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The Beatles made an undeniable impact when they burst on the music scene in the early 1960s, captivating audiences with their distinct style. Their sleek black suits and charming mop-top hair quickly became synonymous with Beatlemania. However, it was John Lennon‘s iconic glasses that added a personal touch to his image.

Although Lennon faced initial embarrassment, partly thanks to teasing by his fellow Beatles, he ultimately embraced his individuality and set himself apart from his bandmates.

John Lennon wearing glasses and holding the collar of his shirt.
John Lennon | Photo by Ann Limongello/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

During fights, Paul McCartney called his bandmate ‘four eyes’

John was severally near-sighted but was embarrassed to wear the thick black-rimmed glasses that were popular in The Beatles’ early career. It didn’t help that his bandmate, Paul McCartney made fun of him for wearing glasses every time they fought.

During the recent Hulu docuseries McCartney 3,2,1 (per Insider), Paul explained that he and John used to call each other the worst names during fights.

“Thinking back on it, it’s crazy,” Paul said. “He wore glasses and I didn’t. So if we got into an argument, I would call him ‘four-eyes.’ Four-eyes! And he would go, ‘Pigeon chest!’ My chest was not as developed as his, or whatever. So you know, we did all that. But these things obviously bring you together.”

John mostly wore his glasses in the recording studio but rarely in public and certainly not during performances. Constant ridicule from his bandmate likely discouraged John from wearing glasses while on stage.

George Harrison said John Lennon was ‘blind as a bat’ because he rarely wore his glasses

In Martin Scorsese’s documentary, George Harrison: Living in the Material World, there’s a clip of George watching The Beatles perform “This Boy.” When he saw John singing, George said, “John was as blind as a bat and he’d never wear his glasses, so he couldn’t see a thing.”

“Without his glasses, the world would have been blurred and distorted for John. He would have been able to see the end of the guitar and the frets, but anything else beyond that would have been difficult for him,” said Professor Simon Harding, a consultant at St Paul’s Eye Unit (per Beatles Story). “His short-sightedness was at a level such that it’s likely it would have worsened later in life and may have become a threat to his vision.”


George Harrison Didn’t Participate in Any John Lennon Tributes: ‘I Don’t Think John Would’ve Taken Part in Them Either’

John started wearing his iconic round glasses after appearing in ‘How I Won The War’

While filming 1967’s How I Won the War, John started liking the round spectacles that were part of his character’s costume (per Mental Floss). These weren’t designer or the Buddy Holly black-rimmed glasses he hated. The U.K.’s National Health Service made them.

John liked the “granny” glasses so much that he continued wearing them for the rest of his life. The former Beatle eventually started drawing himself wearing glasses in various autographs too. John’s various glasses sell for tons of money now. Another pair is on display at the Beatles Story Museum in Liverpool.

So, John went from being insecure about wearing glasses and choosing not to see to incorporating them into his iconic look. Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr don’t have an individual piece of clothing or fashion as closely associated with them as John Lennon and his glasses. It’s something Lennon will always have over his bandmates (for anyone still keeping score).

The decision paid off as John created a look that enhanced a legacy already created by his signature sound. Now, John Lennon’s glasses are forever a part of his signature style.