Reviews

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John Lennon loved to talk. He talked about almost everything and always in his own inimitable style: a combination of biting satire and wicked wit with ample doses of intelligence. He never held anything back. And now Jeff Burger’s in-depth collection of print, radio, and television interviews is here to remind us just how much we lost when his life was cut short those many years ago . . .  an indispensable volume.

—June Skinner Sawyers, editor of Read the Beatles and Racing in the Street

In what surely took countless hours of research and with great attention to detail, Jeff Burger has preserved the thoughts, emotions, humor, and humanity of one of the twentieth century’s most transformative figures. In page after riveting page, John Lennon, in his own words, takes us on his unforgettable journey with the media.

—Dave Sholin, West Coast radio personality and the last person to interview John Lennon

Sure, there have been plenty of compendiums of Beatles and Lennon interviews over the years. But this meaty effort is packed with interviews that have either never been in actual print before (from radio and TV appearances) or have been recently discovered.

—Bob Ruggiero, Houston Press Full Review

A wonderful addition to the Lennon library and a pleasure to finally have all these interviews (including my own) presented in their entirety.

—Dennis Elsas, Sirius XM and New York-area (WFUV-FM) radio personality

Lennon’s sardonic humor, intelligence, and honesty are displayed in these revealing discussions. Music, activism, songwriting, and, of course, the Beatles are all topics woven together throughout the pieces.

—James Collins, Library Journal

John Lennon . . . is one of the most quotable figures of modern times. Many of his notable conversations and interviews are compiled in Lennon on Lennon.

—Ken Schlager, New Jersey Monthly

It’s great fun to pick up Jeff Burger’s book and dive deep into a wealth of material, some of which even the most ardent follower might not know and most of which had never been transcribed. . . . Lennon’s ready wit is always evident as are other, more serious memories of the touring years.

—Jacqueline Cutler, the [NJ] Star-Ledger  Full Review

Of all the Beatles, Lennon gave the most insightful and revealing interviews. So it’s no surprise that Lennon on Lennon: Conversations with John Lennon is such a fascinating read. Editor Jeff Burger draws on interviews from 1964 to the last interview Lennon ever did, for the RKO Radio Network on December 8, 1980. The 1964–66 interviews set the stage for the more interesting discussions to come, including many that were done for forgotten outlets such as the U.K. magazine Unit. You get more in the book than appeared in the original Unit piece, and that’s also the case with a 1971 interview done with political activists Tariq Ali and Robin Blackburn; a shorter piece appeared in Red Mole, but the longer text is in the book. The rapport Lennon and Ono enjoyed with Howard Smith results in frank conversation, and it’s useful to have the transcript of the couple’s Dick Cavett appearances.

—Gillian G. Gaar, Goldmine

Featured conversations are captivating, and some of the more interesting chapters feature the 1969 press conference Lennon and Ono did in Austria while wearing bags over their heads the whole time, a conversation that the pair had with LSD guru Timothy Leary and his wife, and sadly, the last interview Lennon ever gave, taped at his home in New York City on Dec. 8, 1980 mere hours before his murder. Burger pens an intro to each chapter in this most entertaining and enlightening book.

—Kevin Wierzbicki, Antimusic.com Full Review

This intriguing compendium of interviews conducted 1964–1980 plucks key Lennon insights from reams of temporal ephemera . . . Even when history shows [Lennon and Ono’s] observations to be wrongheaded, the couple’s elongated interviews with Howard Smith and Dick Cavett reveal wide-ranging substance beyond the style.

—Greg Beets, The Austin Chronicle Full Review

Lennon on Lennon is a book with interviews that have either never been in actual print before (from radio and TV appearances) or have been recently discovered . . . Though leaning mostly to post-Beatles times, the interviews span a Beatles press conference in 1966 to Lennon’s last ever interview, with Dave Sholin, on the day he was assassinated. There’s also one from 1969  that he and Ono gave to a flock of bemused reporters while hiding their faces completely under bags.

—BeatlesMagazine.blogpost.com Full Review