Death of John Lennon's mother at hands of policeman hardened his anti-establishment views, new book claims
The death of John Lennon’s mother at the hands of an off-duty policeman “irrevocably hardened” his anti-establishment views, a new book claims.
By Claire Duffin
20 Sep 2013
Julia Lennon was killed when she was knocked over by a car as she crossed the road in 1958.
Although she had given Lennon up age five, at the time of her death the pair had reconciled, leading Lennon to later tell how he felt he had lost her twice.
In his new book Tune In the first of a three-part biography of the group, author and Beatles' historian Mark Lewisohn said the incident caused the “most tremendous heartbreak” for Lennon.
“For John, who’d grown up without Julia from the age of five, losing her again at 17, with such appalling finality, was the most tremendous and irreconcilable heartbreak,” he writes.
A young John Lennon with his mother, Julia Photo: REX FEATURES
“He became more embittered, more cynical, more harsh, more uncompromising, more edgy, more volatile than ever.”
Lewisohn has taken a decade to research and write the 1,000-page book, which follows the group through childhood to 1962.
Lennon had an unorthodox and sometimes controversial relationship with his mother, who taught him to play banjo and bought him his first guitar.
She had given him to her sister, Mimi, to raise but from about the age of 14, Lennon started to spend more time with his mother, eventually moving into the home she shared with her new partner, John ‘Bobby’ Dykins, and their two young daughters.
However in 1958, Dykins was charged with drink driving. He was banned from driving and lost his job. It was this incident, writes Lewisohn, that led Julia to travel to her sister’s on the day of her death and ask her if Lennon could move back in as they were struggling financially. As she walked home she was hit by the car and died instantly aged 44.
The driver – Eric Clague – was a learner who should not have been on the road unaccompanied. Lennon believed he was drunk but there was no mention of alcohol at the inquest, and he was never charged.
“The fatal accident hardened, irrevocably, Lennon’s view of the Establishment, and especially the police,” Lewisohn writes.
“Coming to believe the driver who killed his mother was a ‘drunk off-duty cop’, his respect for authority, and especially the law, crumbled and would only ever worsen.
“Where most people saw law and order, John would only see rank hypocrisy”.
Julia Stanley Lennon
Stone placed in 2010, a full 52 years after her death.
Julia's Wooden Cross Grave
#805 Grave Marker of Julia Lennon's Grave
Julia's Grave Distant Picture