John Lennon Didn’t Want His Son to ‘Worship’ John Wayne: ‘It’s Garbage to Me’
John Lennon felt a number of celebrities could serve as poor role models for his son, Sean Ono Lennon. During an interview, Lennon explained why he didn’t want Sean to look up to John Wayne. Lennon also had a theory as to why Wayne died.
John Lennon wanted his songs to have different messages than John Wayne’s films
According to the book Lennon on Lennon: Conversations with John Lennon, the “Imagine” singer commented on Wayne during a 1969 interview. He didn’t appreciate Wayne’s values. “Don’t you see that they sell war all the time, that Hollywood sold war and still is selling war?” Lennon opined. “That John Wayne has been selling war since I was a kid?”
Lennon seemed to frame the Plastic Ono Band’s song “Give Peace a Chance” as anathema to the way Wayne was “selling war.” “That’s what selling war is, so all I’m trying to do is get as much space in film and song about peace,” Lennon added. “That’s all, just to give it a chance.”
John Lennon said his son could learn nothing from John Wayne except ‘death’
The book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview With John Lennon and Yoko Ono contains a 1980. In the interview, Lennon discussed a lyric from Neil Young‘s song “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue).” In the song, Young sings “It’s better to burn out than to fade away.”
“I don’t appreciate the worship of dead Sid Vicious or of dead James Dean or dead John Wayne,” Lennon revealed. “It’s the same thing. Making Sid Vicious a hero, Jim Morrison — it’s garbage to me. I worship the people who survive. Gloria Swanson. Greta Garbo.” Swanson and Garbo were silent film actors who lived long past the silent era.
Lennon explained why he didn’t want his young son to look up to Wayne and other celebrities. “I don’t want Sean worshipping John Wayne or Johnny Rotten or Sid Vicious,” Lennon said. “What do they teach you? Nothing. Death.”
What the former Beatle thought might have killed The Duke
Furthermore, Lennon didn’t like how fans spoke of Wayne’s death. “They’re saying John Wayne conquered cancer — he whipped it like a man,” Lennon said. “You know, I’m sorry that he died and all that — I’m sorry for his family — but he didn’t whip cancer. It whipped him.”
Finally, in a 1980 interview with Rolling Stone, Lennon proposed a theory as to why Wayne died of cancer. He said Wayne might have hurt himself by suppressing his fearful or feminine side. The “Woman” singer added that he was not an expert. Lennon and Wayne are both pop culture icons even if Lennon offered many criticisms of Wayne’s life and movies.