INTRODUCTION 33). As music took over his life,

INTRODUCTION  “Everybody loves you when you’re six feet in the ground,” was once said by John Lennon. “The finest day I ever had was when tomorrow never came,” – Kurt. Though they died in the midst of their career, John Lennon and Kurt Cobain amazed people with their successes, obstacles, music. John Winston Lennon was born on October 9, 1940 in Liverpool, England (“John” 1). At the time, World War II was going on (Burlingame, John Lennon: Imagine 14). His parents, Alfred “Alf” Lennon and Julia Lennon divorced when he was a child (Burlingame, John Lennon: Imagine 21) and he had to move in with his aunt and uncle (Burlingame, John Lennon: Imagine 25).  In elementary school, he played guitar and harmonica, always enjoying music (Burlingame, John Lennon: Imagine 32). The first song he ever learned was “That’ll be the Day” by Buddy Holly (Burlingame, John Lennon: Imagine 33). As music took over his life, John got distracted and his aunt told him that he could not make a living by playing guitar (Burlingame, John Lennon: Imagine 36).  When John was teenager, he started writing and composing music (Canale 1) as well as drawing and writing books.  He wrote two books, “In His Own Write” and “A Spaniard in the Works” (Watson 2). Similarly to Lennon, another musician got their inspiration at a young age. Kurt Donald Cobain was born on February 20, 1967 in Aberdeen, Washington to Wendy and Don Cobain (Burlingame, Kurt Cobain: Oh Well… 11). He came from a musical family and was introduced to music at an early age. When he was three years old, he wrote his first song, “Corn on the Cops.” When he started playing guitar, he held it backwards because he was left-handed, and played popular Beatles’ songs like “Hey Jude” (Burlingame, Kurt Cobain: Oh Well… 12).  He was fourteen years old when he received his first electric guitar (Burlingame, Kurt Cobain: Oh Well… 18). Like John, Kurt was involved with the visual arts and enjoyed drawing, whittling, and painting (Burlingame, Kurt Cobain: Oh Well… 13). The two musicians’ background allowed them to prosper in the future. In 1956, John Lennon formed his first band, The Quarrymen, who had their first concert in 1959 (Burlingame, John Lennon: Imagine 38). Later, in 1960, the band changed its name to The Beatles (Burlingame, John Lennon: Imagine 58). In 1964, The Beatles became popular in America. They performed on the Ed Sullivan show, which was the most watched TV program in American history (Burlingame, John Lennon: Imagine 96) with 73 million viewers (Brown 3). Over 170 million records by The Beatles have been sold in the United States. It was a huge accomplishment because they sold 50 million more than Elvis Presley Burlingame, John Lennon: Imagine 138). Worldwide, The Beatles have sold more than one billion records and have won nine Grammy awards Burlingame, John Lennon: Imagine 139). When John Lennon went solo, he stated, “I don’t believe in Beatles.” His album, “Imagine,” showed that he was talented by himself (Vozick-Levinson 1). It may not seem like it, but all musicians have to start somewhere until they grow in success. Kurt’s first unnamed band played for the first time at a house party in 1987 (Burlingame, Kurt Cobain: Oh Well… 32). In December of 1987, he formed another band, Nirvana. They got the name because “‘Nirvana’ means a state of complete happiness or a place, or a condition of great peace or bliss. Playing rock music was what made Cobain happy, so the name seemed appropriate,” (Burlingame, Kurt Cobain: Oh Well… 39). When the band started playing live, they were not that great, as Kurt couldn’t play guitar and sing at the same time. As a result, his complex guitar riffs were turned into easier parts (Burlingame, Kurt Cobain: Oh Well… 50). After a long time, Nirvana was invited to play on Saturday Night Live, SNL, which was considered a huge accomplishment for them (Burlingame, Kurt Cobain: Oh Well… 78). Fans went crazy for Nirvana on SNL just like they went crazy for The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show (Burlingame, Kurt Cobain: Oh Well… 88). They also played their first “Unplugged” acoustic set, which later won a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Performance. It was the most successful performance of Nirvana’s career (Burlingame, Kurt Cobain: Oh Well… 9). Similarly to The Beatles expansion, Nirvana toured with Tad in England in 1989 and later became popular in other countries such as The Netherland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Switzerland, Italy, France, and Belgium (Burlingame 53). Although John Lennon and Kurt Cobain had amazing accomplishments, they also had their downfalls. To some, it may seem like Lennon and Cobain had everything they wanted – money, fame, and glory – however, they both had struggles. John Lennon was able to have his pick of drugs due to his wealth. He was a long term user of marijuana but then turned to a more serious drug, LSD. His use of drugs affected nearly every aspect of his life, including his family, band, and the type of music he produced (Burlingame, John Lennon: Imagine 100). Eventually, John grew tired of his fans and fame (Brown 5) and then The Beatles broke up on September 20, 1969 (Burlingame, John Lennon: Imagine 119). Lennon was shot five times in his back by crazy fan, Mark David Chapman in front of his New York City apartment on December 8, 1980 (“John” 5). Many theories stated it was due to John’s political beliefs, however Chapman was not political (“Death” 1). Drug use was a component of Cobain’s lifestyle, just as it was for Lennon. At only fourteen years old, Kurt Cobain tried marijuana for the first time. (Burlingame, Kurt Cobain: Oh Well… 18). He was addicted for awhile until he started injecting himself with heroin. It was ironic because he hated needles (Burlingame, Kurt Cobain: Oh Well… 65). The morning after playing Saturday Night Live, Kurt was found in a coma in the hotel room because he overdosed on heroin. Afterwards, he vowed not to use drugs as he was going to be a father. However, the promise was broken (Burlingame, Kurt Cobain: Oh Well… 79). Kurt also had other suicide attempts, overdosing on pills and heroin (Burlingame, Kurt Cobain: Oh Well… 103), however, he always denied using drugs. Later, he admitted he lied to show his fans who looked up to him that he was responsible (Burlingame, Kurt Cobain: Oh Well… 80). Like Lennon, Cobain got annoyed with publicity, specifically getting pictures taken and having fans ask for his autograph all the time (Burlingame, Kurt Cobain: Oh Well…  103). He was struggling between making music and maintaining his reputation, which ultimately led to his worsening depression (DeCurtis 2). He grew to hate himself while trying to pretend to be happy and entertaining people; he needed spiritual and physical help (Taylor EVB13). On April 5, 1994, an electrician who was installing a security system found Kurt’s body lying on the floor. Cobain had taken a large dose of heroin then shot himself, leaving a suicide note (Burlingame, Kurt Cobain: Oh Well… 107). Both John Lennon and Kurt Cobain had died at the peak of their career and popularity. Even though it may not seem like it, John Lennon and Kurt Cobain had to start somewhere. Elvis Presley’s music helped inspire each of The Beatles to begin playing music in the first place. John Lennon stated he wanted to be bigger than Elvis (Burlingame, John Lennon: Imagine 138). He was talented and accomplished because he found inspiration easily (Canale 1); he was an icon through times of war, struggle, and despair. John wrote songs with a harder, edgier sound, as well as rock songs and ballads (Canale 1). The Beatles made pop music popular (Canale 1). Lennon is so well known, many kids born after his assassination are able to recognize him and his music (Burlingame, John Lennon: Imagine 140). Because of his achievements, John Lennon was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1994 (“John” 5). Though Kurt Cobain looked up to The Beatles as a child, he was influenced by bands like Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Mudhoney when he was a part of Nirvana (Burlingame, Kurt Cobain: Oh Well… 43). He also looked up to a local rock band called The Melvins. If it weren’t for them, Nirvana would have never existed (Burlingame, Kurt Cobain: Oh Well… 23). Kurt’s songs were catchy and poetic; he loved writing pop songs. Their music appealed to more people, but was still considered dirty, messy, and unpleasant. They were the foundation of the grunge genre (Burlingame, Kurt Cobain: Oh Well… 44). Nirvana was the end of one rock and roll era and the beginning of another. They turned the 80s into the 90s. Specifically, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was a song of rebellion, with the attitude that the youth ultimately were not satisfied with anything. The song showed how teenagers are misunderstood and alone. (DeCurtis 1). John Lennon and Kurt Cobain got their inspiration from other successful musicians and will influence modern and future musicians everywhere. CONCLUSIONWorks CitedBrown, Peter.  “In My Life.”  Newsweek Global.  7 February 2014: 1-5.Burlingame, Jeff.  John Lennon: Imagine.  Berkley Heights, New Jersey: Enslow Publishers, Inc.,  2011.Burlingame, Jeff.  Kurt Cobain: Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind.  Berkley Heights, New Jersey: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 2006.Canale, Larry.  “What’s it all Mean.”  Faces.  Jul.-Aug. 2014: 1-3.”Death of a Dreamer: The Assassination of John Lennon.”  Kirkus Reviews.  1 March 2012: 1.DeCurtis, Anthony.  “Kurt Cobain 1967-1994.”  Rolling Stones.  2 June 1994: 1-2.”John Lennon.”  Biography.  https://www.biography.com/. Taylor, Dallas.  “I Knew Kurt Cobain’s Sickness; Once, I Was Kurt Cobain.”  Los Angeles Times.  27 April 1994: EVB13.Vozick-Levinson, Simon.  “John’s Lennon’s Solo Years.”  Entertainment Weekly.  8 October 2010: 1-2.Watson, Lisa.  “Imagine all the People: The Art of John Lennon.”  Art Business News.  April 2001: 1-2.

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