Music historians Schinder and Schwartz, writing of the transformation in popular music styles that took place between the 1950s and the 1960s, say that The Beatles’ influence cannot be overstated: having “revolutionized the sound, style, and attitude of popular music and opened rock and roll’s doors to a tidal wave of British rock acts”, the group then “spent the rest of the 1960s expanding rock’s stylistic frontiers”. Liam Gallagher, his group Oasis among the many who acknowledge the band’s influence, identifies Lennon as a hero; in 1999 he named his first child Lennon Gallagher in tribute. On National Poetry Day in 1999, after conducting a poll to identify the UK’s favorite song lyric, the BBC announced “Imagine” the winner.
In a 2006 Guardian article, Jon Wiener wrote: “For young people in 1972, it was thrilling to see Lennon’s courage in standing up to [US President] Nixon. That willingness to take risks with his career, and his life, is one reason why people still admire him today.” Whilst for music historians Urish and Bielen, Lennon’s most significant effort was “the self-portraits … in his songs [which] spoke to, for, and about, the human condition.”
Lennon continues to be mourned throughout the world and has been the subject of numerous memorials and tributes. In 2010, on what would have been Lennon’s 70th birthday, the John Lennon Peace Monument was unveiled in Chavasse Park, Liverpool, by Cynthia and Julian Lennon. The sculpture entitled ‘Peace & Harmony’ exhibits peace symbols and carries the inscription “Peace on Earth for the Conservation of Life · In Honor of John Lennon 1940–1980”.
Awards and sales
The Lennon/McCartney songwriting partnership is regarded as one of the most influential and successful of the 20th century. As performer, writer or co-writer Lennon has had 25 number one singles on the US Hot 100 chart.a His album sales in the US stand at 14 million units. Double Fantasy, released shortly before his death, and his best-selling, post-Beatles’ studio album at three million shipments in the US, won the 1981 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. The following year, the BRIT Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music went to Lennon. Participants in a 2002 BBC poll voted him eighth of “100 Greatest Britons”. Between 2003 and 2008, Rolling Stone recognized Lennon in several reviews of artists and music, ranking him fifth of “100 Greatest Singers of All Time” and 38th of “The Immortals: The Fifty Greatest Artists of All Time”, and his albums John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, 22nd and 76th respectively of “The RS 500 Greatest Albums of All Time”. He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) with the other Beatles in 1965. He was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.