John Lennon Was Haunted By This Particular Number His Whole Life

From the day he was born on October 9, 1940, to his final breaths in a New York City hospital on 9th Avenue, John Lennon seemed to be perpetually followed by the number nine for better or worse. He alluded to his connection to the number nine in various tracks over the years, including “Revolution 9,” “One After 909,” and “#9 Dream.” 

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But the coincidences didn’t stop there. For someone who was notorious for his glib responses about songs having no real meaning (like, for example, “I Am the Walrus” or “Happiness is a Warm Gun”), Lennon was surprisingly open to the notion that there was an uncanny connection between his life’s overarching trajectory and one specific numerical value.

John Lennon’s Connection to the No. 9 Started At Birth

The Liverpudlian musician, author, and activist’s connection to the number nine started on his birthday, the 9th of October. While Western calendars classify October as the 10th month, Lennon’s birthday fell in the ninth month of the year according to the Chinese calendar.

His childhood address contained three nine-letter words: 9 Newcastle Road, Wavertree, Liverpool. Other early connections to the number nine revealed themselves in multiples of the number, like the No. 72 bus Lennon regularly rode as a student at Liverpool Art College. Two of Lennon’s first bandmates, Stuart Sutcliffe and Paul McCartney, had nine-letter surnames. 

The Beatles’ first set at the world-famous Cavern Club took place on February 9, 1961, and the day they first connected with their long-time manager Brian Epstein was nine months later on November 9, 1961. In a 1971 (add those numbers up and you get 18, by the way) interview with Rolling Stone, Lennon said, “Nine turned out to be my birthday and my lucky number and everything.”

How The No. 9 Connection Continued Into Lennon’s Later Years

While one has to be willing to buy into the concept of numerology to appreciate the significance of a truly lucky number, John Lennon’s continued connections to the number nine make a compelling argument for his belief. The Beatles confirmed their first big-time record contract with EMI Records on May 9, 1962. Two years later, the Beatles made their Ed Sullivan Show debut on February 9, 1964. Lennon was in the Beatles (including its early incarnations) for a total of nine years.

Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, lived in two apartments connected to the number nine: the first in a building on West 72nd Street and the last in apartment No. 72 in the Dakota. The couple was living in the Dakota when they welcomed their only son, Sean Taro Ono Lennon, into the world on October 9, 1975. (He and his father share the same birthday, marking the second significant birthday in the 9th Chinese calendar month.)

Lennon’s ninth solo album ‘Walls and Bridges’ featured the track “#9 Dream,” and its highest position on the Billboard Hot 100 was, you guessed it, No. 9. “#9 Dream” features a nine-syllable nonsense phrase, “Ah! Böwakawa poussé, poussé,” which Lennon said came to him in a dream. Finally, the album’s artwork was a drawing Lennon made when he was a child and included a football player sporting the same number on his jersey.

Perhaps the most ominous connection Lennon had to the number nine was the day he died. Mark David Chapman assassinated Lennon outside the Dakota on December 8, 1980. However, because his official time of death was 10:50 pm in Manhattan’s Eastern time zone, Lennon technically died on December 9, 1980, in his native Liverpool’s time zone.

Photo by Vinnie Zuffante/Getty Images

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