If your family is anything like my family (and if you think otherwise, I bet we can find a similarity or two), there was always something about the Beatles (or music in general) that was tied into my childhood. I mean, my dad, Rob, basically has all of the albums on CD and used to play them whenever I was in the car with him going to Home Depot or just hanging out with him while he worked on stuff.
As I grew older, I was able to recognize The Beatles and their influence over modern music and their ability to remain relevant fifty years later. But then I got a little bit older and delved deeper into the swimming pool of their lives and learned more about them as people instead of just as musicians.
And boy, I’m not much of a fan of John Lennon.
Before I really rip into him and say what I actually think, I am not denying his ability to write songs or his talent as a musician in general; or even for helping lead one of the most iconic bands in history. I am saying that he is a hypocrite and I have a hard time respecting him and his actions (what he did and didn’t do).
We all know the song “Hey Jude”. It was written by Paul McCartney for Lennon’s son, Julian. It was supposed to be Hey Jules but was quickly changed. You see, about the time when Julian was 5, he and his mom were abandoned by his father. Lennon seemed like he wasn’t into marriage and the domestic life; too immature and narcissistic.
His ex-wife, Cynthia, said that he was often absent, drug-filled, and overall unpleasant to be around during Julian’s early childhood. He later ran off with Yoko Ono and came back into his son’s life years later, only to berate him and scream at him until he was in tears. Julian later said in an interview with the Telegraph that “Paul was more of a father to me than John was.”
Lennon called himself a ‘dreamer’ in his song ‘Imagine’. And honestly, dreamer is a good word to describe him. He preached about world peace and spreading love and protested against Vietnam. But the way he protested was in bad taste in my opinion. He stayed in bed. He and his wife, Yoko Ono, did Bed-In’s for Peace. Sure, he donated a bit of money but the bed-in’s never made sense to me. What was it even supposed to accomplish? If anything they were nonviolent protests, which I support. But this man had fame and influence and money, he could have done so much more.
Lennon lived a life of hypocrisy. He ‘imagined a world without religion’ but obsessed over any New Age spiritual fads that he came across, such as Hindu meditation. He sang the words ‘all you need is love’ but was neglectful towards his son and abused his first wife. He imagined ‘a world without possessions’ but lived a posh and glamorous life in New York.
I respect John Lennon as a musician, but it’s hard to respect him as a person based on what he did and didn’t do.