As songwriter, singer, guitarist, and founder of the Beatles, John Lennon is one of the all time icons of rock and roll. As a founding member of the Beatles, Lennon was arguably one of the most influential musicians ever to inhabit the planet. The music of the Beatles transcended barriers between age groups, races, national borders, and styles of music to reach the broadest audience ever reached by a musical group.
Lennon was also an avid harmonica player. Harmonica was the first instrument he learned to play, and his harp lines have graced numerous top Beatles songs including “Love Me Do,” “Please Please Me,” “Twist and Shout,” “Chains,” “Thank You Girl,” and “I'm a Loser.”
Lennon brought the harmonica to the silver screen in the Beatles film A Hard Day's Night with his memorable performance on the song “I Should Have Known Better.”
Lennon's power as a proponent of harmonica music is illustrated by the fact that Hohner went so far as to issue a special Beatles Harmonica in 1964, which came in a box with the Beatles' pictures on it, and included music to two top Beatles hit songs, a beginner harmonica instruction chart, and a signed photograph of the group.
Lennon was born in Liverpool, England, in 1940. He was killed by an assassin in New York City in 1980.
John Lennon was strongly influenced by another harmonica player, Texas blues rocker Delbert McClinton. While in the United Kingdom on tour in 1962 McClinton met the young Lennon, who admired McClinton for his famous harmonica riff on Bruce Channel's number one hit “Hey Baby.” McClinton taught the riff to Lennon, who used it as inspiration for his own harmonica riff on “Love Me Do.”