Top-25 Quotes About John Lennon
- "He was pretty rude
about me sometimes, but I secretly admired him for it, and I always managed to stay
in touch with him. There was no question that we weren't friends, I really loved
the guy. I think that what has happened will in years to come make people realize
that John was an international statesman. He often looked a loony to many people.
He made enemies, but he was fantastic. He was a warm man who cared a lot and with
the record Give Peace A Chance helped stop the Vietnam War. He made a lot of sense."
- Paul McCartney
- "He and I had a fairly nice friendship going until one time I visited him in
New York in the studio, and every time I'd ask him a question,
You-Know-Who would answer it. I finally said, "Can we go out in the hall and
talk or something?" And John said, "Where I go, Yoko goes."
And I said, "Well, it's been great, John - see ya."
It was just too frustrating. She was constantly inserting herself,
constantly demanding to be seen as an equal.
An equal artist, even - and she was standing next to a guy who changed the world.
It pissed me off too much. I expect that happened with a lot of people."
- David Crosby
- "We have lost a genius of the spirit."
- Norman Mailer
- "First up John was always a good friend. He was never the abusive, aggressive guy
some people made him out to be. When John was killed I think he was just hitting
his peak, both as an artist and a human being."
- Gerry Marsden (Gerry and the Pacemakers)
"I bought [John Lennon's] 'Plastic Ono Band,' and I listened to it over and over for months.
It's a monumental work of genius... "
— Lenny Kravitz
- "It was a staggering moment when I first heard the news. Lennon was a most talented
man and above all, a gentle soul. John and his colleagues set a high standard
by which contemporary music continues to be measured."
- Frank Sinatra
- "My heroes were Dylan, John Lennon and Picasso, because they each moved their particular
medium forward, and when they got to the point where they were comfortable, they always
- John Hughes (American Film Director - 'Breakfast Club', 'Home Alone')
- "The work of John Lennon was
marked by its exquisite beauty and by its brutal honesty."
- Kevin Spacey
- "I don't remember where I was at the time. I just remember being very depressed,
because I loved him very deeply. We were friends. I found him to be smart, acerbic,
shrewd, witty and a good guy. He and the other Beatles were all very kind to us when
we came over to England as the Byrds. They kind of took us under their wing, and
from that point forward, we saw each other a lot. Whenever they came to the United
States, I would go to the gigs and hang out with them. For me, John Lennon's legacy
is his songs - all those brilliant, beautiful, incredible pieces of work. John was
a very fierce guy - he wasn't a shy little human being. He was a guy with strong
opinions, and he had no problem expressing them."
- David Crosby
- "John Lennon was brilliant, so gifted, so giving. He was the Bach, Beethoven,
the Rachmaninoff of our time."
- Sid Bernstein (American music producer and promoter)
- "I liked John a lot. He was the one I really got on with the most. We weren't
buddy-buddies but we were always friendly. But after the Beatles and the Stones
stopped playing clubs, we didn't see each other that much until he separated from
Yoko, around 1974. We got really friendly again. And when he went back with Yoko,
he went into hibernation ... when I went to visit someone in the Dakota,
I'd leave him a note saying: 'I live next door: I know you don't want to see
anyone, but if you do, please call.' He never did."
- Mick Jagger
One of my great memories of John is from when we were having some argument.
I was disagreeing and we were calling each other names. We let it settle for
a second and then he lowered his glasses and he said: "It's only me." And then
he put his glasses back on again. To me, that was John. Those were the moments
when I actually saw him without the facade, the armor, which I loved as well,
like anyone else. It was a beautiful suit of armor. But it was wonderful when
he let the visor down and you'd just see the John Lennon that he was
frightened to reveal to the world.
- Paul McCartney
- "I remember thinking
about New York and how fucked up it was. I remember he had that New York city
T-shirt. I thought about the pornography of it - that he was shot in front of
his wife. And the irony that he loved the city and felt comfortable there.
Lennon put the punk rock in the Beatles and took off a lot of the sugar
coating. He had such good sense. He wasn't always trying to explain himself,
and so a lot of times he is misunderstood. He was a contrarian with goodwill."
- Stephan Jenkins (Third Eye Blind)
- "The Beatles meant everything to me growing up, and John was part
of that. I loved Lennon's persona. He knew who he was, and he knew what he
represented to a worldwide public. ... I think he incited and inspired a whole group
of youth to speak out and say what they felt."
- John Travolta
"I knew him a little bit, and he was unbelievably engaging. At the Dakota once,
after dinner, he pulls me into the bedroom, so I'm sitting on the end of his bed,
and he says, 'I want you to tell me about your work with Paul [Simon], because
I understand you just recorded in Nashville together.' We had just done 'My Little
Town.' 'I'm getting calls from my Paul,' he said, 'who's doing an Allen Toussaint
project. And he wants to know if I'm available for the recording. What should I do?'
Can you imagine how I felt? John Lennon asking me for my advice? I could have
pinched myself at that moment, because it made me realize in a flash: No wonder
he captivated the whole goddamned world - he's so commercial. He knew what to
say to me that was connected and human and real and grounded and fascinating.
And that's what he did with the whole planet earth. He was a hit record -
his very being was like a hit."
- Art Garfunkel
- "I met the Beatles individually in 1965, then spent
a couple of days with them. We took LSD at my house (editorial note: Paul did not
take LSD at this time). I knew John was having trouble
with me. We put on a movie of Jane's, and he was upset. There was too much Fonda
going on: my dad, myself, my sister. But as the trip wore on, he became easier
with me. I was right there with him the whole time. We ended up in the bathroom,
in a big sunken tub - fortunately not filled with water - playing electric guitars
that were amplified by the room, singing songs. Out of that experience came
'She Said, She Said.' John said in Rolling Stone that I had something to do
with that song. I thought it was so far out that he had made something of it.
He used the exact words [I said] to George, who thought he was dying during
the acid trip. I had said, 'I know what it's like to be dead.' John and George
are sitting at the table with me, and John says, 'How do you know what it's like
to be dead?' And I said, 'I shot myself when I was a boy. But by accident.
Everything was all right in my mind.' Of course, it wasn't. Then I hear the song:
"When I was a boy/Everything was right."
- Peter Fonda
- "I was only five when he died. I just remember, when I discovered the Beatles,
feeling sad because the one that I loved so much wasn't here.
It was the early Eighties, and then I didn't listen to the Beatles for a few years
I really got into them again when I was sixteen, and it's been all I've listened
to since then. That's when I really started falling in love with John Lennon.
Every song he sings, I freak. I feel like I can't speak eloquently enough.
Anything in life, whatever your question is for the universe, if you put on a
John Lennon song, he will answer you. I think "Watching the Wheels" is the song
I love the most, because it is so true. I completely feel like that song. I feel
like sometimes he's saying that the people he's talking about are himself - himself
looking at himself. And just how perfect a song it is for how we feel inside our
own minds: We're trying to go on these paths that feel right and good to us, but
we're always questioning how it's affecting others along the way. He gave everyone
great music to be sad to and make love to and laugh to and drive to, and every sort
of thing that you live in the world. If you put his music on to anything that you're
doing in life, it fits right alongside of it. He was just the raddest."
- Drew Barrymore
- "Lennon's was one of the first voices I emulated when I began to sing.
When we held
tryouts in my pal's dad's living room for the singer in our band, I sang a Beatles
song that Lennon sang. There is something about the timbre of his voice, something
that it conveys, that still gets to me. The quality and the poetry of his lyrics.
The wry sense of humor. And the boyishness, in the beginning. There are a great
many things that touch me about him...
Lennon was, to put it in his own words, a 'working-class hero.'"
- Don Henley
There were the Beatles, and there was John. As a band, they were a great unit.
But John, he was his own man. We got along very well. We didn't see each other
very often, but he would sort of turn up at your hotel. Usually, if I was in the
city, I'd stay at the Plaza. If John turned up, that meant John wanted to party.
He didn't come there to discuss, you know, philosophy - although it would end
up like that. I would just get into town, and there'd be a knock at the door:
"Hey, man, what is going on around here?" We would get the guitars down and
sing. And, in our spare time, discuss world domination. He's rubbed off on me
as much as anybody."
- Keith Richards
- "I first met him in London in 1963. The Ronettes were the top group in
England at the
time. He saw us and got in touch with our manager, and there was this party and we
danced all night with all the fellas, taught them the New York dances. He liked
me for more than just my voice. As the party winded down, we started talking.
I was just nineteen years old, and starting to make it big, and he knew things.
He told me, 'It's all going to change, you're going to start riding in limousines,'
and I'm like, 'You're kidding me!' I met him in the street years later. He called
my name: "Ronnie!" and I turned around; it was so fucking cool. When he called
my name, everyone turned around and saw him [and recognized him], and he didn't
care. He got shot right after that. When he was shot, I was so devastated, I
stayed in bed for a week. I was in the studio when I heard; I just dropped the phone -
it broke my heart. I always think of John Lennon every time I'm in the recording
studio. I can't help it. He's my spirit talking to me, saying, 'Don't give up.'"
- Ronnie Spector (The Ronettes)
- "What I do is I look for the positive side. I'm the only guy who sat down with
John and wrote all those songs. It's me. I've got to pinch myself,
I can't believe it. I just feel blessed to have
known him and to have experienced his presence so intimately."
- Paul McCartney
"He was hysterical, he was historical. He was fun. He was so multitalented.
When he was good, he was really, really good, and when he was bad, he was horrid."
- Cynthia Lennon
"On lettering days, he always arrived late, anything up to half an hour.
He looked a mess. He had scruffy black trousers, quiffed hair with a slight DA at the
back, and it was an attempt to look like a teddy boy. But often, even though he was
late, he'd have a screwed-up drawing under his arm to present to the teacher. And it
would get him off the hook, in a way. Arthur Ballard (the teacher) would hold it up to
the class and say: 'Now look, this is the kind of original idea and inspiration
we're looking for.'"
- Cynthia Lennon
"He gave off this feeling that he was already battling through life, even at
eighteen. Whenever he was going anywhere or doing anyhting, he walked like lightning,
as if he was being shot from an arrow. It was a kind of panic. He would look round as
if someone was chasing him. He staggered, quickly, as though he believed that if he
moved quickly, people might miss him."
- Cynthia Lennon
"Anyone who doesn't
think the government killed my father either hasn't given the issue much
thought, or is insane..."
- Sean Lennon (quoted in The New Yorker)