Being John Lennon
By Ray Connolly
John Lennon was a rock star, a school clown, a writer, a wit, an iconoclast, a sometime peace activist and finally an eccentric millionaire. He was also a Beatle - his plain-speaking and impudent rejection of authority catching, and eloquently articulating, the group's moment in history.Chronicling a troubled life, from that of the cast-aside child of a broken wartime marriage to his murder by a deranged fan, Being John Lennon analyses the contradictions in the singer-songwriter's creative and destructive personality. A leader who could be easily led, he was often generous and often funny, but sometimes scathingly cruel.As a journalist, author Ray Connolly had a close working relationship with Lennon, and the entire Beatles coterie. In this biography he unsparingly reassesses the chameleon nature of the perpetually dissatisfied star who just couldn't stop reinventing himself. Drawing on many interviews and conversations with Lennon, his first wife Cynthia and second Yoko Ono, as well as his girlfriend May Pang and song-writing partner Paul McCartney, this complex portrait is a revealing insight into a restless man whose emotional turbulence governed his life and talent.
The Beatles Lyrics
By Hunter Davies, Beatles
Over 100 handwritten manuscripts of the Beatles' original lyrics, tracked down from friends of the band, museums, universities and collectors.Hunter Davies, author of the only authorised biography of the Beatles, worked with the band in their heyday. Here he reveals each song's context with vivid behind-the-scenes stories and gives a unique insight into the creative process of the world's greatest songwriters. From 'Yesterday' and 'Eleanor Rigby' to 'Yellow Submarine', The Beatles Lyrics is the definitive story of the band, uniquely told through their music.
By Ray Connolly
What was it like to be Elvis Presley? What did it feel like when impossible fame made him its prisoner? As the world's first rock star there was no one to tell him what to expect, no one with whom he could share the burden of being himself - of being Elvis.On the outside he was all charm, sex appeal, outrageously confident on stage and stunningly gifted in the recording studio. To his fans he seemed to have it all. He was Elvis. With his voice and style influencing succeeding generations of musicians, he should have been free to sing any song he liked, to star in any film he was offered, and to tour in any country he chose. But he wasn't free. The circumstances of his poor beginnings in the American South, which, as he blended gospel music with black rhythm and blues and white country songs, helped him create rock and roll, had left him with a lifelong vulnerability. Made rich and famous beyond his wildest imaginings when he mortgaged his talent to the machinations of his manager, 'Colonel' Tom Parker, there would be an inevitable price to pay. Though he daydreamed of becoming a serious film actor, instead he grew to despise his own movies and many of the songs he had to sing in them. He could have rebelled. But he didn't. Why? In the Seventies, as the hits rolled in again, and millions of fans saw him in a second career as he sang his way across America, he talked of wanting to tour the world. But he never did. What was stopping him?BEING ELVIS takes a clear-eyed look at the most-loved entertainer ever, and finds an unusual boy with a dazzling talent who grew up to change popular culture; a man who sold a billion records and had more hits than any other singer, but who became trapped by his own frailties in the loneliness of fame.
By Mick Wall
The final word on the only name synonymous with heavy metal - Black Sabbath.Way back in the mists of time, in the days when rock giants walked the earth, the name Ozzy Osbourne was synonymous with the subversive and dark. Back then, Ozzy was the singer in Black Sabbath, and they meant business. A four-piece formed from the ashes of two locally well-known groups called The Rare Breed (Ozzy and bassist Geezer Butler) and Mythology (guitarist Tony Iommi and drummer Bill Ward), all four founding members of the original Black Sabbath grew up within half-a-mile of each other.This biography tells the story of how they made that dream come true - and how it then turned into a nightmare for all of them. How at the height of their fame, Sabbath discovered they had been so badly ripped off by their managers they did not even own their own songs. How they looked for salvation from Don Arden - an even more notorious gangster figure, who resurrected their career but still left them indebted to him, financially and personally. And how it finally came to a head when in 1979 they sacked Ozzy: 'For being too out of control - even for us,' as Bill Ward put it.The next 15 years would see a war break out between the two camps: the post-Ozzy Sabbath and Ozzy himself, whose solo career overshadowed Sabbath to the point where, when he offered them the chance to reform around him again, it was entirely on his terms. Or rather, that of his wife and manager, daughter of Don Arden - Sharon Osbourne.