Why John Lennon Thought He Was In Captivity In The Beatles
John Lennon and his bandmates achieved global success and fame as the Fab Four. However, as the Beatles’ popularity soared, Lennon realized that fame came at a cost.
Constant disturbance by the media and public judgment caused the frontman to disconnect from the real world and be unable to experience everyday life. Especially during the band’s heyday, the intense fan frenzy known by the media as ‘Beatlemania‘ contributed to that feeling of entrapment.
In 1969, the Beatles decided to disband due to various reasons, and the Beatlemania phenomenon was one of them. After the band’s split, Lennon continued his music career as a solo artist, with his wife Yoko Ono. Years later, in a 1980 interview, he looked back on his career with the band. Asked why he chose to be a ‘househusband,’ the frontman revealed the details:
“There were many reasons. I had been under obligation or contract from the time I was 22 until well into my 30s. After all those years, it was all I knew. I wasn’t free. I was boxed in. My contract was the physical manifestation of being in prison.”
Lennon’s belief of being held captive was not only about external pressures but also about his own desire for self-expression:
“It was more important to face myself and face that reality than to continue a life of rock ‘n’ roll… and to go up and down with the whims of either your own performance or the public’s opinion of you. Rock ‘n’ roll was not fun anymore. I chose not to take the standard options in my business… going to Vegas and singing your great hits if you’re lucky, or going to hell, which is where Elvis went.”
The Beatles singer then claimed there is a connection between this feeling of entrapment and the artists who decided to take their own life:
“I had lost the initial freedom of the artist by becoming enslaved to the image of what the artist is supposed to do. A lot of artists kill themselves because of it, whether it is through drink, like Dylan Thomas, or through insanity, like Van Gogh, or through V.D., like Gauguin.”
After announcing his hiatus to spend more time with his family in 1977, Lennon returned to music in October 1980. A month later, he and Ono released their album ‘Double Fantasy.‘ Sadly, in December, one of his ‘fans’ shot and killed Lennon.
Below, you can listen to John Lennon’s final single, ‘(Just Like) Starting Over.’