John Lennon
Tom Morello, Kris Kristofferson and Mickey Raphael perform on stage during the Imagine: John Lennon 75th Birthday Concert at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on Dec.5, 2015 in New York City. Lennon is pictured above. Theo Wargo/Getty Images

You say it's your birthday? It's John's birthday, too.

John Lennon, who co-founded The Beatles before moving on to an equally iconic solo career, would have turned 76 on Sunday. Lennon was a symbol of the 1960s and the era's "peace and love" ideals, as well as a legendary songwriter who helped revolutionize pop music and rock & roll.

Lennon was born Oct. 9, 1940, in Liverpool, England. After forming the group the Quarrymen in Liverpool in 1957, he met songwriter and bassist Paul McCartney and they hit it off. The following year the pair teamed up with guitarist George Harrison and changed the band name to the Beatles in 1960. Ringo Starr became their drummer in 1962 just before he group skyrocketed to international fame with songs like "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "All You Need Is Love" and "Hey Jude." Their performance on CBS' "The Ed Sullivan Show" in 1964 kicked off the British Invasion in pop music.

The Beatles broke up in 1970, and Lennon went on to release hits like "Imagine" and "Give Peace a Chance" as a solo artist. Lennon was fatally shot in 1980 outside of the Dakota apartment building in New York City's Upper West Side.

Here are 20 quotes to help celebrate the icon's life:

  • "Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears."
  • "When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy.' They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life."
  • "The more I see, the less I know for sure."
  • "It's weird not to be weird."
  • "Love is a promise, love is a souvenir, once given never forgotten, never let it disappear."
  • "Reality leaves a lot to the imagination."
  • "Declare it. Just the same way we declare war. That is how we will have peace ... we just need to declare it."
  • "I'm not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I've always been a freak. So I've been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I'm one of those people."
  • "Before Elvis, there was nothing."
  • "There are only a few notes. Just variations on a theme."
  • "Trying to please everybody is impossible -- if you did that, you'd end up in the middle with nobody liking you. You've just got to make the decision about what you think is your best, and do it."
  • "Love is the answer. What was the question?"
  • "Everything is clearer when you're in love."
  • "Part of me suspects that I'm a loser, and the other part of me thinks I'm God Almighty."
  • "I'm not afraid of death because I don't believe in it. It's just getting out of one car and into another."
  • "My role in society, or any artist's or poet's role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not as a preacher, but as a reflection of us all."
  • "We were all on this ship in the sixties, our generation, a ship going to discover the New World. And the Beatles were in the crow's nest of that ship."
  • "There's nothing you can know that isn't known."
  • "As usual, there is a great woman behind every idiot."
  • "You don't need anybody to tell you who you are or what you are. You are what you are!"

Sources: BeatlesQuotes, Goodreads, BrainyQuote