John Lennon Quotes 1–30 of 120 Quotes

John Winston Ono Lennon (9 October 1940 – 8 December 1980), born John Winston Lennon, was a singer, songwriter, guitarist, political activist, humorist, painter, writer and founding member of The Beatles. He was married to Yoko Ono. He was killed in 1980.

Below are 30 of 120 sourced John Lennon quotes. Sources and related information appear under each quote. Use the 'Cite this quote' link to get citation references.

“For our last number, I'd like to ask your help. Would the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands. And the rest of you, if you'll just rattle your jewelry.”

— John Lennon

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Lennon, John. “John Lennon Quotes: 1–30 of 120 Quotes.” Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/John-Lennon-quotes.html#1

Quote source: Royal Variety Performance in London (4 November 1963) attended by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and Princess Margaret. Of this incident Mark Hertsgaard reports in A Day in the Life: The Music and Artistry of the Beatles (1995): "The remark provoked warm laughter and applause, and was greeted with profound relief by Beatles manager Brian Epstein, who had feared Lennon would make good on his pre-performance threat to tell them to "rattle their fuckin' jewelry."

“No — we need money first.”

— John Lennon

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Lennon, John. “John Lennon Quotes: 1–30 of 120 Quotes.” Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/John-Lennon-quotes.html#2

Quote source: When asked if they wouldn't sing because they couldn't, in a press conference at John F. Kennedy Airport (7 February 1964)

“I was looking for a name like the Crickets that meant two things, and from crickets I got to beetles. And I changed [to] B E A because … B E E T L E S didn't mean two things, so I changed … the E to an A. And it meant two things then. … When you said it, people thought of crawly things; and when you read it, it was beat music.”

— John Lennon

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Quote source: Pop Chronicles: Show 27 - The British Are Coming! The British Are Coming!: The U.S.A. is invaded by a wave of long-haired English rockers. Part 1, 24 August 1964.

“There's only one person in the United States we ever wanted to meet … not that he wanted us. And we met him last night. We can't tell you how we felt. We just idolised him so much. … You can't imagine what a thrill that was last night. Nothing really affected me until I heard Elvis. If there hadn't been an Elvis, there wouldn't have been the Beatles.”

— John Lennon

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More on this quote: Statement (28 August 1965) after meeting Elvis Presley, as quoted in The Leading Men of MGM (2005) by Jane Ellen Wayne, p. 386; also partly quoted in The Beatles: The Authorized Biography (1968) by Hunter Davies, p. 19
• It was a load of rubbish. It was like meeting Engelbert Humperdinck.
 • Later comments on meeting Elvis, as quoted in The Beatles: The Biography (2005) by Bob Spitz, p. 583.

“"One cave she wolf go too farther, and I wolf leaf her" he said to his fave rave horse. Of course the horse didn't answer, because as you know they cannot speak, least of all to a garlic eating, stinking, little yellow greasy fascist bastard catholic Spaniard. They soon made it up howevans and Jesus and wee Spastic were once morphia unitely in a love that knew no Suzie. The only thing that puzzled Jesus was why his sugarboot got so annoyed when he called her his little Spastic in public.”

— John Lennon

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Quote source: "A Spaniard In The Works" from A Spaniard In The Works (1965); this has sometimes been misquoted as if Lennon were speaking specifically about Jesus Christ, when in fact, it is part of the odd narration of an odd story with elements of satire, about a Spanish groom named "Jesus El Pifico".

“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

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Quote source: One of the most controversial statements Lennon ever made, this was published in England's Evening 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

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Quote source: News conference in Chicago, where he apologized for the above statement, which was accepted by the Vatican. (11 August 1966)

“Very rich.”

— John Lennon

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Quote source: Asked how he felt about a Beatles' Shea Stadium concert not selling out; Pop Chronicles: Show 38 - The Rubberization of Soul: The great pop music renaissance. (Part 4), 22 August 1966.

“I am he as you are he as you are meAnd we are all together”

— John Lennon

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Quote source: I Am the Walrus, (1968)

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“Lots of people who complained about us receiving the MBE received theirs for heroism in the war—for killing people. We received ours for entertaining other people. I'd say we deserve ours more.”

— John Lennon

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Quote source: Quoted in The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics (1969)

“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

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Quote source: Statement to the press in July 1969 after the release of the Plastic Ono Band's single "Give Peace a Chance", as quoted in The Beatles: An Oral History by David Pritchard and Alan Lysaght (1998) New York: Hyperion. ISBN: 0786864362. OCLC: 39093547. p. 285.

“That's part of our policy, is not to be taken seriously, because I think our opposition, whoever they may be, in all their manifest forms, don't know how to handle humor. You know, and we are humorous, we are, what are they, Laurel and Hardy. That's John and Yoko, and 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

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Quote source: As quoted in BBC interview with David Wigg (8 May 1969)

“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

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Quote source: Interview on The David Frost Show (14 June 1969)

“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. Not just war — all forms of violence. People just accept it and think 'Oh, they did it, or Harold Wilson did it, or Nixon did it,' they're always scapegoating people. And it isn't Nixon's fault. We're all responsible for everything that goes on, you know, we're all responsible for Biafra and Hitler and everything. So we're just saying "SELL PEACE" — anybody interested in peace just stick it in the window. It's simple but it lets somebody else know that you want peace too, because 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

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Quote source: Interview on The David Frost Show (14 June 1969)

“I'd like to say "thank you" on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we passed the audition.  Closing line of the Beatles' rooftop concert on (30 January 1969), this was also the last line of the Let It Be film and the album version of "Get Back"”

— John Lennon

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Source: Wikiquote: "John Lennon" (Quotes)

“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

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Quote source: John Lennon interview with Rolling Stone magazine (December 1970)

“If people take any notice of what we say, we say we've been through the drug scene, man, and there's nothing like being straight.”

— John Lennon

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Lennon, John. “John Lennon Quotes: 1–30 of 120 Quotes.” Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/John-Lennon-quotes.html#18

Quote source: The Dick Cavett Show (24 September 1971)

“It's just natural, it's not a great disaster. People keep talking about it like it's The End of The Earth. It's only a rock group that split up, it's nothing important. You know, you have all the old records there if you want to reminisce.”

— John Lennon

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Quote source: Interview on Scene And Heard by David Wigg (25 October 1971)

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“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. All people of NUTOPIA are ambassadors of the country. As two ambassadors of NUTOPIA, we ask for diplomatic immunity and recognition in the United Nations of our country and our people.”

— John Lennon

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Quote source: Declaration of Nutopia, co-signed with Yoko Ono, (1 April 1973); also published in the liner notes of Mind Games (1973)

“' It makes rock concerts look like tea parties.”

— John Lennon

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Quote source: Commenting on American Football, in interview with Howard Cosell on ABC Television (December 1974)

“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

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Quote source: Interview for KFRC RKO Radio (8 December 1980)

“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

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Quote source: Interview with RKO Radio on the day of his murder (8 December 1980)

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

— John Lennon

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Quote source: As quoted in The Philadelphia Inquirer (10 December 1980)

“I've sold my soul to the devil.”

— John Lennon

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Quote source: On the commercial success of the Beatles, as quoted in Lennon (1985) by Ray Coleman

“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

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Lennon, John. “John Lennon Quotes: 1–30 of 120 Quotes.” Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/John-Lennon-quotes.html#27

Quote source: "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)

“Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.”

— John Lennon

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Lennon, John. “John Lennon Quotes: 1–30 of 120 Quotes.” Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/John-Lennon-quotes.html#28

Quote source: As quoted in Sunday Herald Sun [Melbourne, Australia] (13 January 2003)]

“Well, I just want him to grow up happy. That's the main thing.”

— John Lennon

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Lennon, John. “John Lennon Quotes: 1–30 of 120 Quotes.” Last modified July 30, 2021. https://www.quotescosmos.com/people/John-Lennon-quotes.html#29

Quote source: Talking about his son, Julian Lennon, in Ticket to Ride : Inside the Beatles' 1964 Tour That Changed the World (2003) by Larry Kane

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