When John Lennon Was 'Thoroughly Bad News'

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All the way back to primary school, John Lennon is remembered as a garden-variety delinquent—the type of kid who would pocket the change he was instructed to deposit in the church collection box, and pilfer from his aunt’s handbag. He would hitch free rides on the bumpers of tramcars, steal cigarettes and then sell them, pull down girls’ underpants, vandalize phone booths, set stuff on fire, act the clown in class, skip detention, gamble, pick fights, and arouse fear in others as he and his friends tooled around on their bicycles. His best childhood friend, Pete Shotton, explained that Lennon “came to be regarded, by all but his small circle of friends, as thoroughly bad news. Even I sometimes worried that he seemed destined for Skid Row.”

— From Beatles vs. Stones (published by Simon & Schuster in October)

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