Lennon's widows determined to put the record straight
Datum 05-03-17 17:39:24 | Ämne: Beatlesnyheter
By Tom Leonard
John Lennon's widows are preparing to go head to head over the former Beatle's life and legacy in two conflicting "biographies".
An American-made musical about Lennon's life, which has been approved by his second wife Yoko Ono, will be opening on Broadway just a few months before the publication of a Lennon book by his first wife, Cynthia.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono
The musical, whose script was "authorised" by Ono before she gave permission for producers to use songs from Lennon's solo career, is likely to reopen old wounds in her relationship with others who were close to him.
Ono and Sir Paul McCartney have long argued over song rights. The musical's producers have chosen to ignore almost all of Lennon's output while in the Beatles, particularly the songs he wrote with McCartney, and concentrate on his later life with Ono.
She has donated two previously unreleased love songs to the production, one of which she claims Lennon wrote about her while he was still married to Cynthia.
Ono married Lennon in 1969, after an affair which Cynthia first learnt about from a newspaper article.
Sources close to Cynthia, who had a son, Julian, with Lennon during their seven-year marriage, say that she will be "honest" about Ono in her book, which is simply titled John and will be published by Hodder & Stoughton in September.
Although she wrote another book about Lennon some years ago, she says that this one will include "so much that I have never said, so many incidents that I have never spoken of and so many feelings I have never expressed - great love on one hand; pain and torment on the other".
Now 65, Cynthia met Lennon in 1958 at Liverpool College of Art, where they were both studying lettering. They married four years later.
The marriage has often been portrayed as an unequal one, in which Cynthia was far more devoted to her husband than he was to her.
"The time has come when I feel ready to tell the truth about John and me, our years together and the years since his death," she said.
"Only I know what happened between us - why we stayed together, why we parted and the price I paid for having been John's wife."
She says that she decided to write a book now because, having tried to live an "ordinary life" since Lennon's death in 1980, "I have come to realise that I will always be known as John's first wife". Meanwhile, the musical producers have made it quite clear whose version of Lennon's life they favour.
The production's official website makes only a passing reference to Cynthia but describes Ono as Lennon's "true love".
Turning on its head the conventional wisdom that Lennon wrote his best songs for the Beatles, the musical will include only a couple of very early songs by the band. Don Scardino, the musical's director and a self-proclaimed "huge Beatles fan", said he believed that Lennon would have wanted to focus on his solo career.
"He wasn't very interested in the Beatles' music," Scardino said.
"It was an aesthetic choice to leave out the Beatles music. We do have early Beatles songs in the show but not from the Lennon-McCartney catalogue." The musical "will tell the story of John Lennon's life, using Lennon's own words and 27 of his songs", he said, adding that Ono, 72, had "approved" the script and sat in on all the casting sessions.
"I asked her a lot of questions, for historical accuracy or for her feelings about certain things, and she made some wonderful suggestions, all of which I used," Scardino said. "But she has allowed me to tell the story in my own way, from my point of view, which is very generous."
In 2001, Ono helped to organise Come Together, a two-hour tribute to Lennon in which nothing of the pre-Ono Lennon was depicted and the Beatles were not mentioned once.
In the new musical, an ensemble of nine performers will play dozens of characters, with various actors playing Lennon at different stages of his life.
The show's producer, Allan McKeown, also produced the controversial musical Jerry Springer, The Opera.
Lennon previews in San Francisco next month and moves to New York in July. If it is a success, it is likely to transfer to London.
However, a Beatles-inspired musical, All You Need Is Love, failed to ignite in the West End four years ago