John Lennon

John Lennon 
October 9, 1940 – December 8, 1980

John Winston Lennon was an English songwriter and musician who had become a worldwide inspirational artist as one of the founding members of the famously well-known band The Beatles.

Lennon was born and raised in Liverpool, England. Growing up, his musical talent had been discovered by a bus driver when playing a mouth organ on his way to visit his cousin in Scotland. As a teenager, Lennon became involved in his first band Skiffle Craze. Shortly afterwards, he had decided he wanted to make a new band called The Quarrymen which shortly after evolved into The Beatles in 1960.

As the group slowly drifted apart, John Lennon took on his own solo career that produced many popular top hits and albums including “Give Peace a Chance” and “Imagine”, which he wrote the lyrics to as well. Many fans and people around the world were inspired by his musical lyrics, interviews and quotes as they had such meaning to not only his life but also to many other people’s lives as he spoke of much wisdom towards the community. Lennon’s inspiring quotes include “I’m not claiming divinity. I’ve never claimed purity of soul. I’ve never claimed to have the answers to life. I only put out songs and answer questions as honestly as I can… But I still believe in peace, love and understanding” and “Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.”

In March 1969 after getting married to his wife Ono, they spent their honeymoon in bed at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel as what they named “Bed-In for Peace” which attracted the worldwide media.
A few years after in 1971 Lennon had moved to New York where his criticism of the Vietnam War and songs War Is Over and Give Peace a Chance were used as anthems by the “Anti-War Movement.” Later on that year, Lennon and Ono supported the family of James Hanratty, after he was hanged for murder in 1962 to prove his innocence. The couple had staged a “Silent Protest for James Hanratty” along with a “Britain Murdered Hanratty” banner march and a fourty minute documentary on the case. Years later at a hearing, Hanratty’s conviction was upheld. John Lennon and his wife had also showed their fellowship and support towards the Clydeside UCS workers’ work-in in 1971 by sending a checque for £5,000 and a bundle of red roses.

On December the 8th, 1980 was when John Lennon was shot five times in the back on his way home to his hotel with Ono. The murderer was an obsessed fan, Mark David Chapman, who thought he would get Lennon’s fame if he murdered him. An hour after the incident, Lennon was declared dead.

John Lennon to this day has remained an inspiration, both for his life after the Beatles career as a peace.

– by Kirsty Ineson, 10ENG

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Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali earned his power through his ability as a boxer. He gained the respect of his peers, fans and the media. The words he said were heard by almost everyone all over the world and had great influence over many people. Through his boxing he was able to grow in social stature and the things he said and did were able to change people’s ideas about certain issues, more specifically the Vietnam War.

Muhammad Ali, who was born as Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jnr, was born on the 17th of January 1942, was a professional boxer. Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky and was the younger of two boys. Ali began boxing at 12 years old after having his bike stolen and wanted to ‘Whump’ the boy who had stolen it. After an amateur career which included six Kentucky Golden Gloves and a Gold Medal at the 1960 Olympics Ali began his professional career. In a professional career that spanned 21 years Ali had a record of 56 wins, 37 by knockout,  and only 5 losses.

Muhammad Ali didn’t have then conventional power that most leaders have but he had the ability to influence people decisions and ideas about topics. Ali had gotten his power through his skill at boxing, when he became world champ people he had earned the respect of the boxing community. His loud mouth nature meant that he attracted a lot of media attention, which then got his notoriety up and people from all corners of the world had heard of the man who called himself ‘The Greatest’. Ali had power over all of his fans and the media who both hung off his every word, with a microphone in his face most of the time not much of what he said went unheard. Also after converting to the nation of Islam Ali had gained the respect and power of the Islamic community, in joining Islam he had also gained some friends in high places like Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad.

Ali was at the height of his fame around the time of the Vietnam War, with American men being drafted into the army to fight in Vietnam Ali was expected to go to war like everyone else. But he had a different view on the idea, declining his drafting and facing the $10,000 fine and 5 years in prison penalty.

I ain’t got no quarrel with the Vietcong. No Vietcong ever called me Nigger.

As a consequence of his power and fame this decision rocked not only the boxing community but the whole world.  Although he didn’t actually spend any time behind bars he did have to spend 3 years out of the ring as a consequence of his beliefs and actions.

As soon as he had done his penalty Ali was straight back in the ring, when he fought George Foreman in the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ one of the biggest fights in boxing history. In this fight Ali regained his World Champion title once again.

Every decision that Ali made had some kind of good intention behind it, he wasn’t corrupted by his power didn’t turn into some kind of power hungry animal. Overall, I believe that Muhammad Ali falls into the good category, he stood up for the right things and promoted the acceptance all races kind of living. As well as being one of the best boxers of all time he was also one of the most influential people ever.

– by Tom Grayson, 10ENG