24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2005
Although Larry Kane was a reporter throughout the career of John Lennon's life from the time the Beatles came to America to the time John Lennon was killed, he became quite close to John.
This book is his account of the friendship and the professional relationship he had with John. Kane details his first meeting with John Lennon and the rest of the Beatles. Additionally, Kane details the last meeting he ever had with John before his death on December 8th 1980. Moreover, every other meeting and encounter is discussed in between these two encounters.
However, the thing that struck me about this whole book was how Kane introduced the book. Kane begins chapter one by detailing (and I do mean detailing in the truest sense of the word) the events that lead up to and at the point of John's death. So, the reader is introduced to John, in this book, at his death. This was a very interesting way to being the book. The details in chapter one are fairly shocking. It only took me a few minutes to get through the first 20 pages because of the way Kane told the story and how much detail was there to really keep my attention.
The overall tone of the book was one of serious fondness. Kane has a very high respect for Lennon and this comes through in this book. He paints Lennon for his reader with warts and wrinkles as well as bright colors and wonderful hues. So the reader gets a very well rounded picture of Lennon. Moreover, Kane details arguments that he and Lennon had and how Lennon sometimes treated Kane like dirt. By the time you finish the book you get a very transparent view of John Lennon, but with a presentation that is quite respectful and honest.
Kane also details how the Beatles, when they were together and after they broke up, treated one another. He explains first hand accounts of certain things that occurred between each member that he actually witnessed first hand. There were several accounts that Kane presented that I had never read anywhere else. So these occurrences were new, even to a somewhat seasoned Beatles' fan (but I won't ruin those details for you).
This was a very enjoyable read. Kane's work is one of the better works I have read about an individual Beatle member or the group as a whole. If you are a Beatles' fan, or especially a John Lennon fan, you will want to read this one!
p.s. The DVD is a very nice addition to the work. There is a rare TV appearance of John as a 'weatherman.' Pretty cool.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on October 12, 2005
If I could I would probably give this book 4.5 stars. It is very pleasant to read and the author does not have an ax to grind. He exploses John's strengths and weaknesses, but in a kind way and without sounding like a Lennon worshiper.
I have read many books about John and the Beatles. I guess I believed I knew it all, but thanks to this book by Larry Kane, I learned a few more interesting tidbits. Kane interviewed a number of people for this book including both the famous and the not at all famous. Normally I would question the veracity and importance of interviewing, for example, a young man who worked as a Lennon gofer, but I found these little points delightful.
Unlike the other reviewers, I did not give this book a full 5 stars for two reasons:
1. I believe the author spends too much time on John and his relationship with Stu Sutcliffe. Stu was a good friend of John and an influence, but Kane elevates Stu to the same status as Yoko, Cynthia and May. I don't buy it. I imagine much of his information is gathered from Stu's sister who has a vested interest in making Stu as important as possible.
2. Second, based upon what I have read so far, although Mr. Kane did interview May and Yoko and attempted to interview Cynthia (who refused to cooperate) it appears there are no comments from some key people in John's life: the other Beatles, his aunts and uncles or his sons. Paul and Ringo are still alive; George had opinions about John based on old interviews. Plus it seems to me Sean and Julian should have fabulous insights into their father. For some reason, this is all missing and seems odd since we have opinions from people who hardly knew John.
However, if you are a Lennon or Beatle fan, I highly recommend this book.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on September 21, 2005
Author Larry Kane knows his stuff. He knew John and was a friend of his for a long time so it's not like he had to do research to remember what happened and when. He was there recording and filming interviews with John and all the Beatles.
Though obviously Kane and Lennon are very different, John seemed to genuinely like Larry and was very honest with him. I appreciate Kane's candor and the fact that he lived the details. Kane was there through the Cynthia Lennon days AND the Yoko days.
I don't want to give anything away but the opening chapter with new eyewitness accounts of the end of John's life is sad but riveting. I was also surprised how open both Yoko Ono and May Pang were in this book. I don't recall them ever both agreeing to participate in the same book, so Kane must have pulled a rabbit out of his hat for that to happen. There's more I didn't know - and I thought I was a pretty serious fan: the secret jam sessions with Paul, John's trip to Philly for an MS telethon, and more.
Saving the best for last, the DVD with John doing the weather forecast on Action News- even though it's a short piece - and the last recorded interview of John and Paul together is worth the price of the book. It's sure to become a collector's item.
28 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2005
I thoroughly enjoyed Larry Kane's first Beatles book: Ticket to Ride, but Lennon Revealed is just disappointing.
Lennon Revealed doesn't live up to Kane's self-promotion. Kane oversold the book claiming it would contain new revelations and insights into Lennon's life. Not if you are at all familiar with Lennon's life and career! There are a few touching stories from people who interacted with John that I had not heard before but there is nothing new for any fan who is relatively-well-read on Lennon's life.
Kane claims to not have a bias and simply to present information so that others can draw their own conclusions. But this problematic. He brings up claims made by Pauline Sutcliffe that John Lennon beat up Stu Sutcliffe causing his death. Kane softens this charge somewhat, but he includes it in the book.
Pauline has made this charge previously, based on what she says Stuart told her. The problem is that Millie Sutcliffe, Pauline and Stuart's mother, has given interviews which I have heard in which she talks about the beating which she thinks caused Stuart's death. Millie Sutcliffe attribbutes her information to Stuart. And the account of Stuart's comments as reported by Millie directly conflict with the account of Stuart's comments as reported by Pauline. This essential information is needed if you want to have an objective opinion on Pauline's charges . . . but you won't find it in Kane's book.
One glaring error jumped off the page at me while I was reading. Kane writes of Derek Taylor, "In a phone conversation with me in 2004, Derek wondered . . ." Derek Taylor died in 1997!
Kane ends the books with comments from fans about Lennon's impact on their lives. Talking about Lennon's murder, one fan says, "If this city can kill John Lenon, it can kill anyone."
New York didn't kill John Lennon. It was a pathetic mental defective from Hawaii. John Lennon loved New York. It was the city that he chose to live in. This is just ignorant beyond belief. I am not sure why Kane thought this was worthy of inclusion in this book.
If you're looking for a better Lennon biography, try Ray Coleman's Lennon.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2005
Before I explain why this book is an empty pamphlet written by a true cretin who is exploiting a miniscule, flimsy connection to John, let me say that, as with ALL books about the Beatles, I began the book WANTING to love it. No one buys a book hoping it will be bad, especially not Beatle fanatics like myself. That said, I was so enraged by this superficial collection of other people's writings that I was tempted to drive to the local book stare at which the author was giving a signing and throw the book in his face. First of all, I should have known the book was terrible given the tabloid styled title. For the author to suggest that he, not Paul, not Cynthia, not Mimi, not even Yoko, but the author, some second rate reporter, would be the one to "reveal" John is patently absurd. The contents only reinforce this notion. The author not only rehashes every generic story even the most cursory fan of the Beatles already knows, but he also, incredibly, and with a straight face, regurgitates stories from his own earlier book "Ticket To Ride." Do you really need to spend thirty bucks to AGAIN read about John's altercation during the Smothers Brothers' performance? What really floored me about this book and worried me greatly were the fawning quotes of praise on the book's back jacket. If Geoffrey Guiliano had written this book, you can be certain, and rightly so, that NONE of those flowery words would be there, and yet Larry Kane is somehow exempt from the same criticism. This book was AWFUL, and although I was saddened to not have the DVD with Paul and John, I was glad to be rid of this book whose puerile prose suited itself to the Young Adult Readers section of your local middle school. I know this is an especially vitriolic review, but I disliked it that much. If you want to know about John, read Pete Shotton's book.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2005
Former Philadelphia newscaster Larry Kane scrapes the bottom of his memories of covering The Beatles and few encounters with Lennon afterward to pad this combination of memoir and hagiography.
Kane covered the Beatle tours as a radio reporter and his book about them, "Ticket to Ride," is considered an excellent fly-on-the-wall account. Here, he takes his material, what little information he's gathered, padded it with bombastic praise for the group and nearly everyone who knew or worked with them then tacked on 33 pages of fan letters. Kane is besotted with Lennon and uncritically takes his side whether John is using his rough tongue on his friends, cheating on his wives or behaving badly while taking copious amounts of drugs and alcohol.
Kane wraps the Beatles in fulsome prose that would embarrass the most hardened egotist. The Shea Stadium concert? "An epic moment in contemporary entertainment" Onetime band mate Stu Sutcliffe? "In the formative years of John's march to eternal greatness, Stu Sutcliffe was a colossal figure." Even Beatle experts aren't spared this trowelwork, with one authority called "the world's greatest scholar" on the group. This fulsome praise makes for hard reading.
Kane's prose settles down when he describes the private moments he shared with Lennon while on tour, and there's a wonderful section describing the weekend Lennon spent in Philadelphia helping Kane's station with its telethon in 1975. The accompanying 40-minute DVD mixes a promotional interview with Kane with a 13-minute interview from 1968 with Lennon and McCartney, and a few seconds of Lennon giving the weather report as part of the telethon promotion. So while there are some interesting bits, it wasn't enough to justify a book. As they say in the record business, I didn't hear a hit.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2006
Lennon Revealed (2005) by Larry Kane is a very poorly edited book. It is jam-packed with typos and poorly constructed sentences. In one instance, an entire chapter (called The Man, The Myth, The Truth) has the header on each of its pages "The Man, The Myth, The Trith" - maybe a new Star Wars villain?). Kane himself is best known as an interviewer of the Beatles and other famous artists, as well as a radio and TV broadcaster from Philadelphia and Manhattan, rather than primarily as an author (although Beatles fans may have had contact with his easier reading "Ticket To Ride" about his travels with the Beatles during their 1964 and 1965 tours) so the blame should likely fall more squarely and fairly upon the head of the editor, whose work was very sloppy indeed.
Still, Beatles fans will likely appreciate a great deal of the insights provided into Lennon's life in this volume. He does get a bit closer to Lennon the man than in most other tomes, from the importance of his friendship to Stu Sutcliffe, his almost paternal affection and support for George Harrison and Ringo Starr in the solo years, his ongoing and oft-minimized relatively positive relationship with and feelings toward McCartney post-Beatles, his difficulty accepting both the impossibly stressful touring schedule of the Beatles but also the fame that followed, his lifelong rebellious and sometimes acerbic nature, but also the importance he placed upon being real and genuine with those around him, including ordinary people and fans who would more likely get the brush from other pop stars.
Kane's book employs a somewhat more reverential and forgiving tone toward Lennon than one typically finds in the other books (not counting the Goldman biography which is worth totally avoiding for its sheer determination to only paint the ugly and mostly fabricated or exaggerated or poorly researched sides of Lennon - one of the best Lennon biographies to paint all sides and to provide the richest facts, however, is likely the Ray Coleman biography, in all its glorious biographical detail). Kane's so obviously positive feelings for John led me at times to wonder how biased was his overall appraisal of the facts he encountered. Still, the facts are reported as he remembered them, and though not a close friend of Lennon but a frequently accompanying journalist who did share private moments with him, he provides in this book so many gems regarding particularly the early Beatles life of Lennon that fans have rarely seen, such as Kane witnessed in hotels, buses, clubs and airplanes, that the editorial weaknesses in this book may be relatively easily overlooked by those, such as myself, who were so affected by the influence of John Lennon upon their lives.
Remember, Kane mostly knew John during the Beatles 1964 and 1965 tours, and so provides the richest information about John during that period. However, he also interviewed so many friends and family members of Lennon, who knew him both before the Beatles and also in the post-Beatles 1970s period, whose voices rarely appear in the other books about this leader of the Beatles, that this tome provides in my opinion (as one who read practically all the books that have ever appeared about Lennon and the Beatles) an historically rich and indeed important addition to the literature about John Lennon. The time will soon come (by about 2020) when there will be no more primary (at least not major) sources available to write accounts of their face-to-face and witnessed observations of Lennon. Indeed, the likelihood is that the Kane book will be seen as one of the last, so it is worth treasuring in its completing the history of John Lennon.
A DVD is included with the book that features the final interview Lennon and McCartney ever made together, which was a Kane interview from 1968. Besides a very brief clip of Lennon broadcasting the weather in 1975 for a Philadelphia TV station, the disc also and mostly includes an interview with Kane himself about Lennon that acts more as an "infomercial" for the book, the cover of which is featured on the screen throughout the almost hour-long interview.
Still, beside rather appalling editing (I must have encountered over 100 typos and poorly constructed sentences that a good editor should have spotted and rewritten), the book itself does offer so many fascinating glimpses into the complexities of Lennon's psychology that I think it provides a very useful and a very enjoyable read about Lennon the man, the genius, the musician, the lover, the famous Everyman whose honest, biting, political, inventive, powerful and downright gorgeous art, as well as whose absurdist humor and genuineness, have touched, and will continue to touch, so many fellow humans.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2005
There have been many books written about the life of John Lennon. They tell you about major milestones, facts and fiction, bed-ins, lost weekends and bread baking. They tell you everything imaginable about John down to his preference of breakfast cereal. But Larry Kane's Lennon Revealed is different from these books. It portrays John's sensitivity, compassion and his insecurities. It portrays John as a living, breathing human being, faults and all.
The retelling of stories from Ticket To Ride gives the reader a bit of deja-vu in Lennon Revealed. But with the mix of great interviews and the author's exquisite writing, your deja-vu will be a distant memory. Now to the good stuff...
The interviews in Lennon Revealed were a wonderful glimpse into the world of Lennon. From the obvious candidate, Yoko Ono (who isn't the horrible monster that nearly every Lennon book portrays her to be) to an ordinary young man who met and was fortunate enough to befriend his idol, the reader gets an honest and truthful glimpse into the life of John Lennon through those who knew him the best.
Another enjoyable aspect of Lennon Revealed dealt with Lennon's generosity and charity and his constant plight for the "working class hero". From the days of "hair peace" to Mr, Kane's insightful story of John's assistance with a Philadelphia fundraiser for charity. Those stories told volumes about how much he cared about the human race. Each of his contributions made the world a little bit better.
The final chapter is a first for any of the Lennon books I've been fortunate enough to read over the years. It is filled with stories from the fans; the people who Lennon would inspire and touch in so many ways. From teenagers who weren't even alive when we lost John, to those who were there from the beginning to the tragic end and everyone in between. Their words of joy, grief, inspiration and love are a fabulous addition to a very candid, honest and beautiful book. I am honored to be one of those fans who are included in the book.
There are many more gems in Lennon Revealed about Lennon's life and I urge everyone to give it a read. It's insightful, honest and leaves the reader with a better sense of who John Lennon really was; a father, a husband, a friend, a lover, a New Yorker, a poet, a musician, a humanitarian and a human being.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2006
I began this book like other reviewers: really wanting to like it. However, I was disturbed by a number of things. Firstly, the credence Kane gives to Pauline Sutcliffe's rather bizarre assertions that John caused her brother's death and that he may had a sexual relationship with Stuart. As noted by some other online reviewers here, the former is contradicted in interviews given by other members of the Sutcliffe family and the latter by virtually everyone who ever knew and was close to John. In fact, Kane himself seems to withdraw his support for this idea almost immediately after repeating it.
I was also annoyed by the short shrift that Kane gave to people like Paul McCartney, Cynthia Lennon, Julian Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr when assessing their importance in Lennon's life. Being cynical, I can only assume that this is because they did not grant him an interview. (Cynthia was writing her own book at the time). Although he somewhat rectifies this during the last half of the book, the first half creates the impression that almost everyone was more important to John than the 3 men with whom his life was inextricably bound for over 2 decades.
Finally, there are the grammatical errors and bizarre twists of speech, which I hope were due to bad editing at Running Press and not Mr. Kane: "naked from the WASTE down", the "indistinguishable" spirit of the people of New York (does he mean "inextinguishable"?), etc.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2005
This book offers nothing new, and a number of glaring errors (stating that John was 15 years old at the July 6, 1957 Woolton Fete where he met Paul, for example). Larry Kane glorifies his minor role in the Beatles' history--how he saved the day when underage fans visited them, how he made helpful suggestions that he would have you believe changed their careers. Further, it is overly worshipful and fawning--students of John know how he felt about that. Read Cynthia's book instead.