While early December honors John Lennon‘s life on the anniversary of his death (December 8) and his haunting sociopolitical commentary turned Christmas song “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” floods the airwaves for the holidays, it’s actually the apt transitional season of fall that holds many milestones for the beloved former Beatle who changed everything. Take these five critical moments from his life and the songs that best accompany their story:
Instant Karma – On October 9, 1940, in Liverpool, John Winston Lennon was given to the world. His lyrics, “Well we all shine on/like the moon and the stars and the sun” seem like a celebration of life, befitting of his historic birth and lasting legacy of love.
Love Me Do – The Beatles‘ first single and the beginning of the iconic Lennon-McCartney songwriting partnership, “Love Me Do” was released on October 5, 1962. It’s said that as teens with stars in their eyes, their songs jotted in a school notebook were always labeled ”Another Lennon-McCartney Original.”
Woman – On November 9, 1966, at London’s Indica Gallery (run by Marianne Faithful‘s husband) John met Yoko Ono during a private preview of an art exhibit Yoko was featured in. “…She came up and handed me a card which said ‘breathe’ on it, one of her instructions, so I just went [pant]. This was our meeting,” John told Rolling Stone magazine Editor and Publisher Jann S. Wenner. Over a decade after that meeting, his track ‘Woman’ still passionately praised his paramour, Yoko.
Give Peace a Chance– John and Yoko famously turned their honeymoon into the celebrity spectacle “Bed-In for Peace.” At a second bed-in three months later, he wrote and recorded “Give Peace a Chance.” Led by folk singer and fellow activist Pete Seeger, the anti-war anthem was sung by a quarter of a million Vietnam War protesters in Washington, D.C. on November 15, at the second Vietnam Moratorium Day, in 1969.
Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy): From the 1980 album Double Fantasy, their last album, released three weeks before his untimely death, ‘Beautiful Boy’ is a dreamy lullaby meant to comfort the couple’s young son. On October 9, 1975, Yoko delivered Sean Ono Lennon, the pair’s only child together (Julian was born to John’s ex-wife Cynthia.) Indeed he was Lennon’s beautiful boy, but also a big one, reportedly weighing in at nearly nine pounds. Sir Elton John is his godfather.