A mother he lost very soon, an absent father, The Beatles, two marriages and two children, several songs that changed the world, pacifism and a tragic death.
The man who he sang to peace from a hotel bed in front of dozens of cameras; the one who wrote Imagine, the most famous pacifist anthem, came to the world in the middle of the war. German bombing raids on England were the order of the day when John Lennon was born, on October 9, 1940, in the port city of Liverpool.
He was the son of Julia Stanley and Alfred Lennon, a merchant marine who, due to his role as a soldier in the Navy, was not present during John’s birth. And went an absent father for most of his life.
Lennon’s middle name, Winston, was a tribute to the then British Prime Minister who promised the citizens of his country, “blood, sweat and tears“in the middle of World War II. Perhaps those two events determined the antiwar stance that identified the life of the musician.
John Lennon would turn 80 this Friday, but the world has been without him for 40, killed by a fan. And it’s as if time has stopped forever in many of his songs.
His childhood and adolescence were marked by absences and deficiencies in that house at 9 Newcastle Street, in Liverpool.
Curious fact: John liked the number 9 because it was repeated in his life: October 9, the same birthday he shared with his second son, Sean; Newcastle Road # 9; met Yoko Ono on November 9. And many other coincidences that he was finding one after another.
Returning to his origins, John recently cor personally knew his dad at the age of five, when Don Alfred appeared wanting to take him to New Zealand. His mother, who was pregnant with her new partner at the time, prevented him.
With few resources and two more children with her new husband, who wanted nothing to do with another man’s son, Julia entrusted her sister Mimi to take care of John, and it was his aunt who finally raised him.
That estrangement, the musician would suffer forever, even though his mother visited him frequently. And she was the first to encourage him with music: she gave him a guitar, made him meet Elvis Presley and even taught him to play the banjo.
For its part, aunt mimi She was married to George Smith, had no children, and devoted her full attention to John. Despite being quite conservative, she motivated him with reading and crossword puzzles. While Mimi did not trust that John could make a living as a musician, his uncle George had faith in him and gave him a harmonica.
In the neighborhood where he grew up, John became friends with those who would be the members of his first musical band, the Quarry Men. By then Elvis, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Ray Charles Y Buddy Holly they were the soundtrack of childhood and adolescence.
At school, John was not very disciplined and one of his favorite games was spending hours in the garden of a Salvation Army orphanage, a few meters from his house, called Strawberry Field.
Another place I frequented was the street Penny Lane, near the church where his friend Paul McCartney sang as a child.
When everything seemed to be channeled towards a more fluid relationship with his mother, with many wounds healed, Julia was hit by a car driven by a police officer intoxicated, and died.
With 17 years, John found his refuge in music more secure, something he shared with Paul, who had also lost his mom and loved music just as much.
The orphan boy’s wound did not close again and over time the artist exorcised those demons in various songs, such as Julia, Mother Y My Mummy is Dead.