The late John Lennon's first wife Cynthia recalls her romance and marriage and the rise of the Beatles with the loving honesty of an insider, offering new and fascinating insights.
There's a lot of cruelty (his) and bitterness (hers) in this book by the late Beatle's first wife and mother of his elder son, Julian Lennon. A rehash of the Beatles' beginnings from the wife's point of view, the book reveals that Lennon was a pretty messed-up guy who preached universal love for the world and ignored his own family. Saddest, of course, is the effect of all this on Julian, who writes the introduction and praises Mum for her courage and love. Three marriages later, though, Cynthia still burns with anger-mostly at Yoko Ono, whom she believes brainwashed John. When asked if she was sorry she'd fallen in love with the singer-songwriter in the first place, she writes, "If I'd known as a teenager what falling for John Lennon would lead to, I would have turned round right then and walked away." If only she had let him be. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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August 01, 2006
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Excerpt from John by Cynthia Lennon
Chapter 1 One early December afternoon in 1980 my friend Angie and I were in the little bistro we ran in north Wales, putting up the Christmas decorations. It was a cold, dark afternoon, but the atmosphere inside was bright and warm. We'd opened a bottle of wine and were hanging baubles on the tree and festive pictures on the walls. Laughing, we pulled a cracker and the toy inside fell onto the floor. I bent to pick it up and shivered when I saw it was a small plastic gun. It seemed horribly out of place among the tinsel and paper chains. The next day I went to stay with my friend Mo Starkey in London. I couldn't really spare the time during the busy pre-Christmas season, but my lawyer had insisted I go to sign some legal papers, so I took the train, planning to return the following day. I left my husband and Angie to look after things in my absence. Angie was the ex-wife of Paul McCartney's brother, Mike, and after her marriage broke up she'd come to work for us, living in the small flat above the bistro. It was always good to see Mo. We'd been friends since 1962, when I was John's girlfriend and she was the teenage fan who fell in love with Ringo at the Cavern. Ringo and Mo had married eighteen months after us, and in the days when the Beatles were traveling all over the world, she and I had spent a lot of time together. Her oldest son, Zak, was fifteen, a year and a half younger than my son Julian, and the boys had always been playmates. When Mo and Ringo parted in 1974 she had been so heartbroken that she got on a motorbike and drove it straight into a brick wall, badly injuring herself. She had been in love with him since she was fifteen and his public appearances with his new girlfriend, American actress Nancy Andrews, had devastated her. After the split Mo, still only twenty-seven, had moved into a house in the London neighborhood Maida Vale with her three children, Zak, eight, Jason, six, and Lee, three. Because of the injuries she'd received in the motorbike accident she had plastic surgery on her face and was delighted with the result, which she felt made her look better than she had before. Gradually she'd begun to get over Ringo, and she had a brief fling with George Harrison before she began to see Isaac Tigrett, millionaire owner of the Hard Rock Café chain. The evening I arrived Mo had her usual houseful of people. Her mother, Flo, lived with her, as well as the children and their nanny. Mo always had an open house and that evening some old friends of ours, Jill and Dale Newton, had joined us for dinner. The nanny had cooked a huge meal, and later, Jill and Dale, Maureen and I sat over a couple of bottles of wine and talked about old times. After a while the conversation turned to the death of Mal Evans, the Beatles' former road manager. Mal had been a giant of a man, generous and soft-hearted. We'd known him since the early days when he'd worked for the post office and moonlighted as a bouncer at the Cavern Club. When the Beatles began to be successful they took him on to work for them. Mal had been a faithful friend to the boys and was especially close to John: they got on incredibly well and, with the Beatles' other loyal roadie, Neil Aspinall, he had been on every tour, organizing, trouble-shooting, protecting and looking after them. When the Beatles broke up Mal had been lost. He'd gone to live in Los Angeles where he began drinking and taking drugs. It was there, on January 4, 1976, that the police had been called by his girlfriend during a row. She claimed that Mal had pulled a gun on her, and when they burst into the apartment the officers found Mal holding a gun. Apparently he pointed it at them before they shot him. It was only after he died that they found the gun wasn't loaded. It was a tragic story, and we could only imagine that Mal had