Friday, January 13, 2023

John Lennon always wanted to be a millionaire, even if he had to be “a crook” to make money

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As The Beatles grew in popularity, John Lennon began making more money than he could ever have dreamed of. Despite this, he had always felt that he would be financially successful. Although he was always short of money as a student, he firmly expected to become a millionaire one day. He explained that he wanted this so badly that he would have done anything to achieve it.

Although he had big dreams of wealth, Lennon always had to borrow money from his friends.

“John never had any money,” his girlfriend Thelma Pickles said, according to the book The Beatles: The Authorized Biography by Hunter Davies. “He was a real bum, borrowing money from everyone all the time, getting people to buy him chips or drinks, or give away cigars. He still has to owe people pounds. But he has kind of a magnetic personality and he’s always been able to get money out of people.”

His aunt Mimi gave him half a crown a day, which wasn’t enough to sit at the bar for hours and drink whatever he wanted.

“She wouldn’t let him go anywhere and only gave him half a crown a day,” Pickles explained. “She was over the top. We spent hours drinking or just hanging around in crack [a pub next to College]. But John couldn’t drink much with half a crown, could he?”

Lennon was in art school and he didn’t put much effort into his studies, firmly believing that no matter what, he would make it.

“But I always felt like I was going to make it,” he said. “There were a few moments of doubt, but I knew something would happen eventually. When Mimi threw away things I had written or drawn, I would always say, “You’ll regret it when I’m famous,” and mean it. I didn’t really know what I wanted to be other than an eccentric millionaire. I imagined marrying a millionaire and doing it that way.”

If he couldn’t find a millionaire to marry, he would turn to illegal means to make money. He had even hatched a half-hearted plan to rob a store.

“I had to become a millionaire,” he said. “If I couldn’t do it without being crooked, then I should be crooked. I was quite prepared for that – apparently no one wanted to give me money for my paintings. But I was too cowardly to be a crook. I would never have made it. I was planning on demolishing a store with another guy, neat for a change, not just shoplifting. We used to look at the shops at night, but we never got around to it.”

Lennon’s predictions for his future were correct. Through the Beatles and then his solo career, he amassed an amazing amount of wealth. Despite this, he portrayed himself as a working-class man of the people. His bandmate Paul McCartney challenged him for it.

“John wasn’t any deeper than me,” McCartney told The Washington Post in 1984. Mine was a warm, comfortable childhood, not a rich upbringing. His was richer than mine. No one knows. John made himself the great hero of the working class, but he was the least working class of the group. John had an aunt who gave him a hundred pounds on a birthday; That’s still something I wouldn’t give my kids.”

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