Terri Hooley On Punching John Lennon: ‘He Was Stoned’

Known as the “Godfather of Punk,” Terri Hooley recently gave some thought to his difficult history. Terri Hooley, in an interview after the publication of his book “Terri Hooley: Seventy-Five Revolutions,” talked about a famous incident in which he hit John Lennon.

This incident happened in the vicinity of 1970 while on a trip to London. Lennon had volunteered to arm Hooley after believing him to be an IRA supporter. Hooley recollected:

“He was stoned, so it wasn’t my proudest moment. When I met Cynthia [Lennon’s first wife] and told her, she said, ‘You should have hit him harder!’”

Hooley Also Had a Fight With Bob Dylan

Renowned for starting bands such as the Undertones and the Outcasts, Hooley played a pivotal role in Belfast’s punk scene and was recognized for leading an unusual life. But his life is more than simply a protest and music tale.

Hooley was born in 1948 into a Protestant household in east Belfast, and at the age of six, he lost one eye. He was well-known for his opposition to the Vietnam War and was already Belfast’s top DJ by the age of 17. This disagreement resulted in a 1966 altercation with Bob Dylan when Dylan refused to cease paying taxes in protest of the war.

Hooley provided further information regarding the punching incident in an earlier interview. As he stated, Hooley’s glass eye slipped out, which was the only reason the encounter with Lennon ended. Hooley insisted that Lennon remained one of his heroes despite this:

“It was never about the politics; it was about the music.”

Hooley’s Lasting Influence and Recently Released Biography

Beyond these instances, Hooley continues to have an impact. In addition to being a location for music, his record store, Good Vibrations, served as a symbol of unification in a divided nation. His impact on Northern Ireland’s music industry and culture has been honored with several projects, including a BBC documentary series, a musical, and a biography.

Even after declaring bankruptcy in 1982 and suffering from health problems that forced the closing of his final record store in 2015, Hooley’s love of music and his impact on the punk movement endure. Published to commemorate his 75th birthday, his most recent biography details these encounters. A copy is available here.


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