The round wire-rimmed style of glasses will forever be associated with John Lennon, but in the early years of The Beatles John didn’t think wearing glasses was cool enough for a rock star.
It wasn’t until after he wore the round framed glasses for his role in the 1967 film “How I Won The War” that he started to wear them regularly in public.
In preparation for the role, John was given an army-style haircut. Lennon’s haircut took place in the breakfast room of the bar The Inn On The Heath hotel in Celle, near Hanover, West Germany. The “short-back-and-sides” performed by 28-year-old German hairdresser Klaus Baruch, made headlines around the world. Baruch shaved off Lennon’s sideburns, swept back his fringe and greased it down.
A perhaps strange but true fact, the hair cuttings were burnt to prevent the hair from being sold!
(John Lennon getting his hair cut for How I Won The War)
In June ’64 John did an interview with ’16 Magazine’ here are some interesting excerpts…
What do you dislike about yourself? The fact that I’m so short-sighted. Off stage I have to wear very thick glasses. On stage I can’t see the crowd, but I know they are there by their screams. The boys have a lot of fun telling me the wrong door to go through, and I often end up in a cupboard.
How did you decide on your “puddin’-basin” haircuts? Well our hair was just growing most of the time. One of us got dunked in a pool once and their hair dried in that “position.” All the rest dug it-so that was that.
What do you plan to invest your money in? I’d like to invest in a string of high-class clothes shops.
What kind of clothes do you like to wear? Neat lines in dark shades. I love suede, leather and cord.
What kind of clothes do you dislike? Baggy things or anything in a bright colour.
(The classic Beatles ‘pudding basin’ haircut)
(Lennon circa 1950’s rocking the “Teddy-boy” look popularized by Elvis.)
You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that John himself was the trend-setter of his iconic styles, but it’s possible his looks were inspired by others. Back in the day before The Beatles, the “teddy-boy” look was the in-thing, hence John adorned a leather jacket and a pompadour hair-do. Then came the mop-head a.k.a the “puddin’-basin” pop look. The psychedelic hippie movement came next. Then followed the avant-garde hipster scene.
Lesser known fact, before he took to his classic look of round specs, he would sometimes were Buddy Holly-esk horn rim glasses. Paul also explains how John came to actually take on Buddy Holly’s persona. “John was very short-sighted. He wore glasses, but he would only wear them in private. Until Buddy Holly arrived on the scene he would never get them out because he felt like an idiot, with his big horn-rimmed glasses…But when Buddy came out, the glasses came out too. John could go on stage and see who he was playing to. In our imaginations back then, John was Buddy and I was Little Richard or Elvis. You’re always somebody when you start.”
So whether his iconic style was inspired or original, what would I answer to the question “is John Lennon a style Icon”?