Sean Ono Lennon says John Lennon returning his MBE was “more punk than anything the punks did” – NME

Sean Ono Lennon has spoken about John Lennon returning his MBE to the Queen, calling it “maybe more punk than anything the punks did”.

The Beatles were each given the honour in 1965, but Lennon returned his award a year later in protest against the Vietnam War and Britain’s involvement in the conflict in Biafra.

Speaking on George Stroumboulopoulos’ Apple Music Hits show STROMBO, Ono Lennon reflected on his dad’s actions, which happened just after the release of the track ‘Cold Turkey’.

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“Famously, the single didn’t do well and he hilariously wrote that letter to the Queen of England returning his MBE,” he said. “It was a big deal to return the Member of the British Empire thingamajig that he was given. To the Queen, that was very irreverent.

“I mean, it was pre-punk rock irreverent, and frankly, maybe more punk than anything the punks did really! And he does it in such a funny way. That’s what I love. I can’t remember the exact wording, but he says something like, ‘Your majesty, I’m returning the MBE in protest against the Vietnam War and the Biafra thing.’ He goes, ‘And in protest of ‘Cold Turkey’ slipping down the charts,’ which I just think is great. It’s funny.”

He continued to note that Lennon managed to
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