A veteran journalist and screenwriter...Ray Connolly lays no claim to fresh revelations about the life of the group’s self-styled leader, instead offering insights into Lennon’s complex, contradictory character. He’s well qualified, having struck up a camaraderie with Lennon over the late 1960s/early 70s ... He handles their much-told tale with welcome concision ... there never was a Saint John—the man in Ray Connolly’s account is much more human, and much more lovable.
Connolly...takes a sensible route down the path dividing the saint and the monster in this careful, thoughtful biography ... Connolly wears his acquaintance lightly, never forcing himself into the narrative or sinking into the hideous mateyness that can blight rock biographies. It explains, too, why the Lennon captured here feels so warm to the touch ... For Connolly, it is Lennon’s insecurities that are ultimately most revealing, rooted in an unsettled childhood in Liverpool’s postwar suburbs ... for anyone interested in the Beatles, their story has something of the infinite flexibility of fairy tale or Arthurian legend, able to withstand endless retellings ... Connolly does all this with quiet expertise, an understated writer who collates all the details into a vivid whole ... neither hatchet job nor hagiography, Being John Lennon swerves dead-hero worship.
... likable and workmanlike but hardly revelatory ... Connolly is able occasionally to relay personal conversations that prove legitimately new and interesting and that elevate Being John Lennon into something more than a glorified clip job ... Aside from the primary material, Connolly’s strengths as a biographer are numerous. He writes crisply and well, albeit very much in the British vernacular, and he traverses the contours of his subject’s short but momentous life with authority. The chapters are short, the pacing is quick, and the author is able to mold Lennon’s often diffuse interests and experiences into a satisfying narrative ... Connolly...provides vivid descriptions ... Aside from the occasional gaffe...he is mostly a canny guide to the music ... Despite the book’s many fine qualities, however, there remains a nagging sense that Being John Lennon, at bottom, does not really enhance our understanding of its subject in any profound way.
Being John provides insight into the lyrics of Mr. Lennon’s songs ... While some of the information in this biography is already well-known, Mr. Connolly still provides a fascinating look at the life of John Lennon.
...Ray Connolly’s brisk and eminently readable biography of John Lennon reminds us of the irresistible forces driving the Fab Four apart ... Connolly inevitably goes over some well-trodden ground. Philip Norman’s magisterial 850-page biography, published more than a decade ago, is a more stylish read, but if Connolly doesn’t deliver any seismic revelations, he tells his story with all the gusto of an old Fleet Street hand ... Connolly takes us on a high-speed guided tour of an era when showbusiness rules were rewritten by young men who were wittier and much less deferential than their predecessors.
Ray Connolly's picture of Lennon, whom he knew from 1967 on, takes in the 'labyrinth of contradictions' of his subject. But, like most Beatle portraits, there's really nothing new here. It's well written, and intelligent, and Connolly's social and historical observations inform the book, adding depth and background.
Having interviewed the Beatles and their coterie since the Sixties, Connolly contributes several new nuggets about the complex rock icon ... Writing in a breezy style, the author adds to the already substantial Lennon literature ... An intriguing option for those unfamiliar with the highly imaginative but self-destructive Beatle.
Veteran English writer and journalist Connolly...has written a fat, entertaining biography of the restless soul who was John Lennon. Instead of uncovering anything terribly new or revealing, he has done an excellent job of illuminating all the phases of Lennon’s complicated life and career ... A welcome new perspective on an endlessly influential and compelling artist.
In this dramatic, insightful biography of John Lennon, Connolly argues that the musician was 'a labyrinth of contradictions' ... Connolly’s history is a colorful and balanced portrait of an immensely creative artist.