KEEP ON KEEPING ON: TRAVERSING THE JOHN LENNON TRAIL

WORD BY CHRIS BARRETT

The trail of John Lennon isn’t easy to map out. It will lead you 3,306 miles from Liverpool to New York, give or take a few extra thousand, with diversions along the way. As the man himself said, ‘Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.

MENDIPS

251 Menlove Avenue, Liverpool, Merseyside

L25 7SA

The Trail starts at this 1930s semi-detached property that belonged to Lennon’s Aunt Mimi and was John’s childhood home until the age of 22. If you like your mop-tops Mancunian, it’s also the image used on the cover of Oasis’ single ‘Live Forever’.

ST PETER’S CHURCH FETE

Woolton, Liverpool

L25 6DA

On the 6th of July 1957, John met Paul. John was playing with the The Quarry Men. Paul knew all the words to ‘Be-Bop-A-Lula’. John was suitably impressed and a culture-shifting friendship began.

St Peter’s Church, Liverpool.

ABBEY ROAD STUDIOS

3 Abbey Road, St John’s Wood, London

NW8 9AY 

The Beatles found their recording home at Abbey Road, recording virtually all of the band’s songs there. Be careful when driving round here: tourists can often be found out front, recreating the famous cover on the zebra crossing.

34 MONTAGU SQUARE

Marylebone, London

W1H

Five minutes down from Abbey Road is the leafy Victorian terrace of Montagu Square. It’s unlikely they were prompt with the rent but in June 1968, the-then owner, Ringo Starr, could hardly say no when  John & Yoko asked to move in. They shot the famous nude cover for Two Virgins and became acquainted with the local constabulary. The flat now has a prestigious Blue Plaque outside commemorating their stay.

Infamous Abbey Road Sign.

SWARG ASHRAM

Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India

Leaving the UK behind, John headed over to Rishikesh in 1968 for some transcendental meditation in the foothills of the Himalayas with a Maharishi Yogi. Between vegetable curries, John wrote ‘Dear Prudence’ for Mia Farrow’s reclusive sister who refused to leave her accommodation. Whilst John was over there, Ringo came to visit with a suitcase full of Heinz beans…and left after a week.

INDICA GALLERY

Mason’s Yard, St James’s, London

SW1Y 6BU

Back in London, The Indica Gallery was a counterculture art exhibition space owned in part by Paul McCartney. It was this connection that led Paul’s songwriting partner to come to an exhibition on the 7th of November 1966 by a then-unknown artist by the name of  Yoko Ono. That night, an affair was started that ended the first chapter of John’s life.

Swarg Ahsram in India

CIVIL STATUS & REGISTRATION OFFICE

Sir Joshua Hassan House, Secretary’s Lane, Gibraltar

March 20th 1969 – On The Rock of Gibraltar, John and Yoko shipped up, got hitched and shipped out to Amsterdam for the start of a not-entirely-private honeymoon: their famous 4-day bed-in with the world’s media. Each eyebrow arching detail is laid out in ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’, which is the only Beatles track that features just John and Paul playing. It was their last major recording together.

THE DAKOTA BUILDING

72nd St, New York, NY 10023, United States

Settling in New York, John became a fanatic of the city, transfixed that the TV ran through the night and that you could get dinner round the clock, and felt born again in the Village. The last nine years of his life were spent torn between marital bliss and bread making with newborn son, Sean, while simultaneously fighting custody battles or deportation attempts by the US Government. Then, on the 8th of December 1980, on the doorstep of The Dakota, four gun shot wounds brought the trail of John Lennon to an untimely end.

The NYC Imagine Memorial

IMAGE CREDITS

John Lennon silhouette – Rachel Chapman

St Peter’s Chruch – calflier001

Abbey Road – Nan Palmero

Somewhere near Swarg Ashram – your friend le

Imagine memorial, nr. The Dakota Building  – Marcus Nunes

PUBLISHED JANUARY 20TH 2015