The musical legend died in New York in 1980, after he was shot by Mark David Chapman.
In the decades since, he has continued to have an enduring influence on popular culture, with fans marking what would have been his milestone birthday.
In his hometown of Liverpool, the council has launched a worldwide contest to find another great songwriter.
A collection of previously unseen pictures of Lennon in New York will also go on display at The Beatles Story in Liverpool.
But if you are unable to make it to the north west, we’ve uncovered some of the most beautiful and rare pictures of John taken during his time in one of the world’s biggest band’s ever to mark the occasion...