June 1, 2012

John Lennon: “Physically Violent with his first Wife, he Evolved.”

He wasn’t all icon. He was human:

This life is a path. None of us are perfect. All of us make mistakes. Some of us make mistakes that hurt others. The question is: which direction will we travel? Will we wake up? Tomorrow is the anniversary of John Lennon’s tragic death. Let us honor the real man, not the icon—and in so doing embrace our own failures so that we might engage our potential to be of benefit to others. ~ ed.

For more: Amazing Animation of 1969 Lennon Interview [Great Video on Peace!]


“Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”

~ Oscar Wilde

Getting Better all the Time:

It is a diary form of writing. All that “I used to be cruel to my woman, I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved” was me.

I used to be cruel to my woman, and physically — any woman. I was a hitter. I couldn’t express myself and I hit. I fought men and I hit women. That is why I am always on about peace, you see. It is the most violent people who go for love and peace. Everything’s the opposite. But I sincerely believe in love and peace. I am not violent man who has learned not to be violent and regrets his violence.

I will have to be a lot older before I can face in public how I treated women as a youngster.


“Today I learned John Lennon was not as peaceful of a man as so many believe. He was physically violent toward women, and beat his first wife, Cynthia Lennon.”

“I used to be cruel to my woman I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved…Man I was mean but I’m changing my scene and I’m doing the best that I can.”
~ John Lennon

He wasn’t all love. He was human.

He could be unpleasant. He beat his first wife. He evolved. Mostly. He could be cruel to his sons.

And yet, he’s revered as a modern secular hippie peace loving saint.

Both can be true. We create idols, we put said idols on pedestals, only to knock them off and crush them. He never claimed to be perfect. His karma was inherited, and he did mostly good, wonderful, world-changing things with it.

He was well aware of his failings. He did his best, which was sometimes horrible, terrible, sad…and usually wonderful, something to be grateful for. He admitted his worse, singing about it in several songs (below). He was transparent—which is a kind of brave openness that helps to end a problem, a habitual pattern.

Moral of the story: humans change, evolve. Give peace a chance.

All we need is love?


As one Redditor comments:

“I think Jimi Hendrix takes the cake for being an asshole to women. He beat the shit out of one of his girlfriends with a public telephone after he thought she was calling another man. He also hit another girlfriend with a bottle of booze because he was drunk and got jealous, she later required stitches


And we won’t even get into Clapton.

Another Redditor:

In other news, politicians that shout the loudest about “family” bang the most prostitutes, and activists that call someone else “oppressive” are the most oppressive when it comes to others’ opinions.

Everyone judges everyone else through the lens of their own faults.

Write that down.


In response to McCartney’s line, “It’s getting better all the time”,

Lennon replies, “It can’t get no worse!”[5]

Referring to the lyric “I used to be cruel to my woman/I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved/Man I was mean but I’m changing my scene/And I’m doing the best that I can”, Lennon admitted that he had done things in relationships in the past that he was not proud of.

I’d rather see you dead little girl than to see you with another man: catch you with another man, that’s the end, little girl:


Read more:

John Lennon on Love & Happiness.

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

Baz Jun 19, 2015 2:45am

I had my suspicions for many years that Imagine was not John Lennon’s style of songwriting, it was Yoko’s.
Check out her writing style in songs like Who Has Seen The Wind or her bits in Luck Of Thr Irish then compare them to Imagine. Recently I read an article about John’s regret for not giving Yoko a songwriting credit for the song.
Imagine might be John’s tune but it is surely Yoko’s lyrics and style.

Mike Jan 22, 2015 1:34pm

It makes me wonder… where do we draw the line in regards to giving someone a second chance? Let's say Lennon had lived to this day, and the past 30 years had been spent making amends and truly changing as a person. How much of his "past self" would be absorbed into the judgement of his "present self"? The self is ever changing. It is not the unitary, perpetual entity we believe it to be. Neuroscience has revealed the illusion of the self to that degree.

john Nov 15, 2014 4:31pm

lennon was a violent man. please do not make any excuses for him. actions speak louder than words. he beat both of his wives. he nearly beat a man to death for making a pass at him. he urinated on nuns. it does not matter if another celebrity or any one else harmed more people or did more damage to a larger number of people than lennon it doesn't make lennon's actions any less deplorable.

Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.

Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat.” Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword’s Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by “Greatist”, Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: “the mindful life” beyond the choir & to all those who didn’t know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, touches on modern relationships from a Buddhist point of view. His dream of 9 years, the Elephant “Ecosystem” will find a way to pay 1,000s of writers a month, helping reverse the tide of low-quality, unpaid writing & reading for free online.