5 Traumatic Beginnings
John Winston Lennon was born on October 9, 1940, in Liverpool, during one of the largest air raids in Great Britain’s history. His parents separated when he was four, so he spent his formative years living with his aunt, Mimi. His father, a merchant seaman, wasn’t in his life until 1964. His mother, Julia, remarried and visited her son often, teaching him banjo, piano and guitar. She was killed by a drunken off-duty police officer in July 1958. Traumatized, he walked by the bus stop where she was killed nearly every day for the next few years.
4 The Mischief Maker’s BFF
Given Lennon’s penchant for frank speech, it’s not much of a stretch to find that Lennon was quite the rascal growing up, even if he was a choir boy and a boy scout. Pete Shotton, Lennon’s partner in crime that often included pranks and shoplifting, played the washboard in Lennon’s first band, the Quarry Men, but had no musical aptitude. Lennon ended up smashing the washboard over Shottnn’s head, ending his brief musical career. But as best friends forever do, Shotton remained true to Lennon until the end.
3 His Women
Lennon lived with just three women after he left his Aunt Mimi. His first wife, Cynthia, gave birth to son, Julian, in April 1963. After they divorced, he fell head over heels for Yoko Ono. When John and Yoko separated in 1973, Yoko approached May Pang, suggesting that she hook up with Lennon. They spent more than a “lost weekend” together, as the media put it. May and John were together until 1980 and she states that she is proud of those years as his girlfriend. Yoko and John reconciled during that time and Yoko gave birth to Lennon’s second son, Sean, on October 9, 1975. Father and son shared the same birthday.
2 “Imagine” Public Enemy #1
John Lennon considered himself “Public Enemy #1” during Richard Nixon’s administration. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s classified file regarding Lennon’s $75,000 contribution to assist formation of the group Election Year Strategy Information Center (EYSIC) in 1972 was declassified by the CIA in 1987. The group was then led by convicted Chicago Seven defendant, Rennie Davis, existing to protest and counteract the election activities of the GOP. Lennon and Yoko Ono were also trying to become U.S. citizens at the time.
1 Not a Happy Camper
Lennon revealed to his former producer, George Martin, many years after the Beatles had broken up, that he was dissatisfied with all of the Beatles’ records and would re-record every one of them. Whether this was due to creative issues or his ongoing feud with Paul McCartney is a tough call. McCartney and Lennon never really reconciled. But “Imagine” if they had.