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John Lennon: Remembering the 'Imagine' Singer with 10 Inspiring Quotes [PHOTOS]

by Shawn Christ   Dec 8, 2014 15:18 PM EST

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John Lennon had established himself as a superb solo artist by the time 1980 rolled around. The Beatles disbanded a full decade earlier, and Lennon had found a way to captivate listeners without his writing partner Paul McCartney. He released five LPs in the '70s, including his debut, John Lennon/The Plastic Ono Band and his masterpiece Imagine. There was a five-year hole in his recording career from 1975-80, but in November 1980 Lennon came back with Double Fantasy.

It was the former Beatle's final album. Lennon was shot by Mark David Chapman 34 years ago today, Dec. 8. It is a loss that still perplexes fans and admirers to this day. Even the singer's killer has awakened from his delusional haze, telling the parole board in July, "I am sorry for being such an idiot and choosing the wrong way for glory."

This year's anniversary is not a milestone. It is not a nice, rounded-off number like 30 or 35, both of which are far less important than 25 and 50. But while Lennon's death left a void in popular music, it also robbed the world of a truly beautiful mind that never hesitated to comment on the state of the world. He did not just say, "War is bad," he opted for the positive and tried to spark a movement from that: "Give peace a chance."

So, yes, 34 means little. But it is difficult to look at 2014 and not think about what kind of wisdom Lennon could offer if he were still with us. What would he tell us about unrest stemming from the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases that we are missing? What insights could he offer on gay marriage rights? And do not forget the NFL. There is no shortage of moral problems and quandaries in today's social media society. Would Lennon even bother with Twitter?

We will never know the specific answers to those questions. Thankfully, Lennon spoke his mind often during his 40-year stay on Earth, and those snippets of wisdom remain a guiding light for fans of peace, creativity and love.

10. "As usual, there is a great woman behind every idiot."

(Photo : Getty/Keystone/Anthony Cox) John Lennon (l.) and Yoko Ono.

9. "We've got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can't just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it's going to get on by itself. You've got to keep watering it. You've got to really look after it and nurture it."

8. "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans."

(Photo : Getty/Fox Photos) George Harrison (l.-r.), Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

7. "My role in society, or any artist's or poet's role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all."

6. "It doesn't matter how long my hair is or what color my skin is or whether I'm a woman or a man."

(Photo : Getty/Keystone Features) John Lennon

5. "I believe in everything until it's disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it's in your mind. Who's to say that dreams and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now?"

4. "If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace."

(Photo : Getty/Three Lions) Peace billboard.

3. "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."

(Photo : Getty/Hulton Archive/Keystone) John Lennon (l.) and Yoko Ono.

2. "You don't need anybody to tell you who you are or what you are. You are what you are!"

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