Thursday, February 02, 2006

Beatles update

Let me summarize the first 450 pages of the new Beatles biography:

John Lennon was a real poo-poo head.

There is more to it than that, and it's a fun read, but I'm surprised that I'm surprised at what a complete tool he can be, over and over. First, he hates women, hiding from his young wife and son as much as possible; however, he hates them only a little less than he hates himself, I think. All the drinking and the anger and what-not--I don't think he sounds like a very happy fellow.

A big part of me thinks that he only got to be in the band because he was a couple of years older than Paul and George and they looked up to him. They were kids and he was this older, cool, tough guy who gave them the time of day. He needed them because they actually knew how to play their instruments.

Sure, he's a genius blah blah blah, and he had a good wit, but, well, we'll see. I'll finish the book before I draw any more conclusions. Maybe a more sympathetic portrait will come out.


A.T. said...

Lennon wasn't that much older then George and Paul. At least that's what the "Meet The Beatles" Album says. Hmm I have been looking for a Beatles book to read. I am still not sure which one to pick up though. But that one does sound interesting.

Mr. Hill said...

Two years isn't that much, you're right, but when they met it was a bigger deal, I think. At least the book paints it that way--according to it, at least, they met when George and Paul were still in a grammar school that required them to wear uniforms with short pants and all that, while John was at the art school next door, dressed like a hipster.

The author mentions a few times how self-conscious the younger two were when they would sneak over for lunch at the art school and listen to John brag about all the girls he'd been seeing.

The book may overstate this factor for effect, but I bet George and Paul probably did look up John as the symbol of something cooler and beyond their world at the time. At the same time, this book also gives you the feeling that they regarded each other as equals in a creative sense.

T-Seabs said...

Have you read through any of the Anthology? I've mostly looked at the pictures. The layout of the book is steller. It's interesting to me how the meaning behind most of their songs changed from the three or four main stages of the band. The early years (think Red Album disk one) was mostly about being in love with becoming famous while later years were about drugs and eventually changing the world.

Tito said...

But aren't rock's greatest icons assholes, depressives, self-haters and loathers? Without them all you've got is John Mayer and Kelly Clarkson.

Who wants a Beatles cataloge full of "Yesterday" and "Michelle" and "Fool on the Hill"? Yawn.

It sounds like you're saying that Paul and George would have been better off without John?

Mr. Hill said...

I dunno, are you calling Peter Buck an ass? I think the list of nice icons is as long as the jerk list. The other three icons in the Beatles don't seem to have been all that terrible, for example. Maybe I haven't read far enough to get to the parts where Ringo et al turn bad.

It's interesting how much Brian Epstein has to do with determining their early look and how much John grumbles about the sweetness of their early sound, too. You get the feeling that he misses the black leather biker gang look and sound that they cultivated in Hamburg, but is going along with it for the babes.

And I have not seen the Anthology book, but dang, I don't think there is a bad photograph of any of those guys. You look at any picture ever taken of them and you have to think to yourself "I wish I was in a band that looked that cool."

John Lennon said...

John Lennon was a poo-poo head. But I believe it's becasue he had a rough childhood; his dad walked out on him as a child, and to make matters worse, his mother was killed in an accident as a teen. He bottled up all those feelings and it caused him to be mean. Those feelings and his insanity, and drugs, did inspire him to write many great songs. In my opinion, which of course is right, John Lennon is the most creative of the Beatles and the reason they were so successful. He did get better around the time before his death, though. Figures he would be killed right when he becomes a better person.

Mr. Hill said...

Sorry, Mr. Lennon--no offense meant, of course. I am actually looking forward to the parts where you (hopefully) redeem yourself some later in your career.