The Amazing Journey Of John Lennon’s Tooth

By Justin Crockett on Wednesday, November 27, 2013
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“What makes you think you’re something special when you smile?” —The Beatles, “Hey Bulldog” (1969)

In A Nutshell

In the mid-1960s, John Lennon gave one of his extracted teeth to his housekeeper. She decided to keep the Beatle molar, where it stayed with her family until 2011, when a Canadian dentist snatched it up for close to $31,000. Between offering up shards of it for sculptures, and now submitting it for DNA sequencing in the hopes of eventually cloning Lennon, he is keeping the legacy of John Lennon strong, while also promoting oral health.

The Whole Bushel

John Lennon had a molar extracted from his Beatle-y mouth sometime in the ’60s, between 1965 and 1968. His housekeeper at the time, a woman named Dot Jarlett, was the lucky recipient of said tooth. It was hers to do with as she pleased. She could have just thrown it away, but she wasn’t stupid. Seeing the potential of having one of the biggest pop-star teeth in history, she chose to keep it. Lennon even suggested passing it down to her daughter, who was an enormous Beatles fan.

Incredibly, that tooth remained in the same family until 2011, over 45 years, when it started becoming all sorts of famous on its own. First, it was entered into an auction, where preliminary estimates suggested it would be worth around $16,000. In truth, the molar would go on to fetch double that amount, bringing in a hefty $31,000.

After the sale, the Canadian dentist who won the prized molar, Michael Zuk, did his sister a solid favor, and gave her a shard of the tooth to use in a sculpture she was making of Lennon. Kirsten Zuk’s head bust of Lennon was molded out of clay and displayed around Edmonton galleries. She made the work for a charity that aids in cleft-palate surgery for poor children, and it now contains an actual body part from the slain Beatle.

The rest of the tooth would not be forgotten, as Mr. Zuk would then take it around the United Kingdom on a tour of sorts, to raise awareness of mouth cancer. He even ground parts of the tooth into a fine dust, and made pendants with the powder contained within. If that doesn’t strike your fancy, you can enjoy his parody song, “Love Me Tooth.” We wish we were joking about that last one.

But even more bizarrely, Zuk is now submitting the Lennon tooth for DNA sequencing. That’s right, he is hoping to “Jurassic Park” a Beatle molar, in the hopes of cloning John Lennon. He promotes all of his newest updates on his website, appropriately dubbed “JohnLennonTooth.com.” We are guessing there wasn’t a heavy clamoring for that domain name. But indeed, his end game is the hope of being able harvest some DNA from the tooth before he exploits it completely, turning those fickle DNA strands into stem cells, which could then be converted into a replica Beatle. Easy, right?

Show Me The Proof

Rolling Stone: Owner of Lennon Tooth Plans to Clone Late Beatle
Rolling Stone: Canadian Artist Uses John Lennon Tooth Fragment in Sculpture
JohnLennonTooth.com