Links

Bagism An interactive Lennon community. The site itself is very static, with not much content that is of interest, but the community buzzing around it is quite active, I've heard.

Beatlelinks What do you think? A lot of links.

Beatle News Briefs All the latest Beatles news. Epileptics beware. For weeks I've been trying to tell the guy who's running it that the John Lennon Guitar Chord Archive, in his Links section, is defunct and that is has become this site, lennonchords.info. But he never replies to me, and never fixes it. I'm guessing, now, his site has somehow been taken over by an autistic robot, who is only programmed to pick up Beatles news from the ether and transmit it.

The Beatles Studio Big, stylish (the photo collages are really lovely), reliable and up-to-date.

Bob Gruen A small, but interesting collection of photos. You should see his book, John Lennon: The New York Years, which is lush and beautiful.

Cohenchords.com All the Leonard Cohen lyrics and chords you need.

Lennon.net This seems to be Cynthia Powell Lennon's official site. She's a bit like a boomerang: always saying farewell to that part of her life, and always returning to it with a new book, a store named after a Lennon song, another bathtub to auction off, et cetera. She still calls herself Cynthia Lennon, too. Maybe she married someone else named Lennon. Wow, what are the odds?

Macca Central Now, kids, this is how your site shouldn't look: like a drunken Tokyo as painted by someone on acid. They blindly nicked my entire Paul McCartney guitar chord archive once, complete with mistakes, works-in-progress, obscure bootleg songs et cetera, and hastily plastered "lyrics and tabs provided by Macca Central" all over it. Shows how possessive thieves themselves often are, actually. It's cool, though, as I returned the favour and stole their transcriptions of Chaos And Creation In The Backyard. Thanks, guys!

A Yoko Ono Box A thorough Yoko Ono site.

Books

Revolution In The Head: The Beatles' Records And The Sixties by Ian McDonald. A fantastic, engaging piece of scholarship that continually makes you return to the original recordings. Bristling with original observations, intriguing bits of information and some genuinely sound conclusions, this is one of the few "essential" books about The Beatles (the others: The Complete Beatles Chronicle by Mark Lewisohn, The Beatles by Hunter Davies, Many Years From Now by Paul McCartney and Barry Miles (slightly revisionistic), Shout! by Philip Norman (watch out though, he doesn't like Paul McCartney and it shows), and The Beatles Anthology by The Beatles. Michael Braun (Love Me Do!, written in 1963-4) fleshes out the early years. Also, see Keith Badman's Beatle books).

Lennon: The Definitive Biography by Ray Coleman. Not exactly "definitive", in fact quite colourless, soft and strangely dispassionate (it often reads like an extended obituary), this is still the only reliable and thorough attempt to describe Lennon's life. Why the music is dealt with in separate sections is a question I can't answer, especially when considering the fact Lennon's life and music are so fascinatingly interwoven. For some extra colour, see the unintentionally hilarious account The Last Days of John Lennon by his former assistant Frederic (Fred) Seaman: a devious, bumbling, revengeful and, frankly, idiotic clown with an axe to grind. Why do I recommend it then? Because you have to read between the lines a bit: take the wilder accusations with a grain, no, a bucket of salt and you'll get a fair idea of Lennon's last years; be continuously aware, however, you're seeing them through the eyes of Seaman. The same goes for Nowhere Man, by Seaman's former partner-in-crime, Robert Rosen. Sensationalistic, and ultimately sad, "journalism".

Essential Lennon reading: the interviews with Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Andy Peebles. Altogether approximately 500 pages of Lennon shooting his mouth off, observing, finger-pointing, pouring his heart out, and generally being John Lennon.

John Lennon In My Life by Pete Shotton is more interesting than Cynthia Powell's tedious book(s). May Pang, in her book, is irritatingly emotional all the time, crying on nearly every page -- but cunning enough to squeeze a living out of her short affair with Lennon, if you know what I mean.

Written by Peter Doggett, The Art And Music Of John Lennon is filled with all the stuff you want to know when you admire Lennon as an artist. If you like this site, read it. Similarly, Johnny Rogan's Lennon: The Albums, and John Blaney's Listen To This Book are good reads, song-by-song, album-by-album stuff. John Lennon: Drawings, Performances, Films (Wulf Herzogenrath, Dorothee Hansen) contains a huge collection of his drawings and deals with Lennon's art in general.

Yoko Ono and John Lennon both have written books, so I'm earmarking them as essential: Ono's Grapefruit, and Lennon's In His Own Write, A Spaniard In The Works and Skywriting By Word Of Mouth.

Some interesting, specialized books: The Unknown Paul McCartney by Ian Peel, Beatles Gear by Andy Babiuk, Get Back: The Unauthorized Chronicle Of The Beatles' Let It Be Disaster by Doug Sulpy and Ray Schweighardt, and The Day John Met Paul by Jim O'Donnell.

A song-by-song analysis (similar to McDonald's approach, see above) of Harrison's oeuvre can be found in While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music Of George Harrison by Simon Leng. Harrison wrote an autobiography too, called I Me Mine but it's for really big fans only. Alan Clayson's book is a better read, I think. (Check out all his Beatle books, and the one about Yoko Ono, which is called Woman.)

Am I forgetting one?

Hello?

Anyone still there?