Bono claims John Lennon as Irish

Bono claims John Lennon as Irish. Photo copyright GabeMC CC3 and Stemoc CC2

Irish rock star Bono has claimed John Lennon and the rest of the Beatles as Irish.

The unexpected statement came as Bono was attending an unveiling of a giant tapestry at Ellis Island, New York, to mark the 40th year anniversary of Lennon getting his US green card.

Bono claims John Lennon as Irish. Photo copyright GabeMC CC3 and Stemoc CC2

Bono addressed the crowd after the unveiling of the tapestry. He said: “John Lennon was an immigrant. He didn’t sail across the Atlantic in an ocean liner or a yellow submarine. He didn’t come in on a third-class ticket looking for a job in Hell’s Kitchen. He didn’t climb up out of steerage with all his potatoes in a single suitcase. But John Lennon was an immigrant all the same.”

“Let’s claim him, in fact let’s claim all the Beatles not as immigrants but as Irish.”

Bono is correct in saying that all four members of the Beatles did have Irish ancestry, although to most the band are considered to be English.

Aside from the national claim, Bono also paid tribute to Lennon, admitting that as teenagers he and his bandmates were heavily influenced by the Beatles.

Bono also praised him for his message of peace to the world, a trait synonymous with Lennon. He said words like All You Need is Love were offered “not as a balm but as a kind of dare”.

“Give Peace A Chance – there’s another dare. Will we?”

Lennon’s wife Yoko Ono also addressed the crowd and read the opening lyrics from one of his most famous songs: “Imagine all the people, living life in peace.”

Lennon and Ono moved to New York in 1971, and lived there until he was tragically killed in 1980. There are various monuments and tributes to Lennon in the city, including the Strawberry Fields Memorial in Central Park.

This Ellis Island tapestry is the latest tribute to the legendary songwriter and activist. It the famous Yellow Submarine shaped as the island of Manhattan, with the Statue of Liberty on the horizon and Lennon poking his head out of the top waving his famous two fingered sign of peace.

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By Andrew Moore

Andrew Moore is a writer for Irish Music Daily and Ireland Calling. His favourite Irish music bands are the Dropkick Murphys and the Pogues.