John Lennon, the legendary singer, songwriter and activist was born on the 9th October 1940 and died on the 8th December 1980. Finding fame with perhaps the greatest band of all time, he was the founder, vocalist and guitarist in the Beatles, forming a songwriting partnership with Paul McCartney, that is ranked as the most successful partnership ever.
In 1956, Lennon formed his first band, The Quarrymen, who eventually evolved into the Beatles in 1960. As well as this, during the 60s he published collections of writings and line drawings. Releasing a string of hits with the Beatles, they gradually became the biggest band on the planet and will forever be known for their hits. However, Lennon gradually began to focus on his work with his wife Yoko Ono, including many anti-war themed pieces and he left the Beatles in 1969.
His anti-war stance and peace activism led his songs to become anthems for many peace movements around the world but also drew criticism from some, such as the Nixon administration. It was in New York in 1980, where he was tragically shot by a fan, three weeks after his latest album release.
A true legend of music, John Lennon’s quotes continue to appeal to those who love their music and love what he stood for in life.
1. Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.
2. The more I see the less I know for sure.
3. Everybody loves you when you’re six foot in the ground.
4. I’m not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I’ve always been a freak. So I’ve been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I’m one of those people.
5. Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.
6. Yeah we all shine on, like the moon, and the stars, and the sun.
7. When you’re drowning, you don’t say ‘I would be incredibly pleased if someone would have the foresight to notice me drowning and come and help me,’ you just scream.
8. The postman wants an autograph. The cab driver wants a picture. The waitress wants a handshake. Everyone wants a piece of you.
9. The cross of the Legion of Honor has been conferred on me. However, few escape that distinction.
10. Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.
11. All we are saying is give peace a chance.
12. We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.
13. Love is the flower you’ve got to let grow.
14. You have to be a bastard to make it, and that’s a fact. And the Beatles are the biggest bastards on earth.
15. The basic thing nobody asks is why do people take drugs of any sort? Why do we have these accessories to normal living to live? I mean, is there something wrong with society that’s making us so pressurized, that we cannot live without guarding ourselves against it?
16. Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.
17. If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.
18. You either get tired fighting for peace, or you die.
19. It doesn’t matter how long my hair is or what colour my skin is or whether I’m a woman or a man.
20. Will the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you, if you’ll just rattle your jewelry.
21. If being an egomaniac means I believe in what I do and in my art or music, then in that respect you can call me that… I believe in what I do, and I’ll say it.
22. Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.
23. I don’t know which will go first – rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity.
24. Lots of people who complained about us receiving the MBE received theirs for heroism in the war – for killing people. We received ours for entertaining other people. I’d say we deserve ours more.
25. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first, rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity.
26. Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue with that; I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first – rock and roll or Christianity.
27. He didn’t come out of my belly, but my God, I’ve made his bones, because I’ve attended to every meal, and how he sleeps, and the fact that he swims like a fish because I took him to the ocean. I’m so proud of all those things. But he is my biggest pride.
28. There’s nothing you can know that isn’t known.
29. God is a concept by which we measure our pain.
30. We were all on this ship in the sixties, our generation, a ship going to discover the New World. And the Beatles were in the crow’s nest of that ship.
31. You don’t need anybody to tell you who you are or what you are. You are what you are!
32. You’re just left with yourself all the time, whatever you do anyway. You’ve got to get down to your own God in your own temple. It’s all down to you, mate.
33. Possession isn’t nine-tenths of the law. It’s nine-tenths of the problem.
34. Music is everybody’s possession. It’s only publishers who think that people own it.
35. It was like being in the eye of a hurricane. You’d wake up in a concert and think, Wow, how did I get here?
36. I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?
37. As usual, there is a great woman behind every idiot.
38. All you need is love.
39. Rituals are important. Nowadays it’s hip not to be married. I’m not interested in being hip.
40. My role in society, or any artist’s or poet’s role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.
41. If someone thinks that love and peace is a cliche that must have been left behind in the Sixties, that’s his problem. Love and peace are eternal.
42. Guilt for being rich, and guilt thinking that perhaps love and peace isn’t enough and you have to go and get shot or something.
43. If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’.
44. These critics with the illusions they’ve created about artists – it’s like idol worship. They only like people when they’re on their way up… I cannot be on the way up again
45. The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn’t the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility.
46. I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It’s just that the translations have gone wrong.
47. Surrealism had a great effect on me because then I realised that the imagery in my mind wasn’t insanity. Surrealism to me is reality.
48. Part of me suspects that I’m a loser, and the other part of me thinks I’m God Almighty.
49. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.
50. I don’t believe in killing whatever the reason!
51. Everything is clearer when you’re in love.
52. Love is the answer, and you know that for sure; Love is a flower, you’ve got to let it grow.
53. And God help Bruce Springsteen when they decide he’s no longer God… They’ll turn on him, and I hope he survives it.
54. I’m not claiming divinity. I’ve never claimed purity of soul. I’ve never claimed to have the answers to life. I only put out songs and answer questions as honestly as I can… But I still believe in peace, love and understanding.
55. I believe time wounds all heels.