As the occasion of John’s 80th birthday approached, author Aidan Prewett set out to record and document the enclosed collection of interviews with friends and colleagues of John Lennon. The crux of each interview was: What was it like to know John? To call him a friend? To have him call you a friend? We began our conversations with an inquiry: Is there one moment you shared with John that has really stuck with you after all these years? It turned out there were a great many stories waiting to be told. The conversations took interesting and unexpected turns, from falling asleep on the London Underground with John, to hiding in a closet with John to escape the followers of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
This is a celebration – and in that spirit, this is also a portrait of the people John chose to surround himself with. How did they come to know John? What was their background at the time? What have they achieved since? So unfolds a story of professionals at the top of their game: Grammy winning musicians and industry icons; film and theatre directors; television executives; award-winning actors, authors and journalists.
Each interview has been approached as a conversation, allowing some ebb and flow in an attempt to draw out the most wonderful, interesting and insightful John Lennon stories. In each case, interviewees went into great detail and revealed telling, poignant moments that have seldom – if ever – been brought to light before. Many of these stories have remained untold simply due to their qualitative – rather than quantitative – nature. They deal in the nature of friendship and personal connection.
This project’s main focus is to capture a feeling. What did it feel like to ride in the back of a Rolls Royce with John, singing the old favourite rock ‘n’ roll songs together? What did it feel like to be alone in the mastering suite with John, playing back the most recent mixes from Walls & Bridges and Rock ‘n’ Roll? What did it feel like to hang out at the Dakota building, or at Tittenhurst Park?
What emerges is an intimate portrait of John in his private life, spending time with his friends and colleagues. His sense of humor often comes to the fore. His reputation among journalists for being cynical or scathing is rarely seen. With only a few exceptions, John is described as being generous, noble and charming. This is how his friends remember him. For John’s 80th birthday, this book is a celebration among those who knew him.
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