Monday, March 01, 2010

I Just Watched, Listened to & Experienced . . .

Imagine: John Lennon

--by Hanje Richards

I grew up with the Beatles playing the background music. But for me, they really were just background -- I was more of a Stones girl. But growing up in the 1960s, it was almost impossible to avoid being influenced by them and their music and their politics and their religious journey and their legal problems and the possible (probable) death of Paul McCartney and the arrival of Yoko and the breakup.

I thought I might be mildly interested in this documentary, but did not expect to feel as moved and swept away by it as I actually was. Lots of musical and visual flashbacks. Lots of singing and humming along. And a kind of sadness, that it was all over, and our innocence was gone as well. I am glad I refreshed my memory with Imagine: John Lennon.

I have listed some other materials the Copper Queen Library owns on John Lennon, in particular, and the Beatles, in general. (And, yes, I was the one in the casket with the picture of Paul McCartney covering my face when my art class gave Paul McCartney a funeral.)

Imagine: John Lennon (produced by David L. Wolper & Andrew Solt) - Imagine: John Lennon comes from a treasure trove: the legendary musician's own collection of more than 240 hours of film and videotape, much of it never seen by the public. With cooperation from Yoko Ono in its creation, producers David L. Wolper and Andrew Solt (partners on This Is Elvis) transform the archival footage - and a monumental 36-tune soundtrack - into a spellbinding account of a complex, fascinating man. Lennon's own voice narrates "a classic film biography."

All You Needed Was Love: The Beatles After the Beatles (by John Blake) - Gossip on the Beatles' breakup and their individual lives thereafter -- with a generally pro-McCartney, anti-Lennon slant. (Blake's acknowledgments "especially" thank Paul, Linda, and Ringo.) Here, then, Lennon is the prime culprit in the messy breakup saga, "staring murderously" at Paul -- who "was still in love with the Beatles."

Hard Day’s Night (directed by Richard Lester) - In 1964, the Beatles had just recently exploded onto the American scene with their debut on "The Ed Sullivan Show." The group's first feature, the Academy Award-nominated A Hard Day's Night, offered fans their first peek into a day in the life of the Beatles and served to establish the Fab Four on the silver screen, as well as to inspire the music video format. Songs: "I'll Cry Instead," "A Hard Day's Night," "I Should've Known Better," "Can't Buy Me Love," "If I Fell," "And I Love Her," "I'm Happy Just to Dance with You," "Ringo's Theme (This Boy)," "Tell Me Why," "Don't Bother Me," "I Wanna Be Your Man," "All My Lovin'," "She Loves You."

Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles (by Geoff Emerick & Howard Massey) - Geoff Emerick became an assistant engineer at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in 1962 at age fifteen, and was present as a new band called the Beatles recorded their first songs. He later worked with the Beatles as they recorded their singles "She Loves You" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand," the songs that would propel them to international superstardom. In 1964, he would witness the transformation of this young and playful group from Liverpool into professional, polished musicians as they put to tape classic songs such as "Eight Days A Week" and "I Feel Fine."

Then, in 1966, at age nineteen, Emerick became the Beatles’ chief engineer, the man responsible for their distinctive sound as they recorded the classic album Revolver, in which they pioneered innovative recording techniques that changed the course of rock history. Emerick also engineered the monumental Sgt. Pepper and Abbey Road albums, considered by many the greatest rock recordings of all time.

In Here, There and Everywhere, he reveals the creative process of the band in the studio, and describes how he achieved the sounds on their most famous songs. Emerick also brings to light the personal dynamics of the band, from the relentless (and increasingly mean-spirited) competition between Lennon and McCartney to the infighting and frustration that eventually brought a bitter end to the greatest rock band the world has ever known.

John Lennon (by Carole Lynn Corbin) - A biography (for young adult readers) of the rock musician emphasizing his contributions to and influence on the music and culture of the 'Sixties and 'Seventies.

Lives of John Lennon (by Albert Harry Goldman) - The result of six years of research and some 1,200 interviews, this book takes fans deep into Lennon's secretive world, from his traumatic childhood to his Beatles days to his hidden life with Yoko Ono. While the Lennon of legend enjoyed a gifted and inspired life, the private Lennon lived in torment, poisoning himself with drugs and self-hatred. The Lives of John Lennon exposes for the first time all of his various lives, from idealist to cynic, from ascetic to junkie. It is a lasting tribute to his brilliant achievements and a revelation of the price he paid for them.

Memories of John Lennon (by Yoko Ono) - He touched many lives in his brief forty years and continues to move and inspire millions more to this day. Now, invited by Yoko Ono, friends, family, and fans from all walks of life — including some of the great artists of our day — reminisce about Lennon as a visionary and friend, musician and performer, husband and father, activist and jokester.

In their own words and drawings, poems and photos, Lennon's life from his childhood through the Beatles years to the happiness and tragedy of his final days become stunningly vivid.

This bio shares intimate glimpses gathered from musicians who knew John, such as Pete Townsend, Sir Elton John, Billy Preston, and Joan Baez; friends and relatives such as producer David Geffen, publicist Elliot Mintz, and cousin Mike Cadwallader; as well as artists who followed him such as Bono, Alicia Keys, Steve Earle, Jello Biafra, and Carlos Santana.

And, for the first time, renowned photographer Annie Liebovitz presents every frame of the historic last session with John and Yoko.