John Lennon's most memorable quotes

9 October 2023, 12:00

John Lennon: in 1964, 1968 and 1980
John Lennon: in 1964, 1968 and 1980. Picture: Everett Collection Inc/steeve-x-foto/Alamy Stock Photo

Musician, singer, guitarist, campaigner and one of the biggest artists of the 20th Century. Here's his philosophy, in his own words.

  1. "I've always been politically minded and against the status quo.”

    Red Mole, 1971

    John Lennon and Yoko Ono address an antiwar rally in Manhattan's Bryant Park, 22 April 1972.
    John Lennon and Yoko Ono address an antiwar rally in Manhattan's Bryant Park, 22 April 1972. Picture: Bettman/Getty Images
  2. “The only way to deal with critics is to go over their heads direct to the public.”

    Rolling Stone, December 1980

    The classic photo of John Lennon in the psychedelic era - taken by Richard Avedon in August 1967
    The classic photo of John Lennon in the psychedelic era - taken by Richard Avedon in August 1967. Picture: JJs / Alamy Stock Photo
  3. “Life is what happens to you, While you're busy making other plans.”

    Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy), 1980

    John Lennon and son Sean in New York City, 1977
    John Lennon and son Sean in New York City, 1977. Picture: Vinnie Zuffante/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
  4. “God is a concept by which we measure our pain.”

    God, 1970

    John Lennon performing on Top Of The Pops, 1970
    John Lennon performing on Top Of The Pops, 1970. Picture: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
  5. "I was a working-class macho guy who was used to being served and Yoko didn't buy that.”

    Newsweek, September 1980

    John and Yoko launch their You Are Here show in 1968
    John and Yoko launch their You Are Here show in 1968. Picture: Cummings Archives/Redferns/Getty Images
  6. “The Beatles music died then, as musicians. That’s why we never improved as musicians; we killed ourselves then to make it. And that was the end of it.”

    Rolling Stone, December 1970

    The Beatles filming Help! in the Bahamas, 1965
    The Beatles filming Help! in the Bahamas, 1965. Picture: Express Newspapers/Getty Images
  7. "Part of me suspects that I'm a loser and the other part of me thinks I'm God Almighty.”

    Playboy, 1980

    John Lennon at a press conference in June 1966
    John Lennon at a press conference in June 1966. Picture: © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
  8. “It just seemed natural for us, if we made an album together, for both of us to be naked.”

    Rolling Stone, September 1968

    'Two Virgins' Album Cover, 1968
    'Two Virgins' Album Cover, 1968. Picture: Blank Archives/Getty Images
  9. “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink.”

    “I needn't argue about 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 'n' roll or Christianity.” Evening Standard, 1966

    Beatle merchandise on a bonfire in Georgia, August 1966
    Beatle merchandise on a bonfire in Georgia, August 1966. Picture: Bettman/Getty Images
  10. “It's better to fade away like an old soldier than to burn out.”

    Playboy, 1980

    John Lennon and Yoko Ono in November 1980
    John Lennon and Yoko Ono in November 1980. Picture: Jack Mitchell/Getty Images
  11. “I no longer believe in myth, and Beatles is another myth. The dream is over.”

    Rolling Stone, December 1970

    The Beatles: Ringo Starr, John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney
    The Beatles: Ringo Starr, John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney. Picture: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
  12. “I like rock and roll, man, I don’t like much else.”

    Rolling Stone, December 1970

    John Lennon on the Magical Mystery Tour bus September 1967
    John Lennon on the Magical Mystery Tour bus September 1967. Picture: © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
  13. “A genius is a form of madness, and we’re all that way, you know.”

    Rolling Stone, 1970

    John Lennon and Yoko Ono at one of their peace "bed-in"s, 1969
    John Lennon and Yoko Ono at one of their peace "bed-in"s, 1969. Picture: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
  14. “There's no other time but the present. Anything else is a waste of time.”

    Melody Maker, October 1971

    John Lennon in New York, 1971
    John Lennon in New York, 1971. Picture: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage/Getty Images
  15. “The Beatles gave everything they had to give, and more. Going back to the Beatles would be like going back to school.”

    Newsweek, September 1980

    The Beatles launch Sgt Pepper in May 1967
    The Beatles launch Sgt Pepper in May 1967. Picture: John Downing/Getty Images
  16. “THEY, whoever they are, don't stand a chance because they can't beat love.”

    Man Of The Decade, ITV, December 1969

    John And Yoko in 1971
    John And Yoko in 1971. Picture: Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
  17. “If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”

    John and Yoko, protesting in 1969
    John and Yoko, protesting in 1969. Picture: Frank Barrett/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
  18. "Art is only a way of expressing pain.”

    Red Mole, 1971

    John Lennon on July 1971
    John Lennon on July 1971. Picture: Michael Putland/Getty Images

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