30 Things You Probably Didn't Know About John Lennon

Left: John Lennon in Beverly Hills in 1979. Right: Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford in a publicity photo for 'Monday Night Football.' Sources: Photo by Michael Brennan/Getty Images; IMDB

The Beatles -- John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison -- are among the most influential and successful rock bands of all time. Of the four, John Lennon had the most turbulent and ultimately tragic story. It was John who had a secret wife and child; he had the artist-girlfriend (Yoko Ono) who "broke up" the band; he was viewed as a messianic figure for his peace advocacy; he was always getting naked; he was publicly bitter and privately violent; and in 1980, John Lennon was murdered on the street outside his apartment building in New York City.

Lennon's music is still being sold and played today, and he will forever remain in our hearts. Here are 30 things you may not have known about John Winston Ono Lennon. 

Aunt Mimi Thought Music Was A Dead End

John grew up in Liverpool under the legal guardianship of Mimi Smith, his maternal aunt, who was famously dismissive of his interest in music. "The guitar's all right John, but you'll never make a living out of it," she told him, on numerous occasions. John and his aunt had a good, loving relationship -- she was just certain that music was a dead end. Later, after he'd become one of the greatest musicians of his day, he had a silver plaque engraved with her disparaging quote.

John Lennon Was Legally Blind

Very few people knew that John Lennon was legally blind-without his glasses. With them on, good to go. Later on, it became public knowledge that John was also dyslexic.

He Hated His Own Singing

John Lennon, Beatles singer and songwriter didn’t like the sound of his voice. This information came from the Beatles manager at the time, George Martin. George said that John would constantly ask for special effects to change the sound of his voice.

He Liked To Take A Walk On The Boardwalk

John was a Monopoly enthusiast. For those of you who didn’t know, the game has been around since 1935, three years before John was born. It was said that his goal (during every game) was to own Boardwalk and Park Place, even if it cost him the game.

Lennon Gave Up His MBE Medal

The Beatles were made members of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. John later returned his medal, telling the Queen “Your Majesty, I am returning my MBE as a protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against ‘Cold Turkey’ slipping down the charts. With love. John Lennon."

Lennon Was A Tyrant Of A Husband

John Lennon was very controlling when it came to his wives. He wanted his first wife, Cynthia, to look like Brigitte Bardot. (According to some accounts, Cynthia started it, making herself up to look like the French screen siren in order to catch John's eye.) When she cut her hair, he refused to talk to her for days. He also demanded that his second wife, Yoko Ono, write him a complete list of all the people she slept with.

Peace-And-Love Guy Lennon Could Get Violent

John Lennon hit women. In an interview with Playboy, he said "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. That is why I am always on about peace, you see. It is the most violent people who go for love and peace."

He Hit Men Too

Not only did he hit women, he was violent towards men too. He once repeatedly kicked his friend DJ Bob Wooler for making fun of him for having a relationship with Brian Epstein (who was in fact gay). DJ Bob had to be rushed to the hospital.

His Wife Says He Was Bisexual

John Lennon was bisexual. His own wife Yoko Ono claimed that he had bisexual tendencies and interests in men, although she says that she didn’t think he ever acted on it. He was rumored to have a gay relationship Brian Epstein.

All You Need Is (Self) Love

When John was a child, a close friend of his gave him a challenge. The challenge was to masturbate ten times in one day. Well John accepted the challenge. He actually came very close to reaching his goal; he fell short one.

He Had His Own Island

John Lennon bought an island off the coast of Ireland. He established a commune there which went well for two years before their supplies were burned in a fire. His wife, Yoko Ono, sold the island after John’s death.

A Wooden Performance

John and his second wife Yoko liked making films together. The most controversial one being a 15 minute slow motion movie of John’s penis going from flaccid to hard. The film was called "Self Portrait."

John Lennon Was A Bad Driver

John was one of the worst drivers on the planet. He got his license at the age of 25 and crashed his infamous Rolls Royce two short years after getting it; he ended up injuring his wife and each of their kids in the accident.

Meat The Beatles

John was the only member of the Beatles to not become a vegetarian. Paul and George adopted the lifestyle for philosophical reasons, Ringo took it up for health reasons, while John kept on eating meat. 

He Wasn't A Great Dad To Julian

John had a strained relationship with his son Julian. The unexpected pregnancy forced him to marry his first wife Cynthia. After John’s death, Julian said this about his father, "There was some very negative stuff talked about me ...like when he said I'd come out of a whiskey bottle on a Saturday night. Stuff like that. You think, where's the love in that?"

John Lennon Wasn't A Fan Of Beatles Records

John thought that the best music the Beatles ever made were the songs they never recorded. John said the price that the group paid to make the music that people liked drained their creative juices. 

John Played The First Solo Gig

 John Lennon was the first Beatle to perform solo. Although Paul McCartney was the first to announce his departure from the group, it was John who performed on his own out of the four former band mates. 

Lennon Left The Beatles Before Paul

John was the one who broke the band up, leaving the Beatles in September 1969. John and the other group members kept his departure a secret so that they could renegotiate their recording contracts. The secret held up for months, until Paul McCartney released his own solo debut album and announced he was out. Lennon was reportedly furious that Paul was given credit for breaking up the group. 

John And Yoko Took Advice From A Psychic

John Lennon and his babe Yoko Ono hired a psychic to help them make business decisions. Said psychic had it pretty good. The psychic on staff made as much money as their financial advisers and lawyers.

Lennon Disliked All The Fans' Screaming At Beatles Concerts

Apparently we shouldn’t be mad at Justin Bieber for demanding that his fans stop screaming during his performances. John felt the same way. He said “Beatles concerts are nothing to do with music any more. They’re just bloody tribal rites.”

He Was A Boy Scout And A Choir Boy

John Lennon, rock and roll legend, was a boy scout and choir boy. His choir boy stint was at the St. Peter’s church and he was a member of the 3rd Allerton Boy Scout troop. Who knew?

Acid Changed Him, Said His Wife

Cynthia said that her and John’s relationship started falling apart when he started taking large amounts of LSD. He first experienced the drug at a party hosted by his dentist; the dentist slipped some into John’s coffee, and George Harrison's, and only later told them what he'd done.

Lennon Said He Saw A UFO

John Lennon claimed to have seen a UFO levitating just outside his Manhattan apartment. He was on the roof naked at the time. He called his secretary May Pang and she also claims to have seen it. The police were called but by then, the UFO was gone.

He Was An Animal Lover

John Lennon loved animals. Throughout his extremely busy life, he had an array of pets, including a cat named Elvis, a black and white cat named Major and Minor, and two more cats who he named Salt and Pepper. 

Where He Slept When He Was Dead Tired

John used to nap in a coffin. One of their earlier managers, Allan Williams, had an old coffin at his bar, which John frequently took naps in. Apparently everyone, including John thought it was hilarious.

He Was A True Tea Head

He was a true Englishman. You know how people say the English love tea? Well John was one of those Brits who liked his caffeine. Rumors are that he drank between twenty and thirty cups of tea and coffee daily. 

The Most Famous Image Of Lennon And Ono Was Taken The Day He Died

The morning of John’s death, he was photographed by Annie Leibovitz did a shoot for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Lennon insisted that they be photographed as a couple, although Leibovitz later said that "nobody wanted her on the cover." He stripped nude and wrapped himself around Ono for a photo that did indeed make the cover, which in 2005 was voted the greatest magazine cover of the previous 40 years by the American Society of Magazine Editors. 

Some Of The Stories About Lennon Might Not Be True

John Lennon is rumored to have been a pathological liar; lying about the reasons why he left the Beatles, about how he met his second wife, Yoko Ono and about what he was up to before he made his comeback. 

Lennon Signed An Autograph For His Killer

The last autograph John Lennon signed was for his killer Mark David Chapman. The record he signed was John’s Double Fantasy album. Mark shot him as he was about to enter his hotel building with Yoko Ono. 

John Lennon's Death Was Announced On 'Monday Night Football'

Alex Karras, Howard Cosell, and Frank Gifford of 'Monday Night Football.' Source: IMDB

An ABC television producer was in the hospital, being treated for a motorcycling injury, when Lennon was brought in accompanied by New York City policemen. The producer found out what was going on -- including the detail that Lennon was dead -- and got the morbid scoop to his boss, Roone Arledge. Arledge, who was at that very moment busy with Monday Night Football (where he was executive producer). Arledge told sportscasters Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford to deliver the news immediately, on the air, as a game between the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots was going down to the wire.

Cosell: ... but [the game]'s suddenly been placed in total perspective for us. I'll finish this; they're in the hurry-up offense.

Gifford: Third down, four. [Chuck] Foreman ... it'll be fourth down. [Matt] Cavanaugh will let it run down for one final attempt; he'll let the seconds tick off to give Miami no opportunity whatsoever. (Whistle blows.) Timeout is called with three seconds remaining; [Patriots field goal kicker] John Smith is on the line. And I don't care what's on the line, Howard, you have got to say what we know in the booth.

Cosell: Yes, we have to say it. Remember this is just a football game, no matter who wins or loses. An unspeakable tragedy confirmed to us by ABC News in New York City: John Lennon, outside of his apartment building on the West Side of New York City—the most famous, perhaps, of all of the Beatles—shot twice in the back, rushed to Roosevelt Hospital, dead on arrival. Hard to go back to the game after that newsflash, which, in duty bound, we have to take. Frank?

Gifford: (after a pause) Indeed, it is.

The Patriots missed the field goal attempt, the game went into overtime, and Miami's Uwe von Schramann made a 23-yard field goal to win it.