John Lennon‘s imprint on popular music is so massive that it’s nearly overwhelming (though no one enjoys those Lennon/McCartney songwriting credits). There isn’t really a question that he’s an unimpeachable icon. But… is it possible that in addition to being a great musician, he was also kind of an asshole?
A new video unearthed by Channel 4 in the UK of a 24-year-old Lennon during a Beatles performance may just solve that query for us. At a 1964 concert, around the era of A Hard Day’s Night, Lennon is responding to Paul McCartney’s call to clap your hands and stomp your feet, unmistakably impersonating and mocking the mentally disabled.
Now, if you were to survey the music acts of 1964 and what they said or did on stage, you could probably find worse things, and lord help anyone who is filmed doing a dumb thing at 24. But still, it’s fair to question Lennon’s legacy as a humanitarian and someone accepting of all walks of life.
The Daily Beast notes how well-documented it was that he was abusive to his wife and son. While Lennon preached peace and tolerance, he could be quite mean behind closed doors. Now, it’s difficult to pass judgment on someone when they aren’t even here to defend themselves, especially because none of us really knew Lennon personally. However, there’s enough evidence here to at least question whether the near-saintly John Lennon who exists in the history books really meshes with the person as he actually lived.
(Via The Daily Beast)