Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Thursday 04 May 2017

Review: The Music Of John Lennon - A Fine Epitaph To The Beethoven Of His Generation

John Lennon's musical career is littered with many-a barbed confessional and an equal amount of love strewn ballads. He was a complicated man. Both a lover and a fighter.


Most books based on Lennon attempt to unstitch the fabric that brought together the loveable moptop and the acidic agitator. 

Author, musician and filmmaker Chris Wade gives over his book, The Music Of John Lennon, solely to the creative seam that underpinned the working lifespan of the one-time Beatle.

Mime artist and actor Dan Richter, who worked as John and Yoko Ono's assistant from 1969 to 1974, summed up the man best  when he told Chris Wade:

"John, like many great geniuses, was completely his own man. He was always completely genuine and honest. 

"He saw everything with new eyes and I think his great gifts were sometimes a heavy load for him to carry. 

"What I remember most was that he was a good friend that I had a lot of fun with while I had the privilege of witnessing him create some of the most important music of the 20th century.". 


The first almost two-thirds of the book reads as a battle between the egos and styles of the two main songwriters in the Beatles.

Wade doesn't hold sway with the given that Lennon wrote the biting, serious and satirical material while Paul McCartney added the saccharine asides. The two men, and their recorded output, were more complicated than that.

Also the author doesn't view the band's back catalogue through rose tinted spectacles. It's plain for all too hear, for every Strawberry Fields Forever there could be a Doctor Robert. 


Inevitably the band began to implode. After the relentless touring and releases of the early years came the studio mastery and stay-at-home substance dabbling of the latter period.

Social circles widened and wives/girlfriends took preference over group activities. Lennon admitted that when he met his life partner, Yoko Ono, The Beatles became a hindrance, not the all consuming vocation it had once been.

So began his move away from Beatledom. With Yoko as his muse and co-creator Lennon firstly threw out structure and released a series of albums that were experimental and heavy on the ear.

He then saw the light, and opportunity, to use his position to give voice to social/political issues he supported (or in some cases was badgered into commenting on).

Lennon turned his back on his once beloved home city of Liverpool, and broke a thousand hearts when he was quoted as saying that his new home of New York was the place he wished he'd been born and raised.

Wade is honest about the album, Rock''n' Roll, which was the central release of Lennon"s "'lost weekend" - the time when he was separated from Yoko and drowning his sorrows in alcohol, a new relationship and much more.

On much of the album, Lennon sounded jaded and disinterested. It was a full five years before he was back with new material. The album, Double Fantasy, would be his last. And the follow-up Milk and Honey would be a posthumous farewell cobbled together by Yoko.

Lennon's death in 1980 sealed him into people's recollections as, at just forty, an artist with a lot still to offer. 

Wade, in The Music Of John Lennon, shines new light and insight on the great man's back catalogue. It's a wonderful read and a fine epitaph to the Beethoven of his generation.

To purchase The Music Of John Lennon by Chris Wade CLICK HERE. For more information on the books, music, magazines and film work of Chris Wade CLICK HERE.

by: Mike Cobley




Share    

Pic by Toby Smedley

Veteran Brighton-based actor Ian Kelsey will explode back on to our small screens this week, reigniting his acquaintance with Coronation Street bad boy Pat Phelan, in a storyline Kelsey refers to as ‘quite dramatic’.

As a member of one of the UK's leading acting dynasties, Laurence Fox is best known for playing DS James Hathaway in Lewis
Jon Ronson by Emli Bendixen

Writer, broadcaster and one-time keyboard player for Frank Sidebottom, Jon Ronson has spent a substantial chunk of the last decade thinking about psychopaths and, following an earlier tour, he's taking the results of that work back on the road this Autumn. 
Jon Richardson (c) Andy Hollingworth

The stand-up Jon Richardson is chatting from a rather unusual location. He reveals that,“I'm currently in the Aldi car park in Clevedon.” Who said that the life of a comedian isn't non-stop glamour?

Years before Justin Currie was writing top ten albums with Del Amitri, he was enjoying a musical awakening courtesy of some of the biggest bands in history. And in his typical self-depreciating style, Currie admits there were one or two less fashionable favourites along the way too.

Photoworks led Into the Outside: is a Heritage Lottery Fund learning project with young people, examining Brighton & Hove's LGBTQ+ past and creating a new archive of queer youth experience for the city and beyond.

Direct from an extended season in London's West End, Bill  Kenwright's production of Alan Ayckbourn's farcical tale of matrimonial mishaps, How the Other Half Loves comes to Theatre Royal Brighton, next month.

A group of Hanover residents are making a bid to save their award-winning pub, The Greys, from closing down and are appealing to the people of Brighton & Hove to raise £400,000 by the end of December to keep the doors open.

Greg Davies has a comedic face. No disrespect, but he only has to glance at a camera and people wet themselves. He's also an imposing figure, standing at 6 ft 8 in tall in his size 13 shoes. But can he cut it live? Stephanie Keane was at The Brighton Centre to find out ..

While flowing from the same, molten core of melody, songwriting style and self-belief, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds' new album, Who Built The Moon? alters the singer-songwriter’s course following a two-year creative collaboration with renowned producer, DJ & composer, David Holmes. 

Paloma Faith – one of only two British female artists this decade to have their last three albums go double platinum in the UK – will release her fourth album, The Architect, this autumn.
Image by Sam Stephenson

A topical new youth opera exploring the experiences of young people forced by war to flee their homes has its world premiere at Glyndebourne, later this autumn.

Louise Redknapp rose to fame as a member of the girl group Eternal. She left the band to carve out a successful solo career achieving sales of over five million records with five albums.

The lights went down, his voice came over the PA “how are you doing Brighton?” and then he messed up the next line of his intro and yelled “I've fu**ed it guys!” This was Joel Dommett's grand entrance to his recent rip-roaring performance at Brighton Dome.

Archive search

Search our archives for what's on and gone for the best of this city's theatre music comedy news and much more...







Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd