John Lennon: The Life by Philip NormanJohn Lennon: The Life by Philip Norman

John Lennon: The Life

byPhilip Norman

Paperback | October 6, 2009

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National Bestseller

Drawing on previously unknown sources, unpublished letters, and unprecedented access to all the key figures, author and journalist Philip Norman gives us the most complete and revealing portrait of John Lennon that is ever likely to be published.

For this masterpiece of biography, Philip Norman set himself the challenge of looking afresh at every aspect of Lennon’s much-chronicled life. He has not just dug deep into the archives, including his own vast collection of tapes and notebooks dating back to the 60s, but spoken to hundreds of witnesses, from every walk of life and every stage of Lennon’s. The interviewees include Sean Lennon, whose moving reminiscences reveal his father as never before, and Yoko Ono, who speaks with sometimes shocking candour about her marriage to John.

In his brilliant Shout!, we were shown a band; in John Lennon, Philip Norman gives us a portrait of a man. It reconciles as never before the contradictions of this endlessly fascinating character–the volatile and violent hippie, the phenomenally wealthy advocate of no possessions, the family man and junkie–and his journey from Liverpool suburbia to becoming one of the presiding geniuses of pop culture.


From the Hardcover edition.
Philip Norman is the author of Shout!–The Beatles in Their Generation, and biographies of the Rolling Stones, Elton John, and Buddy Holly. He has also published four novels, two collections of short stories, and a memoir of his seaside childhood, Babycham Night.From the Hardcover edition.
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Title:John Lennon: The LifeFormat:PaperbackDimensions:864 pages, 9 × 6.3 × 1.5 inPublished:October 6, 2009Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385661010

ISBN - 13:9780385661010

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from All you readers, John. I cannot imagine any other book about John Lennon that will have as much detail or be as well researched and written as this one. In fact it may be as much considered an authoritative history of popular music from 1940-1980 as an authority on the life and influences (both those who influenced or were influenced by) of this great artist. I cannot recommend it highly enough!
Date published: 2014-03-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting An interesting perspective on a great man's life. It appears at times that the author may not be Lennon's greatest fan.
Date published: 2010-03-07

Read from the Book

Before leaving London for the Sweet Toronto Peace Festival in September 1969, John had finally made up his mind to resign from the Beatles. But the whirl of departure had left no time to break it to the other three.On September 20, Klein called a meeting in Apple’s boardroom for the formal signing of the Capitol contract. For the first time in months that John had all his fellow Beatles on hand to hear his news. But initially he held back, confining himself to a generalized complaint about Paul’s dominance of the band since the Magical Mystery Tour album. “I didn’t write any of that except Walrus . . . ” His tone was more hurt than accusatory. “So I didn’t bother, you know, and I thought I don’t really care whether I was on or not, I convinced myself it didn’t matter, and so for a period if you didn’t invite me to be on an album personally, if you three didn’t say, ‘Write some more songs ’cause we like your work,’ I wasn’t going to fight.”The insecurity and fatalism revealed in this outburst were surprising enough. But John did not stop there. Warming to his theme – though still wounded rather than angry – he accused Paul of always having overshadowed him, not only by writing more songs but also by inveigling the lion’s share of studio time. It was not a row, more like the airing of mutual grievances before a marriage counselor. Surprised, and not a little hurt himself, Paul conceded that he might have “come out stronger” on recent albums, but pointed out that often when they went into the studio, John would have only a couple of songs ready to record. John agreed his inertia had been a factor: “There was no point in turning ’em out – I didn’t have the energy to turn ’em out and get ’em on as well.”Paul was all for burying hatchets and pressing forward, convinced all would be well if they could free themselves from balance sheets and office politics. “When we get in a studio, even on the worst day, I’m still playing bass, Ringo’s still drumming, we're still there, you know. . . .”It was the cue for John’s bombshell. “He hadn’t even told me he was going to do it,” Yoko remembers. “John said, ‘You don’t seem to understand, do you? The group is over. I’m leaving’ ““I started the band, I disbanded it. It’s as simple as that,” John himself would recollect. “I must say I felt guilty at springing it on them at such short notice. After all, I had Yoko; they only had each other.”According to music-industry wisdom in 1969, not even the Beatles could split up and expect to continue selling records in significant quantity. It was therefore vital that no word of John’s resignation should leak out until the Abbey Road album had realized its full market potential. “Paul and Klein convinced him to keep quiet,” Yoko remembers. “We went off in the car, and he turned to me and said, ‘That’s it with the Beatles. From now on, it’s just you – okay?’ I thought, ‘My God, those three guys were the ones entertaining him for so long. Now I have to be the one to take the load.’ ”From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

“Norman is brilliant at evoking the postwar world from which the Beatles emerged and to which their unprecedented global success signaled the end…. This is the best life of Lennon to date.”— The Guardian (UK)“[A] well-crafted and altogether magisterial biography. A rich, rewarding portrait of a brilliant man.”— The Washington Times“Mammoth and marvelous.” — Edmonton Journal“[Norman] has uncovered much new material in his research for this impressive and highly readable book. It is greatly to Norman’s credit as a biographer that he does justice to all of it in a book whose 854 pages simply fly by.”— Sunday Times (UK)“Powerful and heartfelt.”— Washington Post“Epic.”— National PostFrom the Hardcover edition.