This is a guest article by John Cherry author of Better Than Lennon. – Simon Barrett

When I ordered this book, I had the feeling it would be a good read. The author has been “around” The Beatles for many years, and has multiple contacts in the music world. The resources used for the book are impressive and substantial. I applaud Doggett for his efforts to provide as much information as possible, and believe that he offers both new information and added depth to other stories about the greatest musical group of all time.

However, I sense a lack of objectivity in his writing, and, offer a bit of conjecture as to why I have this opinion. As you read throughout the book about the sources for various stories, it is apparent that the author was somewhat unable to solicit significant information about Paul McCartney. Family members and Paul’s associates appeared to be reluctant to offer the author any detailed information about the financial matters involving the Fab Four, or much of any other material that might have been relevant to the book. This lack of information from the McCartney side seems to have created the sense that if affected Doggett’s writing about Paul’s role in the Beatles and his post-Beatles history.

To highlight the opinion that I feel Doggett slights Paul, here are a few examples:

  • He calls “My Love” a “sickly” song, while at the same time noting that it was a number one song that year. He also minimizes  the overall massive success of Paul’s solo career.
  • Labels the 1973 “James Paul McCartney” television special as “insipid.”
  • Considers him a penitent while discussing the aftermath of John Lennon’s death, noting Paul’s attempts to “assuage some obscure sense of guilt.”
  • Calls the movie “Give My Regards to Broad Street,” that starred Paul, “one of the most disastrous episodes in British film history.”

While I consider Doggett’s slights to be strongest against Paul, he also appears to want to define the other Beatles in a negative light. He constantly alludes to Ringo’s alcohol problems, while also noting George’s ongoing bitterness, dependence on religion and even his cocaine use.

Lastly, and, perhaps, most importantly, the author considers the music of Yoko Ono on John’s “Double Fantasy” album to be superior to that of the songs provided by Lennon. “And most critics agreed,” according to the book, considering Yoko’s “contributions more contemporary (and hence relevant) than her husband’s.” Is it possible that being allowed an interview with Yoko has affected the author’s objectivity?

I admit a bias against Yoko, for a number of reasons, and just find it impossible to stomach that any of Yoko’s music is superior to Lennons. It will be interesting to see how others react to Doggett’s opinion here.

Let me restate that I am glad that I bought this book, despite my conviction that the author’s objectivity is in question. If nothing else, I was interested to read that Yoko was rumored to be considering divorcing John prior to the making of “Double Fantasy,” and that she indeed did block a phone call from Paul to John during the album’s sessions, presumably about them getting together to write some songs.

John Cherry is the author of Better Than Lennon. Read More about it on his website at betterthanlennon.com

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