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John Lennon was primarily raised by his aunt, Mimi Smith, and she wasn’t happy when he started spending time with Paul McCartney and George Harrison. She didn’t like that Lennon wanted to pursue a career in music, and his friends were helping him do so. Their hair and clothing didn’t help, either. McCartney tried to charm her, but she wasn’t easy to win over. Smith wouldn’t even let him into her house.

A black and white picture of John Lennon and Paul McCartney sitting on a couch together.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney | Fox Photos/Getty Images

His aunt did not want him to be a musician 

Lennon’s aunt took custody of him after she called Social Services on his mother, Julia, twice. She was strict with him and wanted him to focus on his studies, not music. She wouldn’t let him practice in the house and had banned him from playing with a group. For years, he’d lied to her about the fact that he was in a band.

Once, after someone tipped her off that Lennon was playing a lunchtime show at Liverpool’s Cavern Club instead of attending class, she decided to go see him.

“I’d never heard of this awful place, the Cavern,” she said, per the book The Beatles: The Authorized Biography by Hunter Davies. “It took a long time to find. I just had to follow the crowds in the end. I went down some steps with them all and there was this chap, Rory McFall, taking money. I pushed him out of the way. ‘You’re getting no money out of me. I want John Lennon!'”

It was so loud and crowded that, try as she might, she couldn’t get Lennon’s attention. After the show, she met him in the dressing room and forced him to go back to class.

John Lennon’s aunt wouldn’t let Paul McCartney into her house

Despite his aunt’s protests, Lennon was in a band with McCartney and Harrison. They typically used McCartney and Harrison’s homes to practice, as Smith didn’t allow them to practice at hers. Even if they were just stopping by to see Lennon, though, she didn’t want them in the house. McCartney attempted to win her over, but his charm didn’t work on her.

“He used to come to my front door,” Smith said. “He’d be on his bike which he’d lean against the fence. He would look over at me with his sheep eyes and say, ‘Hello, Mimi. Can I come in?’ ‘No, you certainly cannot,’ I’d say.”

John Lennon’s aunt liked George Harrison even less than Paul McCartney

Smith disliked Harrison even more than McCartney. Lennon told her she’d like him, so she finally agreed to let him visit the home. When he came over, though, she threw him out of the house once she saw him.

“I eventually said he could come in one day,” she said. “He arrived with a crew cut and a pink shirt. I threw him out. Well, it wasn’t done. I might have been a bit old-fashioned, but schoolboys dressing like that! Up till John was sixteen I always made sure he wore his regulation school blazer and shirt.”