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10 thoughts on “John Lennon: The Life

  1. says:

    Love is the only way John Lennon knew Pride In The Name Of Love Martin Luther King knew Love is the only wayGandhi knew All these great men knew Like Jesus in the Christian Bible Love is the only way Not violence, greed, profit, usury, hate, fear, war, rape, vanity, greed, sloth, wrathAll knew that it is Love that is the only way All paid with their lives All assassinated Just like countless others So Love is the real meaning of Truth it would seem Telling the Truth gets one killed.Compassion, empathy, care, understanding, acceptance, community Love Imagine.What would John Lennon make of the state of the world today Would he say I warned you


  2. says:

    In September 2003, I suggested to John s widow, Yoko Ono, that I should become his biographer, writes Philip Norman in the Acknowledgements section of John Lennon The Life However, after reading the final manuscript, Yoko Ono was upset by the book, Norman tells us, and would not endorse it saying I had been mean to John I actually don t think Yoko s got anything to worry about Norman s book is both clear eyed and appropriately sympathetic as it traces the arc of Lennon s all too brief life and career While there s much in here that s familiar, Norman uses both old and new sources to revisit apocryphal or second hand stories most of which are familiar to Beatle fans and determine their veracity He puts to rest, for example, the Did they or didn t they question that has surrounded Lennon s vacation in Spain with manager Brian Epstein they didn t , and accepts as fact many of the stories that expose John s darker side, such as his brutal beating of Cavern DJ Bob Wooler, or the lurid sexual fantasies involving his own mother.There s also quite a bit that s new in here, too or, at least, was unfamiliar to me Norman explores, for example, exactly what business Yoko was doing during Lennon s househusband years she was dealing mostly in mundane real estate transactions, but is also given full credit for shrewdly negotiating music contracts that maximized John s profits and protected his copyrights He also examines some of the theater pieces that were based on Lennon s writings in the 1960s a hidden gem in the literate Beatle s career exposes a charming addiction to board games, and explains about as well as one can the complicated legal wranglings that finally dissolved the band and led to years of hard feelings.For perhaps the first time, too, some of the supporting characters in Lennon s story finally come into their own John s Aunt Mimi who can often come off as a bit of a shrew gets a bit of her own narrative, as Norman uses letters Mimi wrote regularly to a young female fan named Jane Wirgman to reveal just how thoughtful and protective of John Mimi could be, even as she continued to be embarrassed by his antics or appearance You ll also have a better understanding of Freddie Lennon, John s seaman father who abandoned his wife and son, then rematerialized after John made it big Freddie has his own reasons excuses for his actions, but for the first time, you ll have his own words and private correspondence to help you decide whether you buy it or not If there s a complaint I have about this otherwise thorough biography, it lies in Norman s narrative voice Norman s prose isn t ever stilted he s too good a journalist for that but it can be somewhat stodgy he calls the lyrics to Twist and Shout, for example, dippy He also inserts way too many clunky moments of foreshadowing of Lennon s fate, often resorting to eye rollingly lame declarations of irony that are a stretch, at best For example, as the Beatles frolic for a photo session in New York during their first American tour in 1964, Norman can t help but indulge in dramatic voiceover Hindsight gives this routine scene a horrible irony, he writes Just across the park lies a craggy Gothic pile known as the Dakota Building where John would be shot to death in 1980 Later, Norman tell us that for the 1972 U.S Presidential campaign, John pinned high hopes on the Democratic candidate, George McGovern, senator for South Dakota an omen if ever there was one It took me a moment to figure out why this was an omen until I realized it was the use of the word Dakota in the sentence that was supposed to be so ominous.Perhaps even annoying especially to the biographer in me there s no sign of a bibliography, sources, or endnotes, only an index There were several times in Norman s book when I found myself saying Where d you get that and turned to the back looking for his source, only to come up blank Perhaps, at 851 pages, there simply wasn t enough room left But I m sure I m not the only one missing it.


  3. says:

    What I learned John Lennon s parents were terrible.He needed therapy.A lot of drugs were involved, but never, remarkably, during a recording session.John really was a genius.Yoko Ono is not an artist.Writhing around in a bag is not art.Screaming like you re in labor isn t music.I really feel bad for Julian.


  4. says:

    Don t panic I m not going to give you a long boring review I m not very good at that But I will say I just finished reading all 822 pages of JOHN LENNON THE LIFE I think it s an excellent book Well written and very detailed With all my respect and love for Yoko Ono, who withdrew her support for the book because she felt it was mean to John I must say I don t find the book mean to John at all Mr Norman is quite kind in my opinion The sex with his mum stuff that Mr Norman tells us John regrets he never did Well even if it s true Norman doesn t judge John for it and whether one believes it or not doesn t matter That s not important If anything it only adds to the fact that John was a very complex man Most geniuses are Yoko was interviewed extensively for this book and it was she who suggested John may have had a sexual attraction to Paul McCartney One can either translate that as maybe Yoko does not quite understand how close two men can be without being sexually attracted to one another Or well, Paul was is a cute son of a gun hee hee Sorry I promised I wasn t going to write a long boring review You can see I m not good at it All I can say is if you haven t read Phillip Normans John Lennon The Life, for what ever my opinion is worth , I highly recommend it As I said it is a well written and very detailed book If you are one of those who thought you knew everything about John Lennon, this book has some surprises And in places it touches the heart P.S I cried at the ending Just like I did on December 8, 1980.


  5. says:

    This long, in depth biography was engrossing, although for me there were sometimes details than I wanted It began with John s grandparents, his entire family, the culture he grew up in It explains the emotional traumas he carried all his life and how his attitudes developed The culture and current events of the time throughout John s life are told as background and explanation.I enjoyed learning what the inspiration for certain songs were and what they represented John was a very troubled man, insecure, jealous, angry He could be violent and cruel, he was a genius, he was creative, he was an extremely talented artist and writer, he could also be an extraordinarily generous and caring man Partway through the book I decided I didn t like this man But I kept reading The last couple of years of his life he seemed to be contented and happy and maturing, and near the end had finally returned to music He was a loving and caring father to Sean who became the most important person in his life for a short 5 years He was at long last optimistic about the future and planning a long awaited visit to Liverpool with Sean and Yoko when he was tragically killed I cried.I recommend this book wholeheartedly.


  6. says:

    An incredibly thorough and well researched look at the entire stretch of John Lennon s furiously artistic and much too short life The man s frustrations, interests, facility with language, playfulness, and distressing mood swings are documented in the full, and the story will leave you feeling his loss even keenly than before The insights I gained here will stick with me for life A truly balanced and remarkable work For anybody with than a passing interest in the man.


  7. says:

    I am a massive admirer of the work of John Lennon So I sought after a biography, with this one promptly displayed The massive size 800 pages appealed to me Little did I know what I was in forFirst of, the reason for the three stars It IS immersive and very readable I found the later chapters to almost redeem the earlier issues, and the handling of his assassination to be truly heart breaking, especially the well thought of call back that closes the final chapter.That being said, this is still a very detailed, dense slash and burn tabloid book at heart The author seems to relish in the darker aspects, merrily flinging them at the reader, as if to say, Do you still like him How about NOW It is completely vicious, with no regards to the possibility of hearsay that could ve existed from the sources complied John is the evil demon to the angel that was his first wife Cynthia, even though his second marriage out lived hers The author even had the nerve to possibly blame Stu Suttcliffe death on him A blankly unsubstantiated rumor Not only must we bear witness to all the dirt, with little to no positive counterpoints, but we also have to endure Mr Norman s half baked reviews on Lennon s body of work The initial response to his lambasting of Imagine was for me to throw the book across the room A journalist at heart, Norman s book is a vile piece of work, that somewhat saves itself from being true trash in the end, but this is certainly a heartless collection of vitriol, designed to sell copies through controversy, than actually presenting a fair and balanced account of a truly important figure in time.


  8. says:

    Wonderfulglad I finished it.I was engrossed..having a love of the Beatles, and of John motivated me to finish this book A bit long..but it goes into all the complexities of John s life,and the man certainly lived quite a lifeA lot to tell.I enjoyed it If you are a fan.this is a must read for you..


  9. says:

    Oh not another hatchet job on John, yes folks, it is I should Have Know Better Nothing new to report in this book Same stories we have heard and read before I was hoping for I did not like this book for several reasons.


  10. says:

    Almost two months after I read it, the brilliance of this biography stayed with me and I thought about something from its contents daily Philip Norman, who first dazzled me in the early 1980s with his Shout The Beatles in Their Generation, has achieved a depth and greatness with this work that sets a benchmark for all biography, in my opinion.The first thing that transported me was, as always, the quality of the writing Norman uses a wider vocabulary than most writers, and almost never falls back upon default phrasing Note, for example, this sentence about a talent agent p97 Levis was an oleaginous Canadian, known in glamour hungry and credulous postwar Britain as Mister Star maker This is the way, with a simple factual sentence, that Norman can recreate an entire milieu to give resonance to the life and times He packages such richness with such economy.Norman s evocation of 1950s Liverpool is nothing short of masterful For that alone, the book is worth reading He did his research He digs up everybody, even the model who posed for Lennon s life studies class in art college Impressive It forms a vibrant backdrop for his portrayal of the vividly imaginative boy who lost himself for hours in Lewis Carroll and Richmal Crompton, author of several adventure stories about a rebellious naughty boy named William Brown It also gives good perspective from which to understand how barbaric America must have seemed to the good folk of England, a land where Bible quoting zealots shot at Lennon s airplane just because he indulged in thoughtful speculation about religion in an interview.One effect of reading this biography is the feeling of being at a family reunion where you learn shocking secrets We learn two major stunners about Lennon s Aunt Mimi in quick succession that Lennon himself never knew both revelations certainly made my eyes fly open Challenging Lennon s long held and hurtful belief that he had been unwanted as a child, Norman argues that he was in fact loved dearly by many warring family members, and backs up the assertion with eyewitness accounts such as the one from cousin Liela, who personally saw his mother Julia fight bitterly against Mimi for custody of John Most profoundly, Norman rehabilitates Lennon s father Alfred, formerly thought in accordance with Aunt Mimi s public account to be a ne er do well who deserted John The biography gives Freddie Lennon the opportunity he long wanted to demonstrate that he had, in fact, gone to great efforts to love and provide for John, in childhood and beyond, and we readers feel the peace along with the family when we learn that John learned this truth before he died In the Freddie Lennon passages than any other, we feel how important it is to set the record straight even after the death of the subject It may not be in time to bring John comfort, but these are real people, real families, and their truths are sacred.Speaking of which, Norman gazes clear eyed at the rotten aspects of John Lennon, despite his obvious appreciation of the man s genius and lovability Of course, the worst thing he did was neglect his first son Julian, and Julian s mother Cynthia, and to see the painful contrast with the loving fathering he provided second son Sean aches just as much now as it did 30 years ago But Norman also tells of two people Lennon almost beat to death one, the older impresario Bob Wooler, for making a homophobic crack about Lennon s solo vacation with gay manager Brian Epstein, and the other, Lennon s dearest friend Stu Sutcliffe Lennon was infamous for his wounding verbal attacks, but the physical violence of his earlier days is even harder to reconcile with his peace loving persona.Speaking of Brian Epstein, Norman settles the speculation that has intrigued many for decades on that two man trip to Barcelona, did or did they not consummate the love and attraction that Epstein felt for Lennon After carefully presenting the differing accounts that Lennon provided to various intimates, Norman concluded that they did not and convinced me utterly by stating that he was accepting as ultimately true the version that Lennon recounted to the unshockable woman with whom he shared the last decade of his life Considering that the undoubtably heterosexual Lennon discussed with Yoko whether he should have initiated an affair with Paul McCartney just because beatniks should experience everything, I tend to believe him when he told Yoko that he didn t respond to Epstein.After his time travel back to mid century Liverpool, Norman s best writing in the book comes in the passages of musical history and critique, unsurprisingly, since that writing has been his career He must have written thousands of pages about Lennon s music, yet these treatments read as new and fresh.The book had two flaws that bothered me, but both were minor indeed One was the sloppy editing toward the end of the tome often you find words missing, creating the impression that the author has a tendency to compose on the computer and think faster than he can type, his mind leapfrogging over the words to catch inspiration before it flies away I don t know if they were up against deadline or the proofreader was simply overcome by the weight of the volume, but this was noticeable enough to be slightly disruptive and will have to be fixed for future editions The other was Norman s use of a conceit that worked better for him in Shout , of heavily foreshadowing major events to introduce feelings of destiny, fate, and doom It doesn t work as well here, partly because it feels clumsy did the telling of this life really need much narrative assistance, anyway and partly because, by the end, well, I don t want Lennon s death foreshadowed Please.Having rehabilitated Freddie Lennon s image, Norman then renders the same service, subtly and quite lovingly, for the story of John and Yoko It s so easy to caricature that love Was Yoko the crazily controlling banshee reported by May Pang, the young woman with whom John had an affair during the marriage We see Yoko here as the wife trying to make heads or tails of how to be married to John Lennon, making it up as she went along, rather bravely The infamous primal scream therapy were John and Yoko, in fact, rolling around on floors screaming, the way I pictured It turns out that it was just therapy, just talking to a doctor and sorting out the abandonment issues, and although it could not continue for as long as Lennon needed, it was greatly beneficial My gosh, they were just two people, John and Yoko They had a life Norman demystifies it beautifully And then it came over me, how huge of a debt I owe Yoko, as I live with my white husband and we parent our two half white, half Asian children She did it first, and in public She braved the racism and the abuse for all of us Thank you, Madam Ono.The finishing coup of the book is the sparkling, forthcoming interview with Sean Lennon, so human and real For years decades, I guess it brought me comfort to think that Sean Lennon would hear the lullaby Beautiful Boy and know that, irrevocably gone though he was, his father had loved him After reading this interview, though, and playing the Double Fantasy album, I found that exquisite love song well near unlistenable It can t bring him comfort if it hurts too much to even hear The funny thing about reading of Lennon s househusband years is that the account comes closer to my experience of stay at home mothering than any other I ve read The expected tenderness and quirkiness is there, of course for some reason, Sean reports, John was intent on teaching Sean how to pick things up with his toes We read that John was fierce about Sean getting sufficient sleep, and I identified with that than anything, the way I can get frantic or enraged when anything disturbs my babies naptimes, so that I laughed at the account of John scolding Paul and Linda McCartney for ringing the doorbell at the Dakota at 9 PM one night And then, to my surprise, there s a story of toddler Sean having to go to the hospital to get his hearing checked because John had yelled at him so loudly for misbehaving at the table I ve lost my temper with my kids, too, and it s easy to imagine that John suffered severe remorse afterward.I didn t know that the Lennon songs on Double Fantasy were composed while John and Sean were on a Yoko less sailing vacation That explains all the sea imagery in the music.I don t want to end the review I don t want him to have died He died happy.


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John Lennon: The Life download John Lennon: The Life, read online John Lennon: The Life, kindle ebook John Lennon: The Life, John Lennon: The Life a668c63354e3 For Than A Quarter Century, Biographer Philip Norman S Internationally Bestselling Shout Has Been Unchallenged As The Definitive Biography Of The Beatles Now, At Last, Norman Turns His Formidable Talent To The Beatle For Whom Being A Beatle Was Never Enough Drawing On Previously Untapped Sources, And With Unprecedented Access To All The Major Characters, Norman Presents The Comprehensive And Most Revealing Portrait Of John Lennon Ever PublishedThis Masterly Biography Takes A Fresh And Penetrating Look At Every Aspect Of Lennon S Much Chronicled Life, Including The Songs That Have Turned Him, Posthumously, Into A Near Secular Saint In Three Years Of Research, Norman Has Turned Up An Extraordinary Amount Of New Information About Even The Best Known Episodes Of Lennon Folklore His Upbringing By His Strict Aunt Mimi His Allegedly Wasted School And Student Days The Evolution Of His Peerless Creative Partnership With Paul McCartney His Beatle Busting Love Affair With A Japanese Performance Artist His Forays Into Painting And Literature His Experiments With Transcendental Meditation, Primal Scream Therapy, And Drugs The Book S Numerous Key Informants And Interviewees Include Sir Paul McCartney, Sir George Martin, Sean Lennon Whose Moving Reminiscence Reveals His Father As Never Seen Before And Yoko Ono, Who Speaks With Sometimes Shocking Candor About The Inner Workings Of Her Marriage To John A Haunting, Mammoth, Terrific Piece Of Work New York Times Honest And Unflinching, As John Himself Would Wish, Norman Gives Us The Whole Man In All His Endless Contradictions Tough And Cynical, Hilariously Funny But Also Naive, Vulnerable And Insecure And Reveals How The Mother Who Gave Him Away As A Toddler Haunted His Mind And His Music For The Rest Of His Days