It’s entirely possible that you missed out on a pretty interesting news story this afternoon. If you managed to dodge all the “David Cameron loves Pigs” memes and closet racist comments about the refugee crisis then you’ll have no doubt saw a cluster of people going crazy about news about John Lennon. Sadly, or thankfully for those who detest the Beatles, it wasn’t the announcement that he had been ressurected but rather a shocking piece of footage.
Unlike most cases of celebrities being ignorant and outright offensive, Lennon won’t be able to defend himself of apologise seeing as he’s, well, dead. In fact it’ll have been 35 years this December since he was assasinated by Mark David Chapman. Although his status as a music legend is pretty much set in stone at this point, it hasn’t stopped many criticising Lennon both before and after his death for a lot of his actions. Below are 5 reasons why the musician and peace activist shouldn’t be glorified as a legend.
- He was violent towards women
It’s no secret that the divorce Lennon and his first wife Cynthia Powell went through was hectic, with factors such as LSD use and adultery all allegedly causing the two to part ways. However, many people assume that it was domestic abuse that resulted in their divorce. Lennon didn’t shy away from admitting he bet Powell, telling Playboy during an interview in 1980:
“All that ‘I used to be cruel to my woman, I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved’ was me. I used to be cruel to my woman, and physically – any woman. I was a hitter. I couldn’t express myself and I hit. I fought men and I hit women.”
Although he insists that his earlier violence motivated his activism nearer the end of his life, there’s no excusing the fact he was violent towards Powell, allegedly slapping her out of jealousy. As well as this, it’s been said that his violent behaviour towards women continued into his relationship with Yoko Ono.
2. He emotionally abused his son
Regardless if you think that Lennon’s actions towards his partners was redeemed by his supposed change during his activism, there’s no denying that his eldest son Julian was the biggest victim. It seemed as if Lennon resented him as he was absent for most of his childhood and his wife at the time Powell says he was very unpleasant to be around.
Those quick to be sympathetic towards Lennon would say that he was famous and was in arguably the biggest and best rock band in the world so his schedule would have been full to the brim. I can understand this point but that’s only the tipping point of the awful treatment Julian went through. Lennon would often berate his son to the point of breaking down crying, once yelling at him “I hate the way you fucking laugh” after he giggled.
Now all of this was pretty shocking but what was most upsetting was a statement made by Julian stated years later saying that Paul McCartney was more of a father to him than his own father.
3. He nearly killed a man
The previous two points I’ve made have been ones that I’ve always mentioned when discussing John Lennon as a person. If you haven’t realised by this point in the article then it’s important to note that to judge an artists work then you have to pay little attention to personal matters unless they relate to lyrics or something similar to that. In the same way when judging a person themselves, their music alone has little to do with their character. You can make the best album in the world and still be a shitty person.
The fact that Lennon almost punched a man to death alone is pretty shocking to read but the fact it was about something as petty as being accused of being gay is just painful to read. Thankfully the victim MC Bob Wooler, who was a close friend of the Beatles, got away lightly with broken ribs. This goes to show that Lennon’s behaviour was not exclusive to just partners or family, it was unleashed upon anyone who said the wrong thing at the wrong time.
4. He was a compulsive liar
At this point it’ll look like I’m clutching at straws. “Everyone lies” you’ll be telling yourselves and to be fair, you wouldn’t be wrong. Most rock stars in the 60’s and 70’s lied and to this day celebrities will do the same.
The reason I bring up this point is this: did these stars lie about being from a working class background? Did these stars lie about being married? Did these stars lie about how they met their partner when in reality they stalked them? What’s probably the worst lie he told was when he talked shortly before his death to the media. “I’ve been spending time baking bread and being a stay at home dad” he told them when in reality he had been feeding his addiction to heroin and living a drug induced haze. Perhaps he was joking, perhaps he wasn’t, the fact of the matter is that Lennon lied about his life to suit his tastes and fuel his ego further.
5. He was a hypocrite
Think of John Lennon right now. The thougts that will pop into your mind might be how he wrote one of the best songs you’ve ever heard Imagine as the lyrics are powerful. You wouldn’t be wrong either since it’s a good song and music itself is subjective like any art.
However, if you listen to the lyrics a bit closer and remember who wrote them, it’ll leave a strange feeling in your mouth. “Imagine no possessions” he sang as he lived a rich lifestyle in one of New York’s poshest hotels. “Imagine no religion” even though he hopped onto everything that came his way, whether it was astrology or Hindu meditation.
While he was in the Beatles he sang about how love is all you need. Is love being violent towards your cherished ones, those who you hold close, or in Lennon’s case don’t hold close at all?
So what do you think? Do you agree with me or do you sympathise with Lennon? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me your opinion @blinkclyro. As always, thanks for reading.