Michael Bleicher

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So far Michael Bleicher has created 5 blog entries.

F. Scott Fitzgerald and John Lennon

By |2020-07-21T10:36:34-07:00July 1, 2020|Uncategorized|

I’ve been on something of a Jazz Age kick recently, and you can’t be on one of those without running into my second-favorite American author of all time, F. Scott Fitzgerald. Somehow the thought occurred to me: F. Scott Fitzgerald and John Lennon have a lot in common. The original John and Yoko? Fitzgerald said that all his works were imprinted with what he called his “stamp”; he said this stamp was “taking things hard.” Specifically, Fitzgerald was referring to Ginerva King, a Chicago heiress and socialite whom Fitzgerald courted in his late teens and who rejected him for someone wealthier and [...]

The Artist as a Dissipated Man: Fred Seaman’s “The Last Days of John Lennon”

By |2020-02-15T20:32:17-08:00February 15, 2020|Uncategorized|

John at Thanksgiving, 1979 Belatedly for someone as into the Beatles as I, I’ve been reading Fred Seaman’s The Last Days of John Lennon. It’s a very quick read, but not a particularly pleasant one. Seaman, John's personal assistant for the last two or so years, depicts a rock star in his late thirties who may as well be in his late eighties for the way in which his happiness seems to be confined to rare moments when he reminisces about something he did in his early twenties. If there’s a spectrum of Dakota-era John Lennons stretching from Goldman’s smack-addled burnout on [...]

John Lennon, Alma Cogan, and the Delicate Mechanism of Efficient Beatles Operations

By |2020-01-02T22:50:13-08:00December 21, 2019|Alma Cogan, Uncategorized|

The Beatles with Alma Cogan This article and this article from the Daily Mail have long intrigued me, less for whether or not it they are definitely true or false than because their truthiness is revealing. They claim that John Lennon had an affair with Alma Cogan, a British singer eight years his senior, and that he apparently believed she was the reincarnation of his late mother. Cogan, as the article points out, was very much a traditional entertainer of the sort whom the Beatles quickly rendered culturally antiquated. But offstage, Cogan and the group mixed in the same relatively [...]

Heroin and the Beatles’ Breakup

By |2020-09-10T11:18:43-07:00August 3, 2019|Breakup, Drugs|

Finally, someone outside of Dullblog (in fact, George Martin’s biographer, in Salon) says what I’ve been thinking for years: heroin broke up the Beatles. Kenneth Womack does a good job of digging into quotes from McCartney, Barry Miles, and John and Yoko about the Lennons’ heroin habit to show how the Beatles’ delicate balance didn’t just tip, but fracture, in 1969. This quote, to me, is particularly telling: Indeed, by this juncture, Lennon’s mood swings and absenteeism—the ups and downs of his erratic, unpredictable behavior—were likely the result of their protracted heroin use. As music historian Barry Miles later wrote, “The other [...]

Abbey Road, the Best Non-Beatles Album Made by the Beatles

By |2019-08-24T14:45:13-07:00June 19, 2019|Uncategorized|

To me, Abbey Road is one of the least-dated-sounding Beatles albums—possibly the least dated—but it also sounds the least like the Beatles. Oh, there are Beatles playing on it, I’ll grant you that. The generally impeccable songwriting—that melding of optimism, expression, rawness, craft, and pure joy—could only have come from three particular songwriters. And that’s unquestionably John, Paul, George and Ringo strutting across the cover. But to me there’s always been something about this album that doesn’t sound like the Beatles, and it’s not just the super-slick production or the fact that Ringo’s drums sound a little thicker than they do on [...]

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