Lennon biographer Tim Riley talks about John, his relationships with Yoko Ono and Paul McCartney, and the mystique that surrounds them all.
Tim Riley has been a music critic for nearly three decades now. His first book, "Tell Me Why" examines the music of the Beatles, song by song. This month his latest book, Lennon: The Man, the Myth, the Music – the Definitive Life, a 700-plus page biography of John Lennon, is being released. I recently had a chance to talk to Riley about his book and his lifelong fascination with the Beatles. Here are excerpts of our conversation:
You’ve been reading and writing about the Beatles for much of your adult life. Was there really anything new for you to learn as you researched this book?
I learned so many different things. I can’t tell you. I just learned basically how little I know.
Beatles scholars tend to be the only people who know that Alfred Lennon, Lennon’s father, left behind a memoir called “Daddy Come Home.” Alf’s story is fascinating because he came from the Blue Coat Orphanage, he was a song-and-dance guy on the boat in the merchant marines. He was an emcee on these ships and he was a song-and-dance man. He ran away from an orphanage to join a band. So there’s a lot of fascinating stuff there. Even people who have written about Alf seem not to know.
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