Facts About John Lennon

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John Lennon was the leader and founding member of the Beatles. Whether as a singer, composer, musician, writer, or actor, John was a true original. Not only was he a great artist, but he was a truly fascinating man. To celebrate what would have been the late Beatle's 75th birthday, let’s take a look at a few facts you might not have known about one of Rock's most unforgettable icons:

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1. He was a choir boy and a boy scout Yes, John Lennon, the great rock ‘n roll rebel and iconoclast, started his singing career as a choir boy at St. Peter’s church and was a member of the 3rd Allerton Boy Scout troop.

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2. Elvis Presley inspired his first band Elvis Presley's instant notoriety inspired 16 year old Lennon to create a band called the Quarry Men (named after his school). Lennon soon met Paul McCartney at a church event on July 6th, 1957. McCartney joined the Quarry Men then a year later introduced Lennon to George Harrison, which started the journey towards The Beatles.

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3. He was the last Beatle to learn how to drive John got his driver’s license at the age of 24 (Feb. 15, 1965). This late attempt at driving seems to be for good reason- he was a terrible driver. He finally gave up driving after he totaled his Aston-Martin in 1969 on a trip to Scotland. Lennon needed 17 stitches after the accident. He always used a chauffeur or driver after this incident.

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4. He was the only Beatle who didn’t become a full-time vegetarian George Harrison was the first Beatle vegetarian; according to most sources, he became an official vegetarian in 1965. Paul McCartney joined the “veggie” ranks a few years later. Ringo became a vegetarian not so much for spiritual reasons, like Paul and George, but because of health problems. John had toyed with vegetarianism in the sixties, but he always ended up eating meat, one way or another.

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5. He was Featured on the First Rolling Stone Magazine cover It's an incredible honor for any musician to be featured on the cover of Rolling Stone, but John Lennon was the first person ever to be featured on the cover! Back on November 9th, 1967, he was the cover story.

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6. Two of his True Loves were Caffeine and Breakfast Lennon publicly struggled with his weight after a reporter called him, "the fat Beatle" back in 1965, but that didn't curb his love for breakfast. Lennon loved cooking and eating a full English breakfast (complete with black pudding). He also had a taste for junk food ("Walls and Bridges was made on Whoppers and Pizza," he reportedly admitted). His other true love was caffeine; he was constantly consuming coffee and black tea.

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7. He Loved The Ocean Lennon was raised in a port town, Liverpool, so it's no surprise that he liked the ocean. But in reality, the man loved the ocean. He wrote about it in many songs (You Are Here, Beautiful Boy and more). He even used it as a means of meditation and relaxation. He chartered a sailboat ride from NYC to Bermuda to record demos for Double Fantasy and took that time with the ocean to quit smoking.

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8. He Hated His Own Voice Incredibly, one of the greatest singers in the history of rock music, John Lennon hated his own voice and loved to double-track his records.

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9. He Was Dissatisfied With all the Beatles’ Records Dining with his former producer, George Martin, one night years after the band had split up, John revealed to Martin that he’d like to re-record every Beatles song. Completely amazed, Martin asked him, “Even ‘Strawberry Fields’?” His response, “especially ‘Strawberry Fields'”.

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10. He Loved to Play Monopoly During his Beatle days, John was a devout Monopoly player. He had his own Monopoly set he’d bring with him and often played in his hotel room or on planes.

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11. He Sometimes Slept in a Coffin According to Allan Williams, an early manager for the Beatles, John liked to sleep in an old coffin. Williams had the old coffin on the premises of his coffee bar “The Jacaranda”. As a gag, John would frequently nap in it.

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12. He Once Saw a UFO According to the Beatle himself, he saw a UFO from his terrace on 53rd Street in Manhattan! It was August 23rd, 1974, and he wandered out stark naked to see a UFO clear as day hovering above. He even summoned his secretary May Pang who claims to have seen it, too. There were a number of calls to the police that day from others in the neighborhood with similar sightings.

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13. The Best Lyric Lennon Ever Wrote A friend once asked John the best lyric he ever wrote. “That’s easy”, replied Lennon, “All you need is love”.

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14. John was originally supposed to sing lead on the Beatles’ first record Love Me Do (1962) John sang lead on a great majority of the early Beatle records, but Paul took the lead on their very first record. The lead was originally supposed to be John’s, but because John had to play the harmonica, it was instead given to Paul.

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15. The Last Time He saw Paul was April 24, 1976 Paul was visiting him at John’s New York apartment. They were watching “Saturday Night Live” together when producer Lorne Michaels, as a gag, offered the Beatles $3,000 to come on the show. John and Paul almost took a cab to the show, but finally decided against it. (It would have been one of the great moments in television history.

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16. Bob Dylan introduced Lennon to Marijuana The Beatles met Bob Dylan during the end of their U.S. tour on August 28th, 1964. The artists spent time together in the Beatles’ hotel room. Many believe Dylan turned The Beatles on to marijuana for the first time, which heavily influenced the band in both their image and songwriting.

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17. Lennon and Bowie wrote 'Fame' together John Lennon and David Bowie had a mutual hatred for fame and all it entailed. This shared disdain, plus an intense jam session, would evolve into one of Bowie's most famous songs. Bowie had invited Lennon over to screw around with some music and after many conversations discussing the stresses of fame they wrote and recorded the song. Lennon ended up playing rhythm guitar on the track and you can even hear him on the background vocals.

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18. His last Concert Performance was with Elton John Back in 1974, Elton John bet Lennon that if Whatever Gets You Through the Night (a song they had collaborated on) hit #1 on the billboard charts, Lennon would play it with him at Madison Square Garden. Well, it hit #1 and Lennon was a man of his word. And they didn't just play Whatever Gets You Through the Night but also Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and I Saw Her Standing There.

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19. He Loved The B-52's Lennon heard Rock Lobster by the B-52's in 1979 while in a disco in Bermuda. He instantly recognized Cindy Wilson's scream at the end of the song as an homage to Yoko Ono. After that moment, he and Yoko listened to the B-52's album again and again while working on their Double Fantasy album.

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20. The Last Photograph of John Lennon In this last photo of John Lennon while he was alive, he was signing an album to the person who was to assassinate him a few hours later. John obligingly signed a copy of his latest album Double Fantasy on the morning of his death for his killer. Later that same day, John returned from the recording studio and was gunned down by Mark David Chapman. John’s body was cremated the day after his assassination. Yoko Ono has never revealed the whereabouts of the ashes or what she did with them.

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21. The Final resting Place Remains Unknown Lennon was cremated after his tragic murder on December 8, 1980. Fans have theorized that his ashes were spread at Strawberry Fields, which is a section of Central Park that Lennon often visited and was posthumously named for his famous Beatles song. However, this has never been confirmed nor denied by Ono, so the location of his ashes is still unknown.

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