John Lennon didn’t give peace a chance at home – where he callously abused and routinely tormented the women closest to him.
The music legend was prone to unprovoked acts of cruelty, jealous rage and perverse sexual fantasies, according to the explosive new tell-all “John Lennon: The Life” by Beatles biographer Philip Norman.
The portrait is so damning that Yoko Ono, who contributed extensively and even convinced son Sean Lennon to speak to Norman, has panned the book as “too mean.”
The fans who flocked to Strawberry Fields in Central Park on Thursday to celebrate what would have been Lennon’s 68th birthday might want to stay away from the exposé, which chronicles his callous treatment of Yoko, the physical and verbal abuse of his two sons, and his chronic infidelities.
Norman writes about the moment when Cynthia, Lennon’s first wife, discovered his affair with Yoko.
When Cynthia returned from a vacation in Greece to her home in England, she found John and Yoko seated on the floor together in matching bathrobes.
“John showed no sign of guilt or even surprise, merely looking round with a casual, ‘Oh . . . hi,’ ” Norman writes.
But the songwriter’s first pass at Yoko isn’t what love songs are made of.
Yoko was “deeply offended” by Lennon’s cheap maneuvering at a party, where he commented that she looked tired and suggested that she “lie down,” writes Norman.
“One of the Beatles’ entourage then drove the two of them to a nearby flat and, without preamble, began folding out a sofa into a bed. It was clearly an established procedure for John’s conquests.”
Yoko rebuffed the oversexed Beatle, but fell under his spell soon after.
When they first began dating, Lennon forced Yoko to write down a list of men she’d slept with so he could pore over the names, treating each like a “mortal enemy.”
He insisted that Yoko accompany him to studio sessions – a famously big no-no to the band, who had kept their studio off limits to lovers. Everywhere he went, he insisted she follow, even to the men’s bathroom.
“People said I followed him to the men’s room, but he made me go with him,” Yoko told Norman.
“He thought that if he left me alone with the other Beatles even for a minute, I might go off with one of them.”
He also admitted to Yoko that he regretted never bedding his mother, Julia, who was struck and killed by a speeding off-duty cop’s car when John was 17.
Lennon, whose sexual appetite was voracious, taunted Yoko between the sheets, saying, “You just lie there and think of England.”
He also cheated in her presence. The night of Nixon’s re-election, the lecherous Lennon was in rare form – drunk, high and distraught, and eyeing a woman at a party at a friend’s house.