Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The John Lennon Letters

Edited and with introduction by Hunter Davies.

John Lennon is known as many things, a Beatle, musician, singer songwriter, poet, artist, peace activist, and this beautiful volume brings to life all of the different aspects of this man through his letters. He wrote a lot, and still took the time to hand write notes and replies to fans when well on the road to fame. Hunter Davies has tracked down letters written by Lennon from collectors, fans and relatives, as as illustrated in his introduction, it wasn't an easy search. The word letters is used very loosely as the book also includes everything from post cards to lists, forms he filled and play lists.

As well as giving a biography of John Lennon across defined periods of time, Davies also gives the story behind the letter, who it was to and the context in his life. Some are short, many sharp, and some, especially correspondence to Paul and Linda McCartney during difficult times is emphatic. The letters to Apple Music give insight into the music business. You get to see the undercurrents from inside The Beatles.

All of this correspondence is absolute gold. In this modern age of twitter, Facebook and email, this kind of material for the current cop of stars will be rare, which is a great shame. From the handwriting, scrawlings, crossings out and doodling of John Lennon you get a sense of the man as a person, a real human human being. It really does illustrate the power of the pen, in every sense.

I loved this book. Not only is it a beautiful object, it gives a unique insight into the life of a fascinating man.