I was fortunate recently to visit Paris, France and while there of course I had to have a snoop around for Beatle books and records. I had a couple of successes and over the next couple of blog posts I’ll detail what I found there….
In Paris there is a fantastic chain of discount bookstores called Gilbert Jeune:
They have a number of outlets all around the Place Saint-Michel, right across the road from the River Seine and just near where we stayed. In one of the stores they were stocking a number of Beatle and Beatle-related titles and I very much liked the look of this one:
“John Lennon – Une Vie en Images” translates roughly as “John Lennon – A Life in Images”. This is a large format softback book – very thick and heavy and printed on quality paper. The text by John Blaney is in French but as the book is largely made up of photographs of John Lennon that’s not so much of a drawback for me (I don’t speak French!). It actually makes this book a little more unusual and interesting if anything.
John Blaney comes with some cred. He’s a contributor to Shindig magazine and has written extensively on the Beatles, and Lennon and McCartney as solo artists. His books include “Paul McCartney – The Songs He Was Singing”; “John Lennon – Listen to this Book”; “Lennon and McCartney: Together Alone”; and “Beatles For Sale: How Everything They Touched Turned to Gold”. (You can read more about Blaney on his Amazon author page).
Amazon also carries this review of “John Lennon – Une Vie en Images” from the Booklist site: “Although this biography-in-photographs appears in conjunction with the thirtieth anniversary of John Lennon’s tragic death at 40, it concentrates on what Yoko Ono describes in her preface as her husband’s “magical” life. While Ono remembers Lennon as a “curious and highly intelligent man,” Blaney writes of Lennon’s “butterfly mind,” shorthand for his brilliance and impatience. In his extensive commentary accompanying hundreds of remarkably elegant private and public photographs, Blaney notes that while the always-photogenic Lennon appears to be “a confident, happy, normal young boy,” everyone knew he was exceptional. Creative, charismatic, ambitious, daring, and sensitive, Lennon concealed his terrible grief over his mother’s death when he was 17 behind a caustic and aggressive demeanor and struggled with his repressed feelings as the tempest of fame engulfed the Beatles. Image and narrative track the group’s rapid rise and evolution and Lennon’s discovery of his soul mate. Blaney writes, “Ono transformed Lennon; she filled him with confidence, inspiration and energy.” This superior photographic record of Lennon and his and Ono’s love, activism, and mutual artistry is strikingly romantic and poignant.” — Donna Seaman
Amazon has a “Look Inside” page for the English version of this book. It gives a much better idea of the great photos, layout and content.
Further research when I got back home revealed that this book has also been published in English, but with the title “John Lennon – In His Life”:
It was published in Germany as “Being John Lennon – The Visual Biography”: