4. He liked the idea of being a working class hero, but didn’t exactly have the street cred.
Although Liverpool where Lennon grew up was largely working class and down-at-the-heels after World War II, John lived with his aunt in an enviably middle-class home. While Ringo went to his first job slicing bread in a factory and hoped to be a hair-dresser someday, John was in art school.
As the Beatles grew to become some of the wealthiest young men in Britain, John bought houses left and right, even a couple he claimed never to have visited. While lying on his king-sized bed in a mansion, he thought of the lyrics, “He’s a real nowhere man/Sitting in his nowhere land” about a character lacking understanding about what mattered in life. In 1967, he bought a tiny uninhabited island, Dornish, off the coast of Ireland.
When an old Liverpool friend saw the wealth he’d accumulated in New York and teased him with the lyrics to Imagine, “remember ‘no possessions’, John, ‘it’s easy if you try’”, the former Beatle’s reply was characteristically, jokingly self-mocking: “It was only a bloody song.”
At his death, Lennon’s estimated net worth was $800 million.