In death John Lennon became part of a group of talented and legendary performers that have tragically died before their time. His murder on December 8, 1930 marked an end to a career that began in Liverpool and made its way to the City of New York. His widow Yoko and second son Sean have kept his memory alive and radio stations continue to play his music which has stood the test of time. The actions of Mark David Chapman confounded investigators and left millions of fans in mourning. He is still in jail and his actions that night have never made any sense. It is doubted that he will ever be released from prison having been denied parole at least nine times. The man he murdered was not just a musician but a father and husband. We know a significant amount of information about Lennon and Yoko Ono who were the constant targets of paparazzi and journalists seeking to get a word from the famed star. But what we never hear about is the story of his first wife Cynthia and their son Julian.
I know several people that had no clue Lennon had been married once before. In fact, they are unaware of Cynthia’s name or story. They are left in shock when I relay to them some of the things learned in this book. But what exactly is this book? Well it would be considered an autobiography of Cynthia but with her memories of her life with John. The book was completed several years before her death on April 1, 2015. It begins as she recounts her early life in England and how she met and fell in love with a founding member of the Beetles band. The story starts of simple enough, they meet, fall in love, get married and s a son comes along. But as most of know about celebrities, normal never last for long. As fame set in, long tours and martial dissatisfaction grew, their lives took a different turn and the fallout is explained in detail by Cynthia. Also explained, is the beginning of Lennon’s relationship with Yoko who became his second wife. The events that transpire are surprising, questionable and in some cases, a little bizarre. His relationship with his first son Julian is also sad for its nature and its potential at the time of his death. But for all of his transgressions, we see that above anything else, Lennon is human and not immune to mistakes.
Fans of the Beatles will love this book and Cynthia has some great anecdotes about life on the road and the many places there were able to see. Life with a musician is sometimes a roller coaster ride and she was not oblivious to the many threats and temptations that faced Lennon and the Beetles while on the road. As a first hand witness, her story is a part of history and serves as a first hand account of the beginning of one of music’s greatest bands. Today Paul McCartner and Ringo Starr are the surviving members of the foursome. Other one-time members are still alive as well. Decades have passed since they have last recorded a song but the Beatles remain cross-cultural icons. And John Lennon remains one of music’s most tragic figures. This account by Cynthia is a good look into his private life and what it was like to live with the most famous men in the world.