John Lennon: Beatles star’s brutal rejection of ‘letting people down’ claim exposed
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Beatles fans across the world will celebrate the 80th birthday of John Lennon this month (Oct 9) and remember the remarkable talent of the late legendary star. The singer-songwriter, who was behind a plethora of the band’s hits, was shot dead by Mark David Chapman outside his New York apartment 40 years ago. Lennon received a number of posthumous accolades including a Brit Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Music’ and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions with the band in 1988, and as a solo artist four years later. His legacy lives on in the powerful song lyrics he left behind, many of which have been adopted as anti-war and counterculture anthems. The Liverpudlian musician was first part of The Quarrymen, which evolved into The Beatles in 1960 and several years later became internationally renowned. The furore that surrounded their fame around the world was dubbed ‘Beatlemania’ and with it carried much pressure, which Lennon addressed in candid comments.
The Fab Four’s first release ‘Love Me Do’ was hastily followed by their debut album ‘Please Please Me’ in 1963, which featured hits including ‘Twist and Shout’, ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ and more.
At that time, Lennon confessed he and Paul McCartney were “writing songs… pop songs with no more thought of them than that – to create a sound” – but less than a year later they broke into the US.
In 1964, they also released the mockumentary film ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, which revealed ‘Beatlemania’ at its height during a 36 hour insight into the band’s lives.
The public’s appetite for information about the four Liverpudlian lads grew exponentially and in equal measure the condemnation after they didn’t always live up to expectation.
During their tour of Australia, Lennon revealed the pressure put on them and addressed interviewer Malcome Searle’s searing questions for fans down under in 1964.
He asked the star whether the band was religious and sought to find out if that meant whether they “didn’t believe in God or religion”.
Lennon fired back: “Well, you know, we settle for calling ourselves agnostics because we don’t want to.”
Mr Searle informed him that the band had left some Australian fans “a little bit upset” by stating that they “didn’t like sport”.
In a cheeky response, Lennon quipped: “Well we can’t be everything to everybody! We’re agnostic about sport too.”
As a “great sport loving nation”, Mr Searle insisted it was a foolish disclosure and then asked about comments made by his Aunt Mimi, who acted as a mother figure for the star.
The interviewer recalled her claim that he was “very serious” when he was young and did “a lot of writing as an eight-year-old” – but Lennon clarified what she meant.
He said: “Well now, she got it wrong our Mimi, didn’t you? If you’re watching. No, I was never serious. I was serious about writing although I laughed when I wrote.
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“She means serious in as much that I said ‘Keep it and stop throwing it away’ but I was never serious.”
Later, he was asked about sketches and nonsensical writings, which were published in ‘In His Own Write’ and his response to critics calling it “sick”.
In another playful response, Lennon responded: “Well some of it is sick, there’s a lot of sickness about isn’t there?”
When asked whether they owed their success to Brian Epstein, their manager from 1962 until his death five years later, he quipped: “Well we owe him one and six exactly.”
Lennon added: “We owe a lot of our success to him… we might have been able to make hit records, because we would have written the songs but we wouldn’t have gone anywhere.
“He controlled us, anybody that tried to manage us earlier on couldn’t get through to us, they’d last about a week and we’d say ‘We’re not having you.’”
Lennon rejected the notion that Mr Epstein took full control and added: “He didn’t take over as some people do.
“He just walked in and said ‘Right, cut your hair like that, put this suit on’ and we were already there.
“People just said we were dirty but we weren’t dirty, we were just in jeans because we couldn’t afford anything else.”
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