John Lennon character jug colorway modeled by Stanley J. Taylor and produced by Royal Doulton of Burslem, England, in 1984. John Winston Lennon (1940-1980) was best known as a singer, songwriter, poet and guitarist for the British rock band, the Beatles. His creative career also included the roles of solo musician, peace activist, artist, actor and author. As half of the legendary Lennon-McCartney songwriting team, he heavily influenced the development of rock music, leading it towards more advanced, multi-layered arrangements, mature lyrical sentiments, and musical eclecticism. Inspired by American rock and roll and singers like Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly, he started a skiffle band in grammar school called The Quarry Men. With the addition of Paul McCartney and George Harrison, the band renamed itself Johnny and the Moondogs, followed by The Silver Beetles, which was later shortened to the Beatles. After the breakup of the Beatles, Lennon had perhaps the most varied recording career of the four. His untimely murder outside his New York City home shocked a nation and the world. Many of his songs, such as "Imagine" and "Strawberry Fields Forever", are often ranked among the best songs in popular music history.