The Pantheon

John: A Style Tribute

Lennon in 1966, in a pair of proto-Peter Fonda shades.

Like millions of other men in their thirties, I grew up under the edifying, soul-saving influence of my parents’ Beatles records, records which have not just “stuck with me” but deepened in impact with each passing year. And I’ve also, along the way, been suckered more than once into playing the pointless “who’s your favorite Beatle?” game. In my twenties I’d take the contrarian route, siding with George (whose solo opus All Things Must Pass I’d just discovered) or—gasp!—Ringo, whose mindblowingly creative approach to playing the drums, not to mention his ahead-of-the-curve style sense, remain, in my view, criminally unheralded. But at the end of the day, if I have to, I do a decidedly un-Beatle-esque thing and side with the majority—and with John Lennon, the thirtieth anniversary of whose death I join those aforementioned millions in mourning today. There’s nothing to be said about John that hasn’t already been, to the point of maddening cliché, so today I’ll shut up, spin a few of my perennial favorites (“In My Life,” “Rain,” “I’m Only Sleeping,” “Well Well Well”), and meditate on one of the man’s more overlooked qualities: his groundbreakingly original personal style, a few prime examples of which we’ve selected here.

Outside Apple Corps' ill-fated foray into the tailoring business, John sports a '68-staple fur coat...

...an item that was required wearing for rock's elite that year, as shown here by Brian Jones and John, with Yoko and son Julian.

January 1, 1969: New year, new fur.

1964: The lad from Liverpool pulls on a beefy button-down Oxford.

Onstage in '64, lit cigarette cooly tucked into the headstock of his Rickenbacker.

June 1966: The Dylan influence kicks in—fisherman's cap, double-breasted jacket, and what appears to be a pair of Ray-Ban Metal Sioux shades.

May 1968: the debut of the full white suit.

Steppin' out, 1968.

1969: Holding court in a tie only Lennon could pull off.

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  3. Kathleen says:

    I love the Beatles now as I did some 45 years ago! When I was in my 20’s and even younger I remember them on the Ed Sullivan show and had all their albums. I just wish I would have kept them. John was truly my hero because of all his pacifist ways and I think today would also be working towards peace rather than war. His music was and is great. May be be looking down on us now and help us to work more towards a peaceful and musical world. I love him!! Kathy

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