John Lennon’s Magical Musical Bus

August 2, 2013

As The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus  arrives in the Irish county of Cork as part of it’s ongoing European tour, we look back at the musical mastermind who inspired this high-tech modern-day studio on wheels.


Yoko Ono outside the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus


In May of this year, Yoko Ono  unveiled The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus  and spoke about the importance of music in society saying: “this is precisely the kind of project John would have loved”. I’m certain she is right (and of course, who could possibly be a better judge than the woman who became the axis of his life?).

John very nearly gave up on learning to play the guitar. He’d mastered the banjo but feared the guitar would take too long to learn properly –  until that is, the skiffle king Lonnie Donegan  appeared on the scene and said “‘all you need is three chords and something you can bang”. Encouraged by the idea that as long as you could carry a tune any band could please a crowd, John founded the high-school band The Quarrymen  with Griffiths and Shotton at Quarry Bank School, Liverpool, in 1957. Paul McCartney  was snapped up swiftly as soon as Lennon discovered he COULD in fact play a guitar properly and George Harrison  joined the group soon after. Some of the original members began to drift away and the group briefly became Johnny and the Moondogs  before changing to The Beatles.

Sounds like an unlikely prospect really doesn’t it? And yet – in the end – they evolved to become the most successful musical act in history because Lennon believed that as long as you had the music in you, it didn’t matter how well you played that instrument – after all, we can learn. All you need is passion.

The music bus is free for students who will benefit from the latest recording technology and equipment (all donated by Apple) and is designed to carry on John’s legacy as much as possible to help support music education and arts in technology. I can’t think of a more beautiful way to introduce many children to the possibilities of music and also, to the heritage of the man who inspired Yoko Ono to bring this idea to life. Lennon, McCartney and Harrison were, after all, the cornerstone of a musical revolution. Whilst Lennon idolised Elvis Presley, so too are today’s artists idolising The Beatles  and it’s impossible to refute the fact that much of the popular music we hear today has roots in the early sound of the fab four. It’s not fair to say there’s a cut-off age where people still recognise this, music is ageless. However, it might be fair to say that with every new generation we need to try a little harder to keep the history alive?

John was a witty, often rebellious artist who held strong  political views but above all else, he was a musician who was loved the world-over. On 8th December 1980 at around 10:50pm he was shot four times at the entrance to his New York apartment. He was rushed to the nearby Roosevelt  Hospital emergency department but was pronounced dead on arrival at 11:07pm . A devastated Yoko Ono  gave a statement the following day saying “There is no funeral for John”, ending it with the words, “John loved and prayed for the human race. Please pray the same for him.”.

And the world fell silent. But the music continued to play and does so to this day. Further still, it now has the opportunity to grow in a new generation of students across Europe. You can’t kill the music.

Quite some legacy from a man who nearly gave up on playing the guitar…

Lucy. J.




Leave a Reply

View more videos