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The Lennon mural overlooking the Plaza del Sol. Tony Bryant
John Lennon: A Beatle's take on liberal Torremolinos
Foreign influencers in southern Spain

John Lennon: A Beatle's take on liberal Torremolinos

The pop star first experienced Torremolinos in 1963, when he arrived for a two-week holiday with Brian Epstein, a trip he noted in his memoirs

Tony Bryant

Torremolinos

Friday, 7 June 2024, 14:09

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The name and image of John Lennon has a special connection to Torremolinos; the Beatle visited the town twice during the 1960s and even mentioned it in his memoirs. It is for this reason that in 2013 the town hall recognised the musician with a street name, Calle John Lennon, which is located in the Los Álamos district. Since then, Lennon has been honoured with two murals to highlight his apparent liking for the town, one of which looks over the Plaza Costa del Sol; the other is in Pasaje Begoña and depicts Lennon from the psychedelic era of the late 1960s.

Sadly, little documented evidence exists of his time in Torremolinos, yet he was there. The first time was in 1963, when he was taken as a birthday treat by Beatles' manager Brian Epstein. Some authors suggest that Lennon had some kind of sexual relationship with Epstein (who was homosexual), or that the latter certainly had feelings for the young musician. Lennon would later write in his memoirs that he would accompany Epstein to a café, believed to have been the Bar Central (which no longer exists), where they would sit and watch the handsome Spanish guys passing through Plaza Costa del Sol. "I asked him which of them he liked and I enjoyed his answers like a writer who is experiencing a reality that is not his own," Lennon wrote.

Street named after the musician.
Street named after the musician. Tony Bryant

It was during this visit that the pair are said to have enjoyed drinks in Shelagh's Bar, one of the liveliest venues in Torremolinos during the 1960s. The bar's owner, Shelagh Tennant, was an acquaintance of Epstein during the early 1960s, as she was one of the team involved in bringing The Beatles to Spain for the first time.

The second time Lennon headed to Torremolinos was while filming Richard Lester's satirical movie, How I Won the War, which was partly shot in Almeria in 1966. Almeria city hall erected a bronze statue of Lennon in Avenida Federico García Lorca in 2007, although it is now in Plaza de las Flores.

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