John Lennon Quotes

208 John Lennon quotes and quotations about life, from a rock-and-roll legend.

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John Lennon (1940-1980) legendary member of The Beatles, singer-songwriter and peace activist

John Winston Lennon came into this world on October 9, 1940, while German bombs rained down on the tough seaport city of Liverpool, England.

John Lennon's childhood home in Liverpool

He never knew his merchant seaman father, who left home when John was three. Soon his mother, Julia, handed the little boy over to her sister Mimi and her husband, for a stable upbringing (in the house pictured here). Julia Lennon visited her son, and once John turned 11 he often visited her.

Julia taught John to play the banjo, and bought him his first cheap ("guaranteed not to split") guitar. She had the guitar delivered to her house—not to Mimi's, who hoped that John would tire of music.

Mimi was sceptical of John's claim that he would be famous one day, often telling him, "The guitar's all very well, John, but you'll never make a living out of it.” From her point of view, she had every reason to doubt. London was the social, financial and artistic centre of the country. Nothing that happened anywhere else in Britain really mattered.

By his 16th year, John formed his first band, The Quarrymen, with Paul McCartney on lead guitar. John and Paul began writing songs together, and The Quarrymen played any gig they could get.

Then on 15 July 1958, when John was 17, a car driven by an off-duty policeman close to Mimi's house struck and killed his mother.

John, already insecure, became bitter. In art college he disrupted the class and ridiculed his teachers. He dropped out before his last year, but not before meeting and dating Cynthia Powell. In 1962, when Cynthia became pregnant with their son, Julian, John married her.

After George Harrison joined The Quarrymen, a growing reputation got them booked for club dates in West Germany. In 1960, calling themselves the Silver Beatles, with drummer Pete Best, they sailed to Germany to play the rowdy red-light-district bars in the gritty seaport of Hamburg.

They popped illicit pills that kept them up to play every night of the week, changed their name to The Beatles—and got those iconic haircuts that later became known as the moptop.

Back in Liverpool, record-store owner Brian Epstein became The Beatles’ manager, in 1961. He changed their image from leather-jacketed rockers who ate, smoked and swore on stage to tailored-suit-wearing young men who bowed politely when they finished playing. And Ringo Starr became the drummer.


In January 1963, the second Beatles single, Please Please Me, climbed to number one on the British charts in just four weeks. That year, The Beatles appeared live on a prestigious BBC TV variety show, with the Queen Mother and thousands of screaming fans in the audience, and millions of young fans and their parents watching at home on TV. I Want to Hold Your Hand came out in the U.S. in the first week of 1964, and when The Beatles went over to America, the world lay at their feet.

Especially after their performance on the Ed Sullivan TV show on Sunday, February 9th. More than 50,000 fans applied for seats in the studio audience, which only held 728 people. While some 73 million Americans tuned in to watch The Beatles—the largest viewership in the history of television to that point.

During the week of April 4, 1964, The Beatles held 10 positions on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, including the top five records. So far, no other performing artist has ever matched this feat.

The Beatles embarked on a two-year non-stop whirlwind. They did constant international tours. They filmed two movies—A Hard Day's Night and Help! John wrote two books— In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works. And John and Paul wrote more hit songs. (The Lennon/McCartney songwriting partnership is one of the best-known and most successful musical and cultural collaborations of all time.)

But the bubble burst in America when John outraged the moral Christian majority of the United States with some offhand remarks he had made back in England, to a London journalist he knew. When his remarks that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus were reprinted in America in August 1966, a furor broke out in the American Bible Belt in the South and Midwest.

Conservative groups staged public burnings of Beatles' records and memorabilia. Radio stations banned Beatles music. Concert venues cancelled performances. The Ku Klux Klan burned a Beatles effigy and nailed Beatles albums to a burning cross. And The Vatican publicly denounced John's comments.

He soon apologized, which the Vatican accepted, and the uproar eventually died down. But the Beatles’ lives had been threatened, plus they hadn’t been able to hear themselves play on stage for years above the hysterical screaming in the audience, so they decided to stop touring, and never performed on stage together again.

Back in London that same year, John walked into an art gallery and there, among the paraphernalia of her avant-garde art, he met Yoko Ono, who would become his second wife.

And later in 1966 in the Abbey Road Studios in London, The Beatles and their producer, George Martin, began creating the pop music industry’s first concept album, the seminal Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Other albums followed, but the drug use that started in Hamburg and escalated with The Beatles’ fame took its toll of their formerly close relationship.

John left The Beatles in September 1969, but agreed not to make an announcement while the band members renegotiated their recording contract. He became infuriated when McCartney issued an interview in April 1970, declaring that he was no longer a member of The Beatles. "Jesus Christ!” John fumed. “He (Paul) gets all the credit for it!"

To date, The Beatles' records sales stand at more than a billion worldwide.

Give Peace A Chance

John and Yoko married in Gibraltar on 20 March 1969. Knowing their wedding would cause a huge stir in the press, they decided to use their honeymoon to help champion world peace. Five days after their wedding, the pair climbed into the bed of room 902 at the Amsterdam Hilton and called the media about their “bed-in.”

John and Yoko staged a second bed-in in Montreal, Canada, where they stayed in rooms 1738/40/42 at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. During their bed-ins, John and Yoko made themselves available to the press from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for seven days.

On June 1, 1969, John recorded the song Give Peace A Chance in the Montreal hotel room, accompanied by a roomful of people that included media stars and members of the Canadian Radha Krishna Temple. The song quickly became the anthem of the anti-war movement. As many as 500,000 demonstrators in Washington, D.C. sang it together at the Vietnam Moratorium Day that same year.

Around the time of the release of John’s powerful and popular Imagine album in the autumn of 1971, John and Yoko left England and moved to New York. The album and the Imagine single quickly topped the charts and solidified John's position as the world's most influential rock star.


John was at the height of his political involvement, railing against the war in Vietnam and other injustices. Within weeks of arriving in the U.S., he met with influential radical left-wing American social activists. John expressed interest in participating in fund-raising, voter-registration anti-war rallies and concerts.

Under the First Amendment (which protects U.S. citizens and non-citizens alike) John’s intentions and actions were completely legal. But some Republicans worried that his popularity might galvanize the anti-war movement, resulting in a massive vote against President Nixon’s reelection.

In February 1972, a Republican Senator sent a secret memo in which he proposed revoking John's visa. “But,” he wrote, “caution must be taken with regard to the possible alienation of the so-called 18-year-old-vote if Lennon is expelled from the country."

Thus began a four-year campaign of FBI surveillance and Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) harassment. When the INS chief counsel on the case resigned his post in 1975, he told Rolling Stone magazine that the U.S. government was more vigorous in its attempts to deport John Lennon than it was in its attempts to expel Nazi war criminals.

John's order of deportation was finally overturned in 1975.

May Pang

Who? May Pang was the lady John Lennon had an 18-month relationship with when he and Yoko separated.

It all began in June 1973—at Yoko’s insistence. Up to that point, May had worked as John and Yoko’s personal assistant in New York.

Although this period of John’s life later became misleadingly billed as “The Lost Weekend,” it was actually the most productive and successful time of John’s post-Beatles career.

Once he got his act together and stopped getting drunk, he made his first number-one album, Walls And Bridges. (You can hear May’s voice whispering John's name on the #9 Dream track.) Another song from that album became John’s only U.S. number-one single: Whatever Gets You Thru The Night.

He also released his Rock 'N' Roll album and collaborated with other artists, including playing on Elton John’s number-one hit Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.

With May, John reconciled with Paul McCartney, and spent time with his son Julian for the first time in four years. He and May were about to buy a house in the country and visit with Linda and Paul McCartney in February 1975—when John abruptly returned to Yoko…

He settled back with Yoko in their Dakota Apartments home in New York City to raise their son, Sean, born on October 9, 1975, the day of his father's birthday. In 1977, John announced he was taking three years off to raise Sean.

John emerged from retirement in November 1980, when he released Double Fantasy, which also featured Yoko. The album went on to win the 1981 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. John had written and recorded enough material for another album and was already planning a follow-up, Milk And Honey.

The End

While still a Beatle, asked how he might die, John replied: "I'll probably be popped off by some loony.”

On the night of December 8, 1980, at about 10:49, Mark David Chapman shot John Lennon in the back four times in the entrance of the Dakota. Earlier that evening, John had autographed a copy of Double Fantasy for Chapman, not knowing he had stalked John since October.

John Lennon died on the back seat of a police car, bleeding from his gunshot wounds. Millions of people gathered in New York’s Central Park for a silent vigil.

Later that month, New York’s city council decided to dedicate part of Central Park near The Dakota Apartments as a memorial to John.

The 2.5-acre teardrop-shaped Strawberry Fields opened on October 9, 1985, John's 45th birthday. At the centre lies the famous Imagine mosaic, donated by the city of Naples. A bronze plaque lists 121 countries that endorse Strawberry Fields as a Garden of Peace. And every October 9, an all-day vigil takes place, with people of all ages from across the world: fans of John’s music and believers in his vision of peace.

Ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as one of "The Immortals: The Fifty Greatest Artists of All Time," John left an estate estimated at US$235 million. Central Park’s website says of him: “One half urbane cynic and one half romantic dreamer, he unabashedly embraced the disparate parts which, as every New Yorker knows, combine to form a uniquely gifted, passionate individual.”

Enjoy these John Lennon quotes, from a complex man who knew how to imagine…


John Lennon Quotes about Art

- Our life is our art.

- If art were to redeem man, it could do so only by saving him from the seriousness of life and restoring him to an unexpected boyishness.

Short John Lennon Quotes about The Beatles

- We looked like four Gene Vincents. Or tried to. (Of their very early days)

- Our goal was to be as big as Elvis, but we didn’t believe we were going to do it.

- None of us were technical musicians. None of us could read music. None of us can write it.

- I don’t want to be a moptop. For those who want moptops, The Monkees are right up there, man.

- When I was a Beatle, I thought we were the best group in the goddamn world. And believing that was what made us what we were!

- Don’t forget that under this frilly shirt is a 100-year-old man who’s seen and done so much, but at the same time knowing so little.

Longer John Lennon Quotes about The Beatles

- It was making it big in Liverpool, and then being the best group in the country… The goal was always just a few yards ahead, rather than right up there.

- We were more together than we had been for a long time. It's lucky when you get all four feeling funky at the same time. (Of recording the Abbey Road album)

- You can’t measure success, but if you could, then the minute I knew we’d been successful was when Roy Orbison asked us if he could record two of our songs.

- The Beatles have tried to change Britain’s image. We changed the hairstyles and clothes of the world, including America—they were a very square and sorry lot when we went over.

- If there had been even Paul and John and two other people, we’d never have been The Beatles. It had to be that combination of Paul, John, George and Ringo to make The Beatles.

- We were the first working class singers that stayed working class and pronounced it and didn’t try and change our accents, which in England were looked down upon. The only change was our image.

Long John Lennon Quotes about The Beatles

- For our last number, I'd like to ask your help. The people in the cheaper seats, clap your hands, and the rest of you, if you'd just rattle your jewellery. (At the Royal Variety Performance before the Queen Mother on November 4, 1963)

- We wanted to be bigger than Elvis. At first we wanted to be Goffin and King, then we wanted to be Eddie Cochran, then Buddy Holly. But finally we arrived at wanting to be bigger than the biggest—Elvis Presley.

Really Long John Lennon Quotes about The Beatles!

- The last song nearly killed me. My voice wasn’t the same for a long time after; every time I swallowed, it was like sandpaper. I was always bitterly ashamed of it, because I could sing it better than that, but now it doesn’t bother me. You can hear that I’m just a frantic guy doing his best. (Of Twist and Shout on the first album)

- We sang for 12 hours, almost non-stop. We had colds, and we were concerned how it would affect the record. At the end of the day, all we wanted to do was drink pints of milk. Waiting to hear that LP played back was one of our most worrying experiences. We’re perfectionists: if it had come out any old way, we'd have wanted to do it all over again. As it happens, we were very happy with the result. (Of the first album)

John Lennon Quotes from The Beatles’ First U.S. Tour in 1964

The Beatles wave to their fans after arriving in America in 1964

- Reporter: "Who writes the music?" John Lennon: "What music?"

- Oh, we're all bald, yeah... and deaf and dumb too. (To a U.S. reporter who asked if The Beatles wore wigs due to baldness)

- We wrote 'em; we recorded 'em; we play 'em every day (in the shows). What do you rehearse? Smilin'—that's all we rehearse. (Responding to a question about when they found time to rehearse their songs)

Short John Lennon Quotes on Being a Beatle

- I've sold my soul to the devil.

- We gave the whole of our youth to the music.

- The bigger we got, the more unreality we had to face.

- We talk in code to each other. We always did when we had strangers around us.

- I didn’t become something when The Beatles made it; I’ve been like this all my life.

- We earned millions and millions but I must tell you that The Beatles got very little of it.

- One has to have the quality of an angel to cheerfully submit to the demands of some fans.

- We sold out, you know. The music was dead before we even went on the theatre tour of Britain.

- All of us are artists and we’re nothing else, so we can’t manage ourselves or look after ourselves.

- I'm John, and I too play a guitar. Sometimes I play the fool. (Introducing himself on a 1962 BBC radio show)

- I don’t believe in John Lennon, Beatle, being any different from anyone else, because I know he’s not. I’m just a fella.

- The music wasn’t being heard. It was just a sort of freak show. The Beatles were the show, and the music had nothing to do with it.

Longer John Lennon Quotes on Being a Beatle

- When people start comparing us to the Marx Brothers, that’s a load of rubbish! The only similarity is that there were four of them and there are four of us.

- You can be bigheaded, and say, “Yeah, we’re going to last 10 years.” But as soon as you’ve said that, you think, “You know, we’re lucky if we last three months.”

- When I look back on it, it’s vaguely astounding, the fact that I was in it. We always called it “the eye of the hurricane.” It was calmer right in the middle than on the peripheries.

- If you get a medal for killing, you should certainly get a medal for singing and keeping Britain’s economics in good nick! (Of receiving the Member of the British Empire medal)

- I didn’t want to tour again, especially after having been accused of crucifying Jesus when all I’d made was a flippant remark, and having to stand with the (Ku Klux) Klan outside.

Long John Lennon Quotes on Being a Beatle

- I don’t mind people putting us down; because if everybody really liked us it would be a bore. You’ve got to have people putting you down. It doesn’t give any edge to it if everybody just falls flat on their faces saying, “You’re great.”

- We thought being offered the M.B.E. (Member of the Order of the British Empire) was as funny as everybody else thought it was. Why? What for? We didn't believe it. It was a part we didn't want. We all met and agreed it was daft.

- We’re not cruel. We’ve seen enough tragedy in Merseyside. But when a mother shrieks, “Just touch my son and maybe he will walk again,” we want to run, cry, empty our pockets. We’re going to remain normal if it kills us. (Of being asked to touch and heal disabled people)

- It’s still the same up there with the mike, you don’t try to work out what it all means, you forget who you are. Once you plug in and the noise starts, you’re just a group playing anywhere again and you forget that you’re Beatles or what your records are; you’re just singing.

- I’m glad things got as big as they did, because when we got nearly big, people started saying to us: “You’re the biggest thing since…” I got fed up that we were the biggest thing “since.” I wanted The Beatles to just be the biggest thing. It’s like gold. The more you get, the more you want.

Really Long John Lennon Quotes on Being a Beatle!

- In America, it just seemed ridiculous—I mean, the idea of having a hit record over there. It was just something you could never do. That’s what I thought, anyhow. But then I realized that kids everywhere go for the same stuff and seeing we’d done it in England, there’s no reason why we couldn’t do it in America, too.

- They expect you to be a big-time star, but I think most people prefer us being the way we are. They come in biased. Then we’ll just be natural with them and they seem pleased. That’s all we do: if we’re tired, we look tired, if we’re happy, we’re happy. We don’t kid on. If we’re feeling a bit off that day, we say to them, “I’m feeling a bit off, I’m sorry, I won’t be quick-witted.”

Short John Lennon Quotes about The Beatles’ Breakup

- I started the band. I disbanded it. It’s as simple as that.

- I still love those guys! Because they’ll always be those people who were that part of my life.

- It was wonderful and it’s over. And so, dear friends, you'll just have to carry on. The Dream Is Over.

Longer John Lennon Quotes about The Beatles’ Breakup

- The thing that I sometimes miss is being able just to blink or make a certain noise and to know they’ll all know where we are going on an ad lib thing.

- The dream is over. I'm not just talking about the Beatles. I'm talking about the generation thing. It's over, and we gotta—I have to personally —get down to so-called reality.

Long John Lennon Quotes about The Beatles Breakup

- It's just natural, it's not a great disaster. People keep talking about it as if it's The End of The Earth. It's only a rock group that split up, it's nothing important. You have all the old records there if you want to reminisce. You have all this great music.

- It’s a lot for four bigheads like The Beatles to stay together for such a long time, and in the early days there was the thing of making it big or breaking into America and we had a goal together. But when we reached about 28 or 29 it began to be: “What’s the goal? We’ve made it.”

- It takes time to get rid of all this garbage that I've been carrying around that was influencing the way I thought and the way I lived. It had a lot to do with Yoko, showing me that I was still possessed. I left physically when I fell in love with Yoko, but mentally it took the last 10 years of struggling.

Really Long John Lennon Quote about The Beatles Breakup!

- By the time we got to Let It Be we couldn’t play the game anymore. We could see through each other, and therefore we felt uncomfortable, because up till then we really believed intensely in what we were doing and the product we put out, and everything had to be just right. And we believed. Suddenly we didn’t believe. It’d come to a point where it was no longer creating magic.

John Lennon Quote about a Beatles Reunion

- Where do people get off saying the Beatles should give $200 million to South America? You know, America has poured billions into places like that. It doesn't mean a damn thing. After they've eaten that meal, then what? It lasts for only a day. After the $200 million is gone, then what? It goes round and round in circles. You can pour money in forever. After Peru, then Harlem, then Britain. There is no one concert. We would have to dedicate the rest of our lives to one world concert tour, and I'm not ready for it. Not in this lifetime, anyway. (Of a suggestion that The Beatles reunite to perform benefit concerts)

John Lennon Quote about Brian Epstein

- After Brian Epstein died we collapsed.

- Would The Beatles be where they are today without (Brian) Epstein? Not the same as we know it, no.

- The Beatles were disintegrating slowly after Brian Epstein died; it was a slow death and it was happening.

Short John Lennon Quotes about his Childhood

- I was a nice clean-cut suburban boy.

- Phones weren’t part of the English child’s life.

- Sexiest letters this side of Henry Miller. (Of his long teenage letters to Cynthia Powell from Hamburg)

- I was the kingpin of my age group. I learnt lots of dirty jokes very young; there was a girl who lived near who told me them.

- Although I had half-sisters, I lived alone. I always tripped out on my own or in books.

- I wanted everybody to do what I told them to do, to laugh at my jokes and let me be the boss.

- I used to say to me auntie, '”You throw my f—in' poetry out and you'll regret it when I'm famous.”

- I didn’t really know what I wanted to be, apart from ending up an eccentric millionaire. I had to be a millionaire.

Long John Lennon Quotes about his Childhood

- The men were invisible. I was always with the women. I always heard them talk about men and talk about life, and they always knew what was going on. The men never ever knew. That was my first feminist education.

- In one way, I was always hip. I was hip in kindergarten. I was different from the others. There was something wrong with me, I thought, because I seemed to see things other people didn't see. I was always seeing things in a hallucinatory way.

Really Long John Lennon Quote about his Childhood!

- When I was about 12, I used to think I must be a genius, but nobody’s noticed. Either I’m a genius or I’m mad, which is it? “No,” I said, “I can’t be mad because nobody’s put me away; therefore I’m a genius.” Genius is a form of madness and we’re all that way. But I used to be coy about it, like my guitar playing. But if there’s such a thing as genius—I am one. And if there isn’t, I don’t care. I used to think it when I was a kid writing my poetry and doing my paintings.

Short John Lennon Quote about Christianity

- There ain't no Jesus gonna come from the sky . Now that I found out I know I can cry.

Longer John Lennon Quotes about Christianity

- The youth of today are looking for some answers—for proper answers the established church can’t give them, their parents can’t give them, material things can’t give them.

- I believe Jesus was right, Buddha was right and all of those people are right. They’re all saying the same thing—and I believe it. I believe what Jesus actually said—the basic things he laid down about love and goodness—and not what people say he said.

- If I’d have said television is more popular than Jesus, I might have got away with it. I am sorry I opened my mouth. … I'm not anti-God, anti-Christ, or anti-religion. I was not knocking it. I was not saying we (The Beatles) are greater or better. (11 August 1966)

- I always remember to thank Jesus for the end of my touring days; if I hadn't said that The Beatles were “bigger than Jesus” and upset the very Christian Ku Klux Klan, well, Lord, I might still be up there with all the other performing fleas! God bless America. Thank you, Jesus.

- I don’t need to go to church. I respect churches because of the sacredness that’s been put on them over the years by people who do believe. But I think a lot of bad things have happened in the name of the church and in the name of Christ. Therefore I shy away from church.

Long John Lennon Quotes about Christianity

- Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that: I'm right, and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus Christ now; I don't know which will go first—rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me. (4 March 1966)

The Imagine mosaic memorial to John Lennon in Central Park, New York

- We’re all God. Christ said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.” And the Indians say that and the Zen people say that. We’re all God. I’m not a god or the God, but we’re all God and we’re all potentially divine—and potentially evil. We all have everything within us and the Kingdom of Heaven is nigh and within us, and if you look hard enough you’ll see it.

Short John Lennon Quotes about Drugs

- It just was not too much fun. (Of heroin)

- I can get paranoid just sitting in a restaurant; I don’t have to take anything.

- You can take drugs or get drunk, do whatever, but you’re just suppressing the feelings.

- They (drugs) don’t make you write any better. I never wrote any better stuff because I was on acid.

- We’ve been through the drug scene, man, and there’s nothing like being straight. (Of John and Yoko)

- We should be able to experience things at first hand, instead of artificially with a wrong stepping-stone like drugs.

- If we'd met Maharishi (Mahesh Yogi) before we had taken LSD, we wouldn't have needed to take it. (Of The Beatles)

- Thirty-six hours, rolling in pain. Praying to someone, free me again… Get me out of this hell. (Of quitting heroin cold turkey)

Longer John Lennon Quotes about Drugs

- (I haven’t taken LSD) in years. A little mushroom or peyote is not beyond my scope; maybe twice a year or something. But acid is a chemical.

- A dentist laid acid on George, me and our wives. He just put it on our coffee or something. … We were just insane. We were out of our heads. (Of the first LSD trip)

- I must have had a thousand trips. I just used to eat it (LSD) all the time. I stopped taking it because of bad trips. I just couldn’t stand it.

- We must always remember to thank the CIA and the Army for LSD, by the way. Everything is the opposite of what it is, isn’t it? They brought out LSD to control people.

- Don’t believe that jazz about there’s nothing you can do, and “turn on and just drop out, man.” Because you’ve got to turn on and drop in, or they’re going to drop all over you.

- The only time we took drugs was when we were without hope. And the only way we got out of it was with hope. And if we can sustain the hope then we don’t need liquor, drugs or anything. (Of John and Yoko)

Long John Lennon Quote about Drugs

- I've had cocaine, but I don't like it. The Beatles had lots of it in their day, but it's a dumb drug, because you have to have another one 20 minutes later. Your whole concentration goes on getting the next fix. Really, I find caffeine is easier to deal with.

Short John Lennon Quotes about Elvis

- Before Elvis there was nothing.

- Nothing really affected me until I heard Elvis. If there hadn't been an Elvis, there wouldn't have been the Beatles.

Long John Lennon Quotes about Elvis

- There's only one person in the United States we ever wanted to meet... not that he wanted us. And we met him last night. We can't tell you how we felt. We just idolized him so much. ... You can't imagine what a thrill that was last night.

- I’m an Elvis fan because it was Elvis who really got me out of Liverpool. Once I heard it and got into it, that was life, there was no other thing. I thought of nothing else but rock’n’roll—apart from sex and food and money, but that’s all the same thing really.

Short John Lennon Quotes about Fame

- It's better to fade away like an old soldier than to burn out.

- People think fame and money bring freedom but they don’t.

- There’s an illusion that just because somebody buys your record that they’re going to do what you say. It doesn’t work that way.

Long John Lennon Quotes about Fame

- The king is always killed by his courtiers, not by his enemies. The king is over-fed over-drugged, over-indulged—anything to keep the king tied to his throne. Most people in that position never wake up. They either die mentally or physically, or both.

- When people meet you in a restaurant, or anywhere, and you’re trying to order something, you find they are so struck by, “Is it really you?” that they don’t really hear your order. So when I’m talking to them I’m saying, “I’d like a steak, medium, and two elephants came and a policeman bit my head off, and a cup of tea please.” And they’re saying, “Yes. Thank you.”

John Lennon Quote about Freedom

- Freedom is in the mind.

Short John Lennon Quotes about Himself

John Lennon self-portrait and photo on a 1995 Azerbaijan stamp

- I didn’t want to get killed.

- I have great hope for the future.

- I’m not very keen on being disciplined.

- I don’t regret anything I’ve done, really, except for maybe hurting other people.

- I was the dream weaver, but now I'm reborn. I was the Walrus, but now I'm John.

- I’m not always a loving person; I want to be that. I want to be as loving as possible.

- Part of me suspects that I'm a loser and the other part of me thinks I'm God Almighty.

- I shouldn’t worry if I was rejected by the public. It’s rejection on the part of me that would get me.

- I always expect too much. I’m always expecting my mother and I don’t get her—that’s what it is.

- The only reason I am a star is because of my repression. Nothing would have driven me through all that if I was “normal.”

- I was different all my life. It’s not a case of “then he took acid and woke up,” or “then he had a marijuana joint and woke up.”

- That's been my hang-up you know—trying to be Shakespeare or whatever it is. Rock just happens to be the medium that I was born into.

- I’m not afraid of dying. I’m prepared for death because I don’t believe in it. I think it’s just getting out of one car and getting into another.

Longer John Lennon Quotes about Himself

- I dream in colour, and it’s always very surreal. My dream world is complete Hieronymus Bosch and Dali. I love it. I look forward to it every night.

- I’m a cynic about things that are taken for granted: society, politics, newspapers, government. But I’m not cynical about life, love goodness, death.

- I’m what I call a primitive musician. Meaning my schooling. I didn’t ever take the instrument (guitar) that far. I just took it enough to enable me to do what I wanted to do, which was express myself.

- Everything is as important as everything else. My influences are tremendous, from Lewis Carroll to Oscar Wilde to tough little kids that used to live near me who ended up in prison.

- Phil, if you're going to kill me, kill me. But don't f--- with me ears. I need them. (After Phil Spector shot a gun into the ceiling of a studio bathroom after having tied up a drunk, raving Lennon)

Long John Lennon Quote about Himself

- I go to restaurants and the groups always play Yesterday. I even signed a guy's violin in Spain after he played us Yesterday. He couldn't understand that I didn't write the song. But I guess he couldn't have gone from table to table playing I Am The Walrus.

Really Long John Lennon Quote about Himself!

- In England, there are only two things to be, basically. You are either for the labour movement or for the capitalist movement. Either you become a right-wing Archie Bunker if you are in the class I am in, or you become an instinctive socialist, which I was. That meant I think people should get their false teeth and their health looked after—all the rest of it. But apart from that, I worked for money and I wanted to be rich. So what the hell—if that's a paradox, then I'm a socialist. But I am not anything. What I used to be is guilty about money. That's why I lost it, either by giving it away or by allowing myself to be screwed by so-called managers. The Buddhists say, "Get rid of the possessions of the mind." Walking away from all the money would not accomplish that. It's like the Beatles. I couldn't walk away from the Beatles. That's one possession that's still tagging along, right?

John Lennon Quotes about John and Yoko

- Yoko really woke me up to myself. She didn’t fall in love with the Beatle, she didn’t fall in love with my fame. She fell in love with me for myself, and through that brought out the best in me.

- We never made love in a bag. People probably imagined that we were making love. It was just: all of us are in a bag, you know. The point was the outline of the bag, the movement of the bag, how much we see of a person, you know. But, inside, there might be a lot going on. Or maybe nothing's going on.

Long John Lennon Quotes about John and Yoko

- Neither of us want to make the mistake that Gandhi and Martin Luther King did, which is get killed one way or the other. Because people only like dead saints, and I refuse to be a saint or a martyr. So I’m just protesting as a British citizen with his wife against British involvement in Biafra, and voicing the protest in the loudest way I can. (Of returning the MBE award)

John Lennon and Yoko Ono soon after their 1969 marriage

- That's part of our policy, is not to be taken seriously, because I think our opposition, whoever they may be, in all their manifest forms, don't know how to handle humour. And we are humorous, we are—what are they—Laurel and Hardy. That's John and Yoko, and we stand a better chance under that guise, because all the serious people, like Martin Luther King, and Kennedy, and Gandhi, got shot.

- I learned everything from her. ... With us, it’s a teacher-pupil relationship. That's what people don't understand. She's the teacher and I'm the pupil. I'm the famous one, the one who's supposed to know everything, but she's my teacher. She's taught me everything I fucking know. She's my Don Juan... a Don Juan doesn't have a following. A Don Juan isn't in the newspaper and doesn't have disciples and doesn't proselytize.

Really Long John Lennon Quote about John and Yoko!

- What’s Bagism? It’s like... a tag for what we all do, we’re all in a bag you know, and we realized that we came from two bags. I was in this pop bag going round and round in my little clique, and she was in her little avant-garde clique going round and round, and you’re in your little telly clique and they’re in their... you know? And we all sort of come out and look at each other every now and then, but we don’t communicate. And we all intellectualize about how there is no barrier between art, music, poetry... but we’re still all "I’m a rock and roller, he’s a poet..." So we just came up with the word so you would ask us what bagism is, and we’d say "WE’RE ALL IN A BAG BABY!"

John Lennon Quotes from His Last Interview on the Day He Was Killed

- I consider that my work won't be finished until I'm dead and buried, and I hope that's a long, long time.

- 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.

- My life revolves around Sean. Now I have more reason to stay healthy and bright. … And I want to be with my best friend. My best friend's me wife. If I couldn't have worked with her (on Double Fantasy), I wouldn't have bothered.

Short John Lennon Quotes about Life

- There are no problems, only solutions.

- We all shine on like the moon and the stars and the sun.

- Why in the world are we here? Surely not to live in pain and fear.

- Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.

- To feel is to live. Life is made up of feeling all sorts of things. Every day’s the same: there’s some heaven and some hell.

Long John Lennon Quotes about Life

- One has oneself in the beginning, and it’s a constant process of society, parents and family trying to make you lose yourself. “Don’t cry,” “Don’t show any emotion”—that kind of jazz.

- Even somebody like a Dylan or a Sartre or somebody like that, they tell you something that is like a revelation. But it always is something that you know inside that they’ve just affirmed for you.

- Things that you discover are self awareness, all the things that you’ve already known. Nobody’s telling you anything new. A scientist doesn’t discover anything new, he just tells you what’s already there.

John Lennon Quotes about Love

- I really thought that love would save us all.

- Love is the answer and you know that for sure.

- Everything is clear and open when you’re in love.

- It is the struggle to love, be loved and express that—just something about love—that’s fantastic.

- I think that whatever else love is—and it’s many, many things—it is constant. It’s been the same forever.

- All you need is love, like the song says. That's really my ultimate political belief. We all need more love.

- Nothing is more important than what goes on between two people, because it’s two people that produce children, two people that fall in love.

John Lennon Quote about Being a Man

- Why shouldn’t we cry? They tell us to stop crying about 12. “Be a man.” What the hell’s that? Men hurt.

Short John Lennon Quotes about Meditation

- It makes you happy, intelligent and (gives you) more energy.

- Meditation is good and it does what they say. It’s like exercise or cleaning your teeth—it works.

- The main thing is not to think about the future or the past, the main thing is just to get on with now.

- It strengthens understanding and makes people more relaxed. It’s not just a fad or a gimmick, but the way to calm down tensions.

- Even if you go into the meditation bit just curious or cynical, once you go into it, you see. The only thing you can do is judge on your own experience.

Long John Lennon Quote about Meditation

- It’s like dipping a cloth into gold. You dip it in and you bring it out. If you leave it in, it gets soggy—like you’re just sitting in a cave all your life. And if you bring it out, it fades. So the meditation is going in and going out and going in. So after however many years when you bring it out, it’s the same.

John Lennon Quotes about Money

- It could never make sense to me to have money and yet think the way I thought. I had to give it away or lose it.

- I gave a lot of money away, which is one way of losing it. And the other way is disregarding it and not paying attention to it, not paying attention to what I really was, which is a guy with a lot of money.

John Lennon Quotes about His Mother

- I lost her twice.

- My mother just couldn’t deal with life. She was the youngest (sister) and she couldn’t cope with me and I ended up living with her elder sister.

John Lennon Quotes about Music

- Half the musical ideas I’ve had have been accidental.

- I believe that music is not peripheral to society, but a necessity to it.

- People ask me what music I listen to. I listen to traffic and birds singing and people breathing. And fire engines. I always used to listen to the water pipes at night when the lights were off, and they played tunes.

Long John Lennon Quote about Music

- I think the music reflects the state that the society is in. It doesn’t suggest the state. I think the poets and musicians and artists are of the age—not only do they lead the age on, but they also reflect that age. And I think that’s what the pop music is doing—it’s reflecting.

John Lennon Quote about the Music Business

- If you stay in this business long enough, it'll get you.

John Lennon Quote about Living in New York

- I can go out this door now and go into a restaurant . . . Do you want to know how great that is?

John Lennon Quotes about The Past

- You know I don't believe in yesterday. I am only interested in what I am doing now.

- I don't have any romanticism about any part of my past. I think of it only inasmuch as it gave me pleasure or helped me grow psychologically. That is the only thing that interests me about yesterday. I don't believe in yesterday, by the way.

John Lennon Quotes about Peace

Check out this famous John Lennon Imagine video for his views on a peaceful world.

- Violence begets violence.

- All we are saying is give peace a chance!

- War is over, if you want it. War is over now.

- If you want peace, you won’t get it with violence.

- I think the only way to do it is Gandhi’s way. And that’s non-violent.

- If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace.

- The only way to ensure a lasting peace of any kind is to change people’s minds. There’s no other way.

- Keep on playing those mind games forever, raising the spirit of peace and love, not war. (I want you to make love, not war; I know you've heard it before.)

Really Long John Lennon Quote about Peace

- We're trying to sell peace, like a product, you know, and sell it like people sell soap or soft drinks. And it's the only way to get people aware that peace is possible, and it isn't just inevitable to have violence. Not just war—all forms of violence. People just accept it and think “Oh, they did it, or Harold Wilson did it, or Nixon did it.” They're always scapegoating people. And it isn't Nixon's fault. We're all responsible for everything that goes on, you know, we're all responsible for Biafra and Hitler and everything. So we're just saying "SELL PEACE" Anybody interested in peace just stick it in the window. It's simple but it lets somebody else know that you want peace too, because you feel alone if you're the only one thinking: wouldn't it be nice if there was peace and nobody was getting killed. So advertise yourself that you're for peace if you believe in it.

John Lennon Quotes about Reality

- Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.

- A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is a reality.

Short John Lennon Quotes about Revolution

- The violent way of revolution doesn’t justify the ends.

- When you talk about destruction, don't you know that you can count me out?

- You tell me it's the institution, well you know you'd better free your mind instead.

- Count me out if it’s for violence. Don’t expect me on the barricades unless it’s with flowers.

- Please tell me one militant revolution that worked. Sure, a few of them took over, but what happened? Status quo.

- What’s the point of bombing Wall Street? If you want to change the system, change the system. It's no good shooting people.

Long John Lennon Quotes about Revolution

- As far as overthrowing something in the name of Marxism or Christianity, I want to know what you’re going to do after you’ve knocked it down. I mean, can’t we use some of it?

- The Sixties saw a revolution among youth—not just concentrating in small pockets and classes, but a revolution in a whole way of thinking. The youth got it first and the next generation second. The Beatles were part of the revolution, which is really an evolution, and is continuing.

John Lennon Quotes about Sex

- When we are free of our guilt and hypocrisy about it, sex will take its rightful place in society—just part of living.

- Promiscuity… it’s for kids, really. I feel as though I went through it, and what's the point? It often isn’t that satisfactory as an end product to living.

John Lennon Quote about Singing

- Whatever I’m singing, I really mean it. I don’t mess about.

John Lennon Quotes about Society

- 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.

Short John Lennon Quotes about Songwriting

(Here's a video with the lyrics to John Lennon's Imagine)

- All our songs are anti-war. (Of The Beatles)

- I like it to be inspirational, from the spirit.

- It’s a bit haphazard. There’s no rules for writing.

- Strawberry Fields was psychoanalysis set to music, really.

- I always felt that the best songs were the ones that came to you.

Longer John Lennon Quotes about Songwriting

- They’d say, “Well, are you going to make an album?” And we’d knock off a few songs, like a job. (Of Lennon and McCartney)

- With In My Life, I’d struggled for days and hours, trying to write clever lyrics. Then I gave up, and In My Life came to me. Letting it go is the whole game.

- My image was more rocky, but if you look down those Beatle tracks, I’m right there with all the sentimental things, the same as Paul. I love that music just as much.

- The words are purely inspirational and were given to me—except for maybe one or two where I had to resolve a line or something like that. I don’t own it; it came through like that. (Of Across The Universe)

- It was the joy of being able to write, to know you could do it. There was also the bit about what they would like—the audience was always in my head. “They’ll dance to this,” and such. (Of Lennon and McCartney)

Long John Lennon Quote about Songwriting

- Don’t ask me what I think of our songs. I’m just not a good judge. I suppose the trouble is that we’re so close to them. But I can’t help having a quiet giggle when straight-faced critics start feeding all sorts of hidden meanings into the stuff we write. (Of Lennon and McCartney)

Really Long John Lennon Quote about Songwriting!

- It was my attempt at writing a Roy Orbison song. I remember the day I wrote it. I remember the pink eiderdown over the bed, sitting in one of the bedrooms in my house on Menlove Avenue, my auntie’s place. I heard Roy Orbison doing Only The Lonely on the radio. I was also always intrigued by the words to a Bing Crosby song that went “Please lend a little ear to my pleas.” The double use of the word “please.” So it was a combination of Roy Orbison and Bing Crosby. But what made it more exciting was that we almost abandoned it as the B side of Love Me Do. We changed our minds only because we were so tired the night we did Love Me Do. (Of Please Please Me, the first number one Beatles hit)

John Lennon Quotes about His Sons

- We're like twins. (Of Sean)

- I don't love Julian any less as a child. He's still my son, whether he came from a bottle of whiskey or because they didn't have pills in those days. He's here, he belongs to me, and he always will.

John Lennon Quotes about Success

- "Everyone can be a success." If you keep saying that enough times to yourself, you can be.

- What's talent? I don't know. Are you born with it? Do you discover it later on? The basic talent is believing you can do something.

John Lennon Quotes about Writing His Books

- It just comes out. I sit down and write and this is what happens.

- There’s a wonderful feeling about doing something successfully other than singing.

- When the group started going on the road, I used to take out my typewriter after the show and just tap away as the fancy took me.

- The plain unvarnished fact is that I like writing, and I’d go on writing even if there wasn’t any publisher daft enough to publish them.

~ End of John Lennon quotes ~

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