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Cornflakes With John Lennon
And Other Tales From A Rock ‘N’ Roll Life

by Robert Hilburn
Introduction By Bono


In November 1980, John Lennon seemed happy and healthy. Music critic Robert Hilburn visited John and Yoko for an interview peppered over a three-day stay at their home and studio. Hilburn’s interviews with John often began with their mutual admiration of Elvis or sharing the latest in rock music. On this weekend, John spoke about his adjustment as an artist post-Beatles; his "house husband" days when he re-prioritized his life; and his newest album, Double Fantasy. Hilburn couldn’t help but feel hope—John looked healthy, and Double Fantasy showed as much openness as in his much-loved album Imagine. When John disappeared from time to time, Hilburn worried. Was John back on drugs? Hilburn found his answer when he passed an open room. John was in the corner and reaching for something on a shelf. Before Hilburn could bow out of the situation, John called him into the room. He offered Hilburn some of the contraband—a piece of chocolate bar. Yoko and John had adopted a macrobiotic diet with much success, but he wanted to hide his delicious—and forbidden—treat from Yoko’s knowledge.

The hidden, chocolate tale epitomizes many of the stories in author John Hilburn’s memoir, Cornflakes With John Lennon. Underneath the sell-out concerts, adoring fans, and record sales, musical artists and legends are normal people. As a famed music critic of 35 years, Hilburn interviewed musical artists in country, R&B, pop, rock, and rap. His back-stories are not told in today’s typical, scandalous, tell-all fashion but shared from his observations as a journalist and a fan. The book includes photos of celebrities, short tales from the road, Hilburn’s interviews, and his life as a music critic.

Readers will enjoy countless stories of artist interviews, including maneuvering Colonel Parker for Elvis interviews; the competitive star-tracking between Prince and Michael Jackson; laid-back chatting with Janis Joplin; recommending Waylon Jennings to producers; and sharing Elvis and Lennon fan stories with Bono. With his in-depth musical knowledge and social understanding, Hilburn explains how the deaths of Elvis, Lennon, and Kurt Cobain deeply affected our lives. His obsessive love of music turns Hilburn into an authoritative voice for both fans and musicians; his journalistic insight helps us understand how music shapes our social fabric. Highly recommended for music lovers of all genres; journalists; and readers interested in the relationship between fan, critic, and musician.

The Book

Rodale Books
October 2009
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The Reviewer

Jennifer Akers
Reviewed 2010
© 2010