Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Lennon Companion: Updated and Expanded Edition

Edited by Elizabeth Thomson & David Gutman

"Hipsters and highbrows alike have their say in the ultimate John Lennon book." --Q

John Lennon lives on. Four decades after The Beatles invaded America in 1964, and more than twenty years after Lennon's death, his work continues to appeal across the generations.

Lennon (1940-1980) was no ordinary rock 'n' roller. He fancied himself as "the literary Beatle," an artist and campaigner for social justice. The musician who dared us to "give peace a chance," Lennon fractured the barriers between art and entertainment, demanding new approaches to music's role in the social order. His enduring legacy has promoted him to icon status in musical, literary, political, and religious circles.

A man shrouded in myth and controversy, John Lennon led a complex, enigmatic life. The Lennon Companion is the quintessential exploration of Lennon's life and work by a stellar list of writers including Tom Wolfe, Martin Amis, Gloria Steinem, Pauline Kael, and Philip Larkin--a pungent, insightful, and remarkably multidimensional look at the music, the myth, and the mystique.

Elizabeth Thomson and David Gutman have also edited The Bowie Companion and The Dylan Companion. They live in London.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Beatles Around the World

Label: Entertainment Properties Inc.

Taped before a studio audience on Tuesday April 28th 1964, The Beatles participated in this TV special along with the creme of the UK pop scene. The Beatles performed a music set as well as participating in a humorous spoof of the Interlude section of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Apart from this, John, Paul and George were seen miming a trumpet fanfare, while Ringo was seen hoisting the title flag and setting off a canon ball.

The Beatles perform complete versions of Twist & Shout, Roll Over Beethoven, I Wanna Be Your Man, Long Tall Sally and Can't Buy Me Love. They also perform a medley of the following tunes: Love Me Do, Please Please Me, From Me To You, She Loves You and I Want To Hold Your Hand. They finish with a version of Shout.

Included in this release is footage of 2 of the Beatles' most memorable performances. Their 1st USA concert in Washington and one of their last concerts together in Tokyo, Japan. See the true meaning of Beatle hysteria as they perform all their hits to thousands of screaming fans.

These two concert films are a rare insight into the Beatles during their domination of the world music scene.

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Milk and Honey

Thursday, October 09, 2008

John Lennon in His Own Words

by Michael Heatley

When I was about twelve I used to think I must be a genius, but nobody's noticed. If there is such a thing as a genius I am one, and if there isn't I don't care.

From the earliest days in Liverpool, George and I on the one hand and Paul on the other had different musical tastes.

A Hard Day's Night I was on pills that's bigger drugs than pot. Started on pills when... I was 17, since I became a musician. That's the only way to survive in Hamburg.

The Beatles tours were like the Fellini film Satyricon. We had that image.

We reckoned we could make it because there were four of us. None of us would have made it alone, because Paul wasn't quite strong enough, I didn't have enough girl appeal, George was too quiet and Ringo was the drummer.

The Beatles broke up after Brian (Epstein) died.

With Yoko I really knew love for the first time. Our first attraction was a mental one, but it happened physically too.

'Imagine' was a sincere statement. It was 'Working Class Hero' with chocolate on. I was trying to think of it in terms of children.

What worries me is that one day a loony will come up and God knows what will happen then... you never know in America. They're always running around with guns like a lot of cowboys. They think guns are extensions of their arms.

I hope I die before Yoko because if Yoko died I wouldn't know how to survive. I couldn't carry on.

Excerpt: 1945.

John went to Dovedale Primary School: I fought my way through Dovedale. I learned lots of dirty jokes very young. There was this girl who told me them. The gang I led went in for shoplifting and pulling girls' knickers down. Other boys' parents hated me. Most of the masters hated me.

I soon forgot my father. But I did see my mother now and again. I often thought about her, though I never realized for a long time that she was living no more than five or ten miles away.

Childhood: Strawberry Fields is a real place. After I stopped living at Penny Lane, I moved in with my auntie who lived in the suburbs in a nice semidetached place with a small garden and doctors and lawyers and that ilk living around -- not the poor slummy kind of image that was projected in all the Beatles stories. In the class system, it was about half a class higher than Paul, George and Ringo, who lived in government-subsidized housing. We owned our house and had a garden. They didn't have anything like that. Near that home was Strawberry Fields, a house near a boys' reformatory where I used to go to garden parties as a kid with my friends Nigel and Pete. We would go there and hang out and sell lemonade bottles for a penny. We always had fun at Strawberry Fields. So that's where I got the name. But I used it as an image. Strawberry Fields forever.

Living is easy -- With eyes closed. Misunderstanding all you see. It still goes, doesn't it? Aren't I saying exactly the same thing now? The awareness apparently trying to be expressed is -- let's say in one way I was always hip. I was hip in kindergarten. I was different from the others. I was different all my life. The second verse goes, "No one I think is in my tree." Well, I was too shy and self-doubting. Nobody seems to be as hip as me is what I was saying. Therefore, I must be crazy or a genius -- "I mean it must be high or low," the next line. There was something wrong with me, I thought, because I seemed to see things other people didn't see. I thought I was crazy or an egomaniac for claiming to see things other people didn't see. As a child, I would say, But this is going on! and everybody would look at me as if I was crazy. I always was so psychic or intuitive or poetic or whatever you want to call it, that I was always seeing things in a hallucinatory way.

All Things Must Pass: 1970

by Carol Bedford

I remember clearly that fateful day when the decision swung in Paul's favour: a receiver was to be appointed. We gathered at Apple early, to wait. We didn't even know if the three would come by Apple after such an ordeal in court. We just felt that we had to be close to them somehow to show our support for the Beatles.

We saw John's white Rolls coming down the street. We prepared ourselves to be more cheerful than usual. We were not prepared, therefore, to see three laughing guys climbing out of the back seat. John looked like he was crying with laughter. George and Ringo were laughing too. We couldn't believe it. They were supposed to be depressed for God's sake. They had lost the battle. What was there to be happy about? We soon found out.

Debbie came out of Apple to tell us. After the decision was announced, the three were upset. They filed out of the courtroom sullen and dejected and issuing 'no comment' to the crowds of reporters pressing in on them. Once in the car, John decided they were not going to be depressed. He wanted to do something to make them all feel better.

'Anthony,' he leaned forward to his big Italian driver. 'Do we still have those bricks in the boot? The ones for the garden.'

'Yes,' Anthony said. 'I'm sorry. I forgot to take them out last night.'

'Oh, no, Tony,' John grinned, 'don't be sorry. You've just made my day. Drive to Paul's.' John sat back and when he saw Ringo and George staring at him, he burst out laughing.

John refused to explain his good mood during the long drive to McCartney's house. On reaching the house, the girls outside made way for the Rolls to park parallel to and directly in front of the double black gates. John did not bother to ring the bell, but scaled the wall. This started the girls giggling. John came round from the inside and opened the gates. He came out and went to the boot of his car. Ringo and George got out of the car to watch, mesmerized. Anthony moved to the boot and opened it for John. John grabbed two bricks and moved through the gates. He stood a little distance away from the house. His audience of girls, George and Ringo stood silent. No one could believe it, even when they saw it. John threw the bricks, one after another, through Paul's front windows!

The sound of glass shattering filled the air. Everyone, including Paul who was inside, stood still. All of a sudden, George started laughing. He threw his head back and laughed. Soon Ringo joined in. They got back in the Rolls and headed off towards Apple.

When we saw them arrive, laughing, our surprised reactions must have been the same as the girls' reactions outside Paul's home. Our stony silence probably added more to John's thorough enjoyment of the whole affair.

We stood not knowing what to feel now. We had mixed feelings. The three are happy; we are sad. Our group is breaking up in more ways than one.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Two of Us: John Lennon & Paul McCartney Behind the Myth

by Geoffrey Giuliano
author of The Beatles Album, Dark Horse, and Blackbird

The relationship between John Lennon and Paul McCartney was the dynamic center of all that the Beatles did, of all they achieved as musicians and as cultural icons. Books about the Beatles abound, but none of these books have provided more than a cursory analysis of the relationship between these two men, and none have focused so intently on how this often tumultuous partnership affected their songwriting collaborations. Noted rock biographer Geoffrey Giuliano delves into the little-known details of John and Paul's rocky friendship to reveal how what was happening in their lives influenced their songs. He analyzes the songs and the albums, addressing each musician's respective contributions in writing and recording. In addition, Giuliano provides a discography, a chronology, and information on songs written for other artists and songs that were never released commercially. Two of Us is a unique in-depth look at the rise and fall of this complicated and contentious songwriting team.

Geoffrey Giuliano is a celebrity biographer, record producer, actor, and pop culture authority whose more than twenty previous books include The Beatles: A Celebration, Dark Horse: The Private Life of George Harrison, Blackbird: The Life and Times of Paul McCartney, The Beatles Album: Thirty Years of Music and Memorabilia, and, most recently, Behind Blue Eyes: The Life of Pete Townshend.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Report on John Winston Ono LENNON

1. I attach a copy of a note prepared by our Head Office on the above-named, together with a copy of his vetting form. We previously corresponded with you about LENNON and ca 17 February 1972 sent you a five paragraph report, a copy of which is attached also for ease of reference. At the time you were told that the 1972 report could be disseminated to the INS.

2. The information in these notes may be made available to the INS only on the understanding that under no circumstances will it, or the identity of the originating agency, be disclosed to the public or to the subject of the report, or to his representative or employer, in any administrative or judicial proceedings without the written consent of the originating agency.


Since 1972, LENNON has continued from time to time to lend his support to various extremist causes, but does not appear to owe allegiance to any one faction.

John Winston / John Ono LENNON
Born: 9.10.40 at Liverpool
Add: Tittenhurst Park,
London Road,
Ascot, Berks.

1. In February 1971 John LENNON, who was already well known as a musician, gave an interview to Tariq ALI and Robin BLACKBURN who were members of the Editorial Board of the International Marxist Group paper "Red Mole". In this he implied that he was sympathetic towards I.M.G., which is a small Trotskyist group which owes allegiance to the United Secretariat of the Fourth International. LENNON emphasised his proletarian background and his sympathy with the oppressed and underprivileged people of Britain and the world. Immediately after it was published in "Red Mole", ALI and BLACKBURN set about selling the interview to papers in Western Europe, and about £700 was realised from the sale of the rights of reproduction and these were retained by the International Marxist Group, presumably with LENNON's agreement. It is believed that LENNON promised to advance sums of money to I.M.G. in order to finance the establishment of a left wing bookshop and reading room in London. Despite a long courtship by BLACKBURN and ALI, as far as we know, no sum has been paid by LENNON for this purpose to them. LENNON has put it about that his tangible assets are committed to his efforts to recover the custody of his wife's child, who is in the care of her former husband in the United States.

2. Under the influence of BLACKBURN and ALI, LENNON has taken an interest in extreme left wing activities in Britain, and we know [...] that in June 1971 he was introduced to Regis DEBRAY, the French revolutionary journalist, after his release from prison in Bolivia. In April 1971 John LENNON and Yoko ONO were signatories to an appeal to "all progressive governments to support the government of Prince Sihanouk in the face of the extension of the Vietnam War into Cambodia."

3. LENNON has encouraged the belief that he holds revolutionary views, not only by means of his formal interviews with Marxists, but by the content of some of his songs and other publications.

4. He has, however, apparently resisted the attempts of any particular group to secure any hold over him. His contacts with a number of radical groups engaged in publishing "underground" newspapers have led them to believe that he might be willing to finance their efforts. We have no certain proof that these expectations have been fulfilled. The latest in this series of allegations that he is willing to finance such activity is the suggestion in November 1971 that he was advancing £5,000 to make a film about the political situation in Northern Ireland, and that he also sponsored a film made about the same time which dealt with a notorious murder which has been, according to the radical press, to an innocent person who was wrongly convicted and executed some years ago.

5. LENNON is director of a number of public companies in Britain, and any money which is advanced for subversive purposes might well be made from their funds rather than as a direct payment from LENNON. The largest company in which he is interested is the Apple Corporation Limited; another company is Maclen Music Limited, but these do not probably exhaust the number of firms over which he has dominant influence.

The Lost Lennon Interviews

by Geoffrey and Brenda Giuliano

An exclusive collection of rare interviews and photographs revealing new insights into John Lennon's incredible life story--by the world's foremost authority on the Beatles.

1969 was the most productive and eventful year of John Lennon's life. It was during this period that he produced some of his greatest work with the Beatles, including Abbey Road and Let It Be, divorced Cynthia Lennon and married Yoko Ono, embarked on a new career with the Plastic Ono Band, struck out as a counterculture peace politician, and overcame a short-lived heroin addiction. It was also the year when the tension among the Beatles became intolerable.

This book features rare, exclusive interviews with Lennon during this period, as well as exclusive interviews with the other Beatles, Lennon's family--many of whom have never spoken publicly before--and other insiders, including Yoko Ono herself. Also included are thirty-two pages of rare and never-before-published photos of Lennon, as well as one of the last interviews he ever gave, just days before his tragic murder in 1980. Candid and provocative, this extraordinary book offers new insight into this timeless and troubled hero.

"Geoffrey Giuliano is rock 'n' roll literature."
--Charles Lennon (John Lennon's uncle)

"This guy knows more about my life than I do."
--George Harrison

Geoffrey Giuliano is the acclaimed author of numerous internationally bestselling music biographies, including The Beatles: A Celebration; John Lennon: My Brother (with co-author Julia Baird); Dark Horse: The Private Life of George Harrison; Blackbird: The Unauthorized Biography of Paul McCartney; and The Beatles Album: Thirty Years of Music and Memorabilia. Brenda Giuliano is coauthor of The Lost Beatles Interviews; Not Fade Away: The Rolling Stones Collection; and The Illustrated Series.

Monday, October 06, 2008

On Bass Guitar: Paul McCartney

James Paul McCartney is so often regarded as the Elder Statesman of the Beatles--but the fact is that he didn't see the light of day until June 18, 1942, and is the youngest of the batch. Left-handed bass guitarist, profile songwriter, enthusiastic conversationalist . . . lists his favourite off-stage hobbies as writing things and birdwatching.

Paul is brisk, business-like, alert. He looks taller than the others but is actually precisely the same height as John Lennon and George Harrison. Weighs in at 11 stone 4 lb--an athletic sort of frame, topped by dark brown hair. The eyes, always on the move (from birdwatching!), are hazel in colour, deeply intense.


Paul's mother, Mary McCartney, is dead. But his father, James, can take credit for some of Paul's interest in music. Some thirty years ago, he led his own group, Jim Mac's Jazz Band.

Says Paul: "Dad always encouraged me to take up music. He likes our sound, I think--but sometimes says we're away from home a bit too much. He put up with my practice sessions for years which shows he's a brave man.

"Would he have liked to be anything but a musician? Sure--he'd have liked to have been clever!"

Sometimes Paul's career seems studded with things back to front--a habit he's got out of. And of pedalling his bicycle back to front, on the theory that he was actually doing it the right way!

Was Rhythm Guitarist

Paul originally played "ordinary" guitar with the group--and once filled in on piano during one of the Beatles' trips to Germany. His turn on bass came about when former member Stu Sutcliffe died.

"Give me any time to myself and you'll find me listening to American records, specially rhythm 'n' blues," says Paul. "Anything by Chuck Jackson, the Miracles, Ketty Lester, Little Richard, or Marjie Hendrickson of the Raelettes. You can mark down Juliette Greco for me, too--she looks fab as well as singing so well."

Can't Add Up

At school, Paul was a useful student of English literature but was pretty hopeless at geography and mathematics. A feeling of helplessness when confronted with simple sums is something common to all four Beatles. They have always leaned towards the more artistic subjects. And while John Lennon hates hair-cuts, Paul opts out on shaving whenever he can. Once he said he shaved with green tooth-paste--and was inundated with complaints from fans who'd tried it and found it didn't work!

Big Spender

"I suppose I've become a bit of a big spender," said Paul, serious for a moment. "One day I'd like to buy a house and set everybody up in it--but just at the moment the money seems to run away on the little things, like clothes and food.

"I kinda relax with food. Otherwise, I just sleep, or play guitar, or smoke cigarettes. Films? Yes, I'm a fan. I go for Marlon Brando, Belmondo, Sophia Loren, Peter Sellers. Oh, yes--and Juliette Greco.

"These hits records have done a lot for us. Somehow, we always felt we'd make it big one day. But this has been very sudden.

"We owe a great deal to our manager, Brian Epstein, you know. He's good. Astute and sympathetic . . . even when he's driving us very hard. Call him a good lad, dad!"

Paul, since his days at Liverpool Institute High School, has been very matey with George Harrison. They've developed a fast-chatting gag exchange style of conversation which can prove baffling at first hearing. He says he taught George his first guitar chord.


Marriage, one feels, will certainly be for Paul one day. He admits that the idea of domesticity appeals to him, but he won't be committed as to what would be the best age for him to get married. "It'll just happen, I suppose," he says. And leaves it at that.

"I get about 70-odd letters a week," he says. "And, believe me, some of them are very, very odd. I try to answer as many as I can, but it does take time. I hope the fans realise that. It's terrible to disappoint them, but we can only do so much in any one day."

Paul also dabbles on drums and banjo but there's no doubt that bass guitar is his principal interest. It's just that he likes to see how other instruments work . . . so he can understand their problems.

"Song-writing is very important to me," he says. "John and I work well together on this. We don't seem to have any shortage of ideas. What knocks us out is the way some of the top Americans are so interested in working our material."

That's Paul McCartney. Artistic, ambitious. An expert birdwatcher, too!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Beatles - Alone & Together

Label: Passport International Productions

A Fascinating Insight Into The World's Best Known Supergroup, Including Performances And Interviews

The Beatles - Alone & Together is a unique insight into the world's best known supergroup, from their beginnings in Liverpool, to their conquest of the American charts.

Liberally laced with footage of live performances, candid interviews and archive footage of the Fab Four, both at home and abroad, this programme is a comprehensive biographical work.

The Beatles - Alone & Together tells the story of four ordinary men who dared to be different, dared to break out of the mould, showing each of the Beatles' unique backgrounds and talents and how their input made a band that became a worldwide phenomenon. A band that still holds various sales and chart records today.

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The Lennon Sessions: An Introspective Chronicle from the Arranger on Double Fantasy

by Tony Davilio with Mary Vicario

The Lennon Sessions is an intimate tale recapturing the memories as shared by Tony Davilio, as he experiences the once in a lifetime opportunity to work with one of the world's most well known musicians. John Lennon is not only deserving of his long-standing title of rock legend but as Tony discovers and carefully shares with the reader, he is a man of vision, generosity, compassion and humor.

This is a story unlike any told before. To remember John Lennon not only as a man who captivated the world as a mystical and complex character, but as a loving father, adoring husband, and profound musician with layers of laughter and happiness in the last days of his life. To understand him is to have known him and only few did. This is your chance to hear the story as told by someone whose memories will keep John alive in himself and for the world forever.