John Lennon: The Life

John Lennon: The Life

by Philip Norman
4.2 67

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John Lennon: The Life by Philip Norman

For more 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 published.

This 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061980565
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/06/2009
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 864
Sales rank: 221,580
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Philip Norman is a novelist, biographer, journalist, and playwright. He is the author of the bestselling biography John Lennon: The Life and the history of The Beatles Shout!: The Beatles in Their Generation. Norman has also published biographies of Buddy Holly, the Rolling Stones, and Elton John, as well as six works of fiction and two plays, The Man That Got Away and Words of Love. He lives in London.

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John Lennon 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 66 reviews.
Gary_Scott More than 1 year ago
It is a shame that this is the third full Lennon bio to have appeared, simply because it is superb and I fear some potential readers may pass this one over. Philip Norman does what few Lennon/Beatles biographers manage to, he digs into the interior of this complex and interesting soul and provides an exhaustive and multi-dimensional view of the man. I am walking away from this wonderful bio [a very easy read] feeling as if I finally "know" this man I've admired for so long.

Norman seems very sensitive and insightful, and he manages to thoughtfully connect-[some]-dots of Lennon's lifetime in a way I've not encountered before. Normally the childhood & early years of a bio are ones I simply skim over; here, these chapters lay an essential foundation for the life that is to be explored. The author does a fabulous job of fleshing out Lennon's early familial years and bringing that post-war era Liverpool to life ... he does the same with the Hamburg years. Both of these are relatively under-explored and one-dimensional periods of the usual Lennon bio. What I like most about this book is that, while the Beatle years are certainly well-explored, this isn't a bio of "Beatle John." Rather, the man takes center stage while the Beatles and their music are presented as simply a part of an overall life.

There are a few areas skimped over or under-explored, however. The leap from Cavern Club regulars to global stars seems to happen suddenly, without much explanation or exploration. Likewise, I missed any seed-planting related to John's massive leap from "semi-violent Beatle John" to "hippy peace activist." That transformation is just presented without motivation or explanation. I also feel that the Dakota years are relatively under-explored, which is a shame given Yoko & Sean's participation in the project.

All in all, I would highly recommend this title for anyone remotely interested in Lennon and/or the Beatles. I'm not sure John Lennon will ever be fully understood even by those closest to him during his lifetime, but this intimate portrait brings us as close to him as we're likely to get. It truly is a wonderful book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is basically a copy and paste effort, and there were a lot of grammatical errors, which I found distracting.

May Pang's influence on John should not have been underestimated (Elliot Mintz, Yoko's lackey, recalled that Pang never attained the status of being Lennon's old lady). She may not have, but she succeeded in getting Lennon and Julian together to "come together" in what could have been a very meaningful father/first born son relationship. I'm sure that she was glossed over since Yoko had input and I was very sure this would happen. A shame. According to May and very believably so, via dated pictures, she was a part of John's life for a long time.

For any avid Beatles fan, this was nothing that we did not already know.

I was disappointed.
AML1 More than 1 year ago
When I first started reading this book and saw that it is close to 900 pages, I thought I would never finish it. I am still reading it but it's going a lot faster than I thought it would. What an amazing man in such an amazing time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put this book down. Gripping to the end. Highly recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not the biggest Lennon fan, and certainly not the most knowledgable, but I feel like this very detailed and intense book really provided a glimpse of the man behind the celebrity! Very well-written and moves easily through the painful and bizarre periods of Lennon's life. The author gives a lot of attention to the tragic end and I was left feeling like I lost a loved one.
babsb More than 1 year ago
This book was absolutely filled with information about the great John Lennon. It told so much about his childhood and the road to the Beatles as we knew them. I would have liked a little more personal information about his life with Cynthia, and felt that his life with Yoko was a little glossed over. All in all it is THE book to read to know John Lennon as the genius and the flawed human being who didn't always do right by people. RECOMMENDED!
Julieronetta More than 1 year ago
No hold barred describing the characters involved. Very interesting comparisons of how the groups are viewed in England as compared to American idol status. A real education of how a groups can become a sensation or die on the vine. A real "can't put down" book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very interesting and I think an honest portrait of his life. Both the good a daily the bad.
Holdoc More than 1 year ago
I wish I could write a review on this book but I never received the book from B and N. I wrote to them but to no avail. Save your money and shop elsewhere.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Some say this is a cut and paste of things already written. Some say typographical errors are distracting. I don't care so much about such trivial matters. This is a well written narrative of John Lennon's life - all in one place. A very enjoyable read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Your review that was seven pages long could have been done in one page due to how you kept repeating yourself.And stupid me read all seven pages because at first I thought it was a mistake thinking you simply forgot you already mentioned that and then it kept happening.I was curious to read on to see if your review would continue on like this and it did.I could vision you smoking a joint and listening to Sargent Pepper's C.D.What an unusual person you are!!!
BeethovenRH More than 1 year ago
Nothing new in this book. It was copied from the MANY accounts of Lennon's life. What REALLY irks me is the Saint Yoko Ono BS. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very long & detailed biography & I haven't finished reading it. I have put it aside for a while & go back to it now & then but what I have read so far is an incredible life story of a complicated & very talented individual. I will certainly finish it.
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