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A hard day’s read

Terri Schlichenmeyer

What were you doing on February 9, 1964?

If you were under the age of 18 on that day, chances are you were sitting inches away from the TV; so close, in fact, that your dad was hollering about how you were ruining your eyes, watching those darn Mop Tops on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Did you know that John Lennon hated that moniker, “Mop Top?” That’s just one juicy little fact in the new memoir “Lennon Revealed” by Larry Kane.

When Larry Kane got the news assignment to cover a bunch of musicians for his radio-station employer, he was not happy. Kane imagined himself a “serious journalist,” and these musicians were not serious. Nevertheless, he joined the tour with four young men from Liverpool. It was a trip that would last for decades.

Kane became good friends with John Lennon, and he followed Lennon’s career from that day in 1964 until the night Lennon was gunned down outside his apartment building. Over the years, Kane and Lennon had disagreements. Lennon spoke out vehemently against the Vietnam War; Kane joined the U.S. Air Force Reserve and served his country. Kane took a lesser job to spend time with his family; Lennon, who was a “stay-at-home dad” at the time, initially became angry over Kane’s decision.

While the two remained friends despite their differences, Kane says that Lennon had two women and a man who most influenced his life. Although Beatles fans vilify Yoko Ono, Kane says that she was the driving force behind Lennon’s creative genius. Then there was the gentle and loving May Pang, who Kane says was Lennon’s nurturer. Beatles fans may not realize it, but Ono pushed Lennon into the affair with Pang, according to Kane, and although many people said that the affair ended in the 1970s, Kane says that it continued until Lennon’s death in 1980.

And then there was the man that Kane says was Lennon’s best friend and the man he loved most: Stu Sutcliffe, who was considered to be one of the “original” Beatles. Curiously, although friends of the two say that Lennon loved Sutcliffe very much, Lennon once beat Sutcliffe to within an inch of his life. To this day, Sutcliffe’s family is angry about Lennon’s behavior.

“Lennon Revealed” is one of those books that can be both frustrating and satisfying. Author Larry Kane jumps around a lot in his chapters, bouncing from 1964 to 1980 to 1971 and back again, which means you may need to switch gears quickly while you’re reading. On the other hand, Beatles fans won’t have any problem following along, and the nuggets of information that Kane metes out are deliciously fun to read.

If you are not a Beatles fan, you’ll find this book a hard day’s night to read. If you grew up coveting Beatles boots, arguing over who was the cutest Beatle, or trying to sneak long hair past your dad, then this book definitely shines on for you.


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