon-McCartney songwriting team, he heavily influenced the development of rock music, leading it towards more advanced, multi-layered arrangements, mature lyrical sentiments, and musical eclecticism.

Lennon's songwriting was an integral part of The Beatles' profound commercial and critical impact. His melodies, written during the Lennon-McCartney era, and later, in his solo career, are distinctive and unashamedly romantic. Lennon's lyrics reflected his personal and career demands, philosophical outlook, his unease with his fame and current events. He and McCartney popularized the use of electronic effects in rock music.

He is recognized as one of the greatest music icons of the 20th century and many of his songs, such as "Imagine" and "Strawberry Fields Forever", are often ranked among the best songs in popular music history. In 2002, the BBC conducted a vote to discover the 100 Greatest Britains of all time, and the British public voted Lennon into 8th place.

Outside of the Dakota apartments in New York City, John Lennon was assassinated on December 8 1980 by a deranged fan, Mark David Chapman. Lennon's death inspired deep grief from the entire world; on December 14, millions of fans around the world participated in a ten-minute silent vigil for Lennon at 2 p.m. EST.

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