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The Last Days of John Lennon: A Personal Memoir

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Frederic Seaman was John Lennon's personal assistant, driver and companion from 1979 until his death. Here is his revealing memoir of Lennon, including Lennon's virtual imprisonment in his apartment house, his obsession with food and sex, the Lennons's colossal shopping sprees, John and Yoko's fascination with the Occult, John's premonition of his violent death, and more. Frederic Seaman was John Lennon's personal assistant, driver and companion from 1979 until his death. Here is his revealing memoir of Lennon, including Lennon's virtual imprisonment in his apartment house, his obsession with food and sex, the Lennons's colossal shopping sprees, John and Yoko's fascination with the Occult, John's premonition of his violent death, and more. 24 pages of never-before-seen photographs. (Performing Arts)


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Frederic Seaman was John Lennon's personal assistant, driver and companion from 1979 until his death. Here is his revealing memoir of Lennon, including Lennon's virtual imprisonment in his apartment house, his obsession with food and sex, the Lennons's colossal shopping sprees, John and Yoko's fascination with the Occult, John's premonition of his violent death, and more. Frederic Seaman was John Lennon's personal assistant, driver and companion from 1979 until his death. Here is his revealing memoir of Lennon, including Lennon's virtual imprisonment in his apartment house, his obsession with food and sex, the Lennons's colossal shopping sprees, John and Yoko's fascination with the Occult, John's premonition of his violent death, and more. 24 pages of never-before-seen photographs. (Performing Arts)

30 review for The Last Days of John Lennon: A Personal Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    If it is Saint John, the martyred bard of Peace & Love, that you are hoping for, you won't find him here. But you will find a believable, neurotic, full of contradictions John Lennon here - a real human being, that is. From my point of view, that of an avid fan and an acquaintance of the author, the suppression of this book is a sad thing - mostly because Fred Seaman was up close and personal with the Lennon family in a way that millions dreamed of doing, and he has a lot of interesting stories If it is Saint John, the martyred bard of Peace & Love, that you are hoping for, you won't find him here. But you will find a believable, neurotic, full of contradictions John Lennon here - a real human being, that is. From my point of view, that of an avid fan and an acquaintance of the author, the suppression of this book is a sad thing - mostly because Fred Seaman was up close and personal with the Lennon family in a way that millions dreamed of doing, and he has a lot of interesting stories to tell. He provides deep insights into the mind and life of this brilliant crank-genius who was beloved by so many. Yoko comes across as being fairly nasty, manipulative, neurotic, and self-absorbed. John clearly possessed the last two qualities himself, and despite his moments of kindness, wit, and openness (he was of course an honest man and a self-dramatizer of the highest order), also seems to have been a little unhinged. As the author told me himself, "They were both nuts." This book is invaluable for the detailed picture that it lays out of Lennon's much celebrated life as a househusband in Manhattan's landmark Dakota apartment building. Seaman was right there by the ex-Beatle's side, doing his shopping, helping him record demos, rearranging his guitars and his record collection, and accompanying him to his second homes (mansions in Cold Spring Harbor and Palm Beach, and a temporary stay in Bermuda). He even had the opportunity to get high with Beatle John on numerous occasions, just the two of them, something that many people I have known would chop off a hand to be able to do. A fascinating portrait emerges of a gifted, rich man, who was nevertheless isolated, compulsive, by turns lazy and driven, and capable of some pretty odd behavior. Lennon spent much of his time sitting around in his bedroom like a teenager, smoking, reading, listening to the radio, and watching television, sometimes all at the same time. At the foot of his bed was a trunk containing porno magazines and his pot stash. This famous leftist and pleader for authenticity also did his best to keep up with other celebrities. He often stayed up late into the night and read a lot of books, including many about the occult. A somewhat darker picture of his relationship with Beatle Paul emerges than I had seen previously - apparently they were often at odds, and relationss between them had grown quite difficult, especially toward the end of The Beatles' run. The book reveals that it was probably Yoko Ono who tipped off the Japanese authorities about a bag of pot that Paul and Linda had in their luggage, in retaliation for the McCartneys staying in the Lennons' favorite Tokyo hotel suite. One can see why Lennon felt he had to break up the band - being a Beatle was an incredible high, but it nearly killed him. He became a heroin addict, and he also grew plenty sick of a level of celebrity that left him unable to walk down the street for a newspaper, and that made other people behave very strangely towards him. Another darker picture that appears is that of his relationship with his wife. Lennon sang quite a bit of his deep love for her, yet in reality, there was a fair amount of distance between them. They did not share a bed, and Yoko spent much of her time on the phone, buying things and managing the John Lennon enterprise, an activity that had little attraction for the artist himself. Their relationship seems to have been as much an artistic enterprise as a real romance. Yoko may have had her flaws, but John wanted her and chose her. John's love for his son Sean (if not for his older son Julian) does come across clearly. Lennon seems to have believed that Yoko had mystical, magical powers. She seems to have believed this herself, since she spent a lot of time consulting with psychics, astrologers, and the like. Their philosophy was a now classic 60s hodge-podge, which they themselves helped create, of bits and pieces from various mystickal sources along with a deep belief in Love in the abstract. Lennon was indeed a little psychic. He told Seaman that he had lived a violent life in word and deed, and believed he would die a violent death, and often imagined that he would get shot. He also told him that if anything happened to him, his son Julian should get his diaries. To this day, the author swears that this was his intention when he took an attache case full of John's writings out of the Dakota apartment not long after John's murder. Things went awry right away, but I will just let Fred's account of it stand uncommented on. So this is quite a story, and reasonably well-written too - the author told me he put a lot of effort into the writing of it - and should be required reading for any serious John and Yoko fans - if they can find a copy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dan R

    I found this gritty memoir of the short time that Frederick Seaman acted as John Lennon's personal assistant before John's death to be compelling and eye-opening, and very, very sad to one who grew up with the Beatles and admired Lennon greatly. To me John will always be the heart of the band and this book does not change that, but I certainly found his Elvis-esque idiosyncrasies toward the end and his blind devotion to the Svengali-like Ono, as revealed by Seaman, to be distressing. But offsett I found this gritty memoir of the short time that Frederick Seaman acted as John Lennon's personal assistant before John's death to be compelling and eye-opening, and very, very sad to one who grew up with the Beatles and admired Lennon greatly. To me John will always be the heart of the band and this book does not change that, but I certainly found his Elvis-esque idiosyncrasies toward the end and his blind devotion to the Svengali-like Ono, as revealed by Seaman, to be distressing. But offsetting this, his sail to Bermuda as part of the crew, and without Ono, in which he seems to have rediscovered his esprit and his love for music was uplifting. And while some critics have been harsh on Seaman for stealing John's diaries, I believed his motivation: to follow John's express wishes and give them to his son Julian after his death. This belief is based on the fact that Yoko forced Julian to bid at auction to buy memorabilia of his father's after John's death. I don't deny Lennon's lack of paternal qualities, such as omitting Julian from his will, when he should have known better given his own history, but I also cannot deny that Ono seemed to have some dark and remarkable hold over him. In the end, though, John's legacy is his music, and that will live forever.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    one of my very favorite lennon books, this is one of the few that actually has some kind of an aura of reality to it - john lennon comes across as an actual human being, instead of the sugary st lennon of yoko mythology OR albert goldman's detestable junkie skag. cases of thai stick? trunks full of playboys? compulsive journalling? chain smoking and non-stop TV? bizarre grudges held for having "hotel karma" fucked with? yeah. sounds about right to me. one of my very favorite lennon books, this is one of the few that actually has some kind of an aura of reality to it - john lennon comes across as an actual human being, instead of the sugary st lennon of yoko mythology OR albert goldman's detestable junkie skag. cases of thai stick? trunks full of playboys? compulsive journalling? chain smoking and non-stop TV? bizarre grudges held for having "hotel karma" fucked with? yeah. sounds about right to me.

  4. 5 out of 5

    amanda jane

    this book is a very comprehensive, first hand account of john lennon in the late 1970's and the tumultuous relationships he had with friends and family. it pulls him down off the pedestal a bit, which is necessary. loved it. this book is a very comprehensive, first hand account of john lennon in the late 1970's and the tumultuous relationships he had with friends and family. it pulls him down off the pedestal a bit, which is necessary. loved it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Casey Irwin

    I've read lots of books about Lennon, but this is a favorite. I've read lots of books about Lennon, but this is a favorite.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    I read somewhere that this was Lennon as an Ann Beattie-like '70s slacker protagonist, spending most of his time watching TV, avoiding his spouse, smoking pot and not much else. That's about right! I read somewhere that this was Lennon as an Ann Beattie-like '70s slacker protagonist, spending most of his time watching TV, avoiding his spouse, smoking pot and not much else. That's about right!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Roger

    Very interesting book from the viewpoint of Lennon's personal assistant for the last 18 months of his life. Lennon lovers may not like the book because it paints an accurate and disturbing portrait of the relationship (or lack thereof) between John & Yoko, who comes off as the monster so many of us thought she was upon the breakup of the Beatles. Her treatment of both John and their son Sean is appalling as is her dalliances with two suitors right under John's own nose. You wonder what life woul Very interesting book from the viewpoint of Lennon's personal assistant for the last 18 months of his life. Lennon lovers may not like the book because it paints an accurate and disturbing portrait of the relationship (or lack thereof) between John & Yoko, who comes off as the monster so many of us thought she was upon the breakup of the Beatles. Her treatment of both John and their son Sean is appalling as is her dalliances with two suitors right under John's own nose. You wonder what life would have been life if he had stayed split up with her during the long lost weekend. The author has been accused of stealing John's journals, which he addresses at the end, and it is a plausible explanation. The author was very young and naive, so it is believable. For anyone who is fascinated by the Beatles and Lennon, this is a great read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Warren Fretwell

    I was a little skeptical about this book in view of the author's arrest and conviction for stealing John Lennon's journals, ostensibly to use them for personal gain. However, the title is on a number of lists of "best about Lennon" books. So, I felt compelled to give it a read. The book, which is a chronicle of the author's two-years as an assistant to the Lennon household--most of which was as personal aide to John, is a lively, detailed and well-written narrative that provides an inside look at I was a little skeptical about this book in view of the author's arrest and conviction for stealing John Lennon's journals, ostensibly to use them for personal gain. However, the title is on a number of lists of "best about Lennon" books. So, I felt compelled to give it a read. The book, which is a chronicle of the author's two-years as an assistant to the Lennon household--most of which was as personal aide to John, is a lively, detailed and well-written narrative that provides an inside look at the daily life of a rock legend and his family. It's not really a very pretty sight! Seaman's story supports and complements books by May Pang and Cynthia Lennon. The only thing I had trouble with was the Afterward in which the author attempts to explain his intentions with the Lennon journals he removed from The Dakota (to give them to Julian per John's stated wishes). Seaman's tale, while possible, I suppose, does not seem to ring true. Nevertheless, that is the only thing that appears out of place in this intriguing story. Lennon and Ono come off as often drug-addled, self-indulgent narcissists, paranoid and unable to master the tasks of daily existence without the help of myriad assistants. This has been reported upon before. However, Seaman captures them at home, in the studio, on vacation in a revealing and unvarnished depiction that gives the reader a ring-side seat at this circus of celebrity. I don't know what to make of the Seaman's role in absconding with Lennon's journals. But, I do believe he was accosted, beaten up and sued unsparingly upon Ono's instigation. Seaman is especially upset that Ono capitalized on Lennon's death to push her own career aspirations. But, we shouldn't be surprised about that. After all, she was only hewing to the path she created while he was alive. I would recommend this book to all John Lennon/Beatle fans. You might not like what you discover, but that will only add to your understanding this complicated man as a human being, flaws and all.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Love

    I went into this book "blind"...didn't know anything about the book or what to expect. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and believed a lot of what was written. John felt very human to me, if deeply flawed, and I even enjoyed the character of the author as well. I looked forward to reading another chapter each night. So imagine my deep disappointment at the end when the author turns out to be yet another person in John's life that he should not have trusted. Although the author foreshadows at the I went into this book "blind"...didn't know anything about the book or what to expect. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and believed a lot of what was written. John felt very human to me, if deeply flawed, and I even enjoyed the character of the author as well. I looked forward to reading another chapter each night. So imagine my deep disappointment at the end when the author turns out to be yet another person in John's life that he should not have trusted. Although the author foreshadows at the end of the next-to-last chapter that drug use was getting to him, I just cannot understand on what planet he thought that stealing John's journals would be a good idea. No, I truly feel that he probably stole them for profit, only to get double-crossed by the people HE trusted in. Instant Karma? I'd say so. That being said, I still recommend the book. I do believe there are truths to be found here, but the whole thing just left me sad in the end. I wish John could have found a bit more in life.

  10. 4 out of 5

    JJ C

    Goodness, John was bad-off the last several years of his life..and Yoko was an out-and-out kook (but we already knew that).....If the author can be believed, living with this couple--and their cute, but bratty kid---would be enough to drive anyone into the nearest Hoo-Hoo Hotel. Still, I found John to be, at times, though not often-- strangely likable, and brutally honest. As for the rest of the author's tale, his descriptions of his subsequent legal woes due to thievery of the Lennons' personal Goodness, John was bad-off the last several years of his life..and Yoko was an out-and-out kook (but we already knew that).....If the author can be believed, living with this couple--and their cute, but bratty kid---would be enough to drive anyone into the nearest Hoo-Hoo Hotel. Still, I found John to be, at times, though not often-- strangely likable, and brutally honest. As for the rest of the author's tale, his descriptions of his subsequent legal woes due to thievery of the Lennons' personal possessions, did not ring true--at all. The author stole and got caught--end of story. Did the ultra-wealthy ( but somewhat cheap) Lennons not pay him enough? If that was his motive for thievery, he is as cheap and unlikable as the couple he worked for.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Nelson

    Riveting... I perhaps have a better understanding of the man apart from the 'Persona.' However, I read this book about 10 years ago... It now requires a reread to give it just review... That being said, I do recommend the book. I was and still am a fan of the person John Lennon. Riveting... I perhaps have a better understanding of the man apart from the 'Persona.' However, I read this book about 10 years ago... It now requires a reread to give it just review... That being said, I do recommend the book. I was and still am a fan of the person John Lennon.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I read this book in college sometime between 2001 and 2003. Loved it then. Time for a re-read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Johnny

    I cannot tell you how many times I've read this book. He was his personal assistant until the end. I cannot tell you how many times I've read this book. He was his personal assistant until the end.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Julie_ian_curtis

    I remember why I don't like this - it's so sad. Note - if you believe this book, yoko was responsible for Paul's pot bust in Japan - Jan 1980 - ouch ! I remember why I don't like this - it's so sad. Note - if you believe this book, yoko was responsible for Paul's pot bust in Japan - Jan 1980 - ouch !

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bobbie Granger-hammill

    I give this book a zero rating because it is a book a fiction. I do not believe this author. I have read many books about John Lennon and not all them are favorable. All rights are reserved about copying this book unless it is for newspaper and magazine articles. I guess it would be okay to to reproduce it, as long as he gets press coverage from it. In the first paragraph he thanks Albert Goldman for giving him the courage to write his book of fiction. As you have guessed, I do not believe him. Jo I give this book a zero rating because it is a book a fiction. I do not believe this author. I have read many books about John Lennon and not all them are favorable. All rights are reserved about copying this book unless it is for newspaper and magazine articles. I guess it would be okay to to reproduce it, as long as he gets press coverage from it. In the first paragraph he thanks Albert Goldman for giving him the courage to write his book of fiction. As you have guessed, I do not believe him. John Lennon just swooped him up and he became his confidant. Yep. Sure. He stole John Lennon's journals and to probably try to make a profit off of them. He would have you believe that he took them and they disappeared and he made nothing from them. He is just another sycophant. That cared so much about John Lennon, that he supposedly knew his wife was doing all these evil things to him, but he just did not have the heart to tell him about it. He supposedly kept his own journal through this time, that he kept at his apartment, which he was rarely at because he spent so much time with the Lennons at their various homes and vacations. The only part he did not make up was that they went to Japan and did not take him. He must have a special copy of Double Fantasy. With Living on Borrowed Time and Forgive Me, My Little Flower Princess on it. Wow. My copy has (Just Like) Starting Over and Woman on it. Borrowed Time and Forgive Me, My Little Flower Princess are unfinished on my copy of Milk & Honey. So I do not believe at all that he was involved in the making of Double Fantasy. Although according to him, wild times were had by all, and they worked around the clock for two months making it. He even has two pictures he claims to have taken. I don't know. There were a lot of pictures taken of those recording sessions, including the ones he claimed to have taken. So if he took them, where are the rest? He also had an up-close and personal conversation with John Lennon's murderer. Wow. How convenient. Heard an interview with the man who snapped the photo of John Lennon signing the autograph. And when asked who was around that afternoon and evening, Fred Seaman was not mentioned as one of them. Let alone, that he introduced Fred Seaman to the murderer. This is the worst book I have read that has been written about John Lennon. Kudos, up until now, I thought Albert Goldman's was the worst. They deserve each other.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This book covers John Lennon's last year and a half or so, written by his personal assistant. I thought it was a pretty clear-eyed picture of Lennon, and gelled with other things I've read about him. The weirdness of Lennon's world, his relationship with Yoko and his sons, are all covered in depth here. The pictures are great, and John really looked on top of his game during his time in Bermuda. It was interesting to learn that John was prompted back into the studio by the success of 'McCartney This book covers John Lennon's last year and a half or so, written by his personal assistant. I thought it was a pretty clear-eyed picture of Lennon, and gelled with other things I've read about him. The weirdness of Lennon's world, his relationship with Yoko and his sons, are all covered in depth here. The pictures are great, and John really looked on top of his game during his time in Bermuda. It was interesting to learn that John was prompted back into the studio by the success of 'McCartney II' - it sounds like he and Paul never stopped competing. I think what struck me most was how sad it was. Lennon owned so many possessions and real estate that his whole hippie persona ('imagine no possessions?) seems like a crock. Also, from reading books by his ex-wife and step-sister, it's sad that he was taken away from people who loved him (Julian, at least) by Yoko, who clearly didn't. It's hard to understand why John didn't see that. I can't understand why he had any faith in Yoko. I wonder if they would have stayed together had he lived. The last few chapters of the book aren't quite as cohesive as the first parts, probably due to the fact than Lennon was in the recording studio a lot and the author wasn't with him as much. The author does discuss his misguided attempt to give Lennon's diaries to Julian; but he only uses a few pages to explain the ordeal. In Cynthia's book, she was very appreciative of Fred, for helping Julian cope with his father's death and for being the one to help him be in NY during that time. Cynthia is barely mentioned here (Fred probably never met her, so that's not unusual), but while Fred mentions spending time with Julian before telling Sean of their father's death, and several days afterwards, he doesn't mention telling Julian to be leary of Yoko, that she'll cut him out of things and not to trust her, which was in both Cynthia and Jackie's books and painted Fred in a kinder light. Fred's book was written in 1991, so I'm thinking that he may have left that part out, for fear of a backlash, or hopes for a personal or professional relationship with Julian. This is a very entertaining, interesting book. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about Lennon's complicated last days. I've got some Yoko-oriented books on the list; I'm wondering if she'll ever be painted in a more neutral light?

  17. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    From the point of view of the Lennon family, I can totally understand why they would hate this book because it's such a horrific invasion of their privacy. I guess John and Yoko didn't think it was necessary to have Fred Seaman sign a confidentiality agreement, though I don't think they were common then as they are now. Or maybe he did and broke the agreement? But from a voyeuristic, fan's point of view - WOW! Lots of juicy gossip and insight from the former personal assistant of John Lennon. It From the point of view of the Lennon family, I can totally understand why they would hate this book because it's such a horrific invasion of their privacy. I guess John and Yoko didn't think it was necessary to have Fred Seaman sign a confidentiality agreement, though I don't think they were common then as they are now. Or maybe he did and broke the agreement? But from a voyeuristic, fan's point of view - WOW! Lots of juicy gossip and insight from the former personal assistant of John Lennon. It didn't change my opinion of John (still love his music, still consider him the greatest artist of our time), and I did try to remind myself that some of the stories could be wildly exaggerated or even untrue. But still, a fun, fascinating read if you are a John Lennon fan.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Gwen

    This book is hard to read in some places, knowing the great John Lennon was lorded over by a woman who wanted his name, fame and power and he cowered under her. Fred Seaman lived with the Lennons in the Dakota for over a year and took care of both John and Yoko's requests. In his account Yoko certainly kept an upper hand on John. This is a must read for any Beatle/Lennon fan. This book is hard to read in some places, knowing the great John Lennon was lorded over by a woman who wanted his name, fame and power and he cowered under her. Fred Seaman lived with the Lennons in the Dakota for over a year and took care of both John and Yoko's requests. In his account Yoko certainly kept an upper hand on John. This is a must read for any Beatle/Lennon fan.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    I'm pretty sure that in Britain this is 'Living on Borrowed Time' - Johns & Yoko's p.a. dishing the dirt on the last two years of John's life as a grumpy, chain smoking, out of it house husband and, latterly, musician. Have to take with a grain of salt as he stole Lennon's diaries claiming that John wanted him to and was involved in litigation with Yoko. Still interesting though.. I'm pretty sure that in Britain this is 'Living on Borrowed Time' - Johns & Yoko's p.a. dishing the dirt on the last two years of John's life as a grumpy, chain smoking, out of it house husband and, latterly, musician. Have to take with a grain of salt as he stole Lennon's diaries claiming that John wanted him to and was involved in litigation with Yoko. Still interesting though..

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    i read this when i went thru my hardcore initial obsession with the beatles, and i remember really loving this book. it's basically and account written in a sort of diary format of the last year of john's life, as told by his personal assistant at that time. good, sad read. i read this when i went thru my hardcore initial obsession with the beatles, and i remember really loving this book. it's basically and account written in a sort of diary format of the last year of john's life, as told by his personal assistant at that time. good, sad read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    George Fryer

    A detailed look into the last few years of John Lennon’s life through the eyes of the family assist who worked in the family home in the Dakota Hotel. Drugs, affairs, erratic behaviour, a torrid relationship with Yoko, favouritism, and of course, music!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Darlene Lacey

    Excellent book with many insights.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Interesting read. If you ever wondered what life was like for John Lennon at the Dakota, near the end of his life, this is it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    NancyInWI

    You have to take with a grain of salt a book written by someone who stole personal diaries and papers of the man he worked for and then writes about. But it was interesting nonetheless.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Javiera Delgado

    x

  26. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Ball

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mr D L Tompkins

  28. 5 out of 5

    Steph

  29. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Martin

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

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