The Search for John Lennon: The Life, Loves, and Death of a Rock Star

Pegasus. Dec. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9781643136721. $28.95. MUSIC
In time for the 40th anniversary of John Lennon’s death, music journalist and author Jones (Hero: David Bowie)delves into the psyche of the former Beatle by investigating his connections to the most important people in his life. She begins with his bohemian mother and seaman father, both of whom abandoned him, and his aunt and uncle Mimi and George Smith, who raised him in a modest Liverpool home. After offering an account of Lennon’s relationship with his first wife, Cynthia Powell, and friends Pete Shotton and Stuart Sutcliffe, the author outlines the now-familiar birth of the Beatles, the group’s formative time in Hamburg, the emergence of manager Brian Epstein and producer George Martin, and the Beatles’ invasion of America. She ends with Lennon’s symbiotic marriage to avant-garde artist Yoko Ono, his 14-month fling with May Pang, the disregard of son Julian, and the all-encompassing rearing of son Sean. Throughout, the author depicts her complex subject as an insecure, charismatic, cruel, self-absorbed, sex-crazed, creative genius who found a modicum of peace during his final years.
VERDICT Though conducting many interviews, Jones offers few new insights; relies on generalizations, unfounded suppositions, and speculation; and writes in a cliché-ridden, offhand style. Readers would be better served by Ray Connolly’s Being John Lennon: A Restless Life.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing