John Lennon was one of the most popular figures in the world as a singer, songwriter and anti-war activist of the 1960s and co-founder of The Beatles. John Denver was one of America's most popular acoustic artists in the 1970s and political and environmental activist.
Hit Songs and albums
Lennon co-founded The Beatles and is known for his solo career albums such as John Lennon, Imagine and Plastic Ono Band. He was part of the one of the 20th century's most successful songwriting partnerships with Paul McCartney and some of the most well known songs still popular songs today.
John Denver gained worldwide popularity for his songs Take Me Home, Country Roads, Leaving on a Jet Plane, Annie's Song and Rocky Mountain while his albums are less well-known worldwide.
John Lennon has sold around 14 million unit albums in the U.S alone.
Released shortly before his death the album Double Fantasy was John Lennon's best selling album at 3 million shipments in the U.S. John Denver sold many albums after his death in 1997 and his total album sales recorded 32.5 million after 19 million unrecognized units were discovered.
Following John Lennon's death, the album Double Fantasy won the 1981 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. In 1982 the BRIT Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music also 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". His albums John Lennon Plastic Ono Band and Imagine were 22nd and 76th respectively of "The RS 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". He was appointed the 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.
John Denver was inducted in to Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1996 and a Grammy Hall of Fame award in 1998 for Take me home, country roads. He has won 1 Academy of Country Music Award in 1974 for Album of the year for Back Home Again, 3 American Music Awards for Favorite Pop/Rock artist in 1975, in 1976 for Favorite Album (Back Home Again) and in the same year for Favorite Country Male Artist. His 2 Country Music Association Awards were in 1975 for Entertainer of the Year and Song of the year in the same year for Back Home Again. In 1975 he won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special for An Evening with John Denver. He won a Grammy Award in 1997 for Best Musical Album for Children and in 1998 for the Grammy Hall of Fame Award for Take Me Home, Country Roads. His song Rocky Mountain is the official song for the state of Colorado.
John Lennon was a strong voice against U.S President Nixon and the Vietnam War. He and wife Yoko used their honeymoon as a Bed for Peace at the Amsterdam Hilton which attracted huge media attention in March 1969. The song Give Peace a Chance recorded at the second bed for peace soon became the anti-Vietnam war anthem with a quarter of a million people chanting the song in Washington on October 15th, the second Vietnam Moratorium Day. President Nixon was threatened by this episode and when his administration heard that Lennon may be involved in a concert in San Diego on the same day as the Republican National Convention also in the city they tried to have Lennon deported back to the U.K. Lennon spent 4 years in deportation hearings following the exploration of his 1968 cannabis possession conviction in London.
John Denver was a strong supporter of the Democratic Party and helped Jimmy Carter's campaign in 1976. He supported many charitable causes including the environment, poverty, homelessness and Aids in Africa. He began the Windstar charity to promote sustainable living. He was a strong critic of the Reagan's government in the 1980s especially military and environment spending policies. He opposed free-market economics and advocated unilateral disarmament of the U.S. His autobiographical folk ballad Let Us Begin (What are we making weapons for) lashed out against conservative politics. He wrote an open letter to the media about the National Rifle Association as a corrupt machine that could buy off politicians. He also opposed the drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge when he battled to expand the refuge in the 1980s.
John Lennon was shot by Mark Chapman at 10:50pm on December 8th, 1980 soon after Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono returned to their New York apartment building. Lennon was shot 4 times in the back at the entrance to the building. He had autographed a copy of the album Double Fantasy for the shooter earlier that evening. Lennon was cremated and his ashes scattered in New York's Central Park where the Strawberry Field's Memorial was later created in his honor. Mark Chapman pleaded guilty to second degree murder, is still in prison and has been denied parole on many occasions.
John Denver was killed when the Long EZ plane he was piloting crashed into the Pacific Ocean close to Pacific Grove, California. He was an experienced pilot with over 27,000 hours of flight time.