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The Lives of John Lennon
1 August 2019
4.24am
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Timothy
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Expert Textpert said
I will never read a Goldman book. He was a self-important New York jazz hipster and critic with a disdain for rock music and those he considered lower class.

His biographies of Elvis and Lennon are full of lies and were written as character assassinations intended to dissuade people from being their fans.

  

Spot on. I have no interest in his hateful John fan fiction. I’m okay with people telling the truth about John if it’s the real truth, but this book ain’t it.

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1.The Beatles 2.Sgt. Pepper 3.Abbey Road 4.Magical Mystery Tour 5.Rubber Soul 6.Revolver 7.Help! 8.Let It Be
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2020 Most Avid John Fan: john.png

29 September 2021
4.47pm
Toxic34
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I’m okay with people telling the truth about John if it’s the real truth, but this book ain’t it.

  

The strange thing is this: why did Goldman and his ilk seem to think there were skeletons in the closet? John was incredibly upfront about his faults and problems, laying out for the world “I was a real bastard a lot of times.” So his life was basically an open book.

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Rube
30 September 2021
7.42pm
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Ron Nasty
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As Bono said in God Part II

Don’t believe in Goldman
His type like a curse
Instant karma’s going to get him
If I don’t get him first

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The Beatles Bible 2020 non-Canon Poll Part One: 1958-1963 and Part Two: 1964-August 1966

1 October 2021
10.49am
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Rube
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I have not read the book, but I have heard bad things about it. 

As you may know, John’s half sister Julia appeared on Wogan in 1988 to promote her book, ‘John Lennon : My Brother’. According to the interview, she was asked to take part in the Goldman book twice, but refused because she had heard of the Goldman reputation and looked through the Elvis book and didn’t want to get involved in such a book about John.  

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Ahhh Girl
1 October 2021
1.57pm
Toxic34
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I’m not surprised that Julia could sense what was happening, based on the Elvis book.

You’re definitely not missing much in Goldman’s book, I’ve never had the stomach to look at it in full, but the bits I’ve found are beyond infuriating, be they…

-Saying John was untalented on the guitar and was so uncoordinated as to be “virtually a spastic.”

-Saying John was a deliberate plagiarist and that all he could write were variations of “Three Blind Mice.”

-Claiming that John caused Stuart’s brain hemorrhage by kicking him in a drunken Hamburg brawl.

-Repeating the “Spanish holiday” story.

-Mocking Yoko in every way possible, especially by even making chapter titles mimicking a stereotypical Japanese accent.

-Calling John schizophrenic and virtually lacking even a basic modicum of honesty.

-Being the main starter of the “John the wife beater” storyline, by not only claiming that he hit Cynthia all the time, but did it to Yoko as well, including trying to light her hair on fire and push her off a yacht to let her drown.

-Saying that John was a Howard Hughes-like recluse in the Dakota in his final years, as well as a coke fiend who had completely destroyed his septum through snorting a dozen rails up to five times a day who couldn’t even get out of bed.

-Stating that John wanted nothing to do with Sean, and threw him and their cats across the room in anger. (A strange display of physicality for someone who was supposed to be wasting away.)

It’s not only trashy, it’s demonstrably untrue. Not that John was anywhere near the image of the secular saint in public imagination, and John would especially hate that image of himself. But his fundamental honesty, humanity, decency and self-reflection have been attested to by so many people, that you can tell there was far more good in him than bad. Clearly this was a man who was continuing to evolve and grow into something wonderful, and that’s the biggest tragedy of his life being cut down; he never got to reach a true zenith of such a change the way people like Elton John have.

As per the heroin claims, it is known that Yoko had a brief relapse in 1979 that lasted only a few weeks, that Yoko felt ashamed of and wanted to hide from John, both the duration and her recovery; though apparently John knew it all along but said nothing about it. Goldman’s claims are just beyond the pale.

Regarding Jack Douglas, which is a semi-separate issue, I find him credible when he talks about his work with Aerosmith and Cheap Trick, not regarding Double Fantasy . Douglas was a jilted figure simply because he fought over the money the album was making after John became a martyr, and everything he says about that album must be judged in that light. As such, I find virtually nothing he has to say about John and Yoko (particularly Yoko) to be credible. Especially the claims that “John wanted all his songs on Side A, Yoko’s on Side B.” He’s the only person who’s ever made that claim, by the way, which shows how laughable its provenance is. Same way he attacks the way Yoko cracked down on the thefts of property; saying “John gave everything away, these people were respecting his wishes.” How do you know, Jack? You didn’t know him, truly. You were never in the Dakota.

The part that really galls me is when he says comments like “I forgave Yoko long ago.” Fuck all the way off. If you “forgave” her, you wouldn’t still be talking so much shit about her in such a nasty tone. There’s also the fact Douglas acts like he did everything, even though John was co-producing, and to be honest, was effectively more a producer of Yoko’s stuff than Douglas was. The self-importance is quite vile and loathsome. For some reason working with Robin Zander and co. or Steven Tyler and Joe Perry brings out the best, warmest, most humble parts of him, John and Yoko brought out the worst.

You’re still a hell of a producer though, Jack, and if I were an artist who was making music and you said you wanted to produce, I’d say yes in a heartbeat!

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Rube
1 October 2021
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Ron Nasty
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From 1989, coinciding with the publication of Lives in paperback, Albert Goldman and Hunter Davies debate the validity of their respective books on BBC2’s arts programme The Late Show:

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The Beatles Bible 2020 non-Canon Poll Part One: 1958-1963 and Part Two: 1964-August 1966

1 October 2021
5.33pm
Toxic34
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Well this is quite an intriguing televised debate. It also demonstrates a lot of things. Goldman’s Elvis and Lennon books always said more about Goldman than the subjects, even if there were occasional kernels of truth amid the lies (Elvis’ virtual swings between constipation and incontinence due to his diet and the pills, bits of John ripped from other published sources.)

And he was writing about Jim Morrison before he keeled over? If that book had come out, then Oliver Stone wouldn’t have stayed the biggest enemy of Ray Manzarek, to be sure. (And I thought Stone’s film was the absolute worst one could say about Morrison, but clearly you can’t outdo Goldman!)

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Rube
13 October 2021
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Tony Japanese
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One of my problems with this book is that Goldman claims to have spoken to a lot of people associated with Lennon, but he doesn’t cite any of his sources.

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