As for John , he never got over the fact that he sold out. To his dying day he sought to rationalize the betrayal f his gritty muse, arguing one time that going commercial had given him his “freedom” – precisely what it had cost him – and insisting another time that he never really submitted to the commercial yoke because he would always unbutton his collar and pull his tie askew, Such pathetic rationalizations were no substitute for the identity he had lost and would never again regain. For he had been the archetypal rocker, a tough, angry Teddy Boy, punching drunks and grabbing chicks onstage, while he played or sang any damn thing that came into his pill-popping head. Then, next thing he knew, he was a mop-headed, mod-suited clit-teaser and crowd please, making with the quips at press conferences and doing his twenty-minute clockwork turn on the stage of a vaudeville house. “Stunning” is the word for that turnabout and “stunting” for its effect. As Lennon lamented in later years, “We sold out, you know. The music was dead before we even went on the theater tour of Britain….That’s why we never improved as musicians. We killed ourselves then to make it.”
“Selling Out” is the missing chapter in the history of the Beatles. It’s the chapter that nobody has ever wanted to write. Yet it’s the turning point in the whole story, especially for John Lennon. For it marks the death of Johnny, formerly of the Moon Dogs, and the birth of the famous Beatle John.
The Lives of John Lennon – Albert Goldman