Starting Over: The Making of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Double Fantasyby Ken Sharp
The murder of John Lennon on December 8, 1980, sent shockwaves around the world. The most acclaimed singer/songwriter of his generation, first a Beatle and then a boundary-pushing solo artist, was senselessly silenced forever at age forty; immediately, his final musical statement, an intimate, pop-infused collection called Double Fantasy, released only weeks before his death, skyrocketed to #1 worldwide, as did its poignantly titled single, "(Just Like) Starting Over."
His first studio recording since 1975’s Rock ’n’ Roll—and his first musical endeavor of any kind since taking a much-needed hiatus to raise Sean, his son with Yoko Ono—Double Fantasy represents more than a comeback album to Lennon fans and music critics alike. It captures a cultural icon at the pinnacle of his creative success and personal fulfillment; thirty years later it remains a musical touchstone and an affecting reminder of what could have been.
Starting Over is an oral history of the making of Double Fantasy and the definitive account of John Lennon’s last days. From early demos to sessions at New York City’s The Hit Factory, from the electrifying chemistry of the studio band to keeping the project under wraps to the album’s release and critical reception, here is fascinating, insightful commentary from all of the key players involved in its extraordinary creation: Yoko Ono, David Geffen, producer Jack Douglas, engineers, arrangers, session musicians, music journalists, and even Lennon himself via archival interviews.
Featuring never-before-seen photos of John and Yoko in the studio, candid images taken by David M. Spindel and Roger Farrington, Starting Over is the essential portrait for anyone who hears both a beginning and ending in the tracks of Double Fantasy.
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Jack Douglas (producer)
David Geffen (owner, Geffen Records)
Ed Rosenblatt (president, Geffen Records)
Hugh McCracken (guitar)
Earl Slick (guitar)
George Small (keyboards)
Andy Newmark (drums)
Tony Levin (bass)
Rick Nielsen (guitar, Cheap Trick)
Bun E. Carlos (drummer, Cheap Trick)
Howard Johnson (baritone sax)
Arthur Jenkins Jr. (percussion)
Eric Troyer (background vocals)
Tony Davilio (arranger)
Lee DeCarlo (engineer)
Julie Last (assistant engineer)
Jon Smith (assistant engineer)
James Ball (assistant mix engineer)
Steve Marcantonio (engineer, “Walking on Thin Ice” session)
Rabiah Seminole (studio receptionist, the Record Plant)
Kishin Shinoyama (album cover photographer)
Bert Keane (national promotion director, Warner Bros. Records)
Bob Merlis (publicity director, Warner Bros. Records)
Annie Leibovitz (photographer)
Bob Gruen (photographer and friend)
Paul Goresh (photographer)
Stan Vincent (Jack Douglas’s business partner)
Jay Dubin (director, Double Fantasy recording session video shoot)
Ritchie Fliegler (sound engineer, Double Fantasy recording session video shoot)
Andy Peebles (disc jockey, BBC Radio One)
Dave Sholin (national music director and interviewer, RKO Radio Networks)
Ron Hummel (producer/engineer, RKO Radio Networks)
Laurie Kaye (scriptwriter and co-interviewer, RKO Radio Networks)
David Sheff (music writer, Playboy)
Robert Christgau (music writer, Village Voice)
Charles Shaar Murray (music writer, NME)
John Swenson (music writer, Creem)
Jon Young (music writer, Trouser Press)
Bill King (music writer, Atlanta Constitution)
© 2010 KEN SHARP
Meet the Author
A Los Angeles based singer/songwriter with three CDs to his credit (1301 Highland Avenue, Happy Accidents and Sonic Crayons), Ken Sharp has authored or co-authored over ten music books including Elvis: Vegas '69, Writing For The King, Overnight Sensation: The Story of the Raspberries, Reputation Is A Fragile Thing: The Story of Cheap Trick, Small Faces: Quite Naturally, Eric Carmen: Marathon Man, Power Pop!, KISS: Behind The Mask and others. He also contributes to a variety of national music magazines, works on music documentaries and has done CD liner notes for releases by Elvis Presley, Sly & The Family Stone, Janis Joplin, Santana and others.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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STARTING OVER is a fine, fine book with all sorts of new information and is a fabulous read. Beatles fans have so many book choices, and there's so much repetition throughout the many tomes that keep coming out (I'm thinking of FAB, the new McCartney bio; or last year's John Lennon tome, for instance), that it's really something when a new book appears that is, in fact, full of new information and insight. STARTING OVER is such a book. It's a first-hand account of the DOUBLE FANTASY sessions as told by the participants. Yeah, it's all upbeat and not a bad word is cast, but the reader really gets a sense of what happened. It's absolutely essential for any John Lennon or Beatles aficionado ... and there are less and less new books about those subjects that can make that claim after all this time. And like I said at the top of this post, it's a great read, too.
With a little help from his friends, Ken Sharp digs deep into a treasure trove of never-before-seen or heard stories, images and firsthand accounts of Lennon's final recording sessions. This totally enjoyable read immerses you in the recording studio, alongside one of the most creative and influential musicians of the 20th Century. Full of humor, behind-the-scenes anecdotes and poignant memories, this book also offers great insights on the inner workings of the recording industry. More than two thumbs up!!
This book is filled with fun and engaging memories from the production crew and musicians fortunate enough to have played on John Lennon's last recorded album. Although remembered through the rosy recollection of people that once worked with a much loved and missed musical icon, the book is nonetheless a great read.