20 Interesting Facts About John Lennon You’ll Enjoy Reading

20 Interesting Facts About John Lennon You’ll Enjoy Reading

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John Winston Ono Lennon, simply known as John Lennon, was a renowned English singer and songwriter. He is well remembered as the founder, rhythm guitarist, and co-lead vocalist of the Beatles. Despite his global fame, there are many facts about John Lennon that not so many people know about. Here’s a look at some of the most interesting facts about John Lennon.

1. He had a difficult childhood

Born on October 9, 1940, John Lennon experienced a life of hardship as he grew up. His father was rarely home but sent pay cheques to the apartment in Liverpool where Lennon lived with his mother. In February 1944, Lennon’s father stopped sending the pay cheques and disappeared for three months without a word. When he returned to take care of his family, Lennon’s mother was already pregnant with another man. This was followed by bitter arguments to a point where Lennon’s father asked him to choose him or his mother. Lennon reportedly chose his dad but cried and followed his mother as she walked away. (Archive.org) 

2. He was a talented writer and poet from childhood

One of the most unknown facts about John Lennon was his passion for writing and poetry. His first writing was published in a homemade magazine called The Daily Howl. The ‘magazine’ was actually a Quarry Bank High School exercise book and often contained drawings, satirical writing, and poetry. He also wrote two books: InHis Own Write and Spaniard In The Works. (Absolute Elsewhere)

3. He was a bad driver

John Lennon did not pass his driving test until he was 25. But even after that, his driving skills were not that good. He lost his confidence in driving after crashing his car, and was normally chauffeured by his driver, Les Anthony, to his appointments and recording sessions. (The Beatles)

4. He was short sighted

One of the little-known facts about John Lennon is his short sightedness. According to multiple reports, he was embarrassed to wear glasses until way later in his career when he decided to wear his iconic pair of round glasses. While his initial reason for wearing the glasses was to help with his shortsightedness, it soon became a fashion statement and a trademark look for the legendary singer.

5. He was on FBI’s surveillance list

When he arrived in New York in 1971, the FBI opened a file on the British singer, accusing him of trying to influence American youth through radical politics and lyrics. These files have since been declassified following lengthy legal battles that took more than a decade. Historian John Wiener had sued the FBI and lobbied for the release of 281 pages of files on the star singer. (Archive.org)

6. The U.S. government tried to deport him but failed

Following the release of his hit single Give Peace a Chance, which became the unofficial anthem of the anti-Vietnam War movement, Lennon had become influential in politics. He even returned his MBE medal to the Queen of England following Britain’s involvement in the Nigerian Civil War. In 1972, the U.S. government under the then President Nixon, tried to deport Lennon following reports that he was set to perform at a concert in San Diego at the same time as the Republican National Convention. The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service started the deportation proceedings, claiming that his conviction for cannabis possession in London in 1968 had made him inadmissible into the United States. After three and a half years, the Court of Appeals barred the deportation process, terming it as politically motivated. (BBC News)

7. He was dissatisfied with all of his Beatles recordings

During a dinner meeting with his former producer George Martin, John revealed his plans to rerecord every Beatles song. This was one year after the band had split up. When Martin asked John, “Even ‘Strawberry Fields’?” he responded “Especially ‘Strawberry Fields.’” (Wall Street Journal)

8. He witnessed George Harrison lose his virginity

Some facts about John Lennon are unbelievably strange; while still with the Beatles, John and Paul McCartney were witnesses as Beatle’s star George Harrison lost his virginity to a buxom German dancer.Revealing the details of the kinky ordeal, Harrison confessed in The Beatles Anthology:

“My first shag was in Hamburg – with Paul and John and [the group’s first drummer] Pete Best all watching. We were in bunk beds. They couldn’t really see anything because I was under the covers, but after I’d finished, they all applauded and cheered. At least they kept quiet while I was doing it.” (The New York Post)

9. He once claimed that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus

In a March 1966 interview, the celebrated rock star claimed that the Beatles had become more popular than Jesus. He added that Christianity had declined in popularity and would soon be replaced by rock music. His comments irked thousands of Christian communities, especially in the United States. In the Bible Belt of the Southern United States, for example, there were several protests and threats against Lennon. Protesters publicly burned Beatles records, posters, and pressured the media to cancel the band’s press conferences. (History.com)

10. He made even more controversial comments 

His tendency to attract controversy – one of the many facts about John Lennon – cannot go unmentioned. The comments about the Beatles being popular than Jesus aside, Lennon also once said,

“There are more people in America, so there are more bigots also.”

He was responding to the protests in America following his comments about Jesus. The comments, as expected, added more fuel to the already blazing fire.

When he grew tired of fans screaming at the Beatle’s live shows, he once commented,

“Beatles concerts are nothing to do with music anymore. They’re just bloody tribal rites.”(The Beatles: Image and the Media)

11. He owned an island

John Lennon once bought an island in Clew Bay, Ireland, for £1,700. He planned to use the island as a breakaway from his busy lifestyle and tour, but only visited it once. The island was later sold by his wife Yoko Ono for £30,000, four years after his death. The proceeds were donated to an Irish orphanage. Describing the island, Lennon’s wife once explained that the couple planned to build a cottage there. She also described the environment as beautiful, tranquil, isolated, and a ‘perfect place to get away from it all.’ (Ireland.com)

12. He was deeply in love with his wife, Ono

One of the most heartwarming facts about John Lennon was his undying love for his wife. The rock icon was quoted countless times heaping praises on his Japanese wife, who he stayed married to until his death. For a man who was well-known for dropping hits after hits, he once claimed that his greatest record was meeting his wife. He said:

“This is more than a hit record. It’s more than gold. It’s more than anything.”

He also added, in a previous interview, that meeting Ono made him more focused on the relationship than his ‘old gang’, the Beatles. He explained:

“When I met Yoko is when you meet your first woman, and you leave the guys at the bar and you don’t go play football anymore and you don’t go play snooker and billiards. Maybe some guys like to do it every Friday night or something and continue that relationship with the boys, but once I found the woman, the boys became of no interest whatsoever, other than they were like old friends.”(Beatles Bible)

13. Ono allowed Lennon to have a mistress

Following Lennon’s issues with the immigration authorities in the United States and his drug convictions in England, his relationship with Ono was damaged beyond repair. At the time, Ono was also battling racism from critics in Hollywood. In the summer of 1973, the couple separated. With Ono’s blessings, Lennon had a relationship with his personal assistant May Pang. A year later, the two considered to buy a house together. A month later, after ignoring Ono’s calls several times, Lennon finally agreed to meet her. During the meeting, the two reconciled and restarted their relationship, though Ono would allow Lennon to keep Pang as his mistress. (The John Lennon Encyclopedia)

14. He shares the same birthday with his second son

In 1975, a year after John Lennon’s reunion with wife Ono, the two had their second child, Sean. He was born on Lennon’s 35th birthday. Celebrated rock star Elton John was named Sean’s godfather. Following the birth of his son, Lennon decided to quit music to focus on fatherhood. (The Sun)

15. He couldn’t commit to a full-time vegetarian diet

While the rest of the Beatles were known for being vegetarians, John Lennon struggled to maintain the diet on a full-time basis. He would end up eating meat, somehow. George Harrison, the first Beatle to become a vegetarian in 1965 for spiritual reasons, was joined by Paul McCartney a few years later. It is claimed that Ringo became a vegetarian only for health problems. (Vegetarian Star)

16. He starved himself after being dubbed ‘the fat Beatle’

At the heart of his music career, a journalist once referred to John Lennon as ‘the fat Beatle.’ At the time, Lennon had gained a lot of weight from drinking. The criticism about his weight seemed to have stuck in his head; since then, he was obsessed with losing weight, and remained thin for the remainder of his life. (Beatles Bible)

17. He was the cover star of the first ever Rolling Stone publication

Popular American monthly magazine the Rolling Stone was first published on November 9, 1967. At the time, the Beatle’s popularity had taken a nosedive following John Lennon’s comments about the band being more popular than Jesus. However, despite the negative publicity, John Lennon, donning his trademark glassesduring a set of the film How I Won the War, was the cover starof the first ever Rolling Stone magazine. (Ultimate Classic Rock)

18. His first married was lowkey

Before marrying Ono, Lennon was married to Cynthia Powell on August 23, 1962 at the Mount Pleasant Register office in Liverpool. At the time, Lennon was only 22 years old.The wedding was attended by George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Beatles manager Brian Epstein as the best man. However, due to the increasing popularity of the Beatles, Powell had to keep a low profile. In 1968, six years after their marriage, the couple divorced. The two had a son named after Lennon’s mother, Julian. (Beatles Bible)

19. Never went on a solo tour after Beatle’s breakup

Following the Beatle’s official breakup in 1970, Lennon launched his first solo album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band the same year. In 1971, he also released Imagine, an album that enjoyed massive success. However, despite the fame as a solo artist, Lennon never went on a solo tourafter the breakup from the Beatles because of immigration issues. When he was finally ready to begin his tour scheduled for 1981, he was gunned down before then. (Ultimate Classic Rock)

20. He predicted his own death

One of the most chilling facts about John Lennon is the prediction of his own death. Growing up, the Beatles star was reportedly obsessed with shoplifting.  According to the band’s former manager Allan Williams, the pop legend once slept in a coffin and confessed that he had a dream that he would ‘get shot one day. True to his prophecy, years later, on December 8, 1980, John Lennon was gunned down in New York City by a Beatles fan from Hawaii, Mark David Chapman. He was 40 years old at the time of his death. (Daily Record)

One thing is clear about these facts about John Lennon; despite the controversies, he was full of love. His song All You Need Is Love, coupled by his countless acts of affection and humanity, tells a story of a musical legend whose legacy will never be forgotten. If you loved reading these facts about John Lennon, please browse around for more facts about prominent people. You may also subscribe to our newsletter for similar content, and even more!

SOURCES:

  1. Archive.org: https://archive.org/details/beatlesbiography00spit
  2. Absolute Elsewhere: http://www.specialsections.absoluteelsewhere.net/LennonLoreLegacy/oh_calcutta.html
  3. The Beatles: https://www.beatlesbible.com/1965/02/15/john-lennon-passes-driving-test/
  4. Beatles Story: https://www.beatlesstory.com/blog/2019/05/17/im-looking-through-you-john-lennons-spectacles/#:~:text=John%20Lennon%20was%20very%20short,glasses%20became%20his%20signature%20look.&text=%E2%80%9CHis%20short%20sightedness%20was%20at,a%20threat%20to%20his%20vision.%E2%80%9D
  5. Archive.org: https://archive.org/details/gimmesometruthjo00wien
  6. BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/6040148.stm
  7. Wall Street Journal: https://www.wsj.com/articles/let-me-take-you-down-creations-path-1458321872
  8. The New York Post: https://nypost.com/2000/09/04/bio-bares-beatles-as-fab-4-nicators/
  9. History.com: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/john-lennon-sparks-his-first-major-controversy
  10.  The Beatles: Image and the Media: https://books.google.com/books?id=QHtMYEl4QxsC&pg=PA123&lpg=PA123&dq=%E2%80%9CThere+are+more+people+in+America,+so+there+are+more+bigots+also.%E2%80%9D&source=bl&ots=TRFTm5fUhX&sig=ACfU3U39bKiS4Yv6BMArtqJPR9QIpsK_Tg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj0m5TO39XuAhWNFjQIHSFXDAgQ6AEwBHoECAgQAg
  11.  Ireland.com: https://www.ireland.com/articles/beatle-island/
  12.  Beatles Bible: https://www.beatlesbible.com/1966/11/07/john-lennon-meets-yoko-ono/
  13. The John Lennon Encyclopedia: https://www.amazon.in/John-Lennon-Encyclopedia-Bill-Harry/dp/0753539217
  14.  The Sun: https://www.the-sun.com/news/1606529/john-lennon-sons-sean-julian/
  15.  Vegetarian Star: http://vegetarianstar.com/tag/John-Lennon/
  16.  Beatles Bible: https://www.beatlesbible.com/forum/john-lennon/miscellaneous-questions-about-john-lennon/page-15/
  17.  Ultimate Classic Rock: https://www.beatlesbible.com/forum/john-lennon/miscellaneous-questions-about-john-lennon/page-15/
  18.  Beatles Bible: https://www.beatlesbible.com/1962/08/23/john-lennon-marries-cynthia-powell/
  19. Ultimate Classic Rock: https://ultimateclassicrock.com/john-lennon-toronto-concert/
  20. Daily Record: https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/entertainment/music/music-news/former-beatles-manager-i-still-lose-1084992

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