And now to individuals!
A childhood friend of John’s, who now lives in Australia, has written a book about John, called, ‘John Lennon; The Boy who became a Legend’. I met him a few years ago at the house of another friend of my brother’s, Tim Holmes. He wrote his book shortly after that..Michael has recorded an interview for Strawberry Field, which will be shown in the Visitor Experience, when it is open. Michael describes Strawberry Field in his book:
‘On Vale Road, behind John Lennon’s house, was the sandstone wall at the rear of an old strawberry-coloured Gothic house, the main entrance of which was on Beaconsfield Road, off Menlove Avenue. At the front of the house were large, iron gates. Called ‘Strawberry Field’, it was originally a ship owner’s mansion. At the time we played there, it was in use as a home for girls. The garden of the house was wild, overgrown and full of birds and rabbits. Once the wall had been climbed, it was an ideal place in which to play.’
John attributes Michael, in their teenage years, to introducing him to yet another world, by means of music:
‘Little Richard was one of the all time greats. The first time I heard him, a friend of mine, (Michael Hill) had been to Holland and brought back a 78 with ‘Long Tall Sally’. That’s the music that brought me back from the provinces of England to the world. That’s what made me what I am…When I heard it, it was so great I could hardly speak.’
I think it is safe to cliche now….’…and the rest is history.’!!
A little aside. I met Little Richard about 4 years ago, in Nashville, Tennessee. I didn’t bump into him exactly..in fact, I ran after him in the hotel, when I recognised him. He was just about to get into the lift with his son and I was out of breath. I said,
‘Sir, I am John Lennon’s sister and please can I tell you that you changed my brother’s life. You brought The Beatles to life. Thank you.’
He gave me a beautiful smile, patted my arm and disappeared. That was a wonderful moment for me. I had actually seen his show twice in Liverpool as a teenager. I was as excited and silly as any fan to say hello to a legend.