That was a side of him, of course, but art is also artifice. On the anniversary of Lennon’s death, it’s interesting to take a look at the darker side of the former Beatle member’s nature—such as the time he nearly killed a man who implied Lennon was gay—as revealed through his and others’ quotes:
John's first son Julian was famously snubbed by his father, who barely saw him for the last dozen years of his life. Between the absence and the abuse, what little relationship they had seemed to have been at Yoko's behest.
Even Lennon's second son Sean has harsh words for his father.
John Lennon had a knack for verbally stabbing people who knew him in the back. Even when he tried to offer compliments, for example to other Beatles, he still came off as quite callous. This quote (and many others) is from Lennon's last interview, which was published in Playboy the month after his death.
In another backhanded compliment from the Playboy interview, Lennon went on to slam George Harrison's post-Beatles career. Right after this line, John essentially accuses George of plagiarism for “My Sweet Lord.”
Lennon on his friend and drinking partner, Mick Jagger.
Lennon was touchy about his sexuality. Rumors about an affair with Brian Epstein dogged him for years, and apparently he kept his temper on a hair trigger. This quote is in reference to the episode in which John Lennon attacked Cavern Club manager Bob Wooler over a joke and sent him to the hospital.
John describes the moment when Brian Epstein came out to him.
Lennon was an easy mark for many of the various fads and crazes of his day. EST, Primal Scream, and various trendy diets all made their mark on him. Here, he explains why he won't get cancer from chain smoking.