Wednesday, May 1, 2013


When I first bought this book and read it when it was first published, I wasn't a book reviewer and since I've been watching and listening to YouTube videos of John, I decided to review his Take Me Home.  After so many years of not reading a book, and me being older and a little wiser, I came away with more insights and perspective on John.  To do a review justice, we need to be unbiased, especially with such a complex person as John was.  I've read a few review here that are quite negative, as he appeared to be an enigma, what with the fact he was so serious about life, always taking himself serious, hiding behind his huge smile and his hundreds of “WoW’s” and “Far Out’s.” We tend to forget that alot of our celebrities are very insecure, that they need that attention of being onstage to feel secure.
John came from a military family, not getting the love and r ecognition he so craved, especially from his father.  I was raised in the 50’s and 60’s like John was, but I had parents who listened and did things together as a family.  John’s mother was high strung, wanting to pllease her husband, who was always gone.  John’s mom always did things for John and his brother Ron, which doesn’t teach too much responsibility for us. 
John was given his first guitar by his grandmother, so he was singing and playing guitar at a young age.  As he was an Air Force brat, his family moved around alot.  He was born New Year’s Eve in 1943 in Roswell, New Mexico, though he lived in Texas, Alabama, and Japan before his father retired from the Air Force.  John so wanted acceptance from his father.  Before his father died in the mid 80’s, his dad had taught John to fly and he got some semblance of closure with his dad. 
He started singing in Coffeehouses in his early 20’s, living in an apartment with Randy Sparks, leader of The First Edition with Kenny Rogers.  One singer from those early days he didn’t think much of was David Crosby.  After singing around, he heard that Milt Okum was looking for a replacement for Chad Mitchell, so he wound up as their new lead singer for 3 years.  At this time, he met Annie Martel and they married a few years later in ‘67.  A funny incident occured on their honeymoon, c ausing annie to go to the ER.  She had a cracked rib from being a little rough in bed.  LOL. 
It wasn’t too long after that John wrote “Leavin’ On A Jet Plane.”  Peter, Paul & Mary really loved it and it was their only #1 hit!!!
His association with Jerry Weintraub as his manager was a  volatile one, finally ending bitterly.  John enjoyed acting, but didn’t get some roles he’d wanted, due to Jerry.  He also enjoyed all the variety shows and hosting The Tonight Show all those many times.  I had the privilege of seeing him twice on that show and seeing him perform many times in Southern California, once with my cousin, once with my sister and the last time, with my late husband, Bob, just a week from being home from our honeymoon on 27 Sep ‘80.  That engagement was the last concert to be held at The Universal Amphitheater as an outdoor concert venue.
John came into his own when he took his mujsic even further by embracing important issues regarding the ecology of our planet, the Alaskan wilderness and everything good about our planet earth and even our hunger all over the world, our solar system and wanting to go into space as an Astronaut.  His songs epitomized all that he stood for.  He said his songs were really our songs, as he wrote them for us so that we could feel good about ourselves.
He speaks honestly about his forays into smoking marijuana, experimenting with LSD and Cocaine.  He felt  badly about the public knowing about his drug days, as he wanted to have his fans think well of him.  I never took drugs, even though a former boyfriend of mine smoked pot around me on occasion, as that was just not my thing.  In the book, he talks about one DUI he had and had his friend drive down the mountains of Aspen, as he had a suspended license for 2 months.  He mentioned he didn’t think he was drunk enough not to drive. 
The only time he’d goltten in a rage was the day he  came to his home in Aspen with a electric saw to chop up a table and bed he hated because Annie had had a favorite tree of his removed without discussing it with him first.  That’s very understandable, but not the right and mature way of handling things,but Annie wasn’t either.  Their marriage lasted 15 tumultuous years.  John said that Annie loved him in spite of his music, not because of his music. Because they couldn’t have children, they adopted Zachary and Anna Kate.
When John met his 2nd wife, Cassandra Delaney, an Australian Country Singer, she approached him and she would go on tours with him, which he liked.  Once they were married and had Jesse Belle, the marriage fell apart, as Cassie only married him for who John was and that he could further her career.
When I heard from my BIL that John had just died in that tragic plane crash on 12 Oct ‘97, I was so saddened and shocked, but then realized he’d died doing what he loved and that was flying.  The last song in this book epitomizes how prophetic that song was.  John, we so do miss you.  Rest in peace.

I bought my copy from Amazon.
Publisher: Harmony Books, a division of Crown Publishers
Date Published: Oct 1994
ISBN: 0-517-59537-0

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