Lennon's parents, Alfred (who was orphaned age nine and raised in an orphanage) and Julia Lennon, separated when he was three. From the age of five, after a failed attempt by his father to restart the marriage, and unwanted in the new family of his mother and step-father, he was raised by his Aunt Mimi and Uncle George, who were childless. A younger half-sister, Victoria Williams (born of a liaison between Mrs. Lennon and a soldier), was adopted by another family and raised in Norway, and she did not trace her birth family until 1996.
His Uncle George died suddenly when he was 12 and Lennon's behavior deteriorated. Lennon had a difficult time at school and was often in trouble with the headmaster; he and friends also stole from shops and threw stones at trains.
He formed a skiffle band, The Quarrymen, in 1955. In 1956 he entered Liverpool Art College (he was expelled in 1960) and discovered rock 'n' roll music. He met Paul McCartney in 1957, who introduced him to George Harrison. The band evolved into The Beatles (via Johnny and the Moondogs and The Silver Beetles), Ringo Starr joined the group in 1962, and the rest is musical and cultural history.
He was awarded an MBE but returned it in 1969 in protest at British government policies over Nigeria and Vietnam.
He was murdered by a deranged fan on a New York street, outside his apartment house.
Dever, Maria, & Dever, Aileen. Relative Origins: Famous Foster and Adopted People. (Portland: National Book Company, 1992) Coleman, Ray. Lennon: The Definitive Biography. (New York: HarperPerennial, 1992) Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia, 1993-97 The Guardian [London], 25 August 1998 Daily Mail [London], 25 and 26 August 1998 "J O H N _ L E N N O N." [Includes portrait]. Available at:  "The Beatles: John Lennon." Available at: