John Lennon: In My Life was written by John Lennon‘s childhood friend and original Quarrymen member Pete Shotton. They met in 1946, when they were the tender age of 6 years old while John was living at his Aunt Mimi and Uncle George’s. John and Pete would remain closed friends and confidants up until John’s death in 1980. And anyone that knows anything about John Lennon, knows that long relationships of any kind were something very rare for Lennon, making this story unusual.
From the get go, the team of Shotton and Lennon (or as John would call them Shennon and Lotton) spelled mayhem wherever they went. Two young boys with very strong personalities, blood brothers, came together, both encouraging each other antics…they were to keep both their parents and teachers on their toes. Throughout their early years in Liverpool, both would be blamed for leading the other astray, all the while, pushing the limits and laughing their way through their childhood and teenage years.
I loved the honesty in this book. Pete tells all the wildest and craziest stories from his and John’s days growing up in Liverpool. Anyone that wants to know the very dirtiest of details about John, needs to own a copy. This isn’t to say that the book is without it’s problems, especially when Pete seems to take exception to John’s dad and Cynthia’s mom both being supported by John. I do believe this is what is widely known as the pot calling the kettle black and any good Beatles fans could tell you that the whole staff (which included Pete Shotton) at Apple Corps in 1968 were living the ‘high’ life off of John, Paul, George and Ringo! Then again, the team of Shennon and Lotton were never known for the respect of parents or authority figures.
Kudos to Pete for telling the world when John whacked off for the first time and for telling us what John said REALLY happened in Spain with Brian! And for that reason…
I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beatles!
You can purchase a used paperback copy of In My Life for under $10 on Amazon or Half.com.
By the time this review is scheduled to post, I’ll be on a 4 day silent retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Trappist, KY. I considered taking another Beatles book with me to review, but decided to leave work at home while I contemplate world peace. Enjoy the review.
Derek…Derek…Derek! Every book I’ve read about the Beatles mentions Derek Taylor. One author even went so far as to say Derek is the real fifth Beatle! Derek was Brian Epstein’s personal assistant before becoming the press agent for the Beatles. Then he quit…then he came back again. In that time, he wrote two books. This is a review of his first book, As Time Goes By.
As Time Goes By by Derek Taylor is a 181 page memoir of Derek’s life in the music business from 1968-1971, with a lot of stories before and after those years. This was Derek’s first memoir, his second was titled – Fifty Years Adrift and a third book, It Was Twenty Years Ago Today, about the anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s album was published in 1987. He also helped George Harrison write his autobiography, I, Me, Mine.
I don’t know that As Time Goes By is the right title for this book. After several chapters, I started to think it should be called ‘Everybody Must Get Stoned’ or ‘I Get High With A Little Help From My Friends’ or ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.’ It would seem from what I read in these pages, that Mr. Taylor spent most of his working years in an altered state of consciousness. He even goes so far as to refer to himself on several occasions as an acid-head or pot-head. His stories are great, but they come in no real chronological order. The book seems to just be random memories and anecdotes of him and famous people.
Is it a good book? Meh. Is it a fun book? Yes. Is it weird as hell? Oh, hell yeah! Will I read his other books? Only time will tell since I’m still trying to figure out what I just read. What a long strange trip it’s been…
You can find a used copy of As Time Goes By on Amazon for less than $3 if you choose to go down that rabbit hole.
I rate this book: 2 out of 4 Beetles!
You can read more about Derek Taylor on Wikipedia.