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Author Topic: John Lennon: The Life, by Philip Norman  (Read 6439 times)

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adamzero

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Re: John Lennon: The Life, by Philip Norman
« Reply #40 on: September 17, 2008, 02:03:39 AM »

Quote from: 1161
More grist for the (rumor) mill:

Sir Paul McCartney Denies John Lennon 'Gay Claims'
by Jason Gregory
15 September 2008


Sir Paul McCartney has denied that his former Beatles band mate John Lennon ever tried to make a sexual advance on him.

A new book about Lennon, who died in 1980, claims that the former Beatle wanted a gay relationship with Sir Paul.

But in a new interview, Sir Paul has rubbished the claims, saying the pair only occasionally shared a bed on tour.

"I don't think (the gay claims) are true. John never ever tried anything, I slept with him a million times,
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alexis

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Re: John Lennon: The Life, by Philip Norman
« Reply #41 on: September 17, 2008, 06:38:57 AM »

Quote from: 1161
Quote from: 9
  More grist for the (rumor) mill:

Sir Paul McCartney Denies John Lennon 'Gay Claims'
by Jason Gregory
15 September 2008


Sir Paul McCartney has denied that his former Beatles band mate John Lennon ever tried to make a sexual advance on him.

A new book about Lennon, who died in 1980, claims that the former Beatle wanted a gay relationship with Sir Paul.

But in a new interview, Sir Paul has rubbished the claims, saying the pair only occasionally shared a bed on tour.

"I don't think (the gay claims) are true. John never ever tried anything, I slept with him a million times,
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Alexis

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Re: John Lennon: The Life, by Philip Norman
« Reply #42 on: September 17, 2008, 07:11:30 AM »

Food for Kevin!  ;D
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Gloi

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Re: John Lennon: The Life, by Philip Norman
« Reply #43 on: September 17, 2008, 10:16:49 AM »

Quote from: 1161
More grist for the (rumor) mill:

Sir Paul McCartney Denies John Lennon 'Gay Claims'
by Jason Gregory
15 September 2008


Sir Paul McCartney has denied that his former Beatles band mate John Lennon ever tried to make a sexual advance on him.

A new book about Lennon, who died in 1980, claims that the former Beatle wanted a gay relationship with Sir Paul.

But in a new interview, Sir Paul has rubbished the claims, saying the pair only occasionally shared a bed on tour.

"I don't think (the gay claims) are true. John never ever tried anything, I slept with him a million times,
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The Swine

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Re: John Lennon: The Life, by Philip Norman
« Reply #44 on: September 17, 2008, 01:00:30 PM »

Quote from: alexis
...your basic male heterosexual pig (Swine, please feel free to chip in).

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Joe

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Re: John Lennon: The Life, by Philip Norman
« Reply #45 on: September 19, 2008, 09:17:25 AM »

Quote from: 1161
The first eye-opener is John's incestuous desire for his mother Julia - a flighty and spirited woman who left him, as a child, in the care of her sister Mimi. (She was killed in a car accident when John was a teenager.) He spoke to Yoko of this fixation repeatedly; he confided it to others and speaks of it in a 1979 audio-diary. At 14 he lay next to his mother during her afternoon rest and wondered how far she would let him go.

I was flicking through Many Years From Now earlier this month, and found a passage early on where McCartney describes occasionally seeing his mother in her underwear, and how it turned him on. It was a surprisingly candid comment, and admirably brave of McCartney to make.

Mother Mary died in 1956 when Paul was 14. Julia Lennon died in 58 when John was 17. The 1950s was a time of far more innocent sexuality than today, when, I'm told, the sight of Bridgitte Bardot in a bikini was enough to preoccupy your average teenage boy for months. I suppose a typically confused adolescence combined with a sexually repressed era may have led to some thoughts and actions which simply wouldn't happen today, now that most 14-year-olds can see all kinds of stuff on the net.

I dunno. Just a suggestion.
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Geoff

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Re: John Lennon: The Life, by Philip Norman
« Reply #46 on: September 20, 2008, 04:16:44 AM »

Quote from: 1509
The 1950s was a time of far more innocent sexuality than today, when, I'm told, the sight of Bridgitte Bardot in a bikini was enough to preoccupy your average teenage boy for months. I suppose a typically confused adolescence combined with a sexually repressed era may have led to some thoughts and actions which simply wouldn't happen today, now that most 14-year-olds can see all kinds of stuff on the net.

I dunno. Just a suggestion.

Quite possibly true as a general proposition, but I think John's comments have to be placed in the context of that particular tape: to me he just sounds horribly depressed and angry, and while his selection of subject matter- mother and musical contemporaries- is no doubt revealing, I'm not sure that any specific comment he makes about any of them can be taken all that seriously: the guy's really out of it. Did Cynthia say anything about John's moods or a tendency toward depression in any of her books?

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alexis

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Re: John Lennon: The Life, by Philip Norman
« Reply #47 on: September 20, 2008, 05:35:34 AM »

Quote from: 1161

Quite possibly true as a general proposition, but I think John's comments have to be placed in the context of that particular tape: to me he just sounds horribly depressed and angry, and while his selection of subject matter- mother and musical contemporaries- is no doubt revealing, I'm not sure that any specific comment he makes about any of them can be taken all that seriously: the guy's really out of it. Did Cynthia say anything about John's moods or a tendency toward depression in any of her books?


Great question. I have a Twist of Lennon, and maybe one of her others, but I don't remember too much about them.

My guess is that the episodes of depression were always there in one form or another. I always felt John's bluster and cruelty (lovable cruelty in the early days) was just his using tools he had, to overcompensate or "get back" at others he felt inferior to. "Although I laugh, and I act like a clown...".  I think he's been quoted as saying something like "Sometimes I think I'm better than Jesus Christ, and sometimes I feel like everybody is better in every way than me". "Help, I need somebody ...". "Half of what I say is meaningless ...". "I can hear them laugh at me ...". Etc.

Signed, Dr. Sigmund Robert

The more I think about it, the more I think Yoko kept him alive, but in doing so sucked all the life out of him.
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Re: John Lennon: The Life, by Philip Norman
« Reply #48 on: September 20, 2008, 05:54:51 AM »

It's great to consider our heroes as being quirky geniuses or something, but more likely, it's some kind of disorder or chemical imbalance. Bipolar maybe? Not quite as glamorous, but sort of makes sense. They were just lucky enough to have an incredible talent to go along with it. Or maybe in the case of Lennon is was just an acute case of an out of control ego. I mean, when you read/listen to his interview, if you listen carefully, he really sounds like a narcissist.

Just in case anyone wonders why I think that:
Dictionary:
narcissism
   1. Excessive love or admiration of oneself. See synonyms at conceit.
   2. A psychological condition characterized by self-preoccupation, lack of empathy, and unconscious deficits in self-esteem.
   3. Erotic pleasure derived from contemplation or admiration of one's own body or self, especially as a fixation on or a regression to an infantile stage of development.
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alexis

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Re: John Lennon: The Life, by Philip Norman
« Reply #49 on: September 20, 2008, 08:55:21 AM »

Quote from: 216
It's great to consider our heroes as being quirky geniuses or something, but more likely, it's some kind of disorder or chemical imbalance. Bipolar maybe? Not quite as glamorous, but sort of makes sense. They were just lucky enough to have an incredible talent to go along with it. Or maybe in the case of Lennon is was just an acute case of an out of control ego. I mean, when you read/listen to his interview, if you listen carefully, he really sounds like a narcissist.

Just in case anyone wonders why I think that:
Dictionary:
narcissism
   1. Excessive love or admiration of oneself. See synonyms at conceit.
   2. A psychological condition characterized by self-preoccupation, lack of empathy, and unconscious deficits in self-esteem.
   3. Erotic pleasure derived from contemplation or admiration of one's own body or self, especially as a fixation on or a regression to an infantile stage of development.

The problem being ...?


 ;)

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DaveRam

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Re: John Lennon: The Life, by Philip Norman
« Reply #50 on: September 20, 2008, 09:05:42 AM »

I thought he sounded like he had gone off sex altogether .
Mid- life crisis also came to mind ?
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Bill Harry

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Re: John Lennon: The Life, by Philip Norman
« Reply #51 on: September 20, 2008, 02:01:35 PM »

Didn't Pauline Sutcliffe in her third book about her brother suggest that Stuart and John had a sexual relationship. This was rubbish. Didn't Geoffrey Giuliano in his book about John in New York suggest that John had a sexual relationship with his mother? All these kinds of rubbishy things have been prevalent in books for decades, so what's new. Basically, a lot of these books are penned by ghost writers who know what salacious stories tittilate readers and also bring them financially rewarding seaialisation in the tabloid newspapers. Pauline Sutcliffe, in an interview in Beatles Unlimited said that the story that Albert Goldman put in his book that Stuart died as a result of John kicking him in the head in Hamburg was a complete fabrication. Then she puts the same story in her book alleging that it was true - and that was the story that appeared in the tabloids
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Geoff

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Re: John Lennon: The Life, by Philip Norman
« Reply #52 on: September 20, 2008, 04:50:36 PM »

Quote from: 1062
Basically, a lot of these books are penned by ghost writers who know what salacious stories titillate readers and also bring them financially rewarding serialisation in the tabloid newspapers.

I think you're bang on: there's precious little in the way of decent writing about rock / pop music, and much of what is available is either indifferent hackwork or nasty exploitation. Geoffrey Giuliano is a fine example of that species of writer, and eight or ten years ago you couldn't go to the music section of any decently stocked bookshop without having to look at a half dozen or so of his miserable titles. It's also slightly perverse that there still isn't a really solid, reliable biography of The Beatles, despite the fact that they disbanded nearly forty years ago.
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Geoff

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Re: John Lennon: The Life, by Philip Norman
« Reply #53 on: September 20, 2008, 05:00:34 PM »

Quote from: 568
My guess is that the episodes of depression were always there in one form or another.

That would be my guess as well, but what's startling about that tape is how despondent he was capable of becoming. I thought of Krapp's Last Tape while listening to it.

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Geoff

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Re: John Lennon: The Life, by Philip Norman
« Reply #54 on: September 24, 2008, 04:59:12 AM »

More bits and pieces....

Lennon's angry outburst 'damaged son's hearing'

A controversial new book claims John Lennon had a temper so volatile his son Sean had to be rushed to hospital as a young boy to repair his damaged hearing.

Sean Lennon remembers his dad in a postscript written in Philip Norman's new biography about the star, "John Lennon: The Life."

He claims his late father screamed into his ear during an angry outburst.

Sean says, "(He was) teaching me how to cut and eat steak, which was a mystery to me at age 4; how to stick the fork in and cut behind it, and that was how you got a piece in your mouth. I think it was that night when he got very upset with me, I think because of something I did very cheekily with the steak. He did wind up yelling at me very, very loudly to the point where he damaged my ear, and I had to go to the hospital."

But the 32-year-old admits his father was mortified by his own actions, adding: "I remember when I was lying on the floor and hurting, and him holding me and saying, 'I'm so sorry.' He did have a temper."

Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and his former Beatles bandmate Sir Paul McCartney have both distanced themselves from the book, which is scheduled to hit shelves later this month.


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=7&entry_id=30598
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Re: John Lennon: The Life, by Philip Norman
« Reply #55 on: September 24, 2008, 09:32:54 AM »

Yoko's distanced herself, and Sean has written a postscript to the book? Hmmmm.....
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Geoff

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Re: John Lennon: The Life, by Philip Norman
« Reply #56 on: October 05, 2008, 04:00:45 PM »

Observer Review of John Lennon: The Life.


Rock from a hard place

Sean O'Hagan
The Observer,
Sunday October 5

It has been 20 years since the last major biography of John Lennon, Albert Goldman's extravagantly spiteful The Lives of John Lennon. Before that there was veteran music writer Ray Coleman's Lennon: The Definitive Biography, published in 1984, which was respectful, going-on adulatory. Blessedly, Philip Norman opts for a tone that sits between the two, though the so-called revelations contained in his account often tend towards the prurient.

Weighing in at around 500,000 words, John Lennon: The Life - note the definite article - tells a familiar tale in exhaustive but often illuminating detail. The book was written with the blessing of Yoko Ono and the tentative co-operation - by email - of Paul McCartney, though both are reported to be unhappy with the end result, which Ono claims is 'too mean' to Lennon's memory.

Other key sources include George Martin, the Beatles' producer; Arthur Janov, the primal therapist who treated Lennon for a time in the Seventies; and Jimmy Tarbuck, the Scouse comedian and erstwhile teddy boy who attended Dovedale Primary School with him. Norman has also tracked down several long-lost childhood friends and ex-girlfriends, all of who testify to the young Lennon's rebellious but essentially vulnerable temperament.

For me, the most fascinating section is the first third, which recounts Lennon's pre-stardom life in Liverpool and Hamburg. Norman is brilliant at evoking the postwar world from which the Beatles emerged and to which their unprecedented global success signalled the end. He vividly recreates Lennon's childhood in Liverpool, and his often tumultuous family environment, providing in the process what is the most rounded portrait to date of Lennon's wayward father, Alfred 'Freddie' Lennon. Freddie has long been caricatured as a feckless drifter but here emerges as a more complex man who deeply regretted abandoning his young son and who craved, but never received, John's forgiveness.

Norman is the first Lennon biographer to be granted access to the private papers of Lennon's celebrated Aunt Mimi, who took the troubled youngster in when his parents' ill-fated marriage finally imploded. He has also made good use of the notebooks the singer filled with his often scabrous musings and the cassettes on to which Lennon fitfully recorded his random thoughts, opinions and memories. The tabloids have already provided some invaluable pre-publicity for Norman's book by homing in on the 'revelation' that John may have harboured secret homosexual longings for Paul. Imagine! Macca, though, is having none of it. 'John never tried anything on,' he said recently. 'I slept with him a million times.' Lest there be any doubt about their laddishness, he added that had Lennon had 'a little gay tendency', he would 'have caught him out'.

There has been much conjecture about Lennon's sexuality in the past, most of it centred on his intense love-hate relationship with the Beatles' manager Brian Epstein. Norman refutes the oft-repeated rumour that the two slept together during a holiday in Spain in the summer of 1963. He concludes that Lennon's 'gay tendency' was aesthetic rather than carnal, and 'based on the principle that bohemians should try everything'.

The book's other big revelation, this time culled from a 1979 audio confession, is that, when he was a hormonally charged 14-year-old, Lennon harboured incestuous desires for his mother Julia. Her death in a car accident, when John was 17, was to haunt him for the rest of his life. Likewise, it would seem, the heightened moment in his adolescence when he lay down beside her and accidentally touched her breast. 'I was wondering if I should do anything else,' he mused later in a bout of post-therapy soul-baring. 'I always think I should have done it. Presumably she would have allowed it.'

Though Norman does not pick up on it, it's the word 'presumably' that intrigues here. Did Lennon assume his mother had no moral scruples and would have reciprocated his advances? Or that her love for him was as fearsomely all-consuming as his for her? Or was it the case that he had transformed this fleeting moment of intimacy between them into something more transgressive in the emotional upheaval that followed her sudden death? Either way, Julia is an abiding presence in this book, just as she was in her son's life, having, in his eyes, abandoned him when she gave him up to the care of her childless sister Mimi and then died on him while he was still trying to come to terms with that first perceived betrayal.

Though he always insisted that 'Help' was 'the only honest song I wrote', it is still deeply affecting to listen to the Freudian cri de coeur that is 'Mother' on his first solo album. It begins with the line: 'Mother, you had me, but I never had you' and is as naked an expression of hurt and longing as anything in popular music.

That John Lennon was an emotionally tortured individual, often consumed by rage, unprocessed grief and a lifelong fear of abandonment, should come as no surprise to anyone who has paid close attention to his often brutally honest and occasionally self-lacerating songs. What emerges most strongly, though, from this epic trawl through Lennon's life is just how emotionally tortured he was for most of it and how his own demise was foreshadowed by the deaths of those closest to him: Julia, Epstein and his teenage soulmate and fellow bohemian Stuart Sutcliffe, who died at 21 from a brain haemorrhage in Hamburg in 1962.

For a while, the music he made assuaged his demons, as did, fleetingly, his dalliances with LSD, heroin, alcohol, primal therapy and radical politics, all documented here in greater detail than before. Likewise, his complex and, for a while, all-consuming relationship with Yoko. The cruellest irony of Lennon's death at the hands of a devoted-to-the-point-of-unhinged fan is that it happened at a time when he seemed to have found a degree of contentment through the simple domestic pleasures of late fatherhood. How, one wonders, would he have fared with encroaching old age?

Fittingly, it is Sean Lennon's testimony that provides the affecting postscript to this biography, which ends too abruptly at the moment of his father's death. I was left longing, though, after such a long and detailed account of John Lennon's life, for some reflection on the deeper meaning of that life, some sense of how, nearly 30 years after his death, he shaped the world we now live in.

This is the best life of Lennon to date, however, if only for its brilliant evocation of his childhood in postwar England, that repressed and essentially Victorian society that shaped him and that he, more than any other British pop star, helped tear down.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/oct/05/music
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Geoff

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Re: John Lennon: The Life, by Philip Norman
« Reply #57 on: October 05, 2008, 04:04:01 PM »

^ Two things, though: I was unaware that John had ever said that "Help!" was the "only honest song I ever wrote," and does he say "presumably she would have allowed it" or "presuming" on the 1979 tape?
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Joe

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Re: John Lennon: The Life, by Philip Norman
« Reply #58 on: October 06, 2008, 12:55:02 PM »

Quote from: 1161
t's also slightly perverse that there still isn't a really solid, reliable biography of The Beatles, despite the fact that they disbanded nearly forty years ago.


Just wait till the three-volume Mark Lewisohn biog comes out. That'll be essential reading, doubtless. Volume one is due in 2010, with the others in 2014 and 2018.
http://www.whatgoeson.com/story.200504041.html

I have quite a dim view of Norman - I think he's quite a poor writer, and some of the statements in Shout! don't stand up to much scrutiny. Also, the introduction to my edition of that book suggested he was a bit sick of writing about The Beatles, so for him to turn his attention to Lennon seems rather odd to me. Doubtless he got paid a nice advance though. I'm surprised McCartney gave it his blessing, though, as Shout! was quite needlessly harsh and partisan about his solo career.
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Geoff

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Re: John Lennon: The Life, by Philip Norman
« Reply #59 on: October 06, 2008, 02:10:48 PM »

Quote from: 1509
Just wait till the three-volume Mark Lewisohn biog comes out. That'll be essential reading, doubtless. Volume one is due in 2010, with the others in 2014 and 2018.
http://www.whatgoeson.com/story.200504041.html

I have quite a dim view of Norman - I think he's quite a poor writer, and some of the statements in Shout! don't stand up to much scrutiny. Also, the introduction to my edition of that book suggested he was a bit sick of writing about The Beatles, so for him to turn his attention to Lennon seems rather odd to me. Doubtless he got paid a nice advance though. I'm surprised McCartney gave it his blessing, though, as Shout! was quite needlessly harsh and partisan about his solo career.


Shout! is journalism, which is to say that its merits are that it's pithy and vivid, and that its defects are that it's full of errors and opinionated. Norman obviously doesn't think much of Paul McCartney, and, like a lot of  journalists he's a sucker for anything conspiratorial or prurient: see the bit about Brian Epstein's death, for example. Still, when Shout! came out in the early eighties, it was one of the few books since Hunter Davies' The Beatles to take its subject seriously and to have been the result of at least some amount of research. I think it's worth having because it's a good narrative, but it won't stand up as reference book. The same will probably be true of his Lennon as well.

Definitely looking forward to Mark Lewisohn.   :)



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