Cover image for Being John Lennon : a restless life
Title:
Being John Lennon : a restless life
ISBN:
9781643130538
Personal Author:
Edition:
First Pegasus books hardcover edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Pegasus Books, [2018]

©2018
Physical Description:
xvi, 448 pages, 16 unnumbered leaves of plates : illlustrations, portraits ; 24 cm
Contents:
'I forgot about my father' -- 'I was aggressive' -- 'The sort of gang I led' -- 'I must be a genius' -- 'Nobody was fighting' -- 'The way I looked' -- 'What's so sad about the past' -- 'Paul looked about ten' -- 'The copper came to the door' -- 'The underlying chip on my shoulder' -- 'It was terrible' -- 'I ruined his life!' -- 'This guy who had a drum kit' -- 'I grew up in Hamburg' -- 'Women should be obscene and not heard' -- 'Is this what I want to do?' -- 'You'd call them groupies now' -- 'I wasn't too keen on reaching twenty-one' -- 'We were in a daydream' -- 'I was the closest to Brian' -- 'I looked up to Stu' -- 'Cyn's having a baby' -- 'I had to do the talking' -- 'We sang for twelve hours' -- 'The holiday was planned' -- 'I play a guitar too ...' -- 'This isn't show business' -- 'We just walked through it' -- 'A Hard Day's Night' -- 'A rock and roll musician' -- 'We were like Kings of the Jungle' -- 'Once you plug in and the noise starts' -- 'Nowhere Man' -- 'We're more popular than Jesus' -- 'It's like we're four freaks being wheeled out' -- 'Our lives had been threatened' -- 'An imaginary nail' -- 'Strawberry Fields Forever' -- 'Mick Jagger wears a codpiece' -- 'I was scared' -- 'I am the egg man' -- 'Flying on a magic carpet' -- 'I think I'm Jesus Christ' -- 'Someone as barmy as I am' -- 'Get your drums out' -- 'You're not worth any more' -- 'My prick on an album' -- 'We hope we passed the audition' -- 'It was Yoko that changed me' -- 'I'm leaving the Beatles' -- 'A crutch for the world's social lepers' -- 'Free means free' -- 'I might just as well have been a comedian' -- 'The radicalism was phoney' -- 'Imagine' is anti-religious -- 'New York is at my speed' -- 'Don't fuck with my ears' -- 'To finish off ... we thought we'd do a number' -- 'If I began writing with Paul again' -- 'I've battled all the monsters' -- 'A second chance' -- 'Wanting to make music' -- 'Playing guitar and singing' -- 'I don't believe in dead heroes' -- After John died what happened to ...
Summary:
An intimate yet unsparing biography of one of the greatest and most mythologised musicians of the twentieth century. John Lennon was a rock star, a school clown, a writer, a wit, an iconoclast, a sometime peace activist and finally an eccentric millionaire. He was also a Beatle - his plain-speaking and impudent rejection of authority catching, and eloquently articulating, the group's moment in history. Chronicling a troubled life, from that of the cast-aside child of a broken wartime marriage to his murder by a deranged fan, Being John Lennon analyzes the contradictions in the singer-songwriter's creative and destructive personality. A leader who could be easily led, he was often generous and often funny, but sometimes scathingly cruel. As a journalist, author Ray Connolly had a close working relationship with Lennon, and the entire Beatles coterie. In this biography he unsparingly reassesses the chameleon nature of the perpetually dissatisfied star who just couldn't stop reinventing himself. Drawing on many interviews and conversations with Lennon, his first wife Cynthia and second Yoko Ono, as well as his girlfriend May Pang and song-writing partner Paul McCartney, this complex portrait is a revealing insight into a restless man whose emotional turbulence governed his life and talent.

"An intimate yet unsparing biography of one of the greatest and most mythologized musicians of the twentieth century. What was it like to be John Lennon? What was it like to be the castoff child, the clown at school, and the middle-class suburban boy who pretended to be a working-class hero? How did it feel to have one of the most recognizable singing voices in the world, but to dislike it so much he always wanted to disguise it? Being John Lennon is not about the whitewashed Prince of Peace of Imagine legend--because that was only a small part of him. The John Lennon depicted in these pages is a much more kaleidoscopic figure, sometimes almost a collision of different characters. But above everything, Lennon had attitude--his impudent style somehow personifying the aspirations of his generation to question authority. He could, and would, say the unsayable. Though there were more glamorous rock stars in rock history, even within the Beatles, it was John Lennon's attitude which caught, and then defined, his era in the most memorable way."--Dust jacket.
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Summary

Summary

What was it like to be John Lennon? What was it like to be the castoff child, the clown at school, and the middle-class suburban boy who pretended to be a working-class hero? How did it feel to have one of the most recognizable singing voices in the world, but to dislike it so much he always wanted to disguise it?Being John Lennon is not about the whitewashed Prince of Peace of Imagine legend--because that was only a small part of him. The John Lennon depicted in these pages is a much more kaleidoscopic figure, sometimes almost a collision of different characters.He was, of course, funny, often very funny. But above everything, he had attitude--his impudent style somehow personifying the aspirations of his generation to question authority. He could, and would, say the unsayable. Though there were more glamorous rock stars in rock history, even within the Beatles, it was John Lennon's attitude which caught, and then defined, his era in the most memorable way.


Author Notes

Ray Connolly has published a number of books, including Being Elvis (Liveright). He also directed the television documentary James Dean: The First American Teenager and worked with record producer Sir George Martin on the BBC television series The Rhythm of Life. He lives in London. Follow him on Twitter @rayconnolly.


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this dramatic, insightful biography of John Lennon, Connolly argues that the musician was "a labyrinth of contradictions." The Lennon remembered by British music journalist Connolly (Being Elvis) is part rocker and part eager-to-impress wannabe avant-garde artist. Connolly details Lennon's working-class childhood in 1950s Liverpool, depicting Lennon as a low-degree hell-raiser; he then quickly moves on to the formation of the Beatles and Lennon's role as a bossy and misanthropic brooder. The band honed their aggressive, crowd-pleasing sound in Hamburg in 1960 before they were introduced to an ambitious young manager named Brian Epstein and polished producer George Martin, who turned the Beatles into the superstar group that stormed the world in 1963. Over the next seven years, Lennon's fruitful songwriting rivalry with Paul McCartney grew more tense, as did his relations with the other band members. The narrative digs into interpersonal drama as Connolly describes the band's collapse in the face of drugs, big egos, Lennon's increasing intransigence, and Lennon's relationship with Yoko Ono ("I've finally found someone as barmy as I am," Lennon told a friend). Connolly's history is a colorful and balanced portrait of an immensely creative artist. (Dec.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

Veteran English writer and journalist Connolly (Being Elvis, 2016) has written a fat, entertaining biography of the restless soul who was John Lennon. Instead of uncovering anything terribly new or revealing, he has done an excellent job of illuminating all the phases of Lennon's complicated life and career: his middle-class childhood in suburban Liverpool, meeting Paul, the heyday of Beatlemania, the breakup of the Fab Four, and the solo years leading up to his tragic death. Throughout, Connolly captures all aspects of Lennon, who was, like most of us, a mass of contradictions. Each chapter begins with a Lennon quote that sets the stage for what follows: on leadership ( When the dirty work came, I had to be the leader ); his reactions to Beatlemania ( This isn't show business. It's something else ); his image ( The radicalism was phony, really, because it was out of guilt ); and, most poignantly perhaps, his years as a househusband in New York ( I'm blessed with a second chance ). A welcome new perspective on an endlessly influential and compelling artist.--June Sawyers Copyright 2018 Booklist


Library Journal Review

Longtime British music journalist Connolly tries to unravel the complicated personality of John Lennon. The author tracks Lennon's unstable childhood, the formation of the Beatles, Lennon's shotgun marriage to Cynthia Powell, and the birth of his son Julian. The book also covers the pressures of Beatlemania, John's relationships with manager Brian Epstein and second wife Yoko Ono, a debauched 18 months during the Seventies (the Lost Weekend), his retirement from rock and roll after the birth of his son Sean, and Lennon's murder in 1980. Having interviewed the Beatles and their coterie since the Sixties, Connolly contributes several new nuggets about the complex rock icon, whom he describes as sometimes caring but verbally abusive, insecure but supremely confident, striving for both working-class credibility and sophistication, lonely at the center of international attention, self-revelatory but untruthful, and a leader who delegated difficult tasks to others. Writing in a breezy style, the author adds to the already substantial Lennon literature, which includes Ray Coleman's John Winston Lennon and Philip Norman's John Lennon. VERDICT An intriguing option for those unfamiliar with the highly imaginative but self-destructive Beatle.-David P. Szatmary, formerly with the Univ. of -Washington, Seattle © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

Author's Notep. xi
Forewordp. xiv
1 'I forgot about my father'p. 1
2 'I was aggressive'p. 8
3 'The sort of gang I led'p. 16
4 'I must be a genius'p. 21
5 'Nobody was fighting'p. 28
6 'The way I looked'p. 36
7 'What's so sad about the past'p. 44
8 'Paul looked about ten'p. 51
9 'The copper came to the door'p. 59
10 'The underlying chip on my shoulder'p. 62
11 'It was terrible'p. 67
12 'I ruined his life!'p. 74
13 'This guy who had a drum kit'p. 82
14 'I grew up in Hamburg'p. 86
15 'Women should be obscene and not heard'p. 92
16 'Is this what I want to do?'p. 97
17 'You'd call them groupies now'p. 104
18 'I wasn't too keen on reaching twenty-one'p. 108
19 'We were in a daydream'p. 112
20 'I was the closest to Brian'p. 118
21 'I looked up to Stu'p. 125
22 'Cyn's having a baby'p. 130
23 'I had to do the talking'p. 138
24 'We sang for twelve hours'p. 146
25 'The holiday was planned'p. 154
26 'I play a guitar, too ...'p. 160
27 'This isn't show business'p. 168
28 'We just walked through it'p. 172
29 'A Hard Day's Night'p. 177
30 'A rock and roll musician'p. 184
31 'We were like Kings of the Jungle'p. 190
32 'Once you plug in and the noise starts'p. 201
33 'Nowhere Man'p. 209
34 'We're more popular than Jesus'p. 212
35 'It's like we're four freaks being wheeled out'p. 218
36 'Our lives had been threatened'p. 223
37 'An imaginary nail'p. 226
38 'Strawberry Fields Forever'p. 232
39 'Mick Jagger wears a codpiece'p. 238
40 'I was scared'p. 245
41 'I am the egg man'p. 250
42 'Flying on a magic carpet'p. 258
43 'I think I'm Jesus Christ'p. 266
44 'Someone as barmy as I am'p. 270
45 'Get your drums out'p. 274
46 'You're not worth any more'p. 279
47 'My prick on an album'p. 287
48 'We hope we passed the audition'p. 293
49 'It was Yoko that changed me'p. 299
50 'I'm leaving the Beatles'p. 307
51 'A crutch for the world's social lepers'p. 314
52 'Free means free'p. 320
53 'I might just as well have been a comedian'p. 327
54 'The radicalism was phoney'p. 334
55 'Imagine' is anti-religiousp. 340
56 'New York is at my speed'p. 347
57 'Don't fuck with my ears'p. 356
58 'To finish off ... we thought we'd do a number'p. 363
59 'If I began writing with Paul again'p. 370
60 'I've battled all the monsters'p. 374
61 'A second chance'p. 378
62 'Wanting to make music'p. 386
63 'Playing guitar and singing'p. 394
64 'I don't believe in dead heroes'p. 401
Afterwordp. 404
After John died what happened to ...p. 407
John Lennon's best recordingsp. 410
Bibliographyp. 413
Acknowledgementsp. 415
Notesp. 416
Picture creditsp. 436
Indexp. 437