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 drastically.”
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 http://www.shipthatrocked.com/
To learn more about Radio Caroline, Tom Lodge, and the true story of Pirate Radio, visit http://www.ShipThatRocked.com
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