During a powerful World War II flight-raid on October 9th 1940 a baby boy was born in Liverpool, and he was named John Winston Lennon. The name Winston was, of course, inspired by Churchill and the name John was chosen by the baby´s aunt, Mimi. No one knew where John´s father Alfred was, not even his wife Julia. Their marriage wasn´t very happy and when he returned home they got divorced. John was four at this time.
Julia met a new man whom she wanted to marry, and it would have been difficult for her to have John, so Mimi took care of him. Both John´s parents wanted her to adopt him, but the Authorities wouldn´t sign the papers. However John moved in permanently with Mimi and her husband George when he was five years old. They raised him as if he was their own son.
John´s first school was Doverdale Primary School. He was very smart but only when he wanted to. He was a fast learner when he set his mind to it. He had a good voice and sang in the boys´ choir of S:t Peters in Woolton.
John always wanted to be the leader when he was with his friends. He had a gang at school and often got into trouble. When he got older he and his friends went from small crimes like shoplifting to actually stealing goods, mostly cigarettes, for others.
John started at Quarry Bank Grammar School in 1952. It was close to Mimi´s house and had a good reputation. John´s friend Pete Shotton started there at the same time, but his other friend Ivan Vaughan chose to go to the Liverpool Institute. I think mostly because he knew that he wouldn´t get any schoolwork done if he went to school with John. But they still met in their spare time. Ivan started to bring friends along to meet John.
John kept on being a trouble maker. He and Pete wouldn´t follow the rules at school. So after their first year at Quarry it was John and Pete against the rest of the school, and John got worse every year.
He had gotten very close to his uncle George and must have gotten severely shocked when George got a sudden stroke and died in June 1953. But John never showed any emotions, I don´t think he knew how to. At this time his mother Julia came to mean more to him. He started to visit her, and when he got into fights with Mimi he often went to stay with Julia for a few days. She would encourage him by laughing at everything he did.
During John´s 5th year at Quarry the school got a new principal, Mr Pobjoy. He established som kind of contact with John that none of the teachers ever had succeeded in, and he helped John to get in at the school of Art. John had an artistic talent, and Mr Pobjoy must have thought he deserved a chance. Personally I think this was a very important step in John´s life.
During his late school years John became interested in popmusic. He had no musical education but he taught himself how to play the harmonica. When he was younger Mimi wanted him to take piano and violin lessons, but John wouldn´t have anything to do with lessons. Then skiffle music became popular. Skiffle could be played by anyone. Even the guitar, the hardest instrument in the group could be played by anyone who learnd a few easy chords. Everyone Johns age got influenced by skiffle, and later on by Elvis. Pop groups began to pop up at every school. Sooner or later something good would have to come out of it.
One day John borrowed a guitar but discovered that he didn´t know how to play it, so he returned it. Later Julia bought him a guitar. He took some lessons but didn´t learn anything, so Julia taught him some banjo chords. At home he had to practice behind Mimi´s back. He´d sing and play to himself. Mimi would often say to him the words that are now classic: -It´s good to know how to play the guitar John. But it´ll never earn you your living.
John started a band with some boys from school. They called themselves "The Quarry Men". They all wore their hair like Elvis and were dressed in Teddy-Boy clothes. John was, as always, the leader of the group, and there were often fights and members came and left. -I would sometimes start a fight because I wanted someone to leave, John said later.
Ivan Vaughan who was still a friend of Johns would bring friends to meet him. And on June 15 1956 he brought a new friend to one of The Quarry Men´s gigs. John doesn´t remember this day very clearly, but the boy Ivan brought with him remembers it very well. He had brought Paul McCartney.
-It was the day I met Paul that things started to happen, John said.