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John Lennon Glasses - Windsor Eyeglasses and Sunglasses

Updated on August 30, 2011

The Famous Eyeglasses of John Lennon

When people talk about John Lennon eyeglasses, they're talking about the style John Lennon made popular during the late '60s. People associate the round lenses, thin frames and nose saddle with the ideals of peace, love, and freedom, and many today who identify with the culture of the time seek to emulate the style. They were often called "granny glasses," or, more specifically, "Windsor glasses."

You can buy Windsor glasses online, and the circular lens frames that have that classic Lennon "Imagine" look are available from Savile Row / Berkshire Chase; the English Warwick frames can be ordered for corrective prescriptions. Additionally, there are a number of 1960s Lennon style UV sunglasses in many different shades and tints.

The Beatles and John Lennon's Eyeglass Image

In the early days of the Beatles, John Lennon wasn't often seen wearing eyeglasses. Throughout his solo career, he was rarely seen without them. From the late '60s and throughout much of his later life, his Windsor specs were the one thing about his image that remained constant. Some have posed the question "When did John Lennon start wearing glasses?" The question assumes that because he was never seen wearing his Windsor eyewear in the early days of the Beatles, he didn't need them, and might have only started wearing them for the sake of fashion. This, however, is not the case.

John Lennon appeared without glasses on the cover of the Bealtes Album "Rubber Soul" in 1965. He appears with his glasses on the cover of the 1967 album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." There's no indication from the 1966 album "Revolver," if John was sporting his specs at the time, because the album cover contains only a drawing of the Beatles. It's interesting to note that, although Lennon was drawn without glasses on this cover, the inner pages of the CD show a black and white photo of the band from around the time, and they're all wearing glasses - sunglasses, but eyewear nonetheless.

The tinted Windsor glasses of John Lennon
The tinted Windsor glasses of John Lennon

Lennon's Public Spectacles

When John Lennon played the character Musketeer Gripweed in the film "How I Won the War," he was wearing his signature eyeglasses. The movie was produced in 1966, so it's reasonable to assume that from the start of filming, John Lennon began wearing glasses - in the public eye, that is. The truth is, he had very poor vision all his life, but he hated wearing glasses. The evolution of the Beatles as artists may have contributed to his decision to keep his corrective lenses on regularly.

John Lennon is credited with making those Windsor eyeglasses famous, but a much lesser known musician named Fritz Richmond was seen and photographed years earlier, in 1963, wearing a similar style that would influence performers such as Jerry Garcia and Janis Joplin. The key difference is that the lenses were both tinted and non-prescription. They were not sunglasses per se, but a device allegedly used to mask temporary eye discoloration caused by intoxication.

What Do You Think?

Did Glasses Improve John Lennon's Appearance?

See results

Most Importantly..Where Can You Get Them?

There is a whole line of John Lennon Eyeglasses eyewear available at framesdirect.com. They have 56 frames labeled with his name, but only a few in that particular line have the authentic "granny glasses" or Windsor glasses style that most interested people want.

It seems the former Beatle remains forever associated with corrective lenses of some sort. It's quite fitting, given much of his lyrics were focused on the faculty of sight. See if you can identify the songs from which the following phrases are derived.

  • "misunderstanding all you see"
  • "watching the wheels go round and round"
  • "look at me"
  • "I can see the promised land"
  • "you better see right through that mother's eyes"
  • "but when I see you darlin'"
  • "I can hardly wait to see"
  • "I can see them laugh at me"
  • "looking through a glass onion"
  • "see how they fly like Lucy in the sky"
  • "you should see her in drag dressed in her polythene bag"

Maybe there's more to the glasses than meets the eye.

Comments

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    • profile image

      Bjorn T 

      7 years ago

      During one of the Beatles-walks in London, the guide could tell that John did a tv-show on the upper stairs of an underground toilet in central London that we visited, and this was the first time he weared them.

      Since then he decided to keep it as fashion..

    • Smart Rookie profile imageAUTHOR

      Smart Rookie 

      8 years ago

      John Lennon's Windsor glasses are forever etched in my mind as a symbol of the '60s spirit. Thanks for commenting.

    • viking305 profile image

      L M Reid 

      8 years ago from Ireland

      I really enjoyed this this article about John Lennon. He and the rest of the Beetles were all great singers.

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