In 1964, girls all across the United States filled venues, almost literally screamed their heads off, and fainted en masse. Almost from the second they played the first note, The Beatles would be hit with the resounding screams, which made it impossible for them to even hear themselves sing. When they made their American debut on The Ed Sullivan Show in early 1964, they were greeted by young fans who whipped themselves up into such a frenzy that some of them fainted. Beatlemania had struck North America, creating a musical and pop culture phenomenon unlike anything the world had ever seen.
At the center of it all was John Lennon, the man who founded the Beatles and was instrumental in creating the soundtrack of the 1960s, while producing some of the world's most timeless classics. Together with Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, Lennon became one of the world's most famous men, and he was also one of the world's most interesting and outspoken men, a complex figure who survived a turbulent upbringing, addictions to drugs, and unstable relationships, only to be tragically killed just as he was settling into a serene, comfortable life. His loss is still widely felt today like it was in December 1980, as people remain in awe of his music and continue to grapple with the contradictory nature of his life and work, which at any given moment could oscillate from his notoriously acerbic wit to the endless optimism of "Imagine".