The occasion was John Lennon’s 30th birthday. This was the last time the pair would meet. Alf Lennon brought his young wife Pauline and their 18-month-old son David Henry Lennon, whom John had never before met.
The encounter was not a success, and Lennon launched into a tirade against his father. Much of the outburst can be attributed to the Primal Therapy that Lennon had recently undergone in Los Angeles, which encouraged him to relive his childhood in a bid to uncover sources of pain.
Alf Lennon was shaken by the experience, and later lodged a four-page handwritten statement with his solicitor.
He launched into an account of his recent visit to America, and as the story unfolded, so the self inflicted torture began to show in his face, and his voice rose to a scream as he likened himself to Jimi Hendrix and other pop stars who had recently departed from the scene, ending in a crescendo as he admitted he was ‘Bloody mad, insane’ and due for an early demise. It seemed he had gone to America, at great expense to have some kind of treatment through drugs, which enabled one to go back and relive from early childhood the happenings, which in his own case, he should have been happier to forget. I was now listening to the result of this treatment as he reviled his dead mother in unspeakable terms, referring, also, to the aunt who had brought him up, in similar derogatory terms, as well as one or two of his closest friends. I sat through it all, completely stunned, hardly believing that this was the kind considerate ‘Beatle’ John Lennon talking to his father with such evil intensity…
There was no doubt whatsoever in my mind, that he meant every word he spoke, his countenance was frightful to behold, as he explained in detail, how I would be carried out to sea and dumped, ‘twenty – fifty – or perhaps you would prefer a hundred fathoms deep.’ The whole loathsome tirade was uttered with malignant glee, as though he were actually participating in the terrible deed.
Also on this day...
- 2020: Celebrations take place for John Lennon’s 80th birthday
- 2017: New book! Riding So High – The Beatles and Drugs
- 2015: Ringo Starr live at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver, BC, Canada
- 2013: Paul McCartney live at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, New York
- 2011: Sir Paul McCartney marries Nancy Shevell
- 2010: Photograph of John Lennon is projected onto Liverpool’s Albert Dock
- 2010: “And the world will be as one”: Global tributes take place for John Lennon’s 70th birthday
- 2010: Yoko Ono requests a million tweets for John Lennon
- 2009: Yoko Ono unveils Imagine Peace Tower in Second Life
- 2000: Tributes for John Lennon’s 60th birthday
- 1998: Yoko Ono dedicates a tree to John Lennon in Strawberry Fields
- 1990: Imagine is broadcast around the world
- 1988: John Lennon tributes are broadcast on US television
- 1985: Strawberry Fields is opened in Central Park, New York City
- 1984: Yoko Ono donates $90,000 to Strawberry Field in Liverpool
- 1981: John Lennon statue is unveiled in Los Angeles
- 1980: John Lennon’s 40th birthday
- 1979: John Lennon’s 39th birthday party, Tavern On The Green, New York
- 1978: John Lennon’s 38th birthday party, Tavern On The Green, New York
- 1976: John Lennon’s 36th birthday
- 1975: Sean Lennon is born
- 1971: John Lennon’s all-star 31st birthday party in Syracuse, New York
- 1971: Yoko Ono’s art exhibition This Is Not Here opens in Syracuse, New York
- 1970: Recording: Remember by John Lennon
- 1969: Yoko Ono is taken to hospital in London
- 1968: Recording, mixing: The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill, Long Long Long, Why Don’t We Do It In The Road
- 1967: John Lennon’s 27th birthday
- 1966: John Lennon celebrates his 26th birthday in Spain
- 1965: The Beatles celebrate John Lennon’s 25th birthday
- 1964: Live: Gaumont Cinema, Bradford
- 1963: Radio: The Ken Dodd Show
- 1962: The Beatles promote Love Me Do in London
- 1961: John Lennon celebrates his 21st birthday with Paul McCartney in Paris
- 1960: Live: Kaiserkeller, Hamburg
- 1956: John Lennon’s 16th birthday
- 1940: John Lennon is born
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.