John Lennon Said He Got Sued After His ‘Last Real Fight’

John Lennon said he used to get into fights often. He stopped after he got in a fight so vicious he got sued afterward.

John Lennon advocated for peace later in his career, but he got into more than one fight during his life. In his adolescence, Lennon was often getting into physical altercations with friends and classmates. He got into a brutal fight with an acquaintance at Paul McCartney’s 21st birthday party. Afterward, the other man sued Lennon.

The musician said he lost his first fight in high school

Lennon started at Quarry Bank High School in 1952. When he arrived, his first thought was that he would have to fight his way to prominence at the school.

“I looked at all the hundreds of new kids and thought, Christ, I’ll have to fight all my way through this lot, having just made it at Dovedale,” he said, per The Beatles: The Authorized Biography by Hunter Davies. “There was some real heavies there.”

He wasn’t successful in the first fight, though.

“The first fight I got in I lost,” he explained. “I lost me nerve when I got really hurt. Not that there was much real fighting. I did a lot of swearing and shouting, then got a quick punch. If there was a bit of blood, then you packed in. After that, if I thought someone could punch harder than me, I said okay, we’ll have wrestling instead.”

Lennon explained that he got into fights because he wanted to be popular.

“I was aggressive because I wanted to be popular,” he said. “I wanted to be the leader. It seemed more attractive than just being one of the toffees. I wanted everybody to do what I told them to do, to laugh at my jokes and let me be the boss.”

John Lennon dealt with a lawsuit after a fight

Lennon continued getting into fights after he joined The Beatles. In June of 1963, he was attending McCartney’s 21st birthday party when a local radio personality, Bob Wooler, brought up rumors that Lennon was having an affair with Beatles manager Brian Epstein.

“I was out of my mind with drink. (You know, when you get to the point where you want to drink out of all the empty glasses, that drunk),” Lennon said in The Beatles Anthology. “And Bob was saying, ‘Come on, John, tell me about you and Brian — we all know.’”

Lennon attacked Wooler viciously.

“I smashed him up,” Lennon said. “I broke his bloody ribs for him. I was pissed at the time.”

Afterward, Wooler sued, and Lennon paid money to settle out of court.

“He sued me afterwards for thumping him,” Lennon said. “I paid him two hundred pounds to settle it. That was probably the last real fight I’ve ever had.”

Paul McCartney said John Lennon tried to bring in a bit of levity during an argument

Though Lennon had a tendency to get aggressive, he also tried to bring levity into even the most vicious disagreements. McCartney said he still thinks about something Lennon said to him during an argument.

“We were once having a right slagging session and I remember how he took off his granny glasses,” McCartney told The New Yorker in 2021. “I can still see him. He put them down and said, ‘It’s only me, Paul.’ Then he put them back on again and we continued slagging …. That phrase keeps coming back to me all the time. ‘It’s only me.’”

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