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Starting Over: The Making of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Double Fantasy Paperback – October 25, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

“John Lennon is on top of the world,” writes Sharp at the outset of this “comprehensive portrait of Lennon’s last days” and scintillating oral history of the making of Double Fantasy, Lennon’s last album and a loving duo with his wife and guiding light, Yoko Ono. Accompanied by now-poignant photographs of Lennon and Ono in the recording studio, published here for the first time, this is an intimate and heart-wrenching collection of in-the-moment musings and thoughtful memories. Lennon, funny and droll, talks about his need to free himself from the demands of fame to find his way back to “the source.” Ono talks about how nervous they were. The drummer, Andy Newmark, notes that “John and Yoko were always hugging and kissing each other,” while Julie Last, an assistant engineer, remembers Lennon’s delight in new recording technologies. Then arranger Tony Davilio describes seeing a note Ono wrote after speaking with her astrologist, “No tour now, danger around John.” Vivid and intimate, this is an invaluable and vibrant record of Lennon’s last, great burst of creativity, a radiant remembrance, and a warm tribute to Ono. --Donna Seaman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

A Los Angeles based singer/songwriter with three CDs to his credit (1301 Highland Avenue, Happy Accidents and Sonic Crayons), Ken Sharp has authored or co-authored over ten music books including Elvis: Vegas '69, Writing For The King, Overnight Sensation: The Story of the Raspberries, Reputation Is A Fragile Thing: The Story of Cheap Trick, Small Faces: Quite Naturally, Eric Carmen: Marathon Man, Power Pop!, KISS: Behind The Mask and others.  He also contributes to a variety of national music magazines, works on music documentaries and has done CD liner notes for releases by Elvis Presley, Sly & The Family Stone, Janis Joplin, Santana and others. 

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: MTV Books; Reprint edition (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439103011
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439103012
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,580,255 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Raspbernie on October 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
There have been so many books written about John Lennon's life and work that one would wonder what new information could possibly be unearthed to sustain yet another effort. Well, stop wondering and immediately pick up a copy of "Starting Over: The Making of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Double Fantasy." Author Ken Sharp's latest book focusing on John Lennon's last recording sessions manages to dig so deep into its subject that you'll be riveted on every page. Sharp interviews just about everyone involved with the project and mines each for never-before-told inside stories. He then embellishes the book with dozens of never-before-seen photographs of Lennon that cover the gamut from his first day back at a recording studio in years to laying down tracks for his new album. All-in-all, this book is one that every John Lennon or Beatle fan should read. It is so compelling, that one you start reading it you will not want to put it down. I highly recommend it.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Toodlem on November 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you're expecting a day to day chronicle and extreme detail from this book, forget it. The same goes for any real new insights in how John worked or his relationship with his wife. The author goes very easy on anything potentially controversial and the prose consists of paragraphs of recollections 30 years after the events took place. The author himself doesn't add much to the mix other than providing a background and setting. I would have to think that most if not all the people buying this book would know those particulars well in advance.

John lived his life very openly, and 30 years has taught those interested that things weren't as they were made to appear. I realize that John's relationship with his wife was not the focus of this book, but it should have certainly been mentioned more than it was as it still is relevant. I also know for fact that many who were asked for their recollections could have brought much more to light - in how John worked, his plans for the future, and much more. I was disappointed and wouldn't recommend the book as it offers nothing that I didn't know before. Admittedly, I'm a serious rather than casual fan and as such I have a bias and a greater knowledge base than most who would consider a purchase. Based upon what I do know, the author could have provided more insight both through his own prose and from the recollections of the participants.

Having said that, it's still a fairly enjoyable though a very quick read. It's largely the star struck recollections of his band rather than an incisive look into his life at that time and the forces and struggles within him that shaped his work.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Movie Buff on November 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Great topic. Competently done. Liked "Double Fantasy" on release, though didn't fall in love. As it's described by someone in the book 'a nicely crafted collection by professionals' which does make it a bit less interesting. Check out "I'm losing you" w/ Cheap Trick to see the excitement level raise several notches.
The book also suffers from a bit too much "I was just thrilled to be working with JOHN LENNON" comments. We get it.
I know this sounds harsh. But the book doesn't quite make it. It's OK.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Walker on March 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
It is great to hear how John was in such high spirits during these sessions. But other incidents cite some not-so-nice, jarring incidents that this book excludes. Did Yoko get `final cut' in return for her participation? The result is like overly-sweet `the making of' DVD bonus features , where every actor was the director's first choice, everyone was a joy to work with, nauseum, they're all the same. Still, there's enough new information here from the musicians involved to make this exercise a worthwhile one for Lennon fans.

A further problem, though, is that there is almost zero discussion of Lennon's `Milk and Honey' tracks. These, of course, were part and parcel of the `Double Fantasy' sessions, and I can't see there being any sequel for this book to discuss them. With no disrespect to Yoko--I like quite a bit of her stuff--I would rather that all the space devoted to her `Double Fantasy' tracks had been assigned to the Lennon tracks whose release were held up until `Milk & Honey' BECAUSE Yoko insisted on parity. Surely this is a mystifying oversight that nearly every Lennon fan who reads this book will find as aggravating as I did. `The Making of Lennon's `1980 Comeback' Tracks' would have been a title and book contents more to the liking of nearly every Lennon fan.

Theoretically this should have been an easy project. Sharp had already done a good part of it in magazine interview form. Just get as many of the people involved in those sessions to reminisce, and then weave those memories into a coherent whole. Which he did, but in leaving out anything negative and leaving out Lennon's `Milk and Honey' cuts, a slam-dunk of a book becomes unnecessarily flawed and unsatisfying.

Still: 4 stars because it was worth doing.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mitchell Axelrod on October 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
With all of the hype surrounding what would have been John Lennon's 70th birthday, this book should NOT get lost in the shuffle. As a matter of fact, I would get this book before I go and buy any of the latest bunch of Lennon remasters.

If you ever wondered what it would be like to be a fly on the wall at the recording sessions for Double Fantasy, wonder no more! This book takes you RIGHT THERE!!!! The author does not waste time speculating about what was happening or giving his own spin on the album. He simply interviewed EVERY participant involved in this LP including all of the musicians and engineers, and producers, etc. He even spoke with the members of Cheap Trick about their recording sessions with John and it is very revealing and my favorite part of the book.

The best part is that you do not have to read the book in linear form. You can skip around from chapter to chapter and not feel like you've missed a thing. To be fair, you SHOULD read the glossary to find out who all of the players are but once you have them down, you are set!

I have seen the PBS American Masters documentary LennoNYC and this book is a terrific complement to the film OR a fantastic stand alone read. I could not put it down. It is a very easy read! I read the whole book in one night. My wife saw my face buried in the book and she said, "you must really like that book because I haven't seen you read that much since I met you."

She was right. I REALLY enjoyed this book. And so will you.
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