Lennon fans mark 75th birthday with Central Park sing-in

Fans gather at the Imagine mosaic plaque in the Strawberry Fields section of Central Park, in New York, on Oct 9, 2015.
Fans gather at the Imagine mosaic plaque in the Strawberry Fields section of Central Park, in New York, on Oct 9, 2015.AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - John Lennon fans on Friday marked what would have been the slain Beatle's 75th birthday with a sing-in of his greatest tunes in New York's Central Park.

Accompanied by five guitars and a keyboard, fans sang some of Lennon's most identifiable songs including the anti-war anthem Imagine as well as With A Little Help From My Friends and Working Class Hero.

Fans who converged on an unusually warm autumn afternoon on Strawberry Fields, a corner of the park dedicated to Lennon, placed flowers, pictures and apples on a circular memorial inscribed with the word "Imagine."

"I love The Beatles but John Lennon was always my favourite because of the love that he showed," said Cindy Sabo, from the southern US state of Mississippi.

"I just have loved John my entire life," she said. "I was 14 when The Beatles came here and I'm 65, but my room is decorated with John Lennon."

Born on Oct 9, 1940, in Liverpool, England, Lennon gained such celebrity with The Beatles that he once quipped that the band was "more popular than Jesus."

Late in his life, Lennon and his wife, Japanese artist Yoko Ono, increasingly devoted their attention to pacifist activism.

He was assassinated on Dec 8, 1980, at his Dakota residence near Central Park's Strawberry Fields by Mark David Chapman, a gunman believed to suffer mental illness.

The tribute came three days after 2,000 people gathered in Central Park to form a human chain in the shape of a peace sign, a project by Ono to set a record.

But the effort failed to break the feat for a human chain, which Guinness World Records has put at 5,000 people.