Edit
John Lennon Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (9) | Trivia (98) | Personal Quotes (50)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 9 October 1940Liverpool, Lancashire, England, UK
Date of Death 8 December 1980New York City, New York, USA  (murdered by gunshot)
Birth NameJohn Winston Lennon
Height 5' 11" (1.8 m)

Mini Bio (1)

John Winston (later Ono) Lennon was born on October 9, 1940, in Liverpool, England. In the mid-1950s he formed his first band, The Quarrymen (after Quarry Bank High School, which he attended) who, with the addition of Paul McCartney and George Harrison, later became The Beatles. After some years of performing in Liverpool and Hamburg, Germany, "Beatlemania" erupted in England and Europe in 1963 after the release of their singles "Love Me Do" and "Please Please Me". The next year the Beatles flew to America to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show (1948) (aka The Ed Sullivan Show), and Beatlemania spread worldwide. Queen Elizabeth II granted all four Beatles M.B.E. medals in 1965, for import revenues from their record sales; John returned his four years later, as part of an antiwar statement. John and the Beatles continued to tour and perform live until 1966, when protests over his calling the Beatles phenomenon "more popular than Jesus" and the frustrations of touring made the band decide to quit the road. They devoted themselves to studio work, recording and releasing albums such as "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", "Magical Mystery Tour" and the "White Album". Instead of appearing live, the band began making their own "pop clips" (an early term for music videos), which were featured on television programs of the time. In the late 1960s John began performing and making albums with his second wife Yoko Ono, as the Beatles began to break up. Their first two albums, "Two Virgins" and "Life With The Lions", were experimental and flops by Beatles standards, while their "Wedding Album" was almost a vanity work, but their live album "Live Peace In Toronto" became a Top Ten hit, at the end of the 1960s. In the early 1970s John and Yoko continued to record together, making television appearances and performing at charity concerts. After the release of John's biggest hit, "Imagine", they moved to the US, where John was nearly deported because of his political views (a late-'60s conviction for possession of hashish in the U.K. was the excuse given by the government), but after a four-year legal battle he won the right to stay. In the midst of this, John and Yoko separated for over a year; John lived in Los Angeles with personal assistant May Pang, while Yoko dated guitarist David Spinozza. When John made a guest appearance at Elton John's Thanksgiving 1974 concert, Yoko was in the audience, and surprised John backstage. They reconciled in early 1975, and Yoko soon became pregnant. After the birth of their son Sean Lennon, John settled into the roles of "househusband" and full-time daddy, while Yoko became his business manager; both appeared happy in their new life together. After a five-year break from music and the public eye, they made a comeback with their album "Double Fantasy", but within weeks of their re-emergence, Lennon was murdered by Mark David Chapman, a onetime Beatles fan angry and jealous over John's ongoing career.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: paulabb

Spouse (2)

Yoko Ono (20 March 1969 - 8 December 1980) (his death) (1 child)
Cynthia Lennon (23 August 1962 - 8 November 1968) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (9)

Round-framed glasses
Songs about personal issues
Songs with political and social themes
Army-surplus shirts and jackets
Rickenbacker 325 guitar (replaced later with an Epiphone Casino)
Bizarre, humorous personality
Outspoken, rebellious nature
Frequently wrote songs about love being the answer to the world's problems
Songs with unusual or changing time signatures

Trivia (98)

Father, with Yoko Ono, of Sean Lennon.
Father, with Cynthia Lennon, of Julian Lennon.
An actor named Mark Lindsay Chapman lost the part of John Lennon in John and Yoko: A Love Story (1985), because he had a similar name (Mark Chapman) as Lennon's killer. Chapman later portrayed Lennon in Chapter 27 (2007).
When "Rolling Stone" magazine was launched in November 1967, Lennon made the first cover, in a photo from How I Won the War (1967).
The first instrument he learned to play was the harmonica.
He used a number of pseudonyms in his musical work. These include Dr. Winston O'Boogie, Booker Table, Dwarf McDougal, Rev. Fred Ghurkin, Mel Torment, Dr. Dream, The Honorable John St. John Johnson, John O'Cean, Joel Nohnn, Kaptain Kundalini, Dad and Winston Leg-Thigh.
Inducted posthumously into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Beatles January 20, 1988.
Added "Ono" to his name in honour of wife Yoko Ono (aka Yoko Ono Lennon); he wished to drop his middle name Winston, but couldn't under British law. While he never used "Winston" again, his U.S. Resident Alien card (aka "green card") was issued to "John Winston Ono Lennon."
He was given his U.S. Resident Alien registration (his "green card") on the bicentennial of the American revolution: July 4, 1976. He was also informed that he would be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship in 1981.
He wrote the song "Beautiful Boy" for his son Sean Lennon, who was born on John's 35th birthday.
His murder was first announced to the world by U.S. sportscaster Howard Cosell during NFL Monday Night Football (1970). According to Frank Gifford, Lennon met Ronald Reagan when both were guests on "Monday Night Football" in the mid-1970s. After appearing on the show, he gave Gifford and Cosell each a complete collection of The Beatles albums, which he autographed.
Assassinated as he returned from the recording studio Monday, December 8, 1980, outside the Dakota, his apartment building, by Mark David Chapman, a crazed fan.
In 1974, he and singer Harry Nilsson were ejected from the Troubadour Club in Hollywood by the bouncers, after they both heckled the Smothers Brothers (Tom Smothers and Dick Smothers) onstage. Lennon and Nilsson both sent flowers and an apology to the Smothers Brothers the next day, and Lennon replied to a columnist's speculation that he might have been using drugs, with the confirmation that they'd simply had too many Brandy Alexanders.
In 2001 the Liverpool Airport was renamed the John Lennon Airport after him. In 2005, a replica of a Yellow Submarine was unveiled outside this airport as a further commemorative gesture.
Widow Yoko Ono's photograph of John's spectacles, bloodstained from day he was fatally shot outside their apartment building in December 1980, sold at auction in London, April 2002 for about $13,000. At a second Christie's auction later in April, two tape recordings of Lennon were also sold. One, from the summer of 1969, was of Lennon making up tunes and telling six-year-old Kyoko about a dwarf who lived in their garden. It sold for $110,000. The other tape, a 25-minute recording of Lennon working on the melody and lyrics for "She Said She Said", contains lyrics never heard in the song's final version. It sold for $85,200.
Posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as a solo artist) in 1994.
His "In My Life" was played at the funeral of Kurt Cobain.
In 1989, the Republic of Abkhazia (in the former Soviet Georgia) proclaimed independence. To show the world they were rejecting their Communist past, they issued two postage stamps of Groucho Marx and Lennon (as opposed to Karl Marx and V.I. Lenin).
He is one of several famous and tragic figures from history to be featured on the front and back sleeves of Marillion's "Clutching at Straws" album (released 1987).
His assassination is referred to in the lyrics of the Marillion song "Warm Wet Circles" (from their 1987 album "Clutching at Straws") and is the subject of The Chameleons' song "Here Today" (from their 1983 album "Script of the Bridge").
His voice was sampled for the Marillion song "Gazpacho" (from their 1995 album "Afraid of Sunlight").
In 2002 Paul McCartney changed the credits to many of the songs he wrote with Lennon to "McCartney & Lennon" (from "Lennon & McCartney") to a large public uproar. However, this was not the first time McCartney's name appeared first; many of their early songs were so credited, and the same had been done with songs on the 1976 live album "Wings Over America". In the credits to Give My Regards to Broad Street (1984), McCartney's name appeared prominently - and alone - as composer of the songs performed, which included The Beatles tunes "Yesterday" and "Here, There and Everywhere".
His death is referred to in the lyrics of the Damon Gough song "You Were Right".
Was photographed for the cover of "Rolling Stone" magazine by Annie Leibovitz on the day he was murdered. Had also just recorded an extensive interview for RKO Radio, and for the BBC the week before.
He was preoccupied with the number nine: An avant-garde composition on The Beatles' "White Album" was "Revolution 9", while a solo recording of his was "#9 Dream", a term he gave to a state of enlightenment. He died at 11 p.m. on December 8, 1980 in New York, but in his native England (five hours ahead), it was already December 9.
His neighbors at the Dakota included singer Roberta Flack, and actors Peter Boyle, Gloria Swanson, and Lauren Bacall.
His mother Julia was killed by a drunk driver when John was seventeen; his stepfather broke down at the news, and John had to go with the police to identify her body (he later named his first son [Julian Lennon] for her, and remembered his mother in the song "Julia", ten years after her death). His best friend and former band mate Stuart Sutcliffe died from a brain hemorrhage in 1962, when they were both 21; John asked Stuart's mother for the old scarf he'd worn to art school, and kept it as a memento.
In the days leading up to Lennon's murder, his killer Mark David Chapman lived the life' of J.D. Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye" narrator Holden Caulfield, and in fact Chapman was calmly flipping through that book when he was arrested.
Married first wife Cynthia Lennon at the Mount Pleasant Registry Office in Liverpool; married second wife Yoko Ono on the Rock of Gibraltar.
Cremated privately the day after his death. Yoko Ono has never revealed the whereabouts of the ashes, or what happened to them. In lieu of a funeral for John, Yoko asked the public for ten minutes of silence and prayer at 2pm ET on the following Sunday, December 14th, and to contribute to charities in his memory.
Besides re-releases of his music, his presence has remained in the marketplace and media through selections from his writings and drawings, including a line of children's products based on creations made for son Sean Lennon.
He didn't spend every day of his five years' retirement at the Dakota. Yoko Ono or one of their consultants would occasionally send him (or the family) to different spots around the globe, for vacations or good-luck trips, beginning with a flight around the world from west to east to "clear their karma". Lennon had to visit Hong Kong alone, book his own room, and see to his own meals, which he'd never done in his life; after a nervous first day (spent mostly in the bath), he finally tried going out for a walk - and was surprised to find that nobody took him for more than a tourist, let alone one of the world-famous Beatles. Not getting the celebrity treatment for the first time since his early twenties, he felt like he'd rediscovered himself.
Although his music with and after The Beatles usually featured the latest technical and sound innovations, he was all thumbs when it came to most audio/visual equipment, and usually depended on a knowing technician or assistant to give him the sound or look he wanted. He also spent little time on remixing with his solo records; latter-day remasters of his solo albums have been carefully remixed, bringing out many subtleties in the music buried or lost in the original mixes.
Former bandmate George Harrison remembered Lennon in 1981 with his song "All Those Years Ago" (featuring Ringo Starr on drums, and Paul McCartney and Linda McCartney on background vocals). Queen also recorded a tribute to Lennon (the song "Life Is Real", appearing on their "Hot Space" album), as did Paul McCartney with "Here Today", and later Elton John with "Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)". Phil Collins recorded The Beatles song "Tomorrow Never Knows" on his debut solo album "Face Value", which was released in early 1981.
His first girlfriend (at age fifteen) was named Barbara Baker; his girlfriend at Art school (before dating Cynthia Powell, later Cynthia Lennon) was named Thelma Pickles.
The Cranberries' song "I Just Shot John Lennon" explored the day of his murder at the hands of Mark David Chapman.
Yoko Ono signed over the royalties of his song "Imagine", in perpetuity, to Amnesty International, a world-wide organization devoted to political prisoners.
Lennon declared his favorite album to be "Safe as Milk", by Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band, buying two copies for the included sticker. Shortly before his death, he also said he enjoyed The Pretenders' hit single "Brass in Pocket" as well as the debut album of The B-52's because it reminded him of Yoko Ono's music.
He was voted as a solo artist as the 38th Greatest Rock and Roll Artist by "Rolling Stone". The Beatles were voted the Greatest Rock and Roll Artists of all time on the same list in the magazine.
Was a bright child, but not much of a student from secondary school (akin to middle and high school) on; he found little to engage him, and failed his last round of final exams by just a few points. Was able to enter Art school on a headmaster's recommendation, but found it no more engaging, and slacked off, giving most of his energies to the Beatles, friends and girlfriends.
Danish rock band Dizzy Mizz Lizzy is not only named after a famous Beatles song (written by Larry Williams), but included on their second album "Rotator" was the song "11.07pm" honoring the memory of lead singer Tim Christensen's greatest songwriting inspiration.
After his conviction for hashish possession in the fall of 1968 (he pleaded guilty on his lawyer's advice, to "get it behind him" and to keep Yoko Ono from being prosecuted, and possibly deported from the U.K.), Lennon was denied entry into the U.S. during 1969 and 1970, at the height of his and Yoko's "peace campaign". Psychiatrist and Primal therapist Dr. Arthur Janov was able to arrange a medical visa for Lennon late in 1970, on the grounds that he and Yoko had come to Janov for treatment, and they were also allowed to return the next year for a series of custody hearings over Yoko's daughter Kyoko Ono Cox. Their decision to stay in America at the end of 1971 led to a four-year court battle, with the hashish conviction at its heart (the conviction was eventually overturned by a U.S. court, clearing the way for him to apply for permanent resident status).
Kept his old bow-tie from Quarry Bank School, and wore it for special occasions as an adult. Also had a favorite necktie that he wore every day to court in the mid-1970s, during his immigration hearings, and later during a lawsuit brought against him by publisher Morris Levy.
His "Mind Games" album came about because in 1973 the other members of The Beatles were behind quota in their renegotiated contract with EMI. Neither George Harrison nor Ringo Starr had released albums in 1971 or 1972 (Harrison's The Concert for Bangladesh (1972) soundtrack didn't count under the contract, as a charity all-star album, co-distributed by EMI and Columbia Records), while Lee Eastman had brokered a separate deal for son-in-law Paul McCartney. Lennon was in no hurry to return to recording after the failure of 1972's "Some Time In New York City", but with legal action pending against the former band, he locked himself away in a bedroom for 48 hours, writing and polishing off an album's worth of songs, which he recorded quickly a couple of weeks later. The album was only a modest hit, but it satisfied EMI's requirements.
The Beatles experimented with names throughout 1959. At one point they were called "Johnny and the Moondogs." Another time they turned up to a show in different coloured shirts, and called themselves "The Rainbows".
The cover of Rolling Stone issue featuring a nude Lennon hugging and kissing a fully clothed Yoko Ono taken by photographer Annie Leibovitz was voted the top magazine cover of the last 40 years by a panel of magazine editors, artists and designers chosen by the American Society of Magazine Editors. The photo was the cover of Rolling Stone's tribute to Lennon after his death. Ironically, the picture was taken on the last day of Lennon's life.
Moving to New York City in the early 1970s, he and Yoko Ono first sublet a luxury apartment in the Dakota Hotel from actor Robert Ryan, then purchased it from Ryan's estate following his death. They later purchased several other apartments in the same building. One became their office, another storage for their video collection, another storage for clothing. One with Lennon's instruments and jukebox briefly became the "Club Dakota", for a New Year's party with publicist Elliot Mintz.
The band O.A.R. (of a revolution) wrote "Dakota" off of their album "Stories of a Stranger" in memory of Lennon.
His song "Jealous Guy" became a British number one single for Roxy Music in 1981. The band's lead singer Bryan Ferry later performed it at the Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium in 1985.
His song "Imagine" was performed by Peter Gabriel at the opening ceremony to the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy.
According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industries in 2006, The Beatles are the biggest popular music act of all time, with 400 million albums sold (50 million more albums than their runner-up, Michael Jackson).
In 1969 he recorded the song "Give Peace A Chance" in room 1742, Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montréal, Canada. Norman Mailer, Tom Smothers, and Timothy Leary can be heard as part of the chorus.
Was the only member of The Beatles to eat meat regularly. Ringo Starr was a vegetarian for life, due to health problems. George Harrison converted in 1968, and Paul McCartney became one in 1975. Lennon mostly followed a macrobiotic diet (with brown rice as a staple), but not strictly.
It was after hearing Paul McCartney's new single "Coming Up" that Lennon decided to return to music in early 1980. His reported response was, "Oh shit, I've got to get back." Lennon loved the song.
Isolated himself from the members of The Beatles after 1974. He had slammed Paul McCartney in the press (to which McCartney vehemently responded), he and George Harrison had stopped talking after an argument over The Concert For Bangladesh (Lennon wanted Yoko Ono to be an integral part of the show, and Harrison didn't want her to even perform). Lennon was also deeply hurt that Harrison largely left him out of his autobiography "I, Me, Mine". They never spoke again after the release of the book. He stayed away from Ringo Starr because he wanted to stay sober (and Starr was always drinking). He and McCartney were together for the last time on April 24th, 1976 (the night of the first Saturday Night Live (1975) offer of $3200 for the Beatles to reunite). Harrison maintained in later years that their disagreement was petty and that there was no real animosity between them.
Was the first Beatle to perform solo, appearing in The Rolling Stones's The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus (1996) (filmed in December 1968), and also at a concert in Toronto the next year. Was also the only Beatle never to do a solo tour. Tours were planned for 1972 (cancelled because of his immigration problems) and 1981 (cancelled after his death).
It was said that the birth of his son and his new fatherhood in 1975 made him much more sweet and mellow, even watching The Beatles' films and cartoons and listening to their records with Sean Lennon. Although he gave a rather biting interview to Playboy magazine in 1980, he was said by most of his associates to be much easier to work with in that part of his life.
The only member of The Beatles never to attend a Paul McCartney solo concert. Ringo Starr went to one in 1976 and Harrison went to one in 1993 (both preferred not to go onstage). Lennon was planning to visit McCartney in New Orleans during the "Venus and Mars" album sessions, but canceled when Yoko Ono became pregnant with Sean Lennon.
Elton John is the godfather of his son Sean Lennon
Was best man at Peter Boyle's wedding to Loraine Alterman Boyle
Felt that both "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Across the Universe" were poorly recorded.
Posthumous winner of the British Phonographic Industry Award for Outstanding Contribution in 1982.
Is portrayed by Tim Piper in The Linda McCartney Story (2000).
The Beatles were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame for their outstanding contribution to British music and integral part of British music culture. [November 2004]
Richie Sambora's song "Made In America" references John's passing and talks about his legacy.
Amateur photographer Paul Goresh was the last person to photograph Lennon alive, autographing his "Double Fantasy" album for Mark David Chapman, just hours before Chapman fatally shot Lennon. A press photographer sneaked into the morgue, photographing Lennon's body in state before it was taken to be cremated.
He was a huge fan of Bing Crosby late in his life, reintroduced to Crosby's music by a restauranteur friend.
Is portrayed by Ian Hart in Backbeat (1994).
Inducted with Paul McCartney into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987.
He claimed a disdain for The Beatles memorabilia, but privately sent assistants to fan conventions (including the early Beatlefests) to buy interesting or special items. One such trip reunited him with German friend Jürgen Vollmer. Considered showing up at a convention unannounced, just to see the reaction, but never did.
Was taught banjo chords by his mother, Julia, and played his guitar at first in banjo style. Paul McCartney later taught him proper guitar chords.
Only performed three songs of The Beatles in concert after the group broke up, "Come Together" in Madison Square Garden in 1972, and "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" and "I Saw Her Standing There" with Elton John, back at Madison Square Garden on Thanksgiving, 1974.
His Steinway Model Z upright piano, the instrument he used to compose and record his signature song "Imagine", was bought by singer George Michael for £1.67m in the year 2000, who then donated it to Liverpool's Beatles Story museum.
Voted the fifth greatest singer of the rock era in a Rolling Stone magazine poll in 2008.
During the 1960s he had attempted to instigate a live action adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord Of The Rings" books (of which he was a fan), starring himself and his Beatle bandmates. Lennon had expressed interest in the role of Gollum, with Paul McCartney playing Frodo, Ringo Starr playing Sam and George Harrison playing Gandalf.
He and The Beatles were awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 7080 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 1750 Vine Street in Hollywood, California. Its location is a few steps north of the (recently sold) Capitol Records tower.
Best man at Peter Boyle's wedding on October 21, 1977. Boyle's wife was friends with Yoko Ono.
Several of his personal assistants (and also his and Yoko Ono's tarot reader) later wrote memoirs of their time with Lennon, and each successive one picks up the approximate storyline where the last left off. These in order are: "The Beatles, Lennon and Me" by Peter Shotton (Lennon's boyhood friend, later on the board of Apple Corps; worked briefly as their personal assistant), "John Lennon: One Day At a Time" by Anthony Fawcett (personal assistant from 1968-1971), "Loving John" by May Pang (personal assistant from 1972-1975, and also Lennon's lover with Ono's sanction), "Dakota Days" by John Green (Lennon and Ono's tarot reader from 1975-1980), and "The Last Days of John Lennon" by Frederic Seaman (personal assistant from 1979-1982).
Owned several cars in the 1960s, but gave up driving after he totaled his Aston-Martin on a trip to Scotland with Yoko Ono, Julian Lennon and Kyoko Ono Cox. Ono's back was sprained; the rest of them required stitches. Lennon and Ono later mounted the wrecked car on a pillar at Tittenhurst Park. 'May Pang' learned to drive when she and Lennon were living in Los Angeles, so they could travel together along the California coast.
Number 9 connection: he was born on 9 October 1940, his son Sean Lennon was also born 9 October, 1975. He wrote the songs "#9 Dream" (part of Lennon's ninth solo album "Walls and Bridges", which was released in the ninth month of 1974 and peaked at #9 in the US charts) and with The Beatles - One After 909 and Revolution 9.
In a 2007 interview on the BBC Radio program Desert Island Discs, his wife, Yoko Ono, revealed what his last words were. She said that he wanted to go home and see son Sean before he went to sleep rather than go out for dinner after leaving the recording studio. According to Ono: "I said 'Shall we go and have dinner before we go home?' and John said, 'No, let's go home because I want to see Sean before he goes to sleep.'" Moments later, he was gunned down in front of the historic Dakota building where the family lived in New York City.
One of the last recordings he made prior to his death was for fellow Beatle Ringo Starr's solo album "Stop and Smell the Roses". John and his wife, Yoko Ono, joined Starr at Cherokee Studios in Hollywood where the album was being recorded.
Portrayed by Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Nowhere Boy (2009).
He and the other members of The Beatles were each awarded the MBE (Members of the Order of the British Empire) in the 1965 Queen's Birthday Honours List. Lennon later returned his MBE medal, as a protest against "Britain's involvement in the Nigeria/Biafra thing, against our support of American in Vietnam, and against 'Cold Turkey' slipping down the charts".
Lennon's first wife, Cynthia, says that when they were dating, John was smitten by French actress Brigitte Bardot. Cynthia says that in order to please John, she dyed her hair blond and began wearing outfits in the same style as Bardot. This included wearing berets, short skirts, and black thigh-high stockings, like the actress. There are many photos of Cynthia from the 1963-1965 time period that show her dressed and styled in this manner.
His death is referred to in the lyrics of the Bellamy Brothers song "Old Hippie".
When Lennon attended Liverpool's Dovedale Primary School (1945-1951), it was situated a mere two blocks from a street named "Penny Lane".
Attended Liverpool's Dovedale Primary School (1945-1951) with TV and film personality Jimmy Tarbuck.
He felt very guilty about leaving his son Julian and worked hard to bridge their relationship towards the end of his life.
His killer Mark David Chapman has been denied Parole several times due to receiving multiple threats from fans. He has also been kept isolated from other prisoners for similar reasons.
Release of the book, "Lennon Revealed", by his friend, Larry Kane.
Release of the book, "John Lennon: The Life" by Philip Norman.
Release of the book, "Memories of John Lennon" by his widow, Yoko Ono.
LOVE album, a Cirque du Soleil soundtrack, remix, and mash up album of a bundle of The Beatles classics is released and produced by George Martin and his son, Giles. [November 2006]
Release of the book, "John Lennon: The New York Years" by Bob Gruen.
Release of the book, "John" by Cynthia Lennon.
Incorporated various musical genres later on in his career, between RB, Blues, Classical, and sounds of India and Africa.

Personal Quotes (50)

When real music comes to me - the music of the spheres, the music that surpasseth understanding - that has nothing to do with me, 'cause I'm just the channel. The only joy for me is for it to be given to me, and to transcribe it like a medium...those moments are what I live for.
Will all the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands? All the rest of you, if you'll just rattle your jewelry. [At Royal Variety Performance 4th November 1963]
God is a concept by which we measure our pain.
My role in society, or any artist's or poet's role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.
Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
We're all Christ and we're all Hitler. We are trying to make Christ's message contemporary. We want Christ to win. What would he have done if he had advertisements, T.V., records, films and newspapers? The miracle today is communication. So Let's use it.
Love means having to say you're sorry every fifteen minutes.
My defenses were so great. The cocky rock and roll hero who knows all the answers was actually a terrified guy who didn't know how to cry. Simple.
Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that, I'm right and will be proved right. We're (the Beatles) more popular than Jesus now. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me. I don't know which will go first, rock and roll or Christianity. (to London's Evening Standard, 1966)
[looking back on his "more popular than Jesus" comment] I always remember to thank Jesus for the end of my touring days; if I hadn't said that the Beatles were 'bigger than Jesus' and upset the very Christian Ku Klux Klan, well, Lord, I might still be up there with all the other performing fleas! God bless America. Thank you, Jesus.
I've made two 'discoveries' in my life: Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono. I think that's a pretty damned good choice.
(on reconciling with Yoko in 1975, after more than a year apart) The separation didn't work out.
(late 1960s) My name's not John Beatle, it's John Lennon.
Everybody loves you when you're six foot in the ground.
Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.
I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.
If everybody wished for peace instead of another television set, then there would be peace.
The more I see, the less I know for sure.
Elvis really died the day he joined the army. That's when they killed him, and the rest was a living death.
Before Elvis there was nothing
[Asked by a reporter if Ringo Starr was the best drummer in the world]: In the world? He's not even the best drummer in The Beatles!
Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted.
(on meeting his teenage crush, Brigitte Bardot, in 1968) I was on acid, and she was on her way out.
Well, we all know about "Yesterday. I have had so much accolade for "Yesterday. That is Paul's song, of course, and Paul's baby. Well done. Beautiful - and I never wished I had written it. [From the 1980 Playboy Interviews]
My wife forced me to become avant-garde when all I wanted to be was Tom Jones.
(on hearing that Elvis Presley had died) Elvis dies and his manager lives. Our manager died and we lived.
(about the song "Help!") I was eating and drinking like a pig, and I was fat as a pig, dissatisfied with myself, and subconsciously I was crying for help. It was my fat Elvis period.
Eternity is a hell of a long time.
(at a 1971 rally) OK, so Flower Power didn't work. So what?! We start again.
[on the song "Mother"] A lot of people thought it was just about my parents, but it's about ninety-nine percent of the parents, alive or half-dead.
Music is everybody's possession. It's only lawyers who think you can buy and sell it.
I'm often afraid, and I'm not afraid to be afraid, though it's always scary. But it's more painful to try not to be yourself.
People think The Beatles know what's going on. We don't. We're just doing it.
I'm not going to waste my life as I have been, which was running at 20,000 miles an hour. I have to learn not to do that, because I don't want to die at 40.
When I used to see cowboys-and-Indians films when I was a kid in Liverpool, I was always on the side of the Indians.
'Imagine' is a big hit almost everywhere - anti-religious, anti-nationalistic, anti-conventional, anti-capitalistic, but because it is sugar-coated, it is accepted. Now I understand what you have to do. Put your political message across with a little honey.
We're not the first to say, 'Imagine no countries' or 'Give peace a chance,' but we're carrying that torch, like the Olympic torch, passing it from hand to hand, to each other, to each country, to each generation. That's our job.
I don't belong to any left wing, right wing, middle wing, Black Panthers, white Christians, Protestants, Catholics or nothing.
[In his last-ever interview on the day he was murdered, December 8th 1980] I consider that my work won't be finished until I'm dead and buried and I hope that's a long, long time.
Nobody controls me. I'm uncontrollable. The only one who controls me is me, and that's just barely possible.
[Offered mange-tout peas, in a high-class restaurant] Can you put them over there, away from the food?
In the old days I used to think song writing was this and you know, "I love you" and "You love me" and my writing was something else you know. Even if I didn't think of it quite like that. But then I just realized through Dylan and other people, Bob Dylan - not Thomas, that it is the same thing. That's what I didn't realize being so naive you know, that you don't write pop songs and then you do that and then you do that. Everything you do is the same thing, so do it the same way. But sometimes I'll write lyrics to a song first and then I get the same feeling as Kakky Hargreaves or a poem and then write the music to it after. So then it's a poem sung, sometimes the tune comes and then you just put suitable words to fit the tune, if the tune's doo der loo der loo der la and then you have shagga boo choo cha - you know, you have sound words then, just the sound of it, 'cus it is all sound, everything's vibrations I believe, you know, everything is sound really or vision. And just the difference between sound and vision I'm not quite sure about.
Sex is the only kind of exercise I bother with.
[on his father Alfred showing up after the Beatles hit it big]: It was the second time in my life I'd seen him - I wasn't having him in the house.
My life with the Beatles had become a trap... I always remember to thank Jesus for the end of my touring days; if I hadn't said that the Beatles were 'bigger than Jesus' and upset the very Christian Ku Klux Klan, well, Lord, I might still be up there with all the other performing fleas! God bless America. Thank you, Jesus.
Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. We're more popular than Jesus now - I don't know which will go first, rock and roll or Christianity.
Here I am in my Hansel and Gretel house, famous and loaded, and I can't go anywhere. There's something else I'm going to do, only I don't know what it is, but I do know this isn't it for me.
The Beatles haven't got any magic you haven't got. We suffer like hell anytime we make anything, and we got each other to contend with. Imagine working with The Beatles, it's tough.
I will need to be a lot older before I can face in public the way I treated women as a youngster. (1980)
Without James Dean, the Beatles would have never existed.

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page