Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Lennonology : A book review

I have been waiting for the book Lennonology  by Chip Madinger and Scott Raile since I first heard about the book in 2008.      And every time I heard that the release date had been pushed back, I was disappointed but yet knew that Chip and Scott were working on putting out a great book.    And  let me tell you--Lennonology does not disappoint!

What is Lennonology you ask.   Besides being the must have book for all serious fans of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, it is a book that chronicles the day to day events of the life of the Lennons from the day John and Yoko met in 1966 until the day of John's death in 1980.    If you are familiar with Mark Lewishon's amazing book, The Complete Beatles Chronicles,  then the layout of Lennonology should look familiar.    It takes the Day-by-day approach and spells out what John and Yoko were doing day in and day out.

At first I wanted to start with my favorite John Lennon time period (The Lost Weekend) and read those years and then go back to the beginning.  However, I was advised to start at the front and work my way through the book in order.    This was really good advice because it really opened my eyes to John and Yoko's relationship and the changes that occurred in it and why that changes happened.   It is different reading about it in order than reading one story here and another there.

The best part of this book is that it has been researched and has found information I never thought I would learn about.    Exact dates are given (based on letters, newspapers, video footage, etc) for events that I just have in my files very vague information or "unknown" marked next t them.    For me the fun part of the book was getting into my John Lennon photo files and finding the photos that I have and labeling them with the correct dates.   I was able to find dates for about 50 previously unknown events!    There are still some photos that I am unsure about, but that is all part of the fun of being a fan---and at least Lennonology gave me more things to look into and discover.

Thanks to Lennonology, I finally know why John is wearing throw-away gloves in this photo!

What didn't I like about this book?   Well there wasn't a whole lot, honestly.    You know I am not a big fan of Yoko Ono's art or music and there is a lot of information about her art shows, films, and performances that I found boring, but it was good to muddle through to get to the John information.  I also found all of the information on John's immigration legal situation to be tedious and dull at times, which just made me think of how John must have felt living through it!   I see the value of having this information and I am glad that it is included in the book.     And of course, I have to complain that there weren't enough photos and they weren't in color.   But you'd expect that complaint from me, wouldn't you?

I  have to give out "kudos" to the authors for the way they handled John's murder in this book.   I was highly impressed with the tact and the manner in which they wrote about this difficult subject.   

I know that the prices of Beatles book seem outrageous these days and to add yet another $100 book on your list  is asking a lot.   However, I am listing Lennonology as the Meet the Beatles for Real must have book this Christmas because it is a must-have resource for anyone who is a hard-core Lennon fan. Who is this book for?    Anyone who considers themselves to be a historian on John Lennon.   Anyone who is a fan of John Lennon or Yoko's art and music.       Anyone who collects photos of John Lennon and Yoko Ono.   Anyone who wants to know details about John and Yoko's lives.  

If you are a casual fan or don't really care for John and Yoko, then this is a book you can skip and buy for the most hard-core Lennon fan in your life instead.

I know that Lennonology is not a book that is going to go back on my bookshelf anytime soon, as I will be using it daily as I write this blog.    Now if only someone would write similar books on McCartney,  Harrison and Starr....

Order Lennonology here!!!


  1. I' a Beatles' (john's mailnly) fan from when I was 14, 37 years ago. If I ever knew of a book like this just a few years ago I would have jumped all around my house for happiness. By now, for what' s happening around the world, I'm wondering if it has any sense. Price is not cheap at all, circa 150 $ for knowing what they did day by day, makes less sense now. Hope times will chage for better, but I think it will take a lot of time, and the result is not sure.

  2. Question! Does it give session dates for, like, Plastic Ono Band? (or I should just ask: does it give session dates?! That's what I'm most interested in, the order in which things were recorded).

    Thanks for the review!! The price tag is daunting, and I've had to pass up many-a-Beatle book in the last bunch of years because of it, but maybe I'll be able to save a few sheckels!

  3. always enjoy your reviews Sara - am just starting John by Cynthia Lennon myself

  4. The book includes complete session information for every one of John and Yoko's albums, yes! If we had gone into too much detail, however (such as explaining which take of "Imagine" was the master, and what bootleg you can get Take 1 on, for instance), the book would have been even bigger than it already is. That information will be saved for future volumes. But if you just want to know that "Imagine" was recorded on May 27, 1971....then this is your book.

    1. Thanks for answering! I was going to, but you explain it much better.