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Lennon Remembers (A Rolling Stone Press book) Paperback – 17 Dec 2001
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Over 30 years after their acrimonious split, it is undeniable that The Beatles were much more than a regular pop group; they represented a cultural phenomenon of the 20th-century. For the Fab Four themselves, the immediate aftermath of the band became a time for soul searching and reasserting the individuality once submerged within "The Beatles". Lennon Remembers, an extended transcript of the legendary 1970 interview between Rolling Stone magazine's Jann Wenner and John Lennon reveals this process at its most painful, angry and bitter.
Now re-edited to incorporate previously deleted passages (many of which consist of less-than-vital comments from Lennon's then-permanent companion Yoko Ono), Lennon Remembers sees the 30-year-old ex-Beatle determinedly shattering what he saw as the "myth" of his former group. From their clean-cut image ("[our tours] were like Fellini's Satyricon"), to the reasons for their split ("We were fed up of being sidemen for Paul"), and revelations of his drug abuse ("We were full of junk"), Lennon's anger burns from every page.
While undeniably entertaining, the force of Lennon's claims can also make uncomfortable reading. As Yoko Ono herself notes in her introduction, Wenner's interview sees an insecure Lennon, hitting back "and doing a bad job of it". Indeed, his bitterness and anger often leads to personal attacks on such former friends as Brian Epstein, George Harrison and, most hurtfully, Paul McCartney, that are almost unforgivably cruel. However, throughout there remain hints of an abiding respect for his former musical and personal partners. Indeed hints of the old-gang mentality are revealed as he comments at one stage, "I can knock The Beatles"--his implication that others should have more respect suggesting a pride in the group's achievements that is elsewhere buried beneath the weight of bitter reminiscence.
Thankfully, however, despite his tirade, Lennon's humour and humanity is never far from the surface, and it is this that makes Wenner's interview such an ultimately rewarding read. Lennon Remembers is recommended to all, not least as a revealing accompaniment to the more sanitised version of events given in the group's own "autobiography", The Beatles Anthology. --Steve Price --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Arguably the most legendary interview ever conducted with a major celebrity.
A must-have for anyone who loves and remembers Lennon.
Finds Lennon in fine form, still bitter about the breakup of the Beatles, full of optimism about his future solo projects, opinionated, emotional and full of life. It captures his mercurial character more exactly than any other book on the Beatles I've read.
Lennon Remembers is classic Lennon. It's not a sit-back-and-put-your-feet-up read ... It's a jolt on your nerves like bad, bad espresso. People with weak stomachs should close the window before reading. You might just feel like jumping out. --Yoko Ono, from the Foreword
As riveting a document as it was three decades ago ... there is still nothing to rival this interview in the annals of rock journalism - it has lost none of its power to shock. --Anthony DeCurtis
This is the only voice that will ever articulate what it was really, really like to be in the Beatles when it all went wrong - caught in a moment, rasping, raving, and flaming mad.
"As riveting a document as it was three decades ago ... there is still nothing to rival this interview in the annals of rock journalism--it has lost none of its power to shock."--Anthony DeCurtis, Rolling Stone
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Top customer reviews
What made this 'Rolling Stone' interview special was (1) the fact that the Beatles had only recently split-up, and there was definite animosity regarding this; and (2) that Lennon, who was by this point starting his solo career, spoke so openly about his life and thoughts. Combined, these factors make for a great book - and this edition is a high quality publication.
It's obvious that Lennon's life had recently gone through (and was still suffering the effects of) a traumatic experience. The 'biggest and most successful band' on Earth had just broken-up, and this shook both fans and the music industry. It also greatly impacted upon Lennon - and he was, in many ways, bitter and angry about how things had gone. He was also suffering on a more personal level, recovering from use of drugs, as well as a divorce and a miscarriage.
This is a comprehensive interview - Lennon talks about his friendships, about music, about his aspirations, about politics, and so much else. It is, perhaps, the most thorough interview he ever gave (or at least until the 1980 'Playboy' interview - see "Playboy" Interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono). It's a fascinating read - and I highly recommend it. It's best to read this book and, later, the 'Playboy' publication - as you get different perspectives offered by Lennon: two major interviews a decade apart.
Let me describe what this book is. It contains a fully retranscribed and corrected complete text of the interview that Jann Wenner did with John Lennon and Yoko Ono in early December 1970, parts of which later appeared in Rolling Stone. Much of this material you have never read before. There are also reproductions of Lennon's handwritten notes of song lyrics from the album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, that are discussed in the interview.
In the introduction to this new edition, Jann Wenner characterizes the material here as a new revealing of the truth about the Beatles. John Lennon later said that he didn't really believe everything he divulged in this interview. But it sounds pretty real to me as I reread it now. This is a man in intense psychological pain, and who has been for some time.
What, then, is revealed in the book? Aside from the usual stories about drugs and sex from touring, what struck me as most interesting was that Lennon considered what the Beatles had been a fraud artistically. He claimed that he didn't even like the music.
His other source of pain was the negative reaction that Paul McCartney and George Harrison had to Yoko Ono.
The commitment to peace is described often, and without the anger, pain, and regret that show up with all the other subjects. You feel like that was the only area where he could continually be himself. The interview is laced with constant references to his need to be his real self.
He expressed a lot of regrets about having been a Beatle. The interview contains many stories about how the families of local politicians and police departments would invade their privacy in offensive ways to Lennon.
The interview also goes into the details of the Beatles' breakup, contradicting the public story originally put out by Paul McCartney.
Music fans will enjoy his candid comments about the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and other well-known recording artists.
On the other hand, he is encouraged about the future. He describes his new album with Yoko Ono as his best work. He also finds his relationship with her to be rewarding emotionally and artistically. She is open to new influences, and helps him to be also. We owe her a debt of gratitude for granting permission to release this new book. It must be painful for her now.
His hopes for the future were the most poignant part of the book as he thought about the aging . . . that, alas, he never got a chance to enjoy
After you have finished savoring this searing dialogue, I suggest that you ask yourself the kind of questions that John Lennon was asking. How real is your life? Are you doing what you think is important? How can you start doing better? If you do this, you will be honoring the best part of John Lennon's wonderful legacy to us all.
Be real and be at peace!
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This books is a precious and frankly sacred remembrance of a person who left us way too soon.
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