Who are the alcoholics on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Album cover? James Joyce, W.C. Fields, and Tony Curtis are three we can start off with.  Ronald Fields, W.C.Fields’ grandson,  in the video clip  below at the 17:40 noted that his grandfather said, “I only have one regret. I wonder what it would have been like without alcohol.” Next we have to think about four other people who died prematurely in part because of alcohol and they were Lenny Bruce, Edgar Allan Poe, Dylan Thomas, and  Marilyn Monroe.


A report in The New York Times said that the number of suicides in New York a week after MARILYN MONROE’S death hit a record high of 12 in one day. One suicide victim left a note saying, “If the most wonderful, beautiful thing in the world has nothing to live for, then neither must I.” 

Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio

Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggioCredit: Reuters/The Estate of John Vachon/Dover Publications

W.C. Fields: Behind The Laughter (Part 2/2)

The Beatles at the Morecambe & Wise Show – 02/12/63

The Beatles “Strawberry Fields Forever” (Music Video 1967)

Beatles – “Don’t Let Me Down” (1969) HQ

Rolling Stone, April 25th, 1974  John Lennon was already drunk .


Lenny Bruce on Stg. Pepper’s cover:

Wikipedia observed:

On August 3, 1966, a bearded Lenny Bruce was found dead in the bathroom of his Hollywood Hills home at 8825 W. Hollywood Blvd.[47] The official photo, taken at the scene, showed Bruce lying naked on the floor, a syringe and burned bottle cap nearby, along with various other narcotics paraphernalia.

Jb Nation Poe 1 E

On October 7, 1849, at age 40, Edgar Allan Poe died in Baltimore; the cause of his death is unknown and has been attributed to alcohol, brain congestion, cholera, drugs, heart disease, rabies, suicide, tuberculosis, and other agents.


Dylan Thomas liked to boast about his drinking and said: “An alcoholic is someone you don’t like, who drinks as much as you do.” Thomas’ health rapidly began to deteriorate as a result of his drinking; he was warned by his doctor to give up alcohol but he carried on regardless.

Bernice Abbott James Joyce 1926

James Joyce lived in Dublin for many years, binge drinking the whole time. His drinking episodes occasionally caused fights in the local pubs.

Another Sgt. Pepper’s face passes away
[Posted by Dave Haber on Thursday, 09/30/10 2:06 pm] [Full Blog] [Tweet] [Facebook]

Actor and Hollywood legend Tony Curtis has passed away. He was among the actors and famous people that the Beatles admired that were pictured on the cover of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album in 1967.

Curtis, himself, was a big Beatles fan. In March, 2009, Tony Curtis visited Las Vegas to sign autographs for fans to celebrate the release of his book, “American Prince – A Memoir.” Curtis showed up to the event wearing a t-shirt bearing the picture of the Sgt. Pepper’s cover in which he appears.

Tony Curtis in 2009

Known for comedic roles like Some Like it Hot and serious movies like Spartacus, Curtis died on Wednesday of cardiac arrest in his Nevada home. He was 85.


INSIGNIFICANCE Trailer (1985) – The Criterion Collection



May 14, 1985

Cannes, France – “How’s the Cannes Film Festival? I’ll tell you one thing, pal. It’s a whole lot better than a kick in the ass. I got my ticket paid for, I’m staying in a first-class hotel, I’m wearing expensive boa-constrictor cowboy boots, and I’m not drinking and I’m not taking drugs. How could life be better?”

Tony Curtis was in an expansive mood. He’s a naturally exuberant man, but this time he seemed happier and a little calmer than the last time I caught him at Cannes — the time he interrupted our interview to lean out the window and try to pick up a girl who was walking in front of his hotel.

“You know how hard it is to get boa-constrictor boots? One guy holds down the snake, and the other two guys pull off his boots.” Curtis is going to be 60 on his next birthday, June 6. He has made at least 140 movies. He has been a famous movie star for 38 years, and there is only one place where he wants to set the record straight.

“I never said Yonder lies dah castle of my faddah. That line has become part of the folklore. You go to see the movie, listen for yourself. What I said was, clear as day, father. See, I was born Bernie Schwartz. I’m a Hungarian Jew from Brooklyn. So they thought I had to pronounce it faddah, because it fit the stereotype. Lawrence Olivier was in the same picture, but nobody thinks he ever mispronounced anything in his whole life.”

It was a rainy Saturday at the Cannes festival, and we were sitting in a little lounge hidden off the lobby of the Carlton Hotel. A few hours ago they’d held the press screening for Curtis’s new movie, “Insignificance,” a truly odd tragicomedy by Nicholas Roeg, about a long night spent together byMarilyn Monroe, Albert Einstein, Joe DiMaggio and Sen. Joe McCarthy.

Curtis played McCarthy as a boozy charmer who kicks the hooker out of his bed so he can go deliver an ultimatum to Einstein: Talk before the Senate loyalty committee, or else. When he gets to Einstein’s hotel room, he finds Monroe in the professor’s bed, and DiMaggio pounding on the door. None of the movie’s characters are referred to by name, but there is no doubt who they’re meant to be.

Curtis, of course, co-starred with Monroe in perhaps her best movie, “Some Like It Hot.” In “Insignificance,” the blond sex symbol is played by Theresa Russell, and at the press conference after the screening, Curtis was asked if it brought back any memories when he walked on the set and saw her blond wig and white-pleated dress.

“Naw, I never was in drag in a blond wig or a white dress,” Curtis joked. “In that picture, I was a brunet.”

Later, though, he told me it did seem a little strange to be playing opposite a Marilyn figure.

“Theresa doesn’t look like Marilyn to me, but I’d catch a glimpse of her out of the corner of my eye, and it would bring back so many memories. You see, when we were making that picture, she was suffering from the same disease that I have — alcoholism and drug addiction. Only we didn’t know it. You deny you have a problem. Everybody tries to work around it.

“The director, Billy Wilder, told Jack Lemmon and me that Marilyn might go 40 takes before she got something right, but when she got it right, that would be the take he would use — so we better have our acts together, and not have our fingers up our noses.

“I remember one day, Marilyn was drinking champagne, and by 5:30 in the afternoon she couldn’t work anymore. And I saw Arthur Miller, who was then her husband, drive onto the set in a limousine and take her arm and just yank her into the car, like she was a drunk, which of course she was, except that not Miller or nobody else thought of it as a disease, and they just treated her like a drunk, and she never got the help she needed.”

But you finally did get help?

“Jeez, it took me a long time. I’m in recovery now. I’m like a pregnant woman — in the recovery room. Drugs and booze were a terrible ordeal for me for years, and I was in mid-life before I realized it. I was losing control, I was powerless over the stuff, my life was unmanageable, my personality would change in weird ways, I finally knew something was very wrong. I was unable to work. I was difficult for me to work with, forget about anybody else. I had been denying it. Monroe had the line in ‘Some Like It Hot,’ She said it to me: ‘I can quit anytime I want to, only I don’t want to.’

“As for all the publicity about how I went into Betty Ford Center, that’s the tail wagging the dog. The center isn’t the big thing. It’s admitting you got a problem, pal, and you need help. Whether it’s Betty Ford or your local AA meeting down the street, what difference does it make? Today I don’t have to hide in the closet. The only treatment for substance abuse is complete abstinence, and to talk about it, like in AA. I’m gonna be 60 soon, and I’ve learned so much, I feel like I spent 59 years of my life between my 59th and 60th birthdays.

Curtis said he went to Hungary right before he came to Cannes, to visit the village where his father was born.

“I wanted to look on the same hills his eyes looked on. I’m trying to figure out this thing called life. I’m trying to understand what happened to me. Let me tell you a story, sort of a parable. One day in 1948 I went to Hollywood. My name was Bernie Schwartz. I signed a contract at Universal, and I bought a house in the hills. It had a swimming pool. Unheated, but it had water in it. One night I came home late, I jumped in the pool, I swam a few laps, I got out, I dried myself off, I put on my clothes, and I walked directly into this room and sat down and started to talk to you. Do you see what I’m saying? Thirty-eight years, I don’t know where they went. Gone like that.”

He shook his head, slowly. “Yesterday, I jumped in that pool,” he said. “Jeez, the water was cold.”


Both Paul McCartney and John Lennon had their dark times when they were almost captured by alcoholism after the break up of the Beatles. At the beginning of the video below Paul McCartney noted:

It really hit me. Very insecure, very paranoid, very out of work, very useless and I was going crazy. I wouldn’t get up in the morning and when I did get up I wouldn’t shave or bother with anything and I would reach for the whisky. I was going downhill. I would read the newspaper and it would say, “McCartney broke up the Beatles!!” That would send me off on another bout. If I was doing it on my own, I am not sure if I would have got out of it, but very luckily Linda was there and she said, “You don’t need to do this and there is a way you can do your music.” She started to steer me in a good direction, and I started to feel much better about myself.  

Paul McCartney (3/9) – Wingspan

Just like Paul who fell into the liquor trap, John Lennon also had his bout with liquor (described in above video, LENNONYC, starting at 40 min mark) but it seems that John’s was for a longer period of time. At the 53 min mark in the above video,  LENNONYC, the photographer Bob Gruen said of Lennon’s time in Los Angeles, “You don’t get drunk every night if you are happy. You don’t take drugs if you are happy.” In the autumn of 1973 John had what he called his lost weekend which lasted 14 months. In the article, “When Harry met… John, Paul, George and Ringo: The American Beatle’s 18-month ‘lost weekend’ with Lennon,” by ALYN SHIPTON, 

(Harry) Nilsson was back in Los Angeles by the time of John Lennon’s arrival in the city in the autumn of 1973.

Ever since their time together at Lennon’s home, there had been a strong bond of friendship between the two of them.

However, unlike the camaraderie he enjoyed with Ringo, Nilsson always slightly hero-worshipped Lennon, and there was a shared love of the outrageous. This could, and often did, prove to be a destructive force.

Lennon was at a crossroads. His album MIND GAMES would be released in October to indifferent reviews, and in June he had split from Yoko. He and Ono’s former personal assistant, May Pang, eloped to the West Coast, where Lennon planned to make an album of rock classics, to be produced by Phil Spector.

Lennon’s drinking was under control in New York, but in Los Angeles, away from Yoko, it increased dramatically as he began socialising with Nilsson.

As she watched Lennon match Nilsson’s intake of brandy and cocaine, May Pang felt powerless: ‘(Nilsson) had charm. We loved him. But he went to extremes.’

Harry Nilsson – Everybody’s Talkin’ (1969)

Left to right: John Lennon, Anne Murray, Harry Nilsson, Alice Cooper, Micky Dolenz.

When Harry met… John, Paul, George and Ringo: The American Beatle’s 18-month ‘lost weekend’ with Lennon


Mike Nesmith & John Lennon

Harry Nilsson – Without You 1972 (HD)


Epic brandy binges. Guns in the studio. The famous ‘Lost Weekend’. How Harry Nilsson, the hellraising singer of Without You, befriended and bewitched the Fab Four – and drove himself into an early grave

One long party: During the infamous 'lost weekend' Harry Nilsson with John Lennon and May Pang. Nilsson always slightly hero-worshipped Lennon, and there was a shared love of the outrageous

One long party: During the infamous ‘lost weekend’ Harry Nilsson with John Lennon and May Pang. Nilsson always slightly hero-worshipped Lennon, and there was a shared love of the outrageous

Somewhere between three and four o’clock on a Monday morning in April 1968, the telephone rang in the little office at RCA Records in Los Angeles where an obscure singer-songwriter named Harry Nilsson was keeping his usual nocturnal hours.

‘I was half asleep,’ Nilsson recalled. ‘A voice says: “Hello, Harry. This is John. Man you’re too f***ing much, you’re just great. We’ve got to get together and do something.”

‘I said, “Who is this?”

‘“John Lennon.”

‘I said: “Yeah, right, who is this?”

‘“It’s John Lennon. I’m just trying to say you’re fantastic. Have a good night’s sleep. Speak to you soon. Goodbye.”

‘I thought, “Was that a dream?”’ Not a dream, but the start of an association that would change Nilsson’s life.

The year before, Nilsson recorded The Beatles’ You Can’t Do That, cleverly using quotes from 14 other Beatles songs.

That had led to an invitation to a party at George Harrison’s rented house in the Hollywood Hills.

Harry recalled that the Beatle, ‘in a white windblown robe with a beard and long hair, looking like Christ with a camcorder’, had listened to his songs and been ‘very complimentary’.

John Lennon – Woman

Nilsson was described as 'the finest white male singer on the planet', and was an accomplished songwriter who happened to have huge hits with two songs he did not write: Everybody's Talkin' and Without You

Nilsson was described as ‘the finest white male singer on the planet’, and was an accomplished songwriter who happened to have huge hits with two songs he did not write: Everybody’s Talkin’ and Without You

Harrison took Nilsson’s demos away and played them to the other Beatles, who were now calling Harry in the middle of the night.

The Monday after Lennon’s call, Paul McCartney rang. ‘Hello, Harry. Yeah, this is Paul. Just wanted to say you’re great, man! John gave me the album. It’s great; you’re terrific. Look forward to seeing you.’

The next Monday, Nilsson dressed and waited for a four o’clock call from Ringo. It didn’t come. But on May 14, Lennon and McCartney appeared at a press conference in New York.

Asked to name their favourite American artist, Lennon replied ‘Nilsson’. The two gave the same response when asked their favourite group.

Later that day, when a journalist wondered what they thought about American music, Lennon replied, ‘Nilsson! Nilsson for president!’

A unique relationship would form between Nilsson and The Beatles. He would write a song for McCartney, make films and party through the 1970s with Ringo Starr, and record and raise hell with Lennon in the notorious 18-month ‘lost weekend’ period in 1973 and 1974, when John left Yoko Ono for a wild life in Los Angeles.

There was, it should be said, much more to Nilsson than his Beatles associations.

He was described by his producer Richard Perry as ‘the finest white male singer on the planet’, and was an accomplished songwriter who happened to have huge hits with two songs he did not write: Everybody’s Talkin’ and Without You.

Not long after Lennon and McCartney returned from New York, Derek Taylor, The Beatles’ press officer at Apple, made a call to Harry.

‘Derek says: “The lads, the boys, the Fabs would like you to come over and join them at a session,”’ Nilsson remembered. ‘“They’re recording at Abbey Road. They’re dying to see you.”’

Nilsson with Ringo Starr and Lynsey de Paul. 'When he got to make records with John Lennon and be friends with Ringo Starr, his life was complete,' said legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb

Nilsson with Ringo Starr and Lynsey de Paul. ‘When he got to make records with John Lennon and be friends with Ringo Starr, his life was complete,’ said legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb

John Lennon – Watching the Wheels

Within a few days, Nilsson was sitting on a plane crossing the Atlantic.

Arriving at Heathrow, he found that Ringo had kindly left his Daimler limousine at the airport for him.

Suddenly famous, having been endorsed by the world’s biggest band, Nilsson went straight to a reception for his own record, where the other three Beatles were the stars of a guest list that included everybody who was anybody in swinging London.

That afternoon, another limo arrived to take Harry out to Lennon’s home in the Surrey commuter belt.

Nilsson was greeted warmly by Lennon, and a single look between them was the start of a lifelong friendship.

‘We spent the entire night talking until dawn,’ said Nilsson.

‘Yoko ended up like a kitten at John’s feet, curled up. And John and I are on about marriage, life, death, divorce, women. And I’m thinking, “This is it! This is truthful. This is good. This is honest. This is exciting. It’s inspirational.”’

Lennon gave Nilsson an Indian gold braided jacket with fur trim lining he had worn in Magical Mystery Tour.

The following day McCartney announced he was coming over to Nilsson’s hotel, and he ran through rough versions of several of his newly written songs.

Nilsson sent down for a bottle or two of the best wine on the hotel’s room service list, and they carried on singing songs for one another into the small hours, until there was a thunderous banging on the door from the occupants of the room next door: ‘What the hell do you people think you’re doing? Don’t you know some people work for a living? Some people have to get up in the morning!’

Nilsson calmly introduced them to his visitors, and Paul gently apologised. The neighbours were impressed to find that the disturbance had been created by so famous a guest and made no further complaints. The evening ended with McCartney driving Nilsson around London in his Aston Martin.

It laid the groundwork for future collaborations between Nilsson and all four members of the group.

The song Everybody’s Talkin’ had made Nilsson a star in his own right by the time his friendship with Ringo – soon to be one of the cornerstones of Nilsson’s life – blossomed in the early 1970s.

‘Ringo and I spent a thousand hours laughing,’ said Nilsson.

Lennon and Nilsson are thrown out of the Troubador in LA on March 13, 1974, for heckling

Lennon and Nilsson are thrown out of the Troubador in LA on March 13, 1974, for heckling

Ringo, often sporting mirrored sunglasses that disguised the effects of the night before, was at the heart of a social set that enjoyed late nights, exclusive bars, nightclubs and brandy.

Along with Nilsson and Ringo, there would be Marc Bolan of T Rex, Keith Moon, and Graham Chapman of Monty Python.

When in London, they would meet in the afternoon, drinking brandy and swapping yarns, each new arrival dropping in with the catchphrase: ‘I hope I’m not interrupting anything?’

‘We would drink until 9pm,’ Nilsson recalled. ‘That’s six hours of brandy. Then between 9 and 10, we would usually end up at Tramp, the most uproarious, exclusive disco-restaurant in the world.

‘Royalty, movie stars, world champions all frequented the place. It was a ride, meeting luminaries and having blow-outs every night.’

Nilsson was back in Los Angeles by the time of John Lennon’s arrival in the city in the autumn of 1973.

Ever since their time together at Lennon’s home, there had been a strong bond of friendship between the two of them.

However, unlike the camaraderie he enjoyed with Ringo, Nilsson always slightly hero-worshipped Lennon, and there was a shared love of the outrageous. This could, and often did, prove to be a destructive force.

Lennon was at a crossroads. His album Mind Games would be released in October to indifferent reviews, and in June he had split from Yoko. He and Ono’s former personal assistant, May Pang, eloped to the West Coast, where Lennon planned to make an album of rock classics, to be produced by Phil Spector.

Lennon’s drinking was under control in New York, but in Los Angeles, away from Yoko, it increased dramatically as he began socialising with Nilsson.

As she watched Lennon match Nilsson’s intake of brandy and cocaine, May Pang felt powerless: ‘(Nilsson) had charm. We loved him. But he went to extremes.’

Nilsson and Micky Dolenz at the Rainbow

Nilsson and Micky Dolenz at the Rainbow

According to Spector, Nilsson was a hindrance to the sessions, and one of his more extreme pranks involved suggesting holding up a 7-Eleven store.Spector was no less outrageous.

He started arriving at the studio dressed up in various costumes, first as a doctor, then a karate instructor, and finally a cowboy, complete with loaded revolver.

Trying to assert his authority, Spector fired the gun into the air.

Covering his ears, Lennon quipped, ‘Listen Phil, if you’re going to kill me, kill me. But don’t f*** with me ears – I need ’em.’

The sessions broke down, leaving Lennon to spend more time with Nilsson, who introduced him to all his nocturnal haunts.

These included the Rainbow Bar and Grill in Hollywood, where the upstairs room still has a plaque on the wall commemorating their late-night drinking club, ‘the Hollywood Vampires’, which included Micky Dolenz of The Monkees, Keith Moon and Alice Cooper.

On March 13, 1974, Nilsson took his friend to see comedians the Smothers Brothers at the Troubadour club. Lennon proceeded to get seriously drunk on Brandy Alexanders.

The press the next day reported: ‘Customers in the jammed nightclub complained Lennon made sarcastic comments and shouted obscenities during the show.

Said the Smothers’ manager, Ken Fritz: ‘I went over and asked Harry to try to shut up Lennon. Harry said: “I’m trying – don’t blame me!”

‘When Lennon continued, I told him to keep quiet. He swung and hit me in the jaw.’

The bouncers had Lennon out in seconds.

Photographer Brenda Mary Perkins tried to snap him, but the enraged Lennon took a swing and his fist allegedly hit her right eye.

The Nixon administration had tried to have Lennon returned to Britain because of an ancient drug charge. When Perkins filed charges at the sheriff’s office, a Nilsson cover-up and charm campaign quelled an investigation that could have got Lennon deported.

Lennon and Nilsson agreed they had to do something more positive than going out on wild benders. John announced his intention of producing an album for Nilsson, and they decided they and the musicians should rent a beach house close to Santa Monica.

The sessions yielded the disappointing Pussy Cats, but were notable for a rare reunion of the principal Beatles.

Round midnight on the first night, McCartney appeared with Stevie Wonder. Lennon was passing cocaine around, and his offer of a ‘toot’ to Stevie gave the subsequent bootleg album its title: A Toot And A Snore In ’74. It was the last time the two ex-Beatles would ever play together in a studio.

On December 8, 1980, Nilsson was in the studio when he heard Lennon had been shot – it brought his professional life to a complete stop.

He would never make another completed studio album of his own. But by the early 1990s, his weight, his drinking, and the years of cocaine intake had taken a serious toll on his wellbeing.

A business venture resulted in bankruptcy, and Ringo had to step in to provide Harry and his family with a house and spending money. Beset by ill health, Nilsson died on January 15, 1994, aged 52.

In most obituaries, Nilsson’s career was summed up by his two Grammy-winning records, with the suggestion that the rest was an inexorable downturn into self-destruction.

Nilsson seemed to agree: ‘Being relegated to Everybody’s Talkin’ and Without You ain’t exactly what I set out to do.’

‘When he got to make records with John Lennon and be friends with Ringo Starr, his life was complete,’ said close friend and legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb.

‘That’s all he ever wanted. He wanted to know those people, to be admired by them. Everything else was the small print.’

From ‘Nilsson’ by Alyn Shipton,  published by OUP USA, £18.99.

To order at a special price of £14.99 with free p&p, please call the Mail Book Shop on 0844 472 4157 or visit


Friday, May 3rd, 2013


Friday, May 3rd, 2013

John Lennon – Starting Over


Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

Mind Games-John Lennon(OFFICIAL VIDEO)


Friday, July 1st, 2011


Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011


Thursday, April 14th, 2011


Tuesday, April 12th, 2011


Friday, October 22nd, 2010


Friday, June 25th, 2010


Friday, March 5th, 2010


Friday, February 12th, 2010


Monday, February 8th, 2010

Lennon’s adultery pact: When John left Yoko for a year of reckless debauchery he told her ‘you must take a lover too’

During their first four years together as a couple, John Lennon and Yoko Ono spent virtually every minute of every day together.

Though they continued to exhilarate each other on a creative level, their physical relationship inevitably lost some of its initial blaze.

John’s sexual drive remained as intense as ever, but Yoko was finding herself less able, or inclined, to deal with it.

She was an increasingly unresponsive lover and John taunted her that she was like a Victorian wife  –  ‘you just lie there and think of England’.

John Lennon and May Pang

More than friends: John Lennon with his assistant May Pang at the end of the Seventies

They often discussed the raging sexual hunger that had been so easy to indulge when he was on the road with The Beatles.

He had expected it to go away when he hooked up with Yoko, but it hadn’t.

‘I don’t understand it,’ he would tell her. ‘I’m madly in love with you, but why do I still keep looking at girls in the street?’

He wasn’t just looking. In New York, where they lived, they were invited to a party at the home of a Left-wing activist on the night of Richard Nixon’s re- election to the White House in 1972.

Upset at Nixon winning again, John was totally out of his head on drugs, pills and drink.

Yoko recalls a girl there, ‘not the kind you’d ever think John would be attracted to. She didn’t come on to him at all, but he just pulled her and went into the next room’.

As the grunts and groans of her husband having sex with another woman came through the wall, somebody put on a Bob Dylan record to try to drown the noise and spare Yoko’s blushes ‘but we heard it anyway’.

She tried to stay calm, and asked one of her assistants to go in with a flower for John and tell him she still loved him.

The assistant, understandably, refused, and Yoko was left with much to think about.

‘That situation really woke me up,’ said Yoko.

She and John had sacrificed a lot to be together and it was worth it because they were so much in love.


Re-united: John and Yoko Ono in 1980

Though eager to accept the sexual freedom Yoko was offering, John felt squeamish about doing anything under her nose in New York.


Inseparable: With Yoko at a news conference in New York in 1973

‘So then I suggested Los Angeles,’ she remembers, ‘and he just lit up.’

The problem was that, since his earliest days as a Beatle, he had never travelled anywhere alone or had to fend for himself.

Somebody would have to go with him. Yoko looked over the various young females in their circle and chose May Pang, a 22-year-old Chinese American who worked as an assistant to both of them.

She was good at her job, and extremely pretty.

‘I said to John: “What about May?” He said: “Oh no, not May!”  –  but it was like he doth protest too much. I went to May and said: “You have to accompany John to LA because I have things to do here.”‘

‘I didn’t say: “Do it” or anything like that. It was just to be an assistant, to go there. But I knew what might happen, because he was never without somebody, never on his own.’

John was to call the next 14 months his Lost Weekend, borrowing the title of Billy Wilder’s film about alcoholism and urban loneliness.

Like that film, alcohol certainly loomed large in John’s West Coast odyssey, as did loneliness and self-loathing.

‘I hadn’t been a bachelor since I was 20 or something, and I thought, Whoopee!’ he would recall. But the reality of life without Yoko was ‘god-awful’.

Fab Four

Fab Four: But John’s increasingly crazed actions in LA were a disappointment for Beatles fans

May Pang’s precise role in the scenario would never be clear, least of all to May herself.

In the book she subsequently wrote, called Loving John, she portrayed herself as a young woman of strong Catholic scruples who was at first scandalised by the suggestion that she become John’s mistress  –  even though, by her own account, they had already had a surreptitious fling in New York…

Another of John’s friends, photographer Bob Gruen, said: ‘It wasn’t like he left his wife for the mistress. He left his wife for wild times that his secretary oversaw.’

May was indisputably John’s only public female companion during the Lost Weekend.

But privately, Gruen reckons, there were dozens of other women, who thereafter ‘would really treasure that hour, that ten minutes, that night with John Lennon’.

Let off the lead, John ‘hit the bottle like I was 19 or 20’. Los Angeles provided lots of dangerous drinking companions, such as the singer Harry Nilsson and The Who drummer Keith Moon.

John and Yoko

Inspirational: The pair in 1968, when their relationship provided artistic ideas both used in their work

And as ever with John, just a couple of drinks changed him in an instant from irresistible charmer and jokester to surly, venom-tongued, trouble-seeking and often violent drunk.

‘When he was in that state and a fan spotted him and came over for an autograph, it was pitiful,’ Mintz remembers.

‘This was the Beatle who had lifted us onto a higher plane of consciousness with his lyrics, and here he was spilling drink on his trousers and not able to form a coherent sentence.

‘The look of letdown on people’s faces was terrible.’

He even drank in the recording studio, a flagon of vodka at his feet, something he’d never done during his whole career as a Beatle.

John was now working with the legendary Motown record producer Phil Spector, who would arrive at the studio ostentatiously flashing a pistol in a shoulder holster.

Yoko, meanwhile, was happily adjusting to single life. She was producing art and music with her usual energy.

Bed protest

Give peace a chance: The world-famous protest

• Abridged extract from JOHN LENNON: THE LIFE by Philip Norman, published by HarperCollins at £25. Copyright Philip Norman 2008.

In April 1974 the press jumped on John Lennon’s public misdemeanours, as he shouted obscenities at the Smothers Brothers and was chucked out of the Troubadour amid rumours his marriage was breaking down. Here are two reports from April and June – lifted from Rock’s Backpages

Sanitary Lennon – Jacob Atlas, Circus, April 1974

After years of the Dylans, the Tim Hardins, the jazz aficionados and the Elton Johns, almost nothing could shock either the people or the environment at LA’s Troubadour. Yet none other than John Lennon tried for that dubious big prize in the sky.
On Sunday evening, for Al Wilson and Ann Peebles’s last performance, John showed up, entourage in tow (including a very beautiful, very young Oriental woman – not Yoko) with a sanitary napkin tied around his head. Making a supreme fuss at the ticket counter, Lennon was granted a free tab on Bell Records. He was seated on the dais, a special raised area considered the “best” in the house by spiffy people, and proceeded to order round after round of drinks. The waitress for the area has been around Hollywood and the Troubadour long enough not to be impressed even by the Second Coming. She dutifully brought drink after drink, waiting patiently, at first, for the tip that never came. Finally, when the evening was just about closing, she asked Lennon if he planned to tip her. Lennon reportedly peered into her face and said, “Don’t you know who I am?” The waitress peered back and said, flatly, “You’re some jerk with a Kotex around his head,” and walked off. Lennon, outraged, did not leave a tip.

Meanwhile Yoko is living in New York, giving more and more credence to reports that the Lennon marriage is about to dissolve. George Harrison hasn’t been having much more luck in the marriage arena either; the fact that Patti Harrison is living openly with Ron Wood of the Faces has become common knowledge, even making it into the Hollywood gossip columns. However, in neither Beatle household is a divorce imminent. Meanwhile that possible Beatle tour looks even more possible as reports filter about that all four of the Liverpool lads could use the ready cash flow such a tour would precipitate.

© Jacoba Atlas, 1974

Lurching Lennon: Beatle bounced – Jacoba Atlas, Circus, June 1974

What is happening to John Lennon? Last month it was the infamous Kotex caper. Recently the former Beatle with the mellow voice was at it again. This time he shouted obscenities at the Smothers Brothers and was thrown bodily out of the Troubadour.

The opening at the club for the return of the Smothers Brothers was aglitter with stars, rhinestones and flashbulbs. With no opening act, the comic Brothers took centre-stage in front of such notables as Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Helen Reddy, Cliff Robertson and Lily Tomlin. And John Lennon.
Lennon, accompanied by his constant companion of the last few months, May Pang, and by Harry Nilsson, took excellent seats on the dais where he proceeded with his vocal antics. All around the room, people shouted at Lennon to keep his mouth shut, but to no avail.
Finally, the Smothers Brothers’ manager, Ken Fritz, came over and asked Lennon to leave. The ex-Beatle took a swing at Fritz but missed. Fritz swung back. Then Lennon took a glass and threw it at the manager: he missed Fritz but hit a waitress. By this time the bouncers had zeroed in, and Lennon was thrown bodily off the premises, but not before knocking over several tables, trashing several patrons’ dinners. But all was not yet over for the Beatle. On the way out, a 51-year-old Hollywood matron attempted to take his picture. Lennon, she reports, hit her and she filed suit with the Hollywood sheriff’s department; the charge is battery.
Although Harry Nilsson was not directly involved in the incident, those sitting closest to the Beatle’s table state that it was Nilsson who egged Lennon on, demanding that he get ever more outrageous. Apparently both men had been drinking quite a bit. Meanwhile in New York, Yoko Ono continues to see her own friends just as Lennon is seeing his here in Los Angeles. But she isn’t causing any riots. Both refuse to talk about divorce and do not claim to be separated except by miles.

© Jacoba Atlas, 1974

Why did so many of these individuals on the cover of SGT. PEPPER’S turn to liquor?

Maybe they had the same issues that King Solomon did 3000 years ago when he wrote these words below in Ecclesiastes 2:1-23:

I said in my mind, Come now, I will prove you with mirth and test you with pleasure; so have a good time [enjoy pleasure]. But this also was vanity (emptiness, falsity, and futility)!

I said of laughter, It is mad, and of pleasure, What does it accomplish?

I searched in my mind how to cheer my body with wine—yet at the same time having my mind hold its course and guide me with [human] wisdom—and how to lay hold of folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives.

I made great works; I built myself houses, I planted vineyards.

I made for myself gardens and orchards and I planted in them all kinds of fruit trees.

I made for myself pools of water from which to water the forest and make the trees bud.

I bought menservants and maidservants and had servants born in my house. Also I had great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem.

I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and of the provinces. I got for myself men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men—[a]concubines very many.

So I became great and increased more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me and stood by me.

10 And whatever my eyes desired I kept not from them; I withheld not my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor, and this was my portion and reward for all my toil.

11 Then I looked on all that my hands had done and the labor I had spent in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after the wind and a feeding on it, and there was no profit under the sun.

12 So I turned to consider [human] wisdom and madness and folly; for what can the man do who succeeds the king? Nothing but what has been done already.

13 Then I saw that even [human] wisdom [that brings sorrow] is better than [the pleasures of] folly as far as light is better than darkness.

14 The wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness; and yet I perceived that [in the end] one event happens to them both.

15 Then said I in my heart, As it happens to the fool, so it will happen even to me. And of what use is it then for me to be more wise? Then I said in my heart, This also is vanity (emptiness, vainglory, and futility)!

16 For of the wise man, the same as of the fool, there is no permanent remembrance, since in the days to come all will be long forgotten. And how does the wise man die? Even as the fool!

17 So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me; for all is vanity and a striving after the wind and a feeding on it.

18 And I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will succeed me.

19 And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have dominion over all my labor in which I have toiled and in which I have shown myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity (emptiness, falsity, and futility)!

20 So I turned around and gave my heart up to despair over all the labor of my efforts under the sun.

21 For here is a man whose labor is with wisdom and knowledge and skill; yet to a man who has not toiled for it he must leave it all as his portion. This also is vanity (emptiness, falsity, and futility) and a great evil!

22 For what has a man left from all his labor and from the striving and vexation of his heart in which he has toiled under the sun?

23 For all his days are but pain and sorrow, and his work is a vexation and grief; his mind takes no rest even at night. This is also vanity (emptiness, falsity, and futility)!

The Beatles were looking for lasting satisfaction in their lives and their journey took them down many of the same paths that other young people of the 1960’s were taking. No wonder in the video THE AGE OF NON-REASON Schaeffer noted,  ” Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band…for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. It expressed the essence of their lives, thoughts and their feelings.” 

(Francis Schaeffer pictured below)

Let’s breakdown Solomon’s issues. Francis Schaeffer noted that Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes took a look at the meaning of life on the basis of human life standing alone between birth and death “under the sun.” This phrase UNDER THE SUN appears over and over in Ecclesiastes. The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter.” 

If you are an atheist then you have a naturalistic materialistic worldview, and this short book of Ecclesiastes should interest you because the wisest man who ever lived in the position of King of Israel came to THREE CONCLUSIONS that will affect you.

FIRST, chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13)

These two verses below  take the 3 elements mentioned in a naturalistic materialistic worldview (time, chance and matter) and so that is all the unbeliever can find “under the sun” without God in the picture. You will notice that these are the three elements that evolutionists point to also.

Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 is following: I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.

SECOND, Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)

THIRD, Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1, 8:15)

Ecclesiastes 4:1-2: “Next I turned my attention to all the outrageous violence that takes place on this planet—the tears of the victims, no one to comfort them; the iron grip of oppressors, no one to rescue the victims from them.” Ecclesiastes 8:14; “ Here’s something that happens all the time and makes no sense at all: Good people get what’s coming to the wicked, and bad people get what’s coming to the good. I tell you, this makes no sense. It’s smoke.”

Solomon had all the resources (and luxuries) in the world and he found himself still searching for meaning in life and trying to come up with answers concerning the afterlife. However, it seems every door he tries to open is locked. Today men try to find satisfaction in learning, liquor, ladies, luxuries, laughter, and labor and that is exactly what Solomon tried to do too.  None of those were able to “fill the God-sized vacuum in his heart” (quote from famous mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal). You have to wait to the last chapter in Ecclesiastes to find what Solomon’s final conclusion is.

In 1978 I heard the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas when it rose to #6 on the charts. That song told me that Kerry Livgren the writer of that song and a member of Kansas had come to the same conclusion that Solomon had. I remember mentioning to my friends at church that we may soon see some members of Kansas become Christians because their search for the meaning of life had obviously come up empty even though they had risen from being an unknown band to the top of the music business and had all the wealth and fame that came with that. Furthermore, Solomon realized death comes to everyone and there must be something more.

Livgren wrote:

All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

Take a minute and compare Kerry Livgren’s words to that of the late British humanist H.J. Blackham:

On humanist assumptions, life leads to nothing, and every pretense that it does not is a deceit. If there is a bridge over a gorge which spans only half the distance and ends in mid-air, and if the bridge is crowded with human beings pressing on, one after the other they fall into the abyss. The bridge leads nowhere, and those who are pressing forward to cross it are going nowhere….It does not matter where they think they are going, what preparations for the journey they may have made, how much they may be enjoying it all. The objection merely points out objectively that such a situation is a model of futility“( H. J. Blackham, et al., Objections to Humanism (Riverside, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1967).


Both Kerry Livgren and the bass player DAVE HOPE of Kansas became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and DAVE HOPE had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was shocked and elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981 and that same  interview can be seen on youtube today. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible Church. DAVE HOPE is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

Those who reject God must accept three realities of their life UNDER THE SUN.  FIRST, death is the end and SECOND, chance and time are the only guiding forces in this life.  FINALLY, power reigns in this life and the scales are never balanced. In contrast, Dave Hope and Kerry Livgren believe death is not the end and the Christian can  face death and also confront the world knowing that it is not determined by chance and time alone and finally there is a judge who will balance the scales.

Solomon’s experiment was a search for meaning to life “under the sun.” Then in last few words in the Book of Ecclesiastes he looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

Kansas, circa 1973 (Phil Ehart, Kerry Livgren, Steve Walsh, Rich Williams, Robby Steinhardt, Dave Hope) (photo credit: DON HUNSTEIN)

Kansas, circa 1973 (Phil Ehart, Kerry Livgren, Steve Walsh, Rich Williams, Robby Steinhardt, Dave Hope) (photo credit: DON HUNSTEIN)


You can hear DAVE HOPE and Kerry Livgren’s stories from this youtube link:

(part 1 ten minutes)

Kerry Livgren

(part 2 ten minutes)

Dave Hope

Kansas – Dust In The Wind

Uploaded on Nov 7, 2009


The Beatles were also caught in this predicament because they were looking for lasting meaning in their lives and they were doing it in the same 6 areas that King Solomon did in what I call the 6 big L words. He looked into  learning (1:16-18), laughter, ladies, luxuries,  and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20).

John Lennon also was personally going through about half the list of L words in 1968 when he wrote the song “I’m so Tired.” He was staying with the Maharishi and was not allowed liquor, and luxuries and his mistress Yoko Ono was not invited to travel with him to India.

the beatles 100 greatest songs
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Beatles I’m The Walrus

Beatles – I Am The Walrus Lyrics

I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.
See how they run like pigs from a gun, see how they fly.
I’m crying.Sitting on a cornflake, waiting for the van to come.
Corporation tee-shirt, stupid bloody Tuesday.
Man, you been a naughty boy, you let your face grow long.
I am the egg man, they are the egg men.
I am the walrus, goo goo g’joob.Mister City Policeman sitting
Pretty little policemen in a row.
See how they fly like Lucy in the Sky, see how they run.
I’m crying, I’m crying.
I’m crying, I’m crying.Yellow matter custard, dripping from a dead dog’s eye.
Crabalocker fishwife, pornographic priestess,
Boy, you been a naughty girl you let your knickers down.
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen.
I am the walrus, goo goo g’joob.Sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun.
If the sun don’t come, you get a tan
From standing in the English rain.
I am the egg man, they are the egg men.
I am the walrus, goo goo g’joob g’goo goo g’joob.Expert text pert choking smokers,
Don’t you think the joker laughs at you?
See how they smile like pigs in a sty,
See how they snide.
I’m crying.Semolina pilchard, climbing up the Eiffel Tower.
Elementary penguin singing Hari Krishna.
Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe.
I am the egg man, they are the egg men.
I am the walrus, goo goo g’joob g’goo goo g’joob.
Goo goo g’joob g’goo goo g’joob g’goo.
I Am The Walrus lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

10 Great Writers Who Battled Alcohol Addiction


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Excessive alcohol consumption is one of the leading preventable causes of death in the United States; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2012, 80,000 people lose their lives to it each year. Apart from the health problems alcohol addiction can create, it can also greatly affect the families of alcoholics, whose children may be neglected or develop poor self-image as a result. The disorder affects people from all walks of life, including the ten writers below, all of whom battled alcoholism during their careers and who sometimes had a family history of addiction. Yet they were often able to produce some classic works of literature, poetry and journalism despite their affliction.

10. William Faulkner


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William Faulkner is arguably one of American literature’s greatest writers and was crowned with both the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (twice). However, the novelist and short story writer, who was born in New Albany, Mississippi in 1897, had one very specific tool that he used when creating classics such as The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying: alcohol. Faulkner once baffled his French translator with a sentence he may well have composed while under the influence, admitting to him, “I have absolutely no idea of what I meant. You see, I usually write at night. I always keep my whiskey within reach.” That said, his heaviest drinking binges usually took place in between novels and could go on for up to weeks at a time. Yet even so, the writer remained productive until his death of a heart attack in 1962 at the age of 64.

9. John Cheever

9-John Cheever

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Born in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1912, John Cheever saw the effects of alcohol abuse firsthand from an early age, as his father Frederick fell into heavy drinking after losing most of the family’s money. The writer himself had a 20-year addiction to alcohol – possibly intensified by struggles over his bisexuality – and tackled the subject in his 1962 short story Reunion, about a boy who meets with his estranged, alcoholic father in New York City. The so-called “Chekhov of the suburbs” continued to drink even after a near-fatal pulmonary edema attributable to his alcoholism. However, in 1975, after he found himself being picked up by the police for vagrancy while sharing liquor with some homeless people, Cheever was checked into New York’s Smithers Alcoholism Treatment and Training Center. He remained sober until his death of cancer seven years later at the age of 70.

8. Dorothy Parker


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Dorothy Parker is arguably as much famed for her biting, often self-deprecating witticisms as she is for her writing and criticism. However, the Algonquin Roundtable founder – born Dorothy Rothschild in Long Branch, New Jersey in 1893 – battled with both severe depression and alcohol addiction during her career. It is reported that at one New York speakeasy she frequented, a bartender asked her, “What are you having?” – to which Parker replied, “Not much fun.” Upon commitment to a sanatorium, the writer apparently even said to one doctor that the room was fine but that she would need to leave around every hour to have a drink. Her marriages were also blighted by alcoholic tendencies in both parties. Parker continued to write for a number of outlets, though, including for radio, until her death from a heart attack in 1967. She was 73.

7. Edgar Allan Poe


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Edgar Allan Poe is renowned for work that blends the macabre and the mysterious and has been widely credited as the pioneer of the fictional detective genre. However, his own life, which began in January 1809 in Boston, saw him turn to alcohol in reputedly large quantities, most notably after the tragic death of his wife Virginia from tuberculosis. He went on to find a new love, the poet Sarah Helen Whitman, who said that she would only take his hand in marriage if he abandoned his drinking; Poe did not, however, and the engagement was broken. One psychologist has since proposed that he was a dipsomaniac. Poe’s death at the early age of 40 in 1849 remains clouded in mystery: it has been said that alcohol may have been the cause, but potentially also cholera, heart disease or tuberculosis, amongst other factors.

6. Truman Capote


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Born Truman Streckfus Persons in New Orleans in 1924, Truman Capote overcame a difficult childhood blighted by the divorce of his parents, a lengthy separation from his mother and various upheavals to produce literary landmarks such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood. Capote’s drinking in later life is said to have had a precedent in his own mother’s struggle with alcohol. He apparently repeatedly attempted to quit drinking – and was sometimes successful for a few months – before again falling off the wagon. Capote also battled an addiction to tranquilizers, to which he initially resorted after the release of In Cold Blood in order to calm his nerves. In 1984 Capote succumbed to liver cancer at the age of 59; “phlebitis and multiple drug intoxication” were also cited as contributing factors.

5. James Joyce


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Like John Cheever, James Joyce – who was born in suburban Dublin, Ireland in 1882 and was one of the pioneering modernist writers of the 20th century – had a father who was prone to drinking. As we now know that those with family members who have abused alcohol are more at risk of becoming alcoholics themselves, this might go some way to explaining Joyce’s own predilection for drink, as well as his son’s eventual alcoholism. It is suggested that his landmark 1922 novel Ulysses was written under the influence and that Joyce himself believed that he could not write as effectively without alcohol. He is also alleged to have used booze as a crutch to deal with misfortune. Yet despite all this, as an apparent “functional alcoholic,” Joyce continued to produce work that has been acclaimed as some of the best of the 20th century, until his death from peritonitis in 1941. He was 58.

4. Hunter S. Thompson


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To say that author and “Gonzo journalism” practitioner Hunter S. Thompson – born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1937 – liked a drink would be an understatement. At a young age, he stunned his New York publishers upon their first meeting by downing 20 double Wild Turkeys in about three hours, then leaving apparently unaffected. Whiskey was a mainstay throughout his life, but other spirits, cocktails and beer were on the menu too. During the presidential election trails he covered, he’d alarm his fellow journalists by getting stuck into a Heineken six-pack and a bottle of gin at the beginning of the day. However, Thompson was unapologetic about his penchant for drinking, as well as his other vices, famously stating, “I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.” His journalism and commentary continued to be published until his suicide in 2005 at the age of 67.

3. Carson McCullers


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Carson McCullers wrote her acclaimed, bestselling novel The Heart is a Lonely Hunter when she was just 23, and she went on to forge a career portraying the lives of the lost and the downtrodden in the American South. However, McCullers – born in Columbus, Georgia in 1917 as Lula Carson Smith – is said to have worked consistently with alcohol by her side: a morning beer, followed by a steady stream of sherry; she then poured herself a martini before dinner and continued to imbibe throughout the night at parties. McCullers also explored alcoholism and its effects in her short story “A Domestic Dilemma,” published in her 1951 collection The Ballad of the Sad Café, which told the tale of a family afflicted by drinking issues. The writer herself was plagued by health problems throughout her life, and she died in 1967 from a brain hemorrhage at the age of 50.

2. Charles Bukowski


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Charles Bukowski – born Heinrich Karl Bukowski in Andernach, Germany in 1920 – liked alcohol so much that he once called it “one of the greatest things to arrive upon the earth,” along with himself. Being introduced to booze in his early teens began for Bukowski a lifelong love affair with the substance, chronicled in his novels and poetry. It also proved the inspiration for the 1987 biopicBarfly, which Bukowski wrote himself and which saw Mickey Rourke play the writer’s soused alter-ego Henry Chinaski. A several-year hiatus in his writing career was not due to a lack of inspiration but – as depicted in the movie – simply a result of the fact that he was drunk during that period. However, it has been claimed that Bukowski’s prodigious drinking helped with his natural tendency towards shyness and introversion, with the writer himself suggesting that it gave him a reason to live. Bukowski died in 1994 from leukemia. He was 73.

1. Ernest Hemingway


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Nobel Prize in Literature winner Ernest Hemingway had a unique take on tourism: he once said, “If you want to know about a culture, spend a night in its bars.” Hemingway himself was no stranger to a tavern or two and was a famed patron of Key West, Florida joint Sloppy Joe’s. The writer, who was born in Oak Park, Illinois in 1899, admitted to drinking since he was 15 years of age. During the final two decades his life, the author of modern classics like The Old Man and the Sea and A Farewell to Arms was reputedly putting away a quart of whiskey a day – although he claimed he abstained from drinking while working. Perhaps surprisingly, he often seemed relatively sober after his feats of boozing, although the alcohol reportedly took a toll on his health. In 1961, at the age of 61, Hemingway committed suicide, after suffering a period of depression.


Linda McCartney: Life in Photographs

Linda McCartney: Life in Photographs

“When I first me Linda she was already working as a photographer. It was later when she came to take pictures of The Beatles that our friendship blossomed into romance … the difference between Linda and many of her contemporaries was that she knew what she was photographing …” writes Paul McCartney.

Linda McCartney: Life in Photographs

“I like a little twinkle in the eye if I can get it, a little touch of humour and surrealism.” – Linda McCartney.

Linda McCartney (née Eastman) was born in New York in 1941. In 1966, during a brief stint as a receptionist for Town and Country magazine, Linda Eastman snagged a press pass to a very exclusive promotional event for the Rolling Stones aboard a yacht on the Hudson River; her fresh, candid photographs of the band were far superior to the formal shots made by the band’s official photographer, and she was instantly on the way to making a name for herself as a top rock ’n’ roll photographer. In May 1968, with her portrait of Eric Clapton, she entered the record books as the first female photographer to have her work featured on the cover of Rolling Stone. During her tenure as the leading photographer of the late 1960s’ musical scene, she captured many of rock’s most important musicians on film, including Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Simon & Garfunkel, The Who, The Doors, and the Grateful Dead. In 1967, Linda went to London to document the “Swinging Sixties,” where she met Paul McCartney at the Bag ’O Nails club and subsequently photographed The Beatles during a launch event for the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Paul and Linda fell in love, and were married on March 12, 1969. For the next three decades, until her untimely death by breath cancer, she devoted herself to her family, vegetarianism, animal rights, and photography.

Linda McCartney: Life in Photographs

From her early rock ’n’ roll portraits, through the final years of The Beatles, via touring with Wings to raising four children with Paul, Linda captured her whole world on film. Her shots range from spontaneous family pictures to studio sessions with Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson, as well as artists Willem de Kooning and Gilbert and George. Always unassuming and fresh, her work displays a warmth and feeling for the precise moment that captures the essence of any subject. Whether photographing her children, celebrities, animals, or a fleeting moment of everyday life, she did so without pretension or artifice.

Linda McCartney: Life in Photographs

This heavy weight retrospective volume—selected from her archive of over 200,000 images—is produced in close collaboration with Paul McCartney and their children. Included are forewords by Paul, Stella, and Mary McCartney. As such, it is a moving personal journal and a lasting testament to Linda’s talent.

Her laid back documentary style is sure a matter of fact that Linda McCartney was at the right time at right place. See and learn from the world of Linda McCartney’s Life in Photographs, a glorious celebration in large format printing by Taschen, ISBN: 978-3-8365-2728-6, € 49.99. ❚


photos by Linda McCartney

Paul, Stella and James, Scotland, 1982

Stallion, Scotland, 1993
The Beatles, London, 1968
Paul McCartney, John Lennon
Paul and Martha, Londres, 1968
Janis Joplin, Yoko Ono
Stella McCartney
Paul McCartney with John Lennon
Paul McCartney with his daughter Heather
Brian Jones and Mick Jagger in New York in 1966.
Ray Charles, Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix
Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney

Paul, Heather and Mary McCartney

Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney with his daughters Heather and Mary

The Grateful Dead

Jimi Hendrix Experience in London, 1967

Spencer Dryden and Grace Slick, Twiggy


Janis Joplin

Paul McCartney and John Lennon

Jimi Hendrix

Pete Townshend and unknown

Paul McCartney with his stepdaughter Heather

Heather and Mary(left), Paul and Mary(right)

Paul’s feet

Paul and Heather in the flowers, 1970

Heather, Mary and Paul McCartney

Paul with his daughter Mary

Paul with his daughter Mary

Stella McCartney, Montserrat, 1981

Heather, Stella, and Paul

Johnny Depp with Kate Moss

Linda McCartney with her husband Paul and daughters Heather and Mary by Alain DeJean

TAGS: documentary, portraits, vintage photography


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