John Lennon was a pivotal character in the Beatles. English singer, songwriter, and peace activist, John Lennon was the band’s primary songwriter alongside Paul McCartney and co-founded the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in history. He later enjoyed success in his solo career and had albums like Imagine and Double Fantasy released, which received positive reviews. Give Peace a Chance and Imagine are only a couple of the songs that John Lennon wrote addressing social and political topics.
Without Lennon, The Beatles wouldn’t have been who they are now. It would be an understatement to not address the importance of Lennon in the band. He co-wrote most of the group’s renowned songs with Paul McCartney and served as their lead singer, rhythm guitarist, and primary songwriter. He was the band’s spokesperson and the member who was most well-known, and his message of love and peace struck a chord with people all around the world. His passing in 1980 shocked the music business and had an enduring impression on popular culture.
More than that, John is still remembered today due to his nature. The notion he had to spit out harsh truth and criticisms towards his fellow bandmates and his contemporaries was unlike any other. John was a flawed human with his own share of problems. Over the years of his career, he had feuds with different artists too. John Lennon was renowned for his razor-sharp wit and blunt honesty, which occasionally came across as harsh. He was a firm believer in speaking the truth, and he frequently spoke his strong sentiments to others in his immediate vicinity.
Back in 1974, Todd Rundgren also talked about Lennon and it was not a good thing to say. He said, “John Lennon ain’t no revolutionary, He’s a fucking idiot, man. Shouting about revolution and acting like an ass. It just makes people feel uncomfortable. All he really wants to do is get attention for himself, and if revolution gets him that attention, he’ll get attention through revolution. Hitting a waitress in the Troubador. What kind of revolution is that? […] He’s an important figure, sure, But so was Richard Nixon. Nixon was just like another generation’s John Lennon.”
Despite all the talks, he was a fervent music enthusiast and a committed family man. He was wise, kind, and surprisingly sympathetic, displaying a more vulnerable side to people he cared about. But there were some outlines that described him in different ways too.
The seven sins of John Lennon
John Lennon had an unusual and difficult upbringing. On October 9th, 1940, he was born in Liverpool, England to Julia Stanley and Alfred Lennon. When he was five years old, his parents divorced, and he was raised by his adored aunt Mimi Smith. Sadly, his mother also died when he was only 17. This was a traumatizing thing for him which changed him.
According to the book by Albert Goldman, The Lives of John Lennon, it is recorded that the felt a sexual desire for his mother. It was also pointed out in a 1979 interview. He said, “I always think I should have done it. Presumably, she would have allowed it.”
In 1973, John Lennon’s “Lost Weekend” occurred as the former Beatles member chose to step away from both his personal and professional lives. He resided in Los Angeles at this time with his personal helper May Pang. He recorded the albums Walls and Bridges and Rock ‘n’ Roll at this time. In addition, he started to investigate the spirituality he had been studying since the middle of the 1960s.
There were several heated debates over “Lost Weekend.” When Lennon and Harry Nilsson attended a party at the Troubadour club, it generated some controversy. Later, when Lennon appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine wearing a full-body cast, it generated much more. Overall though, Lennon was able to find himself and advance in his solo career thanks to the lost weekend.
Regarding his opinions on religion, especially Christianity, John Lennon was renowned for being outspoken. Back in 1966 during an interview with The Evening Standard in March, he famously said, “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that; I’m right, and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now. I don’t know which will go first, rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.”
He, later on, clarified saying, “I suppose if I had said television was more popular than Jesus, I would have got away with it. I’m sorry I opened my mouth. I’m not anti-God, anti-Christ, or anti-religion. I was not knocking it. I was not saying we are greater or better.”
Due to his public advocacy for peace and other social justice causes despite his prior involvement in several contentious events, John Lennon was sometimes derided as a hypocrite. The Bed-Ins for Peace was one of the most noteworthy occasions, and he received harsh criticism for orchestrating what many people perceived to be a publicity ploy.
Lennon was also criticized for his drug use despite his public support for peace and anti-drug campaigns. In the end, Lennon’s seeming inconsistency led many to doubt his commitment to his convictions, and this criticism occasionally eclipsed his legacy as an artist and social activist.
He has had his fair share of violent days during his career. He once threw a glass at the manager of The Smothers Brothers at The Troubador in Los Angeles. It missed but, hit a waitress.
While John was still living, it was known that his relationship with Julian, his eldest son was tense. Even though they were father and son, the two did not always agree. Julian frequently felt mistreated and resentful of John’s behavior. John was infamous for being icy, even nasty, and frequent. At the time, Lennon was too slothful to handle the demands of fatherhood.
Although it is known that Julian was a sensitive child, his father would occasionally criticize and even physically harm him despite Julian’s kind demeanor.
One of the most well-known musical partnerships in contemporary history is that between Paul McCartney and John Lennon. The two musicians’ relationship was frequently tense despite the creative accomplishments of their collaboration. When Lennon started to feel overshadowed by McCartney’s rising fame and the two started to butt heads over their creative differences in the late 1960s, this tension started to become more obvious.
McCartney criticized Lennon in his song ‘Too Many People’, and following that, Lennon retaliated with ‘How Do You Sleep?’. It also featured George Harrison. The two are infamous for their arguments on the direction of the band’s songs and who should receive a songwriting credit. For instance, in 1968, Lennon and McCartney got into a heated debate about whether to release the shorter single version of the song “Hey Jude” or the longer album version, which led to Lennon leaving the recording studio.
The two are infamous for their arguments on the direction of the band’s songs and who should receive a songwriting credit. For instance, in 1968, Lennon and McCartney got into a heated debate about whether to release the shorter single version of the song “Hey Jude” or the longer album version, which led to Lennon leaving the recording studio.
Following their 1968 divorce, John Lennon gave Cynthia Powell a $100,000 settlement. Given Lennon’s enormous wealth at the time, this sum was significantly less than what she was entitled to. John’s artistic and financial accomplishments had greatly increased since their marriage, and Cynthia thought that he had purposefully undervalued her worth. She thought he offered her such a small sum to put her off trying to get any of his money or property.
Lennon refused to pay out more than £75,000, claiming that she wasn’t worth more than that and that amount was equivalent to winning the football pools. His final act of greed was to amend Julian’s trust agreement so that if he had any other children, he would have to pay less in distributions. This meant that Julian’s fortune was reduced to £50,000 at the time Sean Ono Lennon was born.