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May Pang, a young woman in her 20's, was working for ABKCO in the early 70's. I was drawn in by the details revealed about how the infamous Allen Klein managed Apple for the former Beatles. It was in the offices of ABKCO that May met John Lennon & Yoko Ono for the first time. The couple liked May and it wasn't long before she became their personal assistant. May witnesses John being drawn into the avante garde world of Yoko and gradually isolated from his friends and family. John & Yoko were living in hotels in New York and Yoko enjoyed spending John's money and planning "art" events to display her talents, such as the film "Fly" and the album of the same name. John got high and watched TV most of the time.
May describes how George Harrison came to the hotel to ask John to perform at the "Concert for Bangla Desh" and John initially said yes. Yoko wanted to perform too, but George only wanted John. Yoko badgered John so badly about her being in the show that John finally said he would not play at all. I began to see how the rift between George and John developed. After playing on "Imagine" for John, George probably expected John to help him out with the benefit show. John's music also suffered during this period. I've read some critics say John was simply "lazy." I suspect the answer is much more complex. Perhaps Lennon lacked the positive encouragement he needed to create great music, like the support he received from Brian Epstein, George Martin, and fellow Beatles in the 1960's.
When John & Yoko moved into the Dakota building, May continued to work for them and had an office in their apartment. May assisted John in the studio during the recording of "Mind Games." It was during these recording sessions that a deeper relationship between May and John began to grow.Read more ›
The strange trip that led to May Pang began with the Charles Jackson novel, The Lost Weekend. I read it because I understand that this is one of the best descriptions of day-to-day alcoholic life available. Then I watched the award-winning movie of the same title from the 1940s. It's possible that Ms. Pang subtitled her account as she did to alert readers: "The story ahead will be drenched in drink."
I've read about The Beatles before, and I've read biographies devoted exclusively to John Lennon. So it's not like I was unaware of Lennon's reputation. But nothing prepared me for this. John Lennon was far more than a nuisance drunk. He often became a truly dangerous one. Ms. Pang has written a harrowing, non-sensationalized cautionary tale about the worst that can happen.
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