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Old Nov 29, 2005, 01:55 PM   #1
LennonLover2005
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Default Cynthia Lennon says her ex-husband was a genius plagued by insecurities

LONDON - She had a ticket to ride with one of the greatest rock bands of all time. But if Cynthia Lennon had known the emotional pain that would accompany her decade-long journey with John, Paul, George and Ringo, she says she would have walked away in a heartbeat. In an interview nearly 25 years after the death of Beatles founder John Lennon, Ms. Lennon recalled her former husband as both a genius and hugely flawed man whose insecurities drove him to commit acts of cowardice, cruelty and betrayal against the people closest to him. He was mean, she suggested. He beat her (once) and kept her apart from the things she loved - most notably, him. She said he abandoned their son, Julian, for years, and his behavior became more irrational and withdrawn as he experimented with drugs such as LSD and heroin in the late 1960s. Much of her private experience differed sharply from the image Mr. Lennon enjoyed publicly as a campaigner for love and world peace.

"I always believed that idols have feet of clay," Ms. Lennon, 66, said. "I thought it was important for the fans and the people who really believed in John ... [to remember that] he was human. He was no saint, and he was no sinner. But he had a special talent that touched everybody's hearts."

A gunman shot and killed Mr. Lennon on Dec. 8, 1980, as he walked with his second wife, Yoko Ono, outside their Manhattan residence. He would have celebrated his 65th birthday on Oct. 9. Ms. Lennon published a best-selling book, John, in October to commemorate his life but also, as she said, to "balance the scales" between the myth and reality.

The first half of the book focuses on the couple's romance in art school during the late 1950s, Mr. Lennon's early musical career and the skyrocketing fame of the Beatles from the early 1960s onward. The second half chronicles the Beatles' experimentation with drugs and transcendental meditation, Mr. Lennon's growing distance from his wife and colleagues and, subsequently, the couple's divorce that followed his extramarital affair with Ms. Ono in 1968.

"It wasn't a derogatory story. It was a true story. I think my intention in writing the book was to enlighten people who loved John and his memory about certain facts that I lived through we lived through and just to fill in a few spaces, really," she explained.Although Mr. Lennon and Ms. Ono attracted enormous publicity with various stunts, such as their repeated "bed-ins" for peace, Ms. Lennon said it is important to understand a fuller picture of his life.

"I knew John from the age of 18, and it was part and parcel of my life to live with this man and to see who he was, his talents and his weaknesses," she said.

She attributes his bitterness later in life to lingering feelings of loss after the death of his mother, Julia, in 1959; the domineering influence of his aunt and surrogate parent, Mimi Smith; and his upbringing without a father, who left the family after forcing John, at age 5, to choose between him and his mother. Her book gives detailed accounts of Mr. Lennon's intense jealousy and fear in adulthood of being abandoned. He physically attacked Cynthia in 1959 after he learned that she had danced with his best friend, Stuart Sutcliffe, at a party. Conversely, she includes the text of various letters he wrote to her throughout their marriage vowing his eternal love and devotion.

Drugs and, subsequently, Ms. Ono's controlling influence turned Mr. Lennon into an unsmiling and seemingly unhappy man from the late 1960s onward, when he outwardly preached messages of inner tranquility and world togetherness, his first wife said. Ms. Lennon said she had received no warning in 1968 that her marriage to Mr. Lennon was over. She arrived home one day to find him sitting on the floor of the couple's bedroom next to Ms. Ono, who was wearing Ms. Lennon's bathrobe. Rather than talk to Ms. Lennon directly, he announced his divorce plans to her through the British news media, she said. Julian Lennon, their son, was subjected to repeated violent outbursts and mocking criticism by his father. John Lennon once so severely criticized the boy's manner of laughing that, to this day, Julian rarely laughs, Ms. Lennon said.

"I think John lost an awful lot of his humor and his wit, which were part and parcel of his creativity," Ms. Lennon said. "I felt he was fighting many, many battles. And I think he had a lot of guilt for what had happened. But John was never one to admit to anything. He would battle on and fight. I think a lot of aggression came out in his music, especially in the latter years."

In the foreword to her book, Julian Lennon, 40, described John Lennon as "the father I loved and who let me down in so many ways. ... [He] was a remarkable man who stood for peace and love in the world. But at the same time, he found it very hard to show any peace and love to his first family my mother and me."

Paul McCartney wrote the Beatles hit song, "Hey Jude," originally entitled "Hey Jules," as a sympathetic message to Julian Lennon as Mr. McCartney witnessed the family's breakup. In her book, Ms. Lennon describes how her former husband gave Ms. Ono full control over his vast fortune, including a small trust fund he had established for Julian. After John Lennon's death, she wrote, Ms. Ono tightened control over the funds and sold off property that John Lennon had purchased decades earlier for various members of his family, including his sisters. Ms. Ono has not responded to the numerous allegations and criticisms leveled at her in the book.

Asked whether she feared the possibility that Ms. Ono could use her wealth to bankrupt Ms. Lennon in litigation, the author said, "I've never been afraid of Yoko. Never, ever. ... Everything I've written in the book is absolutely true, so I don't feel particularly afraid of being sued or anything else. I've got the evidence. I have letters, I have all the things necessary." Ms. Lennon said she had no intention of engaging in a war of words with Ms. Ono, who is routinely described by music critics and Beatles biographers as a principal factor in the group's breakup. But she suggested that Ms. Ono's failure to make peace with her critics is something "she should think about."

Although Ms. Lennon used words such as "cowardly," "cruel" and "brutal," to describe her former husband, her overall impression of him remains a positive one.

"He was hysterical, he was historical. He was fun. He was so multitalented. When he was good, he was really, really good," she said. "And when he was bad, he was horrid."

E-mail trobberson@dallasnews.com



(The part about Julian being made fun of really is upsetting but I knew John had a cruel streak. My friend in England who knew John very well told me about his temper and cruelty)
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Old Nov 29, 2005, 06:30 PM   #2
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I fully believe Cynthia on these things, her statements are consistant with things we have read through the years. I can see how John's early childhood experiences stayed with him. It seems that he was pretty much abandoned by both the parents. Freddie was irresponsible all his life and left John, and Julia left John with Mimi while she went and started another family somewhere nearby. Why didn't she bring John over when she had settled down? Maybe it was more stable at Mimi's, but John must have wondered why he wasn't at his mom's, too. I get the impression that Mimi tried to keep a lot of details from John, and it must have confused him, left him with a lot of unanswered questions all his life. Since Julia died at such a crucial time in his life, I can imagine him carrying a lot of bitterness, which can make people mean sometimes.
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Old Nov 29, 2005, 07:24 PM   #3
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Cyn's right: you don't see John smile much if any after Yoko made him her slave. I'm a Lennon freak and every bit of Lennon posters and images and memorabilia is pre-yoko. I've said it before, that it seems like after he met yoko he lost the spark in his eyes that you always see in his pre-yoko pictures. It's really sad.
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Old Nov 30, 2005, 06:37 AM   #4
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We all know John had insecurities.

I think, at least to John in his mind, Yoko gave him some sort of security whether fans like it or not.

I have LOADS of pics of him smiling with Yoko or just of him with others after he left Cyn. So I wouldn't say he was unhappy.
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Old Nov 30, 2005, 07:40 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by John's Monkey
Cyn's right: you don't see John smile much if any after Yoko made him her slave. I'm a Lennon freak and every bit of Lennon posters and images and memorabilia is pre-yoko. I've said it before, that it seems like after he met yoko he lost the spark in his eyes that you always see in his pre-yoko pictures. It's really sad.
I don't agree with that for one minute, i believe he was happy with her and big enough to be able to walk away if he was unhappy, when people say she had a hold over him, it makes him seem spineless and he was far from it, he was outspoken. Same goes for Paul and Heather, do fans really think that John and Paul had such bad judgement and we know better?
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Old Nov 30, 2005, 10:53 AM   #6
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John even admitted that he was racked with insecurities - just listen to the lyrics of his 1965 gem, Help! In "Lennon Remembers," John discusses these insecurities to a large extent and they seem to come out from time to time during other interviews the former Chief Beatle gave.
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Old Nov 30, 2005, 03:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John's Monkey
Cyn's right: you don't see John smile much if any after Yoko made him her slave. I'm a Lennon freak and every bit of Lennon posters and images and memorabilia is pre-yoko. I've said it before, that it seems like after he met yoko he lost the spark in his eyes that you always see in his pre-yoko pictures. It's really sad.
Nonesense. You're not looking properly. He was unhappy with Cynthia thats why he left her. Johns yoko years were the most productive of his career.
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Old Nov 30, 2005, 03:58 PM   #8
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Nonesense. You're not looking properly. He was unhappy with Cynthia thats why he left her. Johns yoko years were the most productive of his career.
I'd argue that his pre-yoko days with the Beatles, forming them, helping cultivate their sound and style, were alot more productive and important to the world of music than anything he did as a late beatle or solo act.
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Old Dec 01, 2005, 08:33 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by John's Monkey
I'd argue that his pre-yoko days with the Beatles, forming them, helping cultivate their sound and style, were alot more productive and important to the world of music than anything he did as a late beatle or solo act.
difficult, at best, to quantify such things. but there's no question JL lived a remarkably productive artistic life post 1967...and by many accounts, he was perhaps the happiest in his life the day he was shot.

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Old Dec 01, 2005, 01:44 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by getback
difficult, at best, to quantify such things. but there's no question JL lived a remarkably productive artistic life post 1967...and by many accounts, he was perhaps the happiest in his life the day he was shot.
Well said!
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Old Dec 01, 2005, 03:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maccalennon
Nonesense. You're not looking properly. He was unhappy with Cynthia thats why he left her. Johns yoko years were the most productive of his career.
Really, all of these things are a matter of opinion. Some might feel that John lost some of his artistic drive (or whatever you'd like to call it) after he got together with Yoko, and others will of course argue it depending on whether they like Yoko or not. However, I think it's a bit much to say flatly that John wasn't happy with Cyn and that's why he left her. Even he had said that things were fine and stable in their marriage, but once Yoko (in all her unconvention) blew his mind he willingly left it all behind. IMHO, his career post-1967 had some definite shining points, but nothing compares with what he did until then.
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Old Dec 02, 2005, 05:21 AM   #12
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IMHO, his career post-1967 had some definite shining points, but nothing compares with what he did until then.
and that is, frankly, a musical, cultural standard that will never be reached again. it's unfair and unrealistic to expect or measure one's future contributions by it. one can make such statements about the first half of nearly every great musician's career. take a good look/listen at paul mccartney post 1968 and you'll find the same theme.
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Old Dec 02, 2005, 06:50 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by getback
and that is, frankly, a musical, cultural standard that will never be reached again. it's unfair and unrealistic to expect or measure one's future contributions by it. one can make such statements about the first half of nearly every great musician's career. take a good look/listen at paul mccartney post 1968 and you'll find the same theme.
I agree with your statement, and I realize the fact that it's common for one's initial brilliance to dissipate a little as his career moves forward....I was just stating my opinion on the matter, as someone had previously mentioned that his solo career was just as productive as what he had done in his early Beatle days.

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Old Dec 02, 2005, 07:24 AM   #14
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I agree with your statement, and I realize the fact that it's common for one's initial brilliance to dissipate a little as his career moves forward....I was just stating my opinion on the matter, as someone had previously mentioned that his solo career was just as productive as what he had done in his early Beatle days.
i don't think the "brilliance" necessarily dissipated. his life evolved, as all lives do- he got older, married again, became a father, devoted his energies in other directions. from a purely musical point of view, few would argue that his post-beatle period was more productive.
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Old Dec 02, 2005, 08:03 AM   #15
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i don't think the "brilliance" necessarily dissipated. his life evolved, as all lives do- he got older, married again, became a father, devoted his energies in other directions. from a purely musical point of view, few would argue that his post-beatle period was more productive.
Indeed few would, and I'm not one of them...which was my point from the beginning when I was responding to an earlier post. I wasn't taking into consideration John's life circumstances when I said this, I was referring purely to the musical output in his post-Beatle career. But yes, if one takes into account the fact that his personal life became more fulfilling during his solo years, then it gives insight into why his musical output wasn't what it once was. When I said his brilliance dissipated A LITTLE (careful emphasis being placed on that part of the sentence), I was agreeing with the statement that most careers that peak at a young age eventually begin to lose a little of their luster, i.e., the previously given example of Paul McCartney. Don't get me wrong: I truly enjoy the majority his solo music, and in many cases I think his standards for himself never changed.

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Old Dec 02, 2005, 03:16 PM   #16
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I don't think his music got any better or worse post-Yoko.....it just got different!!!!! I like his solo and Beatles songs in equal measure.
And I don't know how anyone could claim to know the reasons for John leaving Cynthia unless you happened to be a close personal friend of his and he told you!!!!!
Opinions are one thing, everybody's got one!!! But speculation is quite a different matter!!!
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Old Dec 02, 2005, 03:37 PM   #17
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I don't say one or other period is better. But nobody can deny that he couldn't have done anything without the constant growth he had in the sixties (specifically 1960-1966). Remember he startd with "Love me do" and reached "Sgt Pepper's..." with the beatles.

Of course that his solo work is brilliant, but I think the period before 1966 was essential.
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Old Dec 02, 2005, 03:38 PM   #18
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Quote:
"He was hysterical, he was historical. He was fun. He was so multitalented. When he was good, he was really, really good," she said. "And when he was bad, he was horrid."
Very sincere description!
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Old Dec 04, 2005, 11:19 AM   #19
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LENNON TERRIFIED HIS SON


Also see:
BEATLE JOHN LENNON

Peace-loving former BEATLE JOHN LENNON was an erratic and violent parent, according to his first wife CYNTHIA.

The 66-year-old claims their son JULIAN was left mentally scarred by Lennon's neglect and unreasonable behaviour.

And she believes one incident in particular traumatised him so much he has rarely laughed since for fear of reprisals

She tells, "The whole family had been fooling around when Julian giggled.

"John turned on him and screamed: 'I can't stand the way you f**king laugh! Never let me hear your f**king horrible laugh again.'

"Julian fled to his room in tears."



(This ia follow up and more of a description of that incident with John and Julian. I think some fans should painting John as a saint. I accept him as he was....a flawed human being and a genius)
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Old Dec 04, 2005, 12:22 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by LennonLover2005
LENNON TERRIFIED HIS SON


Also see:
BEATLE JOHN LENNON

Peace-loving former BEATLE JOHN LENNON was an erratic and violent parent, according to his first wife CYNTHIA.

The 66-year-old claims their son JULIAN was left mentally scarred by Lennon's neglect and unreasonable behaviour.

And she believes one incident in particular traumatised him so much he has rarely laughed since for fear of reprisals

She tells, "The whole family had been fooling around when Julian giggled.

"John turned on him and screamed: 'I can't stand the way you f**king laugh! Never let me hear your f**king horrible laugh again.'

"Julian fled to his room in tears."



(This ia follow up and more of a description of that incident with John and Julian. I think some fans should painting John as a saint. I accept him as he was....a flawed human being and a genius)
Wow...I have to admit, it never fails to disappoint when I read things like this. I was looking at the Life commemorative issue last night, and I noticed that not in one picture with his father is Julian smiling. I agree that John should not be looked upon as a saint. From what I know about John, aware as he was of his shortcomings, he would never wish to be thought of as some sort of faultless person. LennonLover said it best: I too acceapt the man he was, and that is how I choose to deal with stories like this...John always wished to grow and better himself, and in my eyes, realization of that sort is admirable. It's just terrible that his life was cut short before he could really try and reverse some of the damage he caused Julian in his childhood. When Julian speaks of his father, it's fairly apparent how he refrains from any overt praise and affection...But from what we as fans have heard, who can blame him?
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