Lennon : The Man, the Myth, the Music - The Definitive Life

3.89 (334 ratings by Goodreads)
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Music historian and journalist Tim Riley's biography challenges many popular assumptions about Lennon's life, from his widely misunderstood 'Working Class Hero' origins to his epic romance with Yoko Ono. Riley also explores Lennon in all his contradictions: the misogynist turned peace activist, the moralist who loved to outrage and the 'bigger than Christ' LSD enthusiast who settled down to become a house-husband. A pre-eminent scholar of Beatles music, Riley has consulted some of the most important Beatles scholarship of the past two decades. In a field littered with untrustworthy memoirs, he has culled the most reliable information from hundreds of books, and tracked down even more insightful sources among Lennon's friends, enemies, confidantes, celebrity associates and business contacts. He also writes brilliantly about the music and about Lennon's artistic and creative processes. The Beatles have just enjoyed their most successful sales decade ever, and this book will be a great gift for the Beatles fan in your life or for anyone with an interest in this British music legend.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 784 pages
  • 162 x 240 x 48mm | 1,101g
  • Ebury Publishing
  • Virgin Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0753540193
  • 9780753540190
  • 627,232

Review quote

"This exhaustively researched life of the Beatles' chief cynic, John Lennon, aims to get beneath the surface gloss ... a compelling account" -- Mark Edmonds * The Sunday Times *show more

About Tim Riley

Tim Riley is the author of several books, including Tell Me Why: A Beatles Commentary (Vintage 1988), Hard Rain: A Dylan Commentary (Vintage, 1992, Da Capo 1999), and Fever: How Rock' N' Roll Transformed Gender In America (Picador 2005); and has contributed to Newsweek and The Washington Post, among other publications.show more

Review Text

"This exhaustively researched life of the Beatles' chief cynic, John Lennon, aims to get beneath the surface gloss ... a compelling account"show more

Back cover copy

Forty years after the release of Imagine, Tim Riley presents the most compelling portrait yet of John Lennon. Riley draws on his mastery of Lennon's music and on extensive research from a wide array of contacts within his inner circle, including friends, schoolmates, celebrity associates, press agents and business contacts. Lennon's childhood emerges as if for the first time, detailing his mother's eccentricities, his jarring separations from both parents, his fraught relationship with Aunt Mimi who raised him and the avalanche of deaths that crowded his adolescence. No other narrative has put the reader inside Lennon's heart and head the way Riley does here. As the Beatles developed into the most revolutionary group in rock history, Lennon's musical intimacy with Paul McCartney was central, but also complicated and fraught at times, characterised by rivalry, competitiveness and political power plays for control of the band. Riley also reveals how Lennon's marriage to Yoko Ono bound together both his childhood trauma with a life-long interest in pop art; how he often did his best work during emotional collapses; how his perilous descent into heroin and acid abuse was counterbalanced by his commitment to the Beatles' productivity; along with many more startling revelations and insights. After reading Riley's soaring and detailed account, Lennon's music will never sound the same again.show more

Rating details

334 ratings
3.89 out of 5 stars
5 28% (95)
4 40% (132)
3 26% (87)
2 5% (17)
1 1% (3)
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