by Tim Riley

Hyperion, $35.00, 765 pages

If you’ve been holding out for the ultimate bio of John Lennon, wait no more. Lennon: The Man, the Myth, the Music – The Definitive Life delivers a complete fly-on-the-wall account of Lennon’s life from the day he was born until the day he was shot dead by a deranged fan. It is divided into three periods beginning with Pre-Beatles, 1940-1959, then Beatlehood, 1960-1969 and finally, Beyond Beatles, 1970-1980.

The amount of detail in this book is phenomenal even down to revealing what clothes Lennon wore to certain gigs, how he and the rest of the Beatles ended up with a mop-top hairdo, to when and why he bought his famous Rickenbacker guitar. The transformative Hamburg days are fully recounted, shedding light on the gigs that started the band down the road to fame and author Tim Riley digs deep to explain the roots and influences that gave them their unique sound.  Riley manages to remain mostly impartial and leaves no stone unturned, delving deeply into the complexities of Lennon’s personality, his vast talent and tortured soul. This 765-page doorstopper of a book is a must-have for any serious music fan.

Diane Prokop