A complicated subject always makes for a fascinating biography. When it comes to John Lennon, the fascination only multiplies.
With Lennon, there is the dichotomy between the art and the artist, an understanding of the “London and New York John Lennons,” complete with the annoying contradictions and prickly outbursts that drove his persona. Finally we are left with a guess of what might have been as Lennon was emerging from a mid-decade sabbatical from recording and performing before he was killed outside his home in 1980.
Lennon’s early death meant that thirty years later, most of the primary sources are still alive and willing to share stories that would have kept to themselves. Now that some of the horrible biographies on Lennon–like Albert Goldman’s–have passed through our systems, perhaps it’s time for a reflective biography that covers the arc of his life. It take time and distance to make sense of life’s most complex subjects but Tim Riley brings it together in his well-regarded biography, “John Lennon, The Man, the Myth, The Music—The Definitive Life.”
Graciously hostng the luncheon in Boston was our old friend Rucker Alex; Heading the table in Manhattan was the always-amazing Shari Foos.
Why the Beatles were different. Unlike Elvis or the pop stars of the early 1960’s, the Beatles wrote their own material; it wasn’t Lieber and Stoller but Lennon-McCartney. They made it mandatory for anybody who followed to do the same if they ever wanted to be taken seriously.
They were neatly packaged by Brian Epstein and blessed by Ed Sullivan in their televised American debut. They were nice working class boys with haircuts just long enough to be edgy and their two movies, “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Help!” stayed clear of the psychedelics and protest that drove youth culture in the second half of the decade.
More importantly, the Beatles got better because of the natural competition between Lennon and McCartney. While everything written was published as Lennon-McCartney, their competitive juices matured into who could build the better song. It is hard to believe that only five years passed between when “Love Me Do” hit the shelves and when “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” transformed the social landscape. Continue reading
Posted in Books
Tagged Abbey Road, Albert Goldman, Apple Records, Bob McBarton, Brian Epstein, Cynthia Lennon, Ed Sullivan, George Harrison, John Lennon, Julian Lennon, Liverpool, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Rock and roll, Rucker Alex, Sean Lennon, Sgt Pepper’s, Shari Foos, The Beatles, The Luncheon Society, Yoko Ono
Each year, Michael Dukakis kicks off the first Southern California Luncheon Society gathering and this year was no different. Joining us in Los Angeles at Napa Valley Grille on Saturday January 14th and then making the trek up to San Francisco on February 24th at Credo, Mike Dukakis has always brought an informative and self-deprecatory approach to getting his message out. Each year he has mentioned that if he had beaten Bush in 1988, he would be speaking to us in another capacity—and says that if he beaten the Old Man, nobody would have ever heard about The Son. In Boston, the former Governor talked about the business of statecraft and why it matters.
Both Mike and Kitty Dukakis were early Barack Obama supporters and were impressed that they built a grass roots campaign to connect with voters, something the DNC forgot about in the 2010 midterm elections. Dukakis believes that Democrats needs to organize down to the small precinct. He believes that six-to-eight block captains per precinct must organize repeated door-knocking excursions and report any supporters or potential supporters back to a precinct captain. In turn, they must be responsible for getting those supporters to the polls on Election Day. “It’s neighbors seeing neighbors. It’s putting a human face on the political process. It’s engaging people in conversations on issues they care about and responding to them.”
The first question Dukakis will ask anybody running for office is “How many precincts do you have? How many of those precincts have captains?”
Grass Roots campaigns based on old-fashioned-precinct-walking shoe leather will deliver a 5-10% incremental lift each and every time. Colorado Senator Michael Bennet personally credits “The Dukakis Lecture” to getting him to retool his campaign to incorporate a grassroots effort which resulted in a narrow come-from-behind win on Election Night 2010.
Posted in Mike Dukakis, Presidential Politics
Tagged 1988 George Bush, block captains, Boston, Credo, David Onek, grassroots, Kitty Dukakis, Los Angeles, Manhattan, Massachusetts, McBarton, michael dukakis, Napa Valley Grille, Romney, Rucker Alex, Sandrine’s, The Luncheon Society