As a huge John Lennon fan I would like to share some little known facts about the musical legend!
Few lives have been as thoroughly examined as that of the great John Lennon, with book-length biographies ranging from Albert Goldman’s notoriously mean-spirited (and factually suspect) account to Ray Coleman’s fine Lennon to Philip Norman’s recent, brilliant tome, John Lennon: The Life. Buried in such books (or absent altogether, sometimes) are bits of information that sometimes escape the eye of even the most die-hard fan. Did you know, for instance, that the Lennons’ Dakota apartment building served as the setting for Roman Polanski’s landmark 1968 horror film, Rosemary’s Baby? Below are 10 similar facts, many of which you may not be familiar.
Paul McCartney Rousted Lennon from “Retirement” in 1980
Although he feigned disdain for his former songwriting partner’s post-Beatles work, Lennon kept close tabs on McCartney’s musical activities. After hearing McCartney’s one-man-band solo hit, “Coming Up,” in 1980, Lennon reportedly said, “Oh, [expletive], I’ve got to get back.” He later professed to love the song. John loves everything haha
His All-Time Favorite Album was by… The B-52s
It’s commonly known that when Lennon first heard The B-52s’ “Rock Lobster” in a Bermuda disco in 1979, he instantly recognized that singer Cindy Wilson’s song-ending “scream” was an homage to Yoko Ono. Ono has since said she and Lennon listened to the The B-52s incessantly while recording tracks for their Double Fantasy album. What’s lesser-known is that, just prior to his death, Lennon proclaimed The B-52s’ debut disc his favorite album ever. I'm not sure if I believe that John would have had an all time favorite album, but it's possible!
He Served as Best Man at Young Frankenstein Actor Peter Boyle’s Wedding
Peter Boyle met his wife, Loraine Alterman, when Alterman visited the set of Young Frankenstein as a reporter for Rolling Stone. Alterman was a friend of Yoko Ono, and subsequently the two couples became close friends, as well as neighbors in the Dakota apartment building. In the aftermath of Lennon’s death, Boyle swore he would never participate in a movie that glorified violence.
I like this guy!
He was a Guest on Monday Night Football Six Years Before the Sportscast Announced His Death to the World
On December 9, 1974, Lennon was a guest on Monday Night Football along with, of all people, then-California-governor Ronald Reagan. Reports later surfaced that, off-camera, Reagan cheerfully explained the rules of American football to Lennon as the game progressed. When it fell to Howard Cosell to tell the world, during a MNF telecast on December 8, 1980, that Lennon had been killed, the legendary broadcaster called the news “an unspeakable tragedy.” With Ronald Reagan? Why Why Why!?
He Collected Beatles Memorabilia
Lennon was an enthusiastic supporter of the Beatlefest conventions that began springing up in the mid-’70s, often sending assistants to the events to procure interesting artifacts. May Pang attended the very first Beatlefest, where she ran into Jurgen Vollmer, an old friend of Lennon’s who had taken striking photographs of The Beatles during their Hamburg days. Lennon used one of the photos for the cover of his 1975 album, Rock ‘n’ Roll. Another of Lennon’s prized possessions was a set of Beatles dolls given to him by Elton John. It must be a cool feeling having memorabilia of your own band!
He Performed Just Three Beatles Songs in Concert After the Fab Four Split Up
Lennon’s famous 1972 Madison Square Garden show featured just one Beatles song: “Come Together.” In 1975, making good on a pact with his good friend Elton John, Lennon took the Garden stage again, performing duet versions of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “I Saw Her Standing There.” Lennon announced the latter song as “a number by an old estranged fiancé of mine called Paul.” Lennon did perform The Beatles’ “Yer Blues” and “Give Peace a Chance” with The Plastic Ono Band, but at the time of that performance The Beatles were still officially united.
He was a Huge Bing Crosby Fan
The Beatles’ first big hit, “Please Please Me,” was partly inspired by a line from a Bing Crosby song that read, “Please lend a little ear to my pleas.” In 1978, Yoko Ono gave Lennon a vintage ’50s “bubbletop” Wurlitzer jukebox for his birthday. Lennon loaded the machine with as many Bing Crosby 78-rpm records as he could find. Bing Crosby was so romantic and dreamy, though now seems kind of cheesy and old school:
Lennon was always indignant that Paul McCartney had announced his departure from The Beatles, when in fact Lennon himself had been the first Beatle to break away. However, Lennon could always console himself with the fact that it was he who first performed without his Fab Four mates. His first non-Beatles appearance was with The Rolling Stones’ Rock and Roll Circus, in December 1968. In September of the following year, he and The Plastic Ono Band performed their Live Peace in Toronto show. Ok, I will admit it, I like Lennon alot more than McCartney.
The Location of his Cremated Remains is Unknown
The location of Lennon’s ashes has never been disclosed to the public. The assumption is that they remain in the possession of Yoko Ono, although there’s speculation that some may have been scattered at the Strawberry Fields Memorial in New York’s Central Park. More importantly, regarding Lennon’s death, both Yoko Ono and Paul McCartney once made a simple request: Never repeat the name of Lennon’s murderer. Doing so only helps to fulfill a deranged person’s desire for notoriety. I agree with them! The name of that guy is not known as much as JFK's murderer.
He was the Only Beatle Who Never Attended a Paul McCartney Wings or Solo Performance
Ringo Starr was in the audience during a Wings show in 1974; likewise, George Harrison attended a McCartney performance in 1993. Both, however, declined to appear with their former Fab Four partner on stage. Lennon never attended a McCartney show, but he did consider visiting McCartney in New Orleans during the latter’s Venus and Mars sessions. Whether or not he would have appeared on the album is anyone’s guess.