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A biography of john lennon a british musician

Mark Lewisohn Then there were girls. Both had shed their virginity and were eager for whatever action they could get. Birdspotting was a way of life and often now a combined quest.

But top of their hit parade, always, was American rock and roll music — hearing it and playing it. Elvis Presley was God, it was as simple as that. John and Paul listened to his records in the way only besotted fans do, thrilling to the minutiae.

  • Early days The Beatles came from Liverpool, England, and were originally inspired by the simple guitar-and-washboard style "skiffle" music;
  • To an almost unprecedented degree, he lived his adult life in public and in highly mediated forms;
  • Both inside and outside the group, Lennon was regarded as the leader and chief image-maker, and his ability to put down pomposity with acerbic one-liners became notorious;
  • The Beatles were also a British success story to be boasted of by politicians particularly by the prime minister Harold Wilson , and they were controversially awarded MBEs in June of that year;
  • The Beatles were at their best;
  • That was it — the entire thing.

Just recently, the Crickets had burst into their lives too, a breakthrough almost as essential. Under their leader Buddy Holly, the Crickets introduced the group sound: It was the start of everything.

Now they would write together. They had to be more shrewd. John would have his guitar ready. There was the irony. And so to the songwriting. Teenagers all over Britain liked Buddy Holly and rock and roll, but of that large number only a fraction picked up a guitar and tried playing it, and fewer still — in fact hardly anyone — used it as the inspiration to write songs themselves.

Paul recalls the method: It was never properly recorded, possibly never completed, and the pair only ever let out the first couple of lines: They called their second song Just Fun. In his neat left-handed script, generally using a fountain pen, he wrote the words they were always words, never lyrics with chords shown by their alphabetical letter.

The Beatles: the birth of the band

But sometimes Paul wrote atmospheric directions. And on the top of every new page, above the song title, Paul wrote: Yet while combining their skills as a team, they remained competitive as individuals, each trying to outdo the other. It became a vital artistic spur: Each tried to impress the other out of sheer fear of what he might say in return. Rex Features John and Paul had an abundance of ambition, and top of their lists was to be rich.

Art college was only a means of delaying the inevitable another four or five years, though he was unlikely even then to have a clear idea how to earn a living.

That was it — the entire thing.

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His house, on a busy dual-carriageway, was a semi-detached suburban villa given the name Mendips by its previous occupants. Conditions at Mendips were different: After the first visit, Paul knew not to use the front door but to walk down the side and knock at the back, which led into the kitchen.

There was always at least one in residence, sometimes three or four, and their need for quiet study meant that Mimi frequently had to remind John to keep the noise down. Also, like her nephew, she was a gluttonous reader and relished peace and quiet.

At this house, John and Paul musical sessions took place in the porch. Mendips, the childhood home of John Lennon Getty Images The McCartneys had always lived in council houses, cheek-by-jowl with the working classes. John had relatives up in Edinburgh and one of them was a dentist — none of us knew people like that.

  1. Paul recalls the method.
  2. It was never properly recorded, possibly never completed, and the pair only ever let out the first couple of lines.
  3. Help was released in July 1965.

So I was attracted to that. It made John mad, and all the more determined to be the troublemaker Jim said he was. And his dad was the whole thing. He treated Paul like a child all the time, cut his hair and telling him what to wear, at 17, 18. And so Lennon-McCartney stood shoulder to shoulder as equals, connected at every level, their considerable talents harmonised, their personalities meshed, their drive unchecked, their goal in focus.

They were a union, stronger than the sum of their parts, and everything was possible. Call 0844 871 1514 or visit books.