The author perhaps best known for writing the only authorized biography of the Beatles has uncovered more than 250 letters and cards sent by John Lennon to his family, and they are soon to be published for the first time.
Hunter Davies, 75, whose book The Beatles was published in 1968, has been tracking down all the communications written by the assassinated singer, who was gunned down on 8 December 1980, aged 40.
Davies has uncovered some of the memorabilia through auction houses, and he’s also been given access to letters by “members of the Beatles’ inner circle.”
“I’ve found a lot of letters that nobody’s ever seen,” Davies is CBC News quotes the author as saying.
Davies’s new book on Lennon – which came together after Lennon’s window, Yoko Ono, had given her blessing to it – is due out next year. Davies said it was the first time Ono had given her permission for her husband’s private letters to be published.
There are “no dramatic revelations,” Davies says of the correspondence, but it does provide an insight into Lennon’s life.
Beatlemania: The Fab Four received a tumultuous welcome when they arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in 1964 (left to right: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr)
“You see him as a tortured soul. You see him being funny, you see him showing off, you see him depressed, you see him in different stages.”
He added: “His first reaction to any emotion, whether it was fury or amazement or hatred, was not really to go to the piano or the guitar. He was just as likely to pick up a pen and write it. And he wrote such amusing letters. When he wrote a letter or a postcard to somebody, he saw it as a challenge to write a unique piece for them and to amuse them and respond to their humour.”
Davies, along with Lennon’s half-sister Julia Baird and others, has been at a Beatles convention in the band’s home town of Liverpool in the northwest of England. It’s part of International Beatles Week.
Evidence that the sixties phenomenon known as the “Fab Four” are still a force to be reckoned with came earlier this month, when an autographed copy of their 1963 record “Please Please Me” fetched £9,000 at auction in Liverpool. It is signed on both sides by all four members of the band.
It was among more than 300 lots going under the auctioneer’s hammer, including a cap owned by Lennon, which sold for £3,200.
On this day (August 30) exactly 39 years ago – in 1972 – Lennon and Ono played a concert at the legendary Madison Square Garden to raise money for the One to One charity.
They were joined by such luminaries as Sha Na Na, Roberta Flack and Stevie Wonder.
“Lennon personally bought $60,000 worth of tickets which were given to volunteer fundraisers,” says the Gibson guitar company’s website. “Several of the performances were later included on Lennon’s Live in New York City album.”