A very good read from the woman behind the man for most of his life.
I had always liked John Lennon as far back as I can remember and similarly intrigued with the birth and longevity of The Beatles. I especially liked the cartoons growing up and found that Cynthia was responsible for this. We are taken through the school years of the two where Cynthia is prim and proper whilst John is rebellious and poked fun at authority whenever he could. The author tells of the humble beginnings where john was in the Quarrymen and recruited the others to join him slowly but surely. There was Pete best and Stuart who were in the band for a while until a meeting concluded to rid them from the band.
Ringo Starr was in another band and it was the engineering of the Beatles to recruit him when he was at a loose end and they needing a new drummer. They were set to travel at the time as they had outgrown Liverpool and the Cavern nightclub where audiences would see them at any time basically they played lunchtime matinees as well as night hours. There were many acquaintances after Brian Epstein took over to manage them as they saw him like a father figure and needed his direction in search of a record deal and contracted business. Identities included Elton John, Mick Jagger, Maurice Gibb, Roger Moore, Dudley Moore amongst others and they moved fairly often. When john was on tour Cynthia was either living with her mum or with John’s Aunt Mimi who raised John throughout his childhood as his father left them early and later his mother had died in a car accident outside Mimi’s house as she left after a visit one day.
One can only draw on the difficulty he faced being raised by a cold woman who never showed any compassion towards him or even a rewarding smile at his achievements in music. She would prefer that he had a normal job that paid money to survive. John saw a light at the end of the tunnel and never surrendered. Upon meeting Paul McCartney they wrote many songs together as the world is aware of. The author describes the difficulties of being isolated from the band and from john during long tours from home many times in Germany where they made their mark and the people loved them. The first time they needed to return to to age restrictions but after that there were rewarding times ahead and there was sampling of drugs to keep them awake and playing for hours on end. They would play up to the crowd making jokes and this increased their popularity.
Cynthia and John married in 1962 and in 1963 their son Julian was born they were so happy about the birth but as time went by John was unable to devote time with his son due to his workload and abuse of alcohol and various drugs he would experiment with. I had heard of drugs in Germany but it went much further than this where Cynthia tried to hold on to her man even using drugs with him but to no avail it would not work well. This is where he went to an art exhibition which included Yoko which was the beginning of the end. After private letters and cards she pursued a married man as shameless as she was.
Throughout the account living with John you would be on tender hooks as he would switch from a compassionate and peaceful person who composed songs along those lines to a darker side whether it was drugs or sleep deprivation his family wore the brunt of it and would give him a wide berth. The sorrowful part was that young son Julian would experience this out of nowhere or fault of his own as John was annoyed easily. Julian would scurry to the protection and solace of his room. This would continue as with deaths of friends as time went by John befriended Yoko much more as when Cynthia returned home from an overseas holiday both Yoko and john had been dressed in the swimming robes that belonged to John and Cynthia as well as a messy table full of scraps she was made to look like an intruder in her own house scurrying to another room to escape the scene. It was there that the author takes us the reader through a much more personal account of separation and the engineered coldness where John would follow her instructions as it were. Her son was born a while later after several miscarriages. Cynthia was pleased and happy for them both as all she wanted was to be amicable friends with John and to have him care for his son Julian.
Yoko engineered everything in John’s life and appeared to be playing the part as a mother figure which was interesting I thought. One of my most favourite songs is Mother. He lost his Mother tragically and even before that her cold exterior was something aligned in Yoko and she would only come out of herself if she wanted to put on display that she was good friends with the ex-wife in front of guests at a party for example of course this behaviour would be met with disgust for what it was worth. In the song Mother he would sing the words, Mother you had me but I never had you. I needed you but you didn’t need me, so I just got to tell you good bye, good bye, mama don’t go daddy come home. There is no escaping the fact that he was a tortured soul privately as from a young age he lost both of his parents and that must have far reaching effects on a young boy growing up and it destabilised his patterns were when he broke away it would stay permanent with no coming back. Yoko and John separated for a good while which I was not aware of and actually engineered who he would see while away from her a young student named May whom he fell in love with. Yoko would keep in constant contact so he was never released from her spell. She would know where and when and what he was up to. He would even refer to her as Mother when visiting his relatives and this is where Cynthia received such information.
John would like to see his son Julian and Cynthia wanted that only too much although Yoko was not entirely thrilled as when visits with his father came around he was given a room right on the other side wing of the house which was dark and not near John. When Cynthia heard she would request changes to be made. Yoko’s son Sean and Julian became close growing up besides the friction that went on around them. This came to the fore when John Lennon was shot dead outside the Dakota building returning from the recording studio soon after the album Double Fantasy was put out. It did not sell well at that time but after his death millions were sold. There was a vigil as the public gathered in the street.Yoko and the lawyers held all the money and estate in trust. After a year nothing was forth coming to Julian. Out of all the Hundreds and Millions of Pounds John Lennon was worth, he should have been entitled with a share to his Father’s fortune as John would have wanted. He was not one to attend to legal or accounting matters and left it to others. In this account he would leave it to Yoko. Julian made his own luck and fortune with a kick start from his mother introducing him to a percussionist friend of Elton John’s. Julian and his band travelled round the U.S and he was able to realise his dream of a recording contract. There were many interviews where he showed anger towards Yoko as he was annoyed with her.
After John died she asked him to be with her to break the news to her son Sean. When she released a press release his words were used and there was no mention of his name as an acknowledgement. He was asked to where john’s cap and scarf so it would appear they were close. This was so far from the truth that she even engineered for her son’s song to be released on the same day as Julian. While she tried to put a division between them this was not possible. At a concert for Julian and his band, Sean was invited out of the audience to play guitar. The crowd erupted into applause to Yoko’s surprise.It was prior to this time Yoko offered Julian an allowance of one hundred dollars a week as she termed beer money. What an insult, Julian was well under way making a life for himself shaping a music career out of the shadows of his famous Father. Cynthia moved on with relationships and remarried all together marrying four times in her life. As a teenager she would never have never got involved with John Lennon if she knew what the future held. She would have turned and walked away