Was John Lennon A Closet Republican?

John Lennon

Photo: Roy Kerwood (CC)

Via the Toronto Sun:

John Lennon was a closet Republican, who felt a little embarrassed by his former radicalism, at the time of his death — according to the tragic Beatles star’s last personal assistant.

Fred Seaman worked alongside the music legend from 1979 to Lennon’s death at the end of 1980 and he reveals the star was a Ronald Reagan fan who enjoyed arguing with left-wing radicals who reminded him of his former self.

In new documentary Beatles Stories, Seaman tells filmmaker Seth Swirsky Lennon wasn’t the peace-loving militant fans thought he was while he was his assistant.

He says, “John, basically, made it very clear that if he were an American he would vote for Reagan because he was really sour on (Democrat) Jimmy Carter.

“He’d met Reagan back, I think, in the 70s at some sporting event… Reagan was the guy who had ordered the National Guard, I believe, to go after the young (peace) demonstrators in Berkeley, so I think that John maybe forgot about that … He did express support for Reagan, which shocked me.

For more information, see original article.

103 Comments on "Was John Lennon A Closet Republican?"

  1. Jacobhey1 | Jul 2, 2011 at 5:48 am |

    Bullshit

  2. Jacobhey1 | Jul 2, 2011 at 5:48 am |

    Bullshit

  3. Jacobhey1 | Jul 2, 2011 at 5:48 am |

    Bullshit

  4. Jacobhey1 | Jul 2, 2011 at 1:48 am |

    Bullshit

  5. I’ll second that

  6. Anarchy Wolf | Jul 2, 2011 at 5:56 am |

    Maybe someone stole or murdered his soul. Or maybe the story is just bullshit.

  7. Anarchy Pony | Jul 2, 2011 at 1:56 am |

    Maybe someone stole or murdered his soul. Or maybe the story is just bullshit.

    • Bunnyofthekungfu | Jul 2, 2011 at 2:40 am |

      It is from Canada.

      • Jin The Ninja | Jul 2, 2011 at 11:29 pm |

        the toronto sun does NOT represent even 1/5th of canadian opinion. It is a HORRENDOUS far right-wing RAG- unworthy of use as toilet paper.  it is comparable (barely) to some of the murdoch owned tabloids in the UK. it is a just an atrocious racist sexist anti unionist mess. I know- i have to see it every morning when i collect my montreal gazette and it’s sitting on my next door neighboor’s doorstep. the cover and headlines are more inflammatory than words can describe. So in my opinion, this article has all the makings of un truth.

  8. Thieves&Liars | Jul 2, 2011 at 6:09 am |

    Reminds me of the athiest stories, where famous athiests became christians on their deathbed…total bs.

  9. Thieves&Liars | Jul 2, 2011 at 6:09 am |

    Reminds me of the athiest stories, where famous athiests became christians on their deathbed…total bs.

  10. Thieves&Liars | Jul 2, 2011 at 2:09 am |

    Reminds me of the athiest stories, where famous athiests became christians on their deathbed…total bs.

    • Probably more common than the reverse, honestly. If emotional reasons can take one away, emotional reasons can take one back as well.

  11. Bunnyofthekungfu | Jul 2, 2011 at 6:40 am |

    It is from Canada.

  12. Anonymous | Jul 2, 2011 at 6:47 am |

    You mean the same guy who wrote Imagine? 

    I don’t think so.

  13. Mr Willow | Jul 2, 2011 at 2:47 am |

    You mean the same guy who wrote Imagine? 

    I don’t think so.

    • Unless he wrote it ironically. It’s a song about a pipedream, so that would almost make sense, but I also think he was baked enough to actually believe it was a possible future if we just would want it bad enough (as if people never wanted such before).

  14. Haystack | Jul 2, 2011 at 7:12 am |

    This might be why all the legends died young. 

  15. Haystack | Jul 2, 2011 at 3:12 am |

    This might be why all the legends died young. 

    • Mr Willow | Jul 3, 2011 at 3:39 am |

      Except for the fact that most other legends didn’t die because some psycho obsessed with Holden Caulfield decided they needed to die because they didn’t believe in God.

  16. A long forgotten assistant with a sudden revelation worth $$ if media outlets are willing to pay…ummmm…I’ll have to express some doubt about the accuracy of any claim under that circumstance.

  17. A long forgotten assistant with a sudden revelation worth $$ if media outlets are willing to pay…ummmm…I’ll have to express some doubt about the accuracy of any claim under that circumstance.

    • Do you really think Seth Swirsky paid his interviewees to be featured in his Beatles Stories documentary?

      If Fred Seaman’s claims really are bullshit, I would say that attention or his own political views would be more likely motivations.  Or maybe he’s just relating a few surprising anecdotes.

  18. Mr. Coffee | Jul 2, 2011 at 8:04 am |

    Maybe he was beginning to lean to the right, but what we call Republican in these times? Thats not leaning to the right, these idiots are leaning to insanity. Getting the poor whipped up in such fervor that programs designed to help the poor are “COMMUNIST” and therefore hurtful to the rich.. which somehow hurts the poor, since, well… to quote Chewbacca “URGGH… RWARRRRRGH”

    John Lennon may well have been coming around to the right side of the scale, but he had a god damn brain and would never be a Republocrat brown shirt hoping der Fuhrer might see that hes not really Jewish, and might give him a shot at joining the SS.

  19. Mr. Coffee | Jul 2, 2011 at 4:04 am |

    Maybe he was beginning to lean to the right, but what we call Republican in these times? Thats not leaning to the right, these idiots are leaning to insanity. Getting the poor whipped up in such fervor that programs designed to help the poor are “COMMUNIST” and therefore hurtful to the rich.. which somehow hurts the poor, since, well… to quote Chewbacca “URGGH… RWARRRRRGH”

    John Lennon may well have been coming around to the right side of the scale, but he had a god damn brain and would never be a Republocrat brown shirt hoping der Fuhrer might see that hes not really Jewish, and might give him a shot at joining the SS.

  20. irish potato gun | Jul 2, 2011 at 12:30 pm |

    I probably would’ve liked Reagan too… before he sold out to the Corporate Military Industrial Complex, and Israel.

  21. irish potato gun | Jul 2, 2011 at 12:30 pm |

    I probably would’ve liked Reagan too… before he sold out to the Corporate Military Industrial Complex, and Israel.

  22. irish potato gun | Jul 2, 2011 at 8:30 am |

    I probably would’ve liked Reagan too… before he sold out to the Corporate Military Industrial Complex, and Israel.

  23. Eldudeness | Jul 2, 2011 at 1:47 pm |

    Why is this bullshit on disinfo? nobody is buying this.  The guy that wrote “working class hero” a republican? bullshit.

  24. Eldudeness | Jul 2, 2011 at 9:47 am |

    Why is this bullshit on disinfo? nobody is buying this.  The guy that wrote “working class hero” a republican? bullshit.

    • I’m sure he really felt for the working class with his millions of dollars. They also have a song “Taxman” where they complain about the tax man taking all their money. Sounds like a Republican in that regard.

  25. Tyler Durden | Jul 2, 2011 at 2:13 pm |

    The views Reagan espoused in the 70’s were way more libertarian than what he actually did once he was in office. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lennon agreed with a lot of Reagan’s views before he got into office. I have no doubt, however, that he would have been disgusted with him once he became president.

  26. Tyler Durden | Jul 2, 2011 at 10:13 am |

    The views Reagan espoused in the 70’s were way more libertarian than what he actually did once he was in office. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lennon agreed with a lot of Reagan’s views before he got into office. I have no doubt, however, that he would have been disgusted with him once he became president.

    • Every year there’s a new crop of naive people to dupe with that so-called libertarian cant.

  27. Anonymous | Jul 2, 2011 at 2:23 pm |

    How can anyone take an article seriously when it associates peace with war by using the oxymoron “peace-loving militant”?

  28. Transformative | Jul 2, 2011 at 10:23 am |

    How can anyone take an article seriously when it associates peace with war by using the oxymoron “peace-loving militant”?

  29. some dude that worked for john for less than two years write a book with lots of “I think”s and “something like” and we’re supposed to take it as an in depth look from a close personal friend?

    just some dude that got speak to the man here and there, big deal XD

  30. some dude that worked for john for less than two years write a book with lots of “I think”s and “something like” and we’re supposed to take it as an in depth look from a close personal friend?

    just some dude that got speak to the man here and there, big deal XD

  31. The reason Facebook posters are getting so pissed off is no different than why the Christians flipped out about Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ.  No one likes to have the perfect image of their hero/god fucked with.

    John Lennon died because Mark David Chapman held a grudge against the populist star for being phenomenally wealthy.  He thought Lennon was a hypocrite for espousing egalitarianism publicly while living lavishly in private.  The demons in Chapman’s head agreed.

    By the end of the 70s, the radical left had proven itself to be hypocritical to many observers on the left and the right.  The hippy rock stars had become jetsetting millionaires, the Civil Rights Movement had pulled a few black Americans out of despondency while tax-funded ghettos went to hell, The Weatherman Underground were bombing random government workers in the name of peace, and this made youthful idealism seem unworkable to aging idealists.

    I agree with the posters here–it seems entirely possible that Reagan’s quasi-Libertarian platform was appealing to Lennon toward the end of his life.  The left remembers Lennon as a martyr for “the people,” the right remembers him as an illogical rabble-rouser.  Both images are unfair caricatures, but simple minds always prefer an childish cartoon.  Deep down, so do I.

  32. The reason Facebook posters are getting so pissed off is no different than why the Christians flipped out about Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ.  No one likes to have the perfect image of their hero/god fucked with.

    John Lennon died because Mark David Chapman held a grudge against the populist star for being phenomenally wealthy.  He thought Lennon was a hypocrite for espousing egalitarianism publicly while living lavishly in private.  The demons in Chapman’s head agreed.

    By the end of the 70s, the radical left had proven itself to be hypocritical to many observers on the left and the right.  The hippy rock stars had become jetsetting millionaires, the Civil Rights Movement had pulled a few black Americans out of despondency while tax-funded ghettos went to hell, The Weatherman Underground were bombing random government workers in the name of peace, and this made youthful idealism seem unworkable to aging idealists.

    I agree with many posters here–it seems entirely possible that Reagan’s quasi-Libertarian platform was appealing to Lennon toward the end of his life.  The left remembers Lennon as a martyr for “the people,” the right remembers him as an illogical rabble-rouser.  Both images are unfair caricatures, but simple minds always prefer a childish cartoon.  Deep down, so do I.

  33. Anonymous | Jul 2, 2011 at 3:18 pm |

    even if he said he would vote for reagan rather than carter, i’m not sure how that reveals anything. conservatives of that time period were nothing like conservatives of today. in fact as much as they tout reagans greatness, the truth is even he was a liberal by today’s standards. but, you know how revisionist history goes.
    someone is just trying to get their 15 minutes of fame.

  34. cyndromeda | Jul 2, 2011 at 11:18 am |

    even if he said he would vote for reagan rather than carter, i’m not sure how that reveals anything. conservatives of that time period were nothing like conservatives of today. in fact as much as they tout reagans greatness, the truth is even he was a liberal by today’s standards. but, you know how revisionist history goes.
    someone is just trying to get their 15 minutes of fame.

    • It’s also due in part to the fact that Carter wasn’t exactly an effective president. Fivethrityeight recently mentioned the question that killed his presidency as being “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” and the vast majority (he only lost 4 states against Carter) seemed to answer that with a strong “No.” 538 mentioned it to wonder whether Obama could possibly face the same problem convincing people that he’s actually made things better, but I think he has good ground to go on.

  35. Do you really think Seth Swirsky paid his interviewees to be featured in his Beatles Stories documentary?

    If Fred Seaman’s claims really are bullshit, I would say that attention or his own political views would be more likely motivations.  Or maybe he’s just relating a few surprising anecdotes.

  36. Seaman was found guilty of stealing the late Lennon’s belongings, including his diary, so his credibility is not exactly sterling. He was taken to civil court by Yoko Ono for stealing loads of Lennon’s personal journals, drawings and other memorabilia. The court stayed him from selling, publishing, or profiting from the stolen items for ten years. Bottom line; this guy Seaman is a liar and a thief. Just before his death, Lennon sent a letter supporting striking union workers in San Francisco, and in his last interview, he said the 1960s showed that it was possible to make the world a better place. That’s not exactly what you’d expect from a “closet Republican.”

  37. Seaman was found guilty of stealing the late Lennon’s belongings, including his diary, so his credibility is not exactly sterling. He was taken to civil court by Yoko Ono for stealing loads of Lennon’s personal journals, drawings and other memorabilia. The court stayed him from selling, publishing, or profiting from the stolen items for ten years. Bottom line; this guy Seaman is a liar and a thief. Just before his death, Lennon sent a letter supporting striking union workers in San Francisco, and in his last interview, he said the 1960s showed that it was possible to make the world a better place. That’s not exactly what you’d expect from a “closet Republican.”

  38. Interesting.  Do you know when Seaman’s limitation on publishing the stolen journals is up?

  39. I get so mad I do bad Chewbacca impression all the time these days.

  40. I’m not sure. From what I gather, the suit occurred around 2001/2002 when he tried to publish photographs and letters. If that’s the case, then the court order has either expired or is about to.

  41. While these relics are somewhat tainted by the act of theft, I will be interested in seeing them.  That would also explain why Seaman has been pulled from the dusty shelf to be interviewed in the documentary.  He’s getting a bit of publicity before his big splash.

    I had no idea who Seaman was before your post–the article doesn’t mention any of this.  Food for thought.  Thanks.

    Any additional links would be greatly appreciated.

  42. It’s true.  Reagan didn’t have Alzheimers.  Lennon got him so baked that it lasted the rest of his life.

  43. postpunkprometheus | Jul 2, 2011 at 3:56 pm |

    It’s true.  Reagan didn’t have Alzheimers.  Lennon got him so baked that it lasted the rest of his life.

  44. Anonymous | Jul 2, 2011 at 9:19 pm |

    Probably more common than the reverse, honestly. If emotional reasons can take one away, emotional reasons can take one back as well.

  45. Anonymous | Jul 2, 2011 at 9:19 pm |

    Probably more common than the reverse, honestly. If emotional reasons can take one away, emotional reasons can take one back as well.

  46. Anonymous | Jul 2, 2011 at 9:22 pm |

    Unless he wrote it ironically. It’s a song about a pipedream, so that would almost make sense, but I also think he was baked enough to actually believe it was a possible future if we just would want it bad enough (as if people never wanted such before).

  47. Anonymous | Jul 2, 2011 at 9:24 pm |

    I’m sure he really felt for the working class with his millions of dollars. They also have a song “Taxman” where they complain about the tax man taking all their money. Sounds like a Republican in that regard.

  48. Anonymous | Jul 2, 2011 at 9:31 pm |

    It’s also due in part to the fact that Carter wasn’t exactly an effective president. Fivethrityeight recently mentioned the question that killed his presidency as being “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” and the vast majority (he only lost 4 states against Carter) seemed to answer that with a strong “No.” 538 mentioned it to wonder whether Obama could possibly face the same problem convincing people that he’s actually made things better, but I think he has good ground to go on.

  49. Anonymous | Jul 2, 2011 at 9:53 pm |

    He’s a musician, not a politician or a philosopher.

  50. He’s a musician, not a politician or a philosopher.

    • Believe it or not, musicians can also read and think thoughts.  They can even pursue non-musician careers.

  51. Lost in Though | Jul 2, 2011 at 10:55 pm |

    Has Yoko Ono made any comment to this claim? Has anyone asked her?

  52. Lost in Though | Jul 2, 2011 at 6:55 pm |

    Has Yoko Ono made any comment to this claim? Has anyone asked her?

  53. No, Lennon was a Humanist and Republicans are Christian Communists !!!!

  54. No, Lennon was a Humanist and Republicans are Christian Communists !!!!

  55. sogullible | Jul 3, 2011 at 2:27 am |

    Lennon transcended our politics. 
    As soon as your born they make you feel small, By giving you no time instead of it all, Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all, A working class hero is something to be, A working class hero is something to be. They hurt you at home and they hit you at school, They hate you if you’re clever and they despise a fool, Till you’re so fucking crazy you can’t follow their rules, A working class hero is something to be, A working class hero is something to be. When they’ve tortured and scared you for twenty odd years, Then they expect you to pick a career, When you can’t really function you’re so full of fear, A working class hero is something to be, A working class hero is something to be. Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV, And you think you’re so clever and classless and free, But you’re still fucking peasents as far as I can see, A working class hero is something to be, A working class hero is something to be. There’s room at the top they are telling you still, But first you must learn how to smile as you kill, If you want to be like the folks on the hill, A working class hero is something to be. A working class hero is something to be. If you want to be a hero well just follow me, If you want to be a hero well just follow me. 

  56. sogullible | Jul 2, 2011 at 10:27 pm |

    Lennon transcended our politics. 
    As soon as your born they make you feel small, By giving you no time instead of it all, Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all, A working class hero is something to be, A working class hero is something to be. They hurt you at home and they hit you at school, They hate you if you’re clever and they despise a fool, Till you’re so fucking crazy you can’t follow their rules, A working class hero is something to be, A working class hero is something to be. When they’ve tortured and scared you for twenty odd years, Then they expect you to pick a career, When you can’t really function you’re so full of fear, A working class hero is something to be, A working class hero is something to be. Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV, And you think you’re so clever and classless and free, But you’re still fucking peasents as far as I can see, A working class hero is something to be, A working class hero is something to be. There’s room at the top they are telling you still, But first you must learn how to smile as you kill, If you want to be like the folks on the hill, A working class hero is something to be. A working class hero is something to be. If you want to be a hero well just follow me, If you want to be a hero well just follow me. 

  57. Fred Seaman is well-known to have an axe to grind with Lennon. He was a primary source for Albert Goldman’s biography of Lennon, which was very anti-Lennon, and even then, nothing like this ever appeared in it.

    I should note, however, that liberals were very disenchanted with Carter in 1980 since Carter went rightward the latter half of his term. This prompted Ted Kennedy’s challenge, gave John Anderson a clear base of votes (even though Anderson was a Republican), and led the Libertarians to nominate Ed Clark, by far the most liberal candidate that party ever put out (he called libertarianism “low-tax liberalism,” which even suckered in my lefty mother).

  58. Fred Seaman is well-known to have an axe to grind with Lennon. He was a primary source for Albert Goldman’s biography of Lennon, which was very anti-Lennon, and even then, nothing like this ever appeared in it.

    I should note, however, that liberals were very disenchanted with Carter in 1980 since Carter went rightward the latter half of his term. This prompted Ted Kennedy’s challenge, gave John Anderson a clear base of votes (even though Anderson was a Republican), and led the Libertarians to nominate Ed Clark, by far the most liberal candidate that party ever put out (he called libertarianism “low-tax liberalism,” which even suckered in my lefty mother).

  59. the toronto sun does NOT represent even 1/5th of canadian opinion. It is a HORRENDOUS far right-wing RAG- unworthy of use as toilet paper.  it is comparable (barely) to some of the murdoch owned tabloids in the UK. it is a just an atrocious racist sexist anti unionist mess. I know- i have to see it every morning when i collect my montreal gazette and it’s sitting on my next door neighboor’s doorstep. the cover and headlines are more inflammatory than words can describe. So in my opinion, this article has all the makings of un truth.

  60. Mr Willow | Jul 3, 2011 at 7:39 am |

    Except for the fact that most other legends didn’t die because some psycho obsessed with Holden Caulfield decided they needed to die because they didn’t believe in God.

  61. Short answer: NO.

    What moron would think ANYONE would buy this drivel? Yeah, I’m sure he absolutely LOVED the Republican Party after Nixon tried to deport him. Seriously get a grip.

  62. Short answer: NO.

    What moron would think ANYONE would buy this drivel? Yeah, I’m sure he absolutely LOVED the Republican Party after Nixon tried to deport him. Seriously get a grip.

  63. And that would make him a “closet republican”? Sounds like GOP drones just wanted to rack up some cheap point for themselves. Voting for a republican once doesn’t make you a card-carrying republican; and besides, what kind of schizophrenic about-face do these people think Lennon would’ve made? It says he was sour on Carter–that’s one thing, it doesn’t mean he was going to abandon his ideals altogether. And just imagine how much he would’ve liked Reagan if he’d been alive long enough to experience what Reagan was actually like, hm? Do these idiots seriously think Lennon would’ve had a conservative epiphany, and started carrying around books by Milton Friedman? Come on, now. Seriously. Plus, most people get a bit conservative in their later years: radicalism (of any type) tends to be a refuge for the young, generally.

  64. And that would make him a “closet republican”? Sounds like GOP drones just wanted to rack up some cheap point for themselves. Voting for a republican once doesn’t make you a card-carrying republican; and besides, what kind of schizophrenic about-face do these people think Lennon would’ve made? It says he was sour on Carter–that’s one thing, it doesn’t mean he was going to abandon his ideals altogether. And just imagine how much he would’ve liked Reagan if he’d been alive long enough to experience what Reagan was actually like, hm? Do these idiots seriously think Lennon would’ve had a conservative epiphany, and started carrying around books by Milton Friedman? Come on, now. Seriously. Plus, most people get a bit conservative in their later years: radicalism (of any type) tends to be a refuge for the young, generally.

  65. mrtastycakes | Jul 3, 2011 at 4:13 pm |

    I really don’t need any additional reasons to hate John Lennon, but thanks anyway.

  66. mrtastycakes | Jul 3, 2011 at 12:13 pm |

    I really don’t need any additional reasons to hate John Lennon, but thanks anyway.

  67. Herpderp | Jul 4, 2011 at 3:12 am |

    Whether or not this guy was paid by the documentary maker is completely irrelevant to VoxMagi’s point.

  68. ArgosyJones | Jul 5, 2011 at 4:11 am |

    Moron.  Learn to read.

  69. ArgosyJones | Jul 5, 2011 at 4:11 am |

    Moron.  Learn to read.

  70. Jacobhey1 | Jul 5, 2011 at 6:05 am |

    My response to this article: What John would say if he were alive today – http://youtu.be/piKsUrEHvz0

  71. Jacobhey1 | Jul 5, 2011 at 2:05 am |

    My response to this article: What John would say if he were alive today – http://youtu.be/piKsUrEHvz0

  72. Anonymous | Jul 5, 2011 at 8:34 am |

    I don’t believe John Lennon was a closet Republican. Or closet anything, man. Save your lies and bullshit.

  73. tooCents | Jul 5, 2011 at 4:34 am |

    I don’t believe John Lennon was a closet Republican. Or closet anything, man. Save your lies and bullshit.

  74. Believe it or not, musicians can also read and think thoughts.  They can even pursue non-musician careers.

  75. Don’t have any good musicians on the Repuke side, so they gotta try to steal ours… LOL. (Or try to rip off Liberal’s music for your campaign theme songs.)

    This is just a manifestation of the depression that comes with having one-hit wonder Ted Nugent on your side.

  76. Don’t have any good musicians on the Repuke side, so they gotta try to steal ours… LOL. (Or try to rip off Liberal’s music for your campaign theme songs.)

    This is just a manifestation of the depression that comes with having one-hit wonder Ted Nugent on your side.

    • DeepCough | Jul 5, 2011 at 4:45 pm |

      Well, at least Nugent is consistent in his conservatism, and is actually a likable guy.

  77. DeepCough | Jul 5, 2011 at 8:45 pm |

    Well, at least Nugent is consistent in his conservatism, and is actually a likable guy.

  78. DeepCough | Jul 5, 2011 at 8:45 pm |

    Well, at least Nugent is consistent in his conservatism, and is actually a likable guy.

  79. Jacobhey1 | Jul 6, 2011 at 4:13 am |

    Well he WAS a closet bisexual.

  80. Anonymous | Jul 6, 2011 at 9:52 am |

    Every year there’s a new crop of naive people to dupe with that so-called libertarian cant.

  81. Anonymous | Jul 6, 2011 at 1:25 pm |

    Really? Who did John Lennon hook up with? Evidence.

Comments are closed.