In the Beatles’ version of “Bad Boy”, a “bad little kid” puts “thumb tacks on teacher’s chair” and “chewing gum in little girls’ hair”. Now, as a pair of the 15-year-old John Lennon’s detention sheets are auctioned off, it seems the singer’s own school experiences might have inspired the band to cover Larry Williams’ song.
The documents show that, during his time at Quarry Bank High School for Boys in Liverpool, Lennon was renowned as a “class clown”. Reasons for punishment given by teachers include “sabotage”, “fighting in class”, “nuisance”, “shoving” and “just no interest whatsoever”.
Twice, the Beatle even managed to get three detentions in one day. Perhaps the lines in “Bad Boy” that say: “He don’t want to go to school and learn to read and write/Just sits around the house and plays the rock and roll music all night” struck a chord.
Peter Beech, Lennon’s general science teacher at the time, said: “The sheet is typical of John Lennon. He was an extremely cheeky boy. He did, however, know his limits. In the classroom, if you settled John down, you generally settled the class down.”
The sheets cover the periods when the future Beatle was in Class 3B, between 19 May and 23 June 1955, and in Class 4C from 25 November 1955 to 13 February 1956.
The documents come from a detention book that was due to be burned in the late 1970s, the auctioneers TracksAuction.com say.
A member of staff spotted the name Lennon in the book while clearing out a storage room and realised they referred to the Beatle. According to TracksAuction, the man tore the two sheets out as a keepsake. The sheets are expected to fetch between £2,000 and £3,000.
Other items in the Beatles memorabilia sale are a signed White Album, expected to fetch between £60,000 and £80,000, handwritten lyrics to an unpublished 1960s song by Sir Paul McCartney and an unpublished Lennon sketch.