My friendly local bartender, Mike, from Burley Oak gave me a copy of Lennon Revealed by Larry Kane. Kane knows Lennon well. He was on both the 64 & 65 Beatles’ Tours. He has stayed connected with John up to 1980. John trusted him and Kane knew all the people around John so he could do interviews with them as a trusted confident. The details of this book are incredible.
This is a very enjoyable book. Kane doesn’t pull punches. He begins with the tragic evening of December 8, 1980, some other interacting stories and then gets right to the core of John’s three main women, Cynthia, Yoko, and May Pang. Sure there were other women during the Beatles’ tours, but the press was more discreet about that stuff than they are now.
John was a troublemaker in a fun and whimsical way at times, and in a more self-destructive way, especially when he had drink or drugs. During his childhood, he was a juvenile delinquent. With the Beatles he was terribly whimsical and oftentimes the clown who could also shock the world with a concise statement that could and would be misconstrued, like the Jesus Christ statement. And then we all came to love him when he moved to NYC and took up the cause to better the world and seemed to threaten the Nixon Administration. It took a while for John to fine tune his skills and his wit and Yoko was very instrumental in that. He took time to grow up and then he was gone.
It wasn’t that he was a troublemaker he was a thinker, an intellectual, a man with questions and answers. During his second American tour, he commented on the war in Vietnam. He was a maverick. Celebrities were silent on political matters, especially after the 50’s and McCarthy. And a member of the Fab Four speaking about politics and the war was really an enigma and bothered Epstein, but John was John. John was ahead of his time. When he moved to NYC he immediately became involved with the Peace movement. Though many members were anti war, John wanted to keep it positive. His association with Hoffman, Ruben, and others scared the US Government and then FBI got involved and Lennon spent a lot of time in courts resisting deportation and gaining citizenship. John’s convictions for Peace and his music became the theme for many in the early 70’s and it still burns brightly today. John was ahead of his time and those like John are called troublemakers because they make us think and make us move forward when the leaders of any time choose to remain blind and wish to maintain the status quo.
The intimate details of John the performer during the early tours are eye opening and informative. We learn so much about Lennon and the boys, pre performance, performance, and post performance behavior and antics. The plane rides are the most fun and engaging. Fears and joys are shared and shown to make John so human. It is a wonder with his phobias, he chose NYC of all places to live, but then it makes sense because he could get lost in NYC not to be confused with his famous “Lost Weekend.” Some highlights for me were that their concerts were only 35 minutes long, they made $150, 000 for one concert in Kansas City which was more than other concerts they gave, and that the Shea Stadium concert for 55,000 fans was the first of its kind. We forget just how many barriers the Beatles tore down. But most informative was the fact that they almost canceled the Jacksonville, Florida concert because the crowd was going to be segregated. The concert went on with an integrated crowd. The lads really did change more than just music; they changed us.
Larry Kane has written a fabulous account of a man who changed our lives. I saw John and Sean in Central Park a couple of times and so admired what he was doing. While watching a Monday Night Football game, Howard Cosell interrupted the broadcast to announce that John had been shot. I lived on Second Avenue and 71st Street. It was late and it was very very cold that night. I bundled up and proceeded through Central Park to the Dakota. A small crowd was already there and someone had a boom box playing Lennon and Beatle music. Candles flickered and he crowd grew as people sang softly, cried publicly, and were so well behaved. The next weekend in Central Park was an amazing gathering of so many people and glorious singing to honor this man. Every year after that, I would go to the Dakota and then Strawberry Fields to lay a white rose on the steps or Imagine mosaic in honor of this great man. Starting in the 90’s because of the Internet and my presence on list serves, I announced my plans to go to Strawberry Fields on Dec 8 and messages from all over the world came in asking me to place their name and message on a sheet of paper to accompany the white rose. In the dot matrix days that roll often contained more then twenty pages of names and messages. Last December 8, I went to Iceland to see the Tower of Peace. What happens ever December 8 at Strawberry Fields in NYC is astonishing and so unique. I don’t know of any other tribute to a man quite like what occurs on December 8 around the world. Oh perhaps Jesus Christ on December 25 in Bethlehem.