Why John Lennon Said ‘the Beatles Are the Biggest Bastards on Earth’
When they started, the Beatles had a squeaky-clean, family-friendly image. When the band began to experiment with psychedelic drugs, their image was less innocent but still positive in a way. During their more experimental period, the Fab Four were still committed to the virtue of peace.
Even after the band broke up, they were still associated with peace and love — particularly John Lennon and George Harrison. However, John had a less positive appraisal of the Beatles. He called then the “biggest bastards on earth.”
The first book ever about the Fab Four
There are numerous books about the Beatles. Some exist to analyze the band’s music or their impact on popular culture. Others are simple biographies — some of which are quite revealing.
According to Rolling Stone, the first book about the band was a 1963 book called Love Me Do! The Beatles’ Progress. The book’s title references both the song “Love Me Do” and John Bunyan’s classic novel The Pilgrim’s Progress. In order to write the book, author Michael Braun followed the Fab Four around Europe and the United States. The Guardian reports the book is a tour diary capturing some of the band’s early period.
The book gives fans some insight into the Fab Four’s mindset at the time. For example, Love Me Do! says the band did not expect their notoriety to last. In addition, the book records members of the band making a number of offensive comments in order to “blow off steam.” John made no excuses for the Beatles’ behavior as depicted in the book.
John Lennon explains why the Beatles were ‘bastards’
Discussing Love Me Do! with Rolling Stone, John said “That was a true book. He wrote how we were, which was bastards. You can’t be anything else in such a pressurized situation and we took it out on people.”
John even said the book was soft on the Fab Four in some ways. “Those things are left out by Davies, about what bastards we were. F*ckin’ big bastards, that’s what the Beatles were. You have to be a bastard to make it, that’s a fact, and the Beatles are the biggest bastards on earth.”
If the Fab Four were bastards, why did they retain likable public personas? John said “Everybody wants the image to carry on…The press around too, because they want the free drinks and the free whores and the fun; everybody wants to keep on the bandwagon.”
Five years after the release of Love Me Do!, Hunter Davies released an authorized biography of the band simply titled The Beatles: The Authorized Biography. John said Love Me Do! Was superior to The Beatles: The Authorized Biography. Similarly, Colin Fleming of Salon deemed Love Me Do! the greatest book about the Fab Four. That’s quite a lot of praise for a book that depicted one of the most beloved bands of all time as bastards.