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Quotes about John Lennon


The work of John Lennon was marked by its exquisite beauty and by its brutal honesty… “

– Kevin Spacey


“John Lennon has been my idol all my life but he’s dead wrong about revolution… find a representative of gluttony or oppression and blow the motherfucker’s head off.”

– Kurt Cobain, quoted in Journals (2002)


“He must have been a gardener that cared a lot,

Who weeded out the tears and grew a good crop;

But now it all looks strange, it’s funny how one insect

Can damage so much grain.”

– Elton John, in the song “Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny) (1982), written after Lennon was murdered.

“John Lennon was many things to many people. A poet, a rocker, a leader, a troublemaker, a father, a husband — a man. Growing up, to me, he was a hero. The work of John Lennon was marked by its exquisite beauty and by its brutal honesty. So in that vein, let me say, that while I’m both deeply honored to be here — I’m also incredibly pissed-off. I’m outraged because this passionate prophet of peace, and so many others, are not with us here — because we live in an all-too-violent world. And so in the spirit of this occasion it is up to all of us, to do what we can, not only to keep John’s songs alive, but help rebuild New York — and that includes your host…”

– Kevin Spacey, in his introduction to his performance of “Mind Games” in Come Together: A Night for John Lennon’s Words and Music (2001)

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John Lennon Quotes on Dreams


“I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?”

– John Lennon


“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”

– John Lennon


“Make your own dream.

That’s the Beatles’ story, isn’t it? That’s Yoko’s story, that’s what I’m saying now. Produce your own dream. If you want to save Peru, go save Peru. It’s quite possible to do anything, but not to put it on the leaders and the parking meters. Don’t expect Jimmy Carter or Ronald Reagan or John Lennon or Yoko Ono or Bob Dylan or Jesus Christ to come and do it for you. You have to do it yourself.

That’s what the great masters and mistresses have been saying ever since time began. They can point the way, leave signposts and little instructions in various books that are now called holy and worshipped for the cover of the book and not for what it says, but the instructions are all there for all to see, have always been and always will be.

There’s nothing new under the sun. All the roads lead to Rome. And people cannot provide it for you. I can’t wake you up. You can wake you up. I can’t cure you. You can cure you.”

― John Lennon


“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.”

― John Lennon

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Table of Contents


Quotes About (Clickable):


John Lennon Quotes about Life, Love, Dreams & Peace

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John Lennon Quotes on Drugs


“I’ve had cocaine, but I don’t like it. The Beatles had lots of it in their day, but it’s a dumb drug, because you have to have another one 20 minutes later. Your whole concentration goes on getting the next fix. Really, I find caffeine is easier to deal with. … A little mushroom or peyote is not beyond my scope, you know, maybe twice a year or something. You don’t hear about it anymore, but people are still visiting the cosmos. We must always remember to thank the CIA and the Army for LSD. That’s what people forget. … They invented LSD to control people and what they did was give us freedom. Sometimes it works in mysterious ways its wonders to perform.”

– John Lennon


“This is ex-Beatle, John Lennon. I’ve been wanting to write you, but I guess I didn’t really want to face reality. I never do this, this is why I take drugs. Reality frightens me and paranoids me. True, I have a lot of money… but basically, I’m afraid to face the problems of life. Let me begin to say, I regret that I said the Beatles were more popular than Jesus. I don’t even like myself anymore — guilt. My Cousin, Marilyn McCabe has tried to help me. She told me you were praying for me. … I want happiness. I don’t want to keep up with drugs… Explain to me what Christianity can do for me. Is it phoney? Can He love me? I want out of Hell.

I am, I hate to say, under the influence of pills now. I can’t stop. I only wish I could thank you for caring.

– John Lennon, Letter to Oral Roberts in 1972, as quoted in Oral Roberts : An American Life‎ (1985) by David Edwin

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John Lennon Quotes on Greatness & Madness


“When I was about twelve, I used to think I must be a genius, but nobody’s noticed. Either I’m a genius or I’m mad, which is it? “No,” I said, “I can’t be mad because nobody’s put me away; therefore I’m a genius.” Genius is a form of madness and we’re all that way. But I used to be coy about it, like me guitar playing. But if there’s such a thing as genius — I am one. And if there isn’t, I don’t care.”

– John Lennon, Interview with Rolling Stone magazine (December 1970)


“All that business was awful, it was a fuckin’ humiliation. One has to completely humiliate oneself to be what the Beatles were, and that’s what I resent. I didn’t know, I didn’t foresee. It happened bit by bit, gradually, until this complete craziness is surrounding you, and you’re doing exactly what you don’t want to do with people you can’t stand — the people you hated when you were ten.”

– John Lennon, As quoted in Rolling Stone (7 January 1971)


“I’ve sold my soul to the devil.”

– John Lennon, On the commercial success of the Beatles, as quoted in Lennon (1985) by Ray Coleman

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John Lennon Quotes on Life

John Lennon Quotes about Life

 

“Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.”

– John Lennon


“I wouldn’t say I was a born writer; I’m a born thinker.”

– John Lennon


“Don’t believe that jazz about there’s nothing you can do, “turn on and drop out, man” — because you’ve got to turn on and drop in, or they’re going to drop all over you.”

– John Lennon


“I don’t have any romanticism about any part of my past. I think of it only inasmuch as it gave me pleasure or helped me grow psychologically. That is the only thing that interests me about yesterday. I don’t believe in yesterday, by the way. You know I don’t believe in yesterday. I am only interested in what I am doing now.”

– John Lennon


“Living is Easy with Eyes Closed.”

– John Lennon


“One thing you can’t hide – is when you’re crippled inside.”

– John Lennon


“The more real you get the more unreal the world gets. ”

― John Lennon


“It’s better to fade away like an old soldier than to burn out. I don’t appreciate worship of dead Sid Vicious or of dead James Dean or of dead John Wayne. It’s the same thing. Making Sid Vicious a hero, Jim Morrison — it’s garbage to me. I worship the people who survive. Gloria Swanson, Greta Garbo.”

– John Lennon


“I go to restaurants and the groups always play “Yesterday.” I even signed a guy’s violin in Spain after he played us “Yesterday.” He couldn’t understand that I didn’t write the song. But I guess he couldn’t have gone from table to table playing “I Am The Walrus.”

– John Lennon, On the song “Yesterday”, written by Paul McCartney


“I’m not claiming divinity. I’ve never claimed purity of soul. I’ve never claimed to have the answers to life. I only put out songs and answer questions as honestly as I can … But I still believe in peace, love and understanding.”

– John Lennon, The Beatles Anthology (2000)


“All kids draw and write poetry and everything, and some of us last until we’re about eighteen, but most drop off at about twelve when some guy comes up and says, “You’re no good.” That’s all we get told all our lives.”

– John Lennon


“Once a thing’s been done it’s been done, so while this nostalgia — I mean for the ’60s and ’70s, you know, looking backwards for inspiration, copying the past — how’s that rock ‘n’ roll? Do something of your own. Start something new, you know? Live your lives now. Know what I mean?”

– John Lennon, BBC interview, used in a Citroën ad, as quoted in “John Lennon Appearance In Car Ad Stirs Controversy” by Monica Herrera in Billboard (4 March 2010).


“There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be…”

– John Lennon


“Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears.”

― John Lennon

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John Lennon Quotes on Love


“Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns it calls me on and on across the universe.”

– John Lennon


“I really thought that love would save us all.”

– John Lennon


“It takes time to get rid of all this garbage that I’ve been carrying around that was influencing the way I thought and the way I lived. It had a lot to do with Yoko, showing me that I was still possessed. I left physically when I fell in love with Yoko, but mentally it took the last ten years of struggling. I learned everything from her. … It is a teacher-pupil relationship. That’s what people don’t understand. She’s the teacher and I’m the pupil. I’m the famous one, the one who’s supposed to know everything, but she’s my teacher. She’s taught me everything I fucking know. She’s my Don Juan … a Don Juan doesn’t have a following. A Don Juan isn’t in the newspaper and doesn’t have disciples and doesn’t proselytize.”

– John Lennon


“Love is a promise, love is a souvenir, once given never forgotten, never let it disappear.”

– John Lennon, frequently attributed to Lennon, but entirely unsourced

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John Lennon Quotes on Music & Art


“What’s Bagism? It’s like… a tag for what we all do, we’re all in a bag ya know, and we realised that we came from two bags, I was in this pop bag going round and round in my little clique, and she was in her little avant-garde clique going round and round, and you’re in your little tele clique and they’re in their…ya know? and we all sort of come out and look at each other every now and then, but we don’t communicate. And we all intellectualise about how there is no barrier between art, music, poetry… but we’re still all “I’m a rock and roller, he’s a poet” … so we just came up with the word so you would ask us what bagism is, and we’d say “WE’RE ALL IN A BAG BABY!””

– John Lennon, Interview on The David Frost Show (14 June 1969)


“These critics with the illusions they’ve created about artists — it’s like idol worship. They only like people when they’re on their way up … I cannot be on the way up again. … What they want is dead heroes, like Sid Vicious and James Dean. I’m not interesting in being a dead (expletive) hero. … So forget ’em, forget ’em.”

– John Lennon, Associated Press via The Huffington Post


“And, because my role in society —or any artist or poet’s role— is to try to express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel, not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all. And it’s like that’s the job of the artist in society, not to… they’re not some alienated being living on the outskirts of town. It’s fine to live on the outskirts of town, but artists must reflect what we all are. […] If that’s taken it too much on meself, I feel that artists are that: they’re reflections of society… mirrors.”

– John Lennon, The Beatles: All These Years Vol. 1: Tune In by Mark Lewisohn


“I’ve always considered my work one piece and I consider that my work won’t be finished until I am dead and buried and I hope that’s a long, long time.”

– John Lennon, Interview with RKO Radio on the day of his murder (8 December 1980)

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John Lennon Quotes about Peace

John Lennon Quotes on Peace

 

“Remember love. The only hope for any of us is peace. Violence begets violence. If you want to get peace, you can get it as soon as you like if we all pull together.”

– John Lennon


“It was just a gradual development over the years. Last year was “All You Need Is Love.” This year it’s “Give Peace a Chance.” Remember love. The only hope for any of us is peace. Violence begets violence. If you want to get peace, you can get it as soon as you like if we all pull together. You’re all geniuses and you’re all beautiful. You don’t need anybody to tell you who you are or what you are. You are what you are. Get out there and get peace. Think peace, live peace, and breathe peace and you’ll get it as soon as you like. Okay?”

– John Lennon, Statement to the press in July 1969


“That’s part of our policy, is not to be taken seriously, I think our opposition, whoever they may be, in all their manifest forms, don’t know how to handle humor… we stand a better chance under that guise, because all the serious people, like Martin Luther King, and Kennedy, and Gandhi, got shot.”

– John Lennon, As quoted in BBC interview with David Wigg (8 May 1969)


“You feel alone if you’re the only one thinking ‘wouldn’t it be nice if there was peace and nobody was getting killed.’ So advertise yourself that you’re for peace if you believe in it.”

– John Lennon


“We’re trying to sell peace, like a product, you know, and sell it like people sell soap or soft drinks. And it’s the only way to get people aware that peace is possible, and it isn’t just inevitable to have violence.”

– John Lennon


“When we say “War is over if you want it,” we mean that if everyone demanded peace instead of another TV set, we’d have peace.”

– John Lennon, During the Bed-In for Peace in Montreal, Canada (1 June 1969)


“Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace

 

You may say that I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will be as one”

― John Lennon, Imagine

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John Lennon Quotes on Religion


“I’m not afraid of death because I don’t believe in it.

It’s just getting out of one car, and into another”

– John Lennon


“Christianity will go.. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue with that; I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first — rock and roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.”

– John Lennon, Standard newspaper (4 March 1966) as part of an interview with writer Maureen Cleave.


“I suppose if I had said television was more popular than Jesus, I would have gotten away with it. I’m sorry I opened my mouth. I’m not anti-God, anti-Christ, or anti-religion. I wasn’t knocking it or putting it down. I was just saying it as a fact and it’s true more for England than here. I’m not saying that we’re better or greater, or comparing us with Jesus Christ as a person or God as a thing or whatever it is. I just said what I said and it was wrong. Or it was taken wrong. And now it’s all this.”

– John Lennon, News conference in Chicago


“Nor do I think we came from monkeys, by the way…That’s another piece of garbage. What the hell’s it based on? We couldn’t’ve come from anything–fish, maybe, but not monkeys. I don’t believe in the evolution of fish to monkeys to men. Why aren’t monkeys changing into men now? It’s absolute garbage. It’s absolutely irrational garbage, as mad as the ones who believe the world was made only four thousand years ago, the fundamentalists.”

– John Lennon


“I don’t need to go to church. I respect churches because of the sacredness that’s been put on them over the years by people who do believe. But I think a lot of bad things have happened in the name of the church and in the name of Christ. Therefore I shy away from church, and as Donovan once said, “I go to my own church in my own temple once a day.” And I think people who need a church should go. And the others who know the church is in your own head should visit that temple because that’s where the source is. We’re all God. Christ said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.” And the Indians say that and the Zen people say that. We’re all God. I’m not a god or the God, but we’re all God and we’re all potentially divine — and potentially evil. We all have everything within us and the Kingdom of Heaven is nigh and within us, and if you look hard enough you’ll see it.”

– John Lennon, The Beatles Anthology


“Everything they told me as a kid has already been disproved by the same type of “experts” who made them up in the first place.”

– John Lennon


“I’m not a god or the God, but we’re all God and we’re all potentially divine — and potentially evil. We all have everything within us and the Kingdom of Heaven is nigh and within us, and if you look hard enough you’ll see it.”

– John Lennon

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John Lennon Quotes on Society


“We announce the birth of a conceptual country, NUTOPIA. Citizenship of the country can be obtained by declaration of your awareness of NUTOPIA. NUTOPIA has no land, no boundaries, no passports, only people. NUTOPIA has no laws other than cosmic.”

– John Lennon


“The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn’t the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility.”

John Lennon. Interview for KFRC RKO Radio (8 December 1980)


“Where do people get off saying the Beatles should give $200,000,000 to South America? You know, America has poured billions into places like that. It doesn’t mean a damn thing. After they’ve eaten that meal, then what? It lasts for only a day. After the $200,000,000 is gone, then what? It goes round and round in circles. You can pour money in forever. After Peru, then Harlem, then Britain. There is no one concert. We would have to dedicate the rest of our lives to one world concert tour, and I’m not ready for it. Not in this lifetime, anyway.”

– John Lennon


“Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. … I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.”

– John Lennon, What Can I Tell You about Myself which You Have Not Already Found Out from Those Who Do Not Lie” in The Beatles Anthology (2000)

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John Lennon Quotes on Wealth


“In England, there are only two things to be, basically: You are either for the labor movement or for the capitalist movement. Either you become a right-wing Archie Bunker if you are in the class I am in, or you become an instinctive socialist, which I was. That meant I think people should get their false teeth and their health looked after, all the rest of it. But apart from that, I worked for money and I wanted to be rich. So what the hell — if that’s a paradox, then I’m a socialist. But I am not anything. What I used to be is guilty about money. That’s why I lost it, either by giving it away or by allowing myself to be screwed by so-called managers.”

– John Lennon

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