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John Lennon Quotes & Lyrics That Still Speak to Us 40 Years After His Death

It’s hard to believe that John Lennon died 36 years ago today — when the beloved Beatles singer and songwriter was shot outside his Manhattan apartment building on Dec. 8, 1980 by Mark David Chapman.

He left us too soon, but his memory lives on in both song and words. We all know the lyrics to his songs, but he also coined some memorable quotes.

More: Beatles baby names we’d pick eight days a week

John Lennon’s best quotes

John Lennon GIF
Image: Tumblr

The lyrics to Imagine — one of John Lennon’s biggest hits — are still some of the most stirring words ever written to music. Check out the Imagine lyrics (if you don’t already know them) and sing along.

On life:

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”

On love, peace and fear:

John Lennon & Yoko Ono GIF
Image: Tumblr

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”

“We all have Hitler in us, but we also have love and peace. So why not give peace a chance for once?”

“Everything is clearer when you’re in love.”

“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”

“You either get tired fighting for peace, or you die.”

On happiness:

“Happiness is just how you feel when you don’t feel miserable.”

On acceptance:

“I’m not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I’ve always been a freak. So I’ve been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I’m one of those people.”

On women:

John Lennon and Yoko Ono
Image: Susan Wood/Getty Images

“As usual, there is a great woman behind every idiot.”

More: 10 utterly strange Beatles lyrics

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