The Beatles were all about love: They used the word 613 times in their songs, and like 300 of those are probably from John Lennon’s “All You Need Is Love” alone. In his solo career, Lennon continued singing about love, but also about peace — he even spent money putting up billboards with pro-peace messages in cities like London and New York.
Many of his fans treat Lennon like a modern-day Jesus: He preached peace and love, dressed like a disheveled hippie, died tragically young, and came back four years later with a posthumous album. Just like Jesus.
What He Was Really Like:
Lennon was a real asshole, especially to the people he was supposed to love the most. While he did write classic peace songs like “Imagine” and “Give Peace a Chance,” keep in mind that he also wrote “I Am the Walrus,” so he did not possess the soundest of minds. Lennon admitted in a Playboy interview that when he was younger, he basically went around punching women: “I was a hitter. I couldn’t express myself and I hit. I fought men and I hit women.”
His attitude didn’t change much when he hooked up with Yoko Ono and started shouting about peace. People gave Ono a lot of shit for following Lennon to band practices (a taboo in the music world known as “being a Yoko Ono”), but Ono only did that because Lennon demanded that she come out of fear she would leave him. He even made her go into the bathroom with him, afraid someone would snatch her away while she waited in the lobby. At the same time, he was openly unfaithful to her, just as he was to his first wife.
In the end, though, the biggest target of Lennon’s cruelty was his son Julian. Lennon was absent for most of Julian’s life, and the time he spent with him often led to yelling, insults, and very uncomfortable situations.
Lennon stated in an interview that Julian was unplanned and “came from a bottle of whiskey.” Lennon did admit his failings near the end of his life, but he added, “I will have to be a lot older before I can face in public how I treated women as a youngster.” Sadly, that didn’t happen, so he died an asshole.
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