Excerpt: 'The Last Days of Dead Celebrities'

"If you think I'm being controlled like a dog on a leash because I do things with her," Lennon said, "then screw you! Because-fuck you brother and sister, you don't know what's happening!" Lennon went on to say that his wife was the teacher "and I'm the pupil. . . . She's taught me everything I fucking know. . . . She was there . . . when I was the 'Nowhere Man.'"

According to Mintz, Lennon's version of how he and Yoko led their lives in the late 1970s "is 100 percent accurate." "That's what he did," said Mintz. "He cocooned. I don't think that reading Rolling Stone was so important during those years, and I don't think he paid that much attention to trends in music.

"But all during this so-called silent period, John remained incredibly interested in current events and politics," said Mintz. "He read the papers every day, and he used to call me to watch the evening news, which he saw in New York three hours ahead of me. He would tell me things to look for. He watched a lot of television, nonfiction television, primarily the news. He would have had a field day with all the cable talk shows today. He wouldn't have slept. He would have been glued to Fox and CNN. That's all he would be doing, that and sending e-mails, which hadn't been invented yet.

"But he was very up on the politics of the time, and, of course, John's political persuasions are extremely well known, so you can imagine his overall feelings about the emerging Reagan administration and the conservatism in the country," said Mintz. "And it has also been well documented that John continued to be under constant FBI surveillance, which he always viewed as a force with which to be reckoned. John and Yoko never told anybody how to vote. And John never voted because he wasn't a citizen. So he had no political party affiliation. He basically felt that both parties were about the same. Having said that, I do think that the coming emergence of Reaganism did send a chill up his spine. Not because of Ronald Reagan himself, but because John perceived that the country was moving in a direction that was the antithesis of the things he embraced in his life, like 'Give Peace a Chance' and the point of view expressed in 'Imagine.' If Ronald Reagan had read the lyrics to 'Imagine,' he probably would have recoiled in horror."

It was one of the few times in Lennon's life, according to Yoko, that he didn't purposely go out and make waves. "You must understand," she said, "we had a very difficult time with immigration. But when John finally got his green card, he thought, well, he has a son, he has his green card. Maybe this is not the time to be too dangerous." Then came the summer of 1980. Against the political backdrop of fifty-two Americans still being held hostage in Iran, which greatly diminished the chances of Jimmy Carter's reelection bid and made Reagan look more and more like the next president of the United States, Lennon traveled with a five-man crew to Bermuda on his yacht, Isis. His intention was to rent a house on the island and simply while away his time swimming and sailing. But something else happened on Bermuda, and it turned out to be a burst of creative energy that saw him writing more than a dozen songs in three weeks.

He knew Yoko also had been writing songs in New York, and they would spend days on the phone singing their latest compositions to each other. It was clear to both of them that they would start recording a new album as soon he got back.

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