Imagine John Lennon as a Tea Party Activist
Thirty-one years after his death, John Lennon’s political leanings are still the
subject of some speculation. What exactly were his political views?
In an interview featured in the documentary Beatles Stories, Lennon’s personal
assistant Fred Seaman suggested that the former Beatle had become quite
conservative in the late 70s and was even a fan of Ronald Reagan.
Some, including his publicist Elliot Mintz, claim that Lennon’s views remained
unchanged even in later life.
Today, the legacy of Lennon’s political principles is most closely associated
with the belief in the possibility of an end to war and world peace. However, a
little-known 1966 interview, revealed in the book, The Ship that Rocked the
World, suggests that had Lennon lived, he might have been a fervent backer of
the Tea Party.
Lennon’s thinking was made clear in the course of the conversation between the
Beatles and Tom Lodge, top DJ of the pirate radio ship Radio Caroline. The
mostly zany impromptu meeting took place in London in March of that year.
Asked if he had ideas about how he would change Britain, Lennon said he would
“like to change it a lot.”
“In what way?” Lodge asked.
“Well, the tax problem,” Lennon replied.
And what would he do about taxes, Lodge wanted to know. “I’d reduce it
If he were a member of the government, did he mean?
Lennon didn’t care. “If I was anybody, I’d reduce it…drastically.”
George Harrison, who is known as the main writer, along with Lennon, of the song
“Taxman,” piped in to share his thoughts as well, albeit tongue-in-cheek. “Give
the pop stars a fairer share of the country’s wealth,” he said.
“Complaining about taxes was not an unusual thing to hear from British pop stars
at that time,” Tom Lodge says today. “They were all young and most came from
poor backgrounds. Suddenly they had a lot of money that could be taxed.” Lodge
should know. As the top DJ on Radio Caroline from 1964-67, he is widely credited
for helping make stars out of many young musicians.
But Lennon was more outspoken than most – and more direct. “They can’t take the
taxes down because they haven’t got enough money. And they’ll never have enough
money while they’re buying all that crap”So if they pay off a few of the bloody
debts, then maybe they’d be able to cut the tax down a little.”
Sure sounds like someone who might have supported the Tea Party movement.
To listen to John Lennon from 1966, go to www.shipthatrocked.com/audio/lennon_on_taxes.mp3
To learn more about Radio Caroline, Tom Lodge, and the true story of Pirate
Radio, visit www.ShipThatRocked.com