John Lennon's name is pretty heavily associated with peace, love, and togetherness. However, the man behind warmhearted classics like "Imagine" was an entirely different person behind the scenes. John Lennon's dark side often took the form of adultery, drug use, and even spousal abuse. The man who is thought of as an icon for the positive energy of the 1960s was actually cruel and callous to those he loved the most.
In some ways, it's not entirely surprising. The lyrics of many of Lennon's classic songs are dark enough to leave listeners wondering, "Did John Lennon abuse his wives?" Many of the lyrics were autobiographical and those closest to Lennon have confirmed that domestic violence occurred. Lennon had a legendarily violent temper and admitted to some pretty disturbing deeds in interviews throughout his career. Learning a little about John Lennon's history will leave you rethinking your notions of the esteemed Beatle.
He Almost Murdered A DJ Who Questioned His Sexuality
Before the Beatles shot into worldwide popularity, John Lennon almost killed someone. Beatles manager Brian Epstein was openly gay and traveled with Lennon to Spain shortly after Lennon's son Julian was born. This led to rumors that Lennon and Epstein were romantically involved.
At the famous Cavern Club, where the Beatles used to perform, a DJ made a snide comment insinuating Lennon and Epstein had a sexual encounter during their trip. Lennon did not take kindly to this, to say the least. He violently beat the DJ, who repeatedly begged Lennon to stop. The DJ nearly died from his injuries. Lennon refused to apologize. Epstein had to forge Lennon’s signature on an apology sent via telegram. Lennon would later claim he was too high to realize what he was doing during the attack.
He Was Sexually Attracted To His Own Mother
Lennon dropped a disturbing bombshell in a 1979 audio confession tape. Lennon openly admitted to harboring sexual feelings for his own mother. He once described lying down next to her when he was an adolescent and accidentally touching her breast. He considered taking the sexual interaction further and still regretted not having done so. On the tape, he said, “I always think I should have done it. Presumably, she would have allowed it.”
He Openly Admitted To Hitting Women In A Playboy Interview
The song "Getting Better" contains the unexpectedly dark line, “I used to be cruel to my woman, I beat her and kept apart from the things that she loved.” In a 1980 Playboy interview, Lennon admitted outright the line was autobiographical. He said he frequently hit women, both his wife and other lovers, throughout his youth. He also didn’t seem particularly apologetic, noting,
“I am not a violent man who has learned not to be violent and regrets his violence. I will have to be a lot older before I can face in public how I treated women as a youngster.”
He Routinely Beat His Son For Having Bad Table Manners
According to Lennon’s housekeeper, Lennon's son Julian Lennon had pretty decent table manners for a young child. But apparently, John did not agree with this assessment and did not hesitate to harshly punish his son for any indiscretions at the dinner table. If he felt Julian was misbehaving, it was not uncommon for John to strike his son.