Top Ten Books about John Lennon

Books about John Lennon: John Winston Ono Lennon was an English singer, songwriter, musician and peace activist who achieved worldwide fame as co-lead vocalist, co-songwriter and rhythm guitarist of the Beatles as well as one of the founders of the group. His songwriting partnership with Paul McCartney remains the most successful in history. We hope you enjoy our list of the best Books about John Lennon.

Books about John Lennon

John Lennon: The Life by Philip Norman, Graeme Malcolm

This masterly biography takes a fresh and penetrating look at every aspect of Lennon’s much-chronicled life, including the songs that have turned him, posthumously, into a near-secular saint. In three years of research, Norman has turned up an extraordinary amount of new information about even the best-known episodes of Lennon folklore—his upbringing by his strict Aunt Mimi; his allegedly wasted school and student days; the evolution of his peerless creative partnership with Paul McCartney; his Beatle-busting love affair with a Japanese performance artist; his forays into painting and literature; his experiments with Transcendental Meditation, primal scream therapy, and drugs. The book’s numerous key informants and interviewees include Sir Paul McCartney, Sir George Martin, Sean Lennon—whose moving reminiscence reveals his father as never seen before—and Yoko Ono, who speaks with sometimes shocking candor about the inner workings of her marriage to John.

Being John Lennon: A Restless Life by Ray Connolly, Jonathan Keeble,

What was it like to be John Lennon? What was it like to be the castoff child, the clown at school, the middle-class suburban boy who pretended to be a working-class hero? How did it feel to have one of the most recognizable singing voices in the world but to dislike it so much he always wanted to disguise it? 

Being John Lennon is not about the whitewashed Prince of Peace of “Imagine” legend – because that was only a small part of him. The John Lennon depicted in this book is a much more kaleidoscopic figure, sometimes almost a collision of different characters. He was, of course, funny, often very funny. But above everything, he had attitude – his impudent style somehow personifying the aspirations of his generation to question authority. He could, and would, say the unsayable. Although there were more glamorous rock stars in rock history, even within the Beatles, it was John Lennon’s attitude that caught, and then defined, his era in the most memorable way.

John by Cynthia Lennon

Cynthia and John Lennon’s relationship spanned ten crucial years of the Beatles phenomenon. But as well as new insight into the Beatles years, Cynthia has a compelling personal story of marriage, motherhood and the man who was to become the most idolised and admired of all the Beatles.
Cynthia is candid about the cruel and the loving sides of John. She tells of the end of their marriage and the beginning of his relationship with Yoko Ono in more detail than ever before, and reveals the many difficulties estrangement from John – and then his death – brought for herself and Julian. Cynthia is a remarkable survivor and this is her extraordinary story and unique insight into a man loved and idolised all over the world.

The Search for John Lennon: The Life, Loves, and Death of a Rock Star by Lesley-Ann Jones

Pulling back the many hidden layers of John Lennon’s life, Lesley-Ann Jones closely tracks the events and personality traits that led to the rock star living in self-imposed exile in New York—where he was shot dead outside his apartment on that fateful autumn day forty years ago.

Late on December 8th, 1980, the world abruptly stopped turning for millions, as news broke that the world’s most beloved musician had been gunned down in cold blood in New York City. The most iconic Beatle left behind an unrivaled body of music and legions of faithful disciples—yet his profound legacy has brought with it as many questions and contradictions as his music has provided truths and certainties.

In this compelling exploration, acclaimed music biographer Lesley-Ann Jones unravels the enigma that was John Lennon to present a complete portrait of the man, his life, his loves, his music, his untimely death, and, ultimately, his legacy.

John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band: in their own words & with contributions from the people who were there by John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Described by Lennon as “the best thing I’ve ever done,” and widely regarded as his best solo album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band was released on 11 December 1970. With first-hand commentary by Lennon, Ono, and other members of the band, and packed with previously unseen photographs by those who documented their lives, this incisive volume offers new insights into the raw emotions and open mindset of Lennon after marriage to Ono and the breakup of the Beatles, to the making of the album and revealing interview with Jann Wenner in December 1970.

Primal therapy had a huge impact on Lennon’s songwriting, resulting in the creation of intensely personal, soul-baring tracks. This book takes his lyrics as a starting point and explores Lennon’s life, career, and self-perception, from “performing flea” with the Beatles to authenticity as a solo artist.


Lennon Speaks: Messages from the Spirit of John Lennon by Caroline Oceana Ryan

“This is the most unique, fun, juicy, and poignant channeled book I have read. (And I have read many.) It genuinely felt like an interview with John Lennon in his highest expression.

The wisdom he shares comes with the same blend of compassion and fervor as his artistic genius. It is as relevant to our current global climate as it is timeless and priceless.

It calls forth his insights on everything from manifestation, education, social justice, climate change, and money. There are also many personal details shared about his life on Earth.

Run, don’t walk, to read this book. A fast read, and a wise investment in elevating your vibration and gaining a broader perspective, so needed at this time. Thank you, Caroline Oceana Ryan, for this precious gem!!”

John Lennon: 1980 Playlist by Tim English

For the first time, John Lennon: 1980 Playlist examines the music this legendarily figure was listening to in the year of his creative rebirth, and how that music impacted his life. Reggae, new wave, blues, country, R & B, early rock and roll, ambient and gospel; John listened to it all and loved it all. Readers will learn:• What John thought about punk bands like the Clash and the new wave music so popular in 1980.• That John’s eclectic musical taste made him an unlikely fan of Bing Crosby, Noel Coward, and even Morris Albert’s schmaltz classic “Feelings.”• How Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan and Bob Marley each inspired John to write a new song of his own in 1980. • How songs by Queen and the B-52s inspired John to re-enter the recording studio for the first time in five years.• The little known event that spurred John and Yoko to return to the studio just a couple of weeks after Double Fantasy was released

All You Need Is Love by John Lennon, Paul McCartney

All you need is love, all you need is love
All you need is love, love, love is all you need

In this gorgeously illustrated picture book, the universally loved song “All You Need Is Love” comes vividly to life, showing that if we follow the music we will see there is indeed love all around us.

The John Lennon Letters by John Lennon and Hunter Davies

John Lennon was one of the greatest songwriters the world has ever known, creator of “Help!”, “Come Together”, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “Imagine”, and dozens more. But it was in his correspondences that he let his personality and poetry flow unguarded. Now, gathered for the first time in book form, are his letters to family, friends, strangers, and lovers from every point in his life. Funny, informative, wise, poetic, and sometimes heartbreaking, his letters illuminate a never-before-seen intimate side of the private genius.

This groundbreaking collection of almost 300 letters and postcards has been edited and annotated by Hunter Davies, whose authorized biography The Beatles (1968) was published to great acclaim. With unparalleled knowledge of Lennon and his contemporaries, Davies reads between the lines of the artist’s words, contextualizing them in Lennon’s life and using them to reveal the man himself.

John Lennon: The Collected Artwork by Scott Gutterman, Yoko Ono

The definitive collection of John Lennon’s artwork, spanning his early childhood to his untimely death in 1980.

Over the course of John Lennon’s career, his work as an artist expressed the societal themes that touched his life. Until now, little of this work has been seen in one place. For the first time, John Lennon: The Collected Artwork offers a captivating history of Lennon’s visionary art, from his early childhood to his untimely death in 1980. Lennon’s artwork predated his success with the Beatles and remained a passion throughout his years as a music legend. During his lifetime, he produced numerous series of sketches and lithographs, which were published starting in the early 1960s. Often surreal and composed through a method of free association, his drawings from this period were widely considered some of the finest interpretive artworks of the era. In 1969, Lennon began exhibiting selected drawings from a series entitled Bag One. This array was wildly popular and frequently censored due to its overt eroticism. His peace-themed sketches were elevated through their use in antiwar movements, beginning in the 1970s and continuing to the present day. Capturing his emotional, political, and imaginative energy, this lavishly produced collection serves as a timeless record of John Lennon’s creative spirit.


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