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The Beatles performing on stage, circa 1963. Left to right: Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison (1943 - 2001) and John Lennon (1940 - 1980). (Photo by King Collection/Avalon/Getty Images)

2 Beatles Were ‘a Calming Influence’ on John Lennon, Historian Says

The Beatles included four main band members: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison. There were other important band mates before they settled on those four. A Beatles historian named two Beatles whom he called calming influences on Lennon. One was another part of the Fab Four, and one was one of their former colleagues.

David Bedford was a guest on the Beatles City podcast on Aug. 23, 2020. Bedford has written books and made documentaries about the band. Here are the two other Beatles whom his sources tell him calmed Lennon over the years.

Paul McCartney and Stuart Sutcliffe could calm John Lennon

Lennon was perhaps closer to McCartney than Starr and Harrison, because they wrote songs together. For one year, The Beatles had Stuart Sutcliffe on bass. Sutcliffe was a classmate of Lennon’s at Liverpool College of Art and he left the Beatles in 1961 to pursue his art.

“When we worked on the Looking for Lennon documentary film, Helen Anderson who was from the art college said a very interesting thing which was Stuart was a very calming influence on John,” Bedford said on Beatles City. “Sometimes he needed that because he could go off and be wild. Paul McCartney was a good calming influence on him but Stuart certainly was.”
John Lennon was an emotional Beatle

Many of the Beatles went on to promote peace and love in their solo work. Lennon did too, with songs like “Imagine” and his Vietnam War protests with Yoko Ono. Bedford said that on his own, Lennon could spiral without a calming influence. Sutcliffe in particular was very close with Lennon until his death in 1962.

“John had a great respect for Stuart as an artist but as a person,” Bedford said. “He was a very deep thinker, very very creative and John really amdired that in Stuart. So a bit of everything pulled them together and they became almost brothers. The music was certainly a big draw. They liked the same music, had the same sense of humor. John said this many times in his life that he looked up to Stuart. So even though Stuart wasn’t the greatest musician, he was still a really good musician, but Stuart was such an outstanding artist at the art college he stood out. He really did but he loved the rock and roll. He loved the image.”

The quiet Beatles still make an impact

McCartney was no shrinking violet. Sutcliffe, on the other hand, wasn’t a big talker. That didn’t mean he was silent, though.
(Stuart was quieter and I think that’s what John needed because he could be so outlandish but it didn’t mean he was quiet. Quieter. Most people were quieter to John. The intellectual in Stuart I think John liked and John was a deep thinker as well. They used to meet up at Ye Cracke [bar]. There was John, Stuart, Rod Murray and Bill Harry and they called themselves the dissenters. They would sit there and they would spend the whole evening debating all kinds of things whether it be art, politics, history, you name it. They were all deep thinkers and they’d have these great in-depth discussions. They decided they were going to change the world somehow.)

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