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

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

Lesley-Ann Jones. Pegasus, $28.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-64313-672-1

Biographer Jones (Hero: David Bowie) delves into the personal struggles of music legend John Lennon in this masterful work. Jones paints a picture of Lennon as a pensive and sensitive artist, but also as a deeply troubled son, husband, and father, who, feeling trapped by his talents and fame, developed a dark side. Jones grants readers an intimate view of the moments and people that shaped Lennon, with a notable focus on the women in his life. Lennon’s mother left his sister to raise him at age five and was hit by a car and died when he was 17; the upbeat song “Help!” is, as Jones notes, one of many cries for relief from the pain of his mother’s death. Lennon’s personal demons, Jones suggests, also drove his creative success and played a major role in his marriage with Yoko Ono: “He was now free to get on with his life in the arms of the woman who made him feel alive.” Even casual Beatle fans will marvel at the disclosures, as Jones pushes back against the narrative that Lennon “gave up music” for Ono. Instead, she writes, he was planning a massive comeback tour in 1981, mere months before his assassination. This survey is groundbreaking in its revelations, impressive in scope, and is a must-read for creatives, artists, musicians, and Beatles fans. (Dec.)