John Lennon – legendary singer, songwriter, and co-founder of The Beatles – would have turned 75 years old this Friday.
Though The Beatles disbanded in 1970, after a decade of creating music that made them arguably the most popular band of all time, Lennon would go on to record several solo albums and achieve worldwide fame of his own.
In 1980, while Lennon and artist wife Yoko Ono were enteringtheir apartment at The Dakota on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Lennon was shot and killed.
Earlier this week, Ono held a tribute to her late husband in Central Park, forming a giant peace sign with some 2,000 people.
In honor of Lennon’s birthday, we’ve compiled a selection of his most famous quotes.
“The postman wants an autograph. The cab driver wants a picture. The waitress wants a handshake. Everyone wants a piece of you.”
“I said we were more popular than Jesus, which is a fact.”
“We’re not Beatles to each other, you know. It’s a joke to us. If we’re going out the door of the hotel, we say, ‘Right! Beatle John! Beatle George now! Come on, let’s go!’ We don’t put on a false front or anything.”
“It was like being in the eye of a hurricane. You’d wake up in a concert and think, ‘Wow, how did I get here?'”
“If being an egomaniac means I believe in what I do and in my art or music, then in that respect you can call me that … I believe in what I do, and I’ll say it.”
“They’ve been trying to knock us down since we began, especially the British press, always saying, ‘What are you going to do when the bubble bursts?’ That was the in-crowd joke with us. We’d go when we decided, not when some fickle public decided, because we were not a manufactured group. We knew what we were doing.”
“We were really professional by the time we got to the States; we had learned the whole game. When we arrived here we knew how to handle the press; the British press were the toughest in the world and we could handle anything. We were all right.”
“The thing the ’60s 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.”
“There is a great woman behind every idiot.”
“We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.”
“I was a working-class macho guy who was used to being served and Yoko didn’t buy that. From the day I met her, she demanded equal time, equal space, equal rights.”
“It is a teacher-pupil relationship. That’s what people don’t understand. She’s the teacher and I’m the pupil. I’m the famous one, the one who’s supposed to know everything, but she’s my teacher.”
“Rituals are important. Nowadays it’s hip not to be married. I’m not interested in being hip.”
“My role in society, or any artist’s or poet’s role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.”
“I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?”
“I’m not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I’ve always been a freak. So I’ve been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I’m one of those people.”
“I’m not claiming divinity. I’ve never claimed purity of soul. I’ve never claimed to have the answers to life. I only put out songs and answer questions as honestly as I can … But I still believe in peace, love and understanding.”
“If someone thinks that love and peace is a cliche that must have been left behind in the ’60s, that’s his problem. Love and peace are eternal.”