5 Facts About John Lennon That Even Surprised Lennon: Through a Glass Onion Star John R. Waters
October 6th, 2014
by Josh Ferri
There’s a new musical off-Broadway celebrating the life and music of former Beatle, music icon and social activist John Lennon. Award-winning actor and singer John R. Waters created and stars in Lennon: Through a Glass Onion, which features a mix of Beatles songs and solo tunes, and BroadwayBox caught up with him to learn five things about John Lennon that even Waters was surprised to find out.
"It has been a revelation to me how much detail there is in the whole John Lennon life story. I am a performer who wanted to create a show that would be a reflection of my own thoughts on Lennon and his life, as opposed to a massive fan. A big admirer, certainly.
But others have since given me books and videos and secret bootlegged recordings. I now do know a bit more than I ever did when I wrote my show!"
1. The extent of John Lennon's early relationship with his mother Julia is well documented (perhaps with a little dramatic license) in a recent movie; Nowhere Boy. Julia couldn't bring John up, but lived, secretly, only a ten-minute walk away from where John was being 'fostered' by Julia's sister, Mimi. And it was Julia who taught John the banjo. Apparently he tuned his first guitar like a banjo, as that was all he knew.
2. In the early ‘70s, John heard the single "Rock Lobster" by The B-52's and thought it was the new direction for world music. He called it 'the best song ever'.
3. John drew very heavily from Yoko's work in his late Beatles and solo song-writing. He wanted to explore some of her concepts, and “Imagine” as a watch-word for hope for the future, was a very big Yoko thing.
4. John wanted to be thin. He struggled a lot with weight issues because of his sweet tooth, and his slender shape in later life was the result of getting straight and being health-conscious.
5. John was unbelievably honest. That much was always apparent when listening to him talk. There were a few interviews he gave in which he confessed to being physically violent with girlfriends early in his adulthood. This isn't something many men ever talk about, and I was filled with renewed admiration for him when I read his words years later. John's devotion to the issue of world peace, and how it begins with each of us finding peace individually, was not hollow or hypocritical: he went to work on himself. And he did it in full view of the public, without hiding any of his own failings. In England, we have a slang word 'bovver'— a corruption of the word 'bother'— which means fighting, or violence in general. John Lennon went from 'bovver-boy' to man of peace; and he put himself on the line. That takes guts.
See John R. Waters in ‘Lennon: Through a Glass Onion’— a must-see musical for fans—at off-Broadway’s Union Square Theatre.