Terri Hooley has looked back at the moment he punched John Lennon – saying that he doesn’t see it as “my proudest moment”.
An icon of the Belfast punk scene, Terri Hooley reminisced about some of the biggest moments of his life in a new interview with The Guardian, including his tumultuous encounter with The Beatles legend.
In the discussion – done to help promote new biography Terri Hooley: Seventy-Five Revolutions by Stuart Bailie – the music industry veteran recalled how the encounter took place around 1970.
Introduced to Lennon in London by friends of Oz Magazine, the musician mistook Hooley as a supporter of the IRA in his pre-pacifist days and offered to supply him with weapons. The mistake led to Hooley throwing a punch at the former Beatle – a move he now says he isn’t proud of.
“He was stoned so it wasn’t my proudest moment,” he told the outlet, adding: “When I met Cynthia [Lennon’s first wife] and told her, she said, ‘You should have hit him harder!’”
The response to the misunderstanding came from Hooley’s upbringing in Belfast’s troubled times and strong political outlook; which also led to him confronting Bob Dylan about his refusal to stop paying taxes to protest the Vietnam war.
Hooley’s importance in the industry comes from his role in putting Belfast on the map for music – launching various counterculture magazines and pirate radio stations during times of conflict. Famously in 1977, he transformed a derelict building into a record shop “on the most bombed half-mile in Europe”, called Good Vibrations.
The inspiration to open the store came after an attempted kidnapping made him more determined to champion non-sectarianism, and the success of the shop led to him becoming a champion of local punk artists.
He later launched a punk label of the same name and remained active in the scene until 2015, when poor health forced him to close his final record store.
“Good Vibrations existed as a little oasis of positivity when everything was awful. When our country was having a collective nervous breakdown,” Hooley told the outlet. “I was as mad as the rest of them but I wanted love and peace, not violence and hate.”
His importance in the Belfast music scene also led to the musical Good Vibrations being made about him, as well as the BBC documentary series Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland.
The biography Terri Hooley: Seventy-Five Revolutions is out now.
In other John Lennon news, last month a new documentary titled John Lennon: Murder Without A Trial aired on Apple TV+, offering a deeply researched examination of John Lennon’s 1980 murder.
Narrated by Emmy Award winner Kiefer Sutherland, the three-part documentary series featured exclusive eyewitness interviews and previously unseen crime scene photos. It also examined the investigation and conviction of Mark David Chapman, Lennon’s confessed killer.