Ray Connolly - Author

About the Author

Ray Connolly has written several novels, including Sunday Morning and Shadows On A Wall, the movies That'll Be The Day and Stardust, the television series Lytton's Diary and Perfect Scoundrels, and a biography of John lennon. He has also written TV films, documentaries, radio plays, short stories and much journalism. He lives in London.

Featured books by Ray Connolly

Other books by Ray Connolly

Being John Lennon

Being John Lennon

Author: Ray Connolly Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/10/2018

What was it like to be John Lennon? What was it like to be the cast-off child, the clown at school, and the middle-class suburban boy who pretended to be a working-class hero? How did it feel to have one of the most recognisable singing voices in the world, but to dislike it so much he always wanted to disguise it? How must it have felt, when he saw the melodies of his younger song writing partner praised so highly, and his own songs, in his eyes, undervalued? And what was it like to become trapped inside a four-headed deity knowing that it would become increasingly impossible to keep feeding the desires of its worshippers? Being John Lennon is not about the whitewashed Prince of Peace of 'Imagine' legend, because that was only a small part of him. The John Lennon depicted in these pages is a much more kaleidoscopic figure, sometimes almost a collision of different characters. He was funny, often very funny. But, above everything, he had 'attitude', his impudent, plain speaking somehow personifying the aspirations of his generation to answer back to authority. Rank and status didn't unnerve him. He could, and would, say the unsayable. Perhaps sometimes he shouldn't, and he would excuse himself later by saying, 'Oh, that was only me mouth talking.' Though there were more glamorous rock stars around, even in the Beatles, it was John Lennon's attitude which caught, and then defined, the moment best.

Being John Lennon

Being John Lennon

Author: Ray Connolly Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/10/2018

John Lennon was a rock star, a school clown, a writer, a wit, an iconoclast, a sometime peace activist and finally an eccentric millionaire. He was also a Beatle - his plain-speaking and impudent rejection of authority catching, and eloquently articulating, the group's moment in history. Chronicling a troubled life, from that of the cast-aside child of a broken wartime marriage to his murder by a deranged fan, Being John Lennon analyses the contradictions in the singer-songwriter's creative and destructive personality. A leader who could be easily led, he was often generous and often funny, but sometimes scathingly cruel. As a journalist, author Ray Connolly had a close working relationship with Lennon, and the entire Beatles coterie. In this biography he unsparingly reassesses the chameleon nature of the perpetually dissatisfied star who just couldn't stop reinventing himself. Drawing on many interviews and conversations with Lennon, his first wife Cynthia and second Yoko Ono, as well as his girlfriend May Pang and song-writing partner Paul McCartney, this complex portrait is a revealing insight into a restless man whose emotional turbulence governed his life and talent.

Being Elvis A Lonely Life

Being Elvis A Lonely Life

Author: Ray Connolly Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/07/2017

What was it like to be Elvis Presley? What did it feel like when impossible fame made him its prisoner? As the world's first rock star there was no one to tell him what to expect, no one with whom he could share the burden of being himself - of being Elvis. On the outside he was all charm, sex appeal, outrageously confident on stage and stunningly gifted in the recording studio. To his fans he seemed to have it all. He was Elvis. With his voice and style influencing succeeding generations of musicians, he should have been free to sing any song he liked, to star in any film he was offered, and to tour in any country he chose. But he wasn't free. The circumstances of his poor beginnings in the American South, which, as he blended gospel music with black rhythm and blues and white country songs, helped him create rock and roll, had left him with a lifelong vulnerability. Made rich and famous beyond his wildest imaginings when he mortgaged his talent to the machinations of his manager, 'Colonel' Tom Parker, there would be an inevitable price to pay. Though he daydreamed of becoming a serious film actor, instead he grew to despise his own movies and many of the songs he had to sing in them. He could have rebelled. But he didn't. Why? In the Seventies, as the hits rolled in again, and millions of fans saw him in a second career as he sang his way across America, he talked of wanting to tour the world. But he never did. What was stopping him? BEING ELVIS takes a clear-eyed look at the most-loved entertainer ever, and finds an unusual boy with a dazzling talent who grew up to change popular culture; a man who sold a billion records and had more hits than any other singer, but who became trapped by his own frailties in the loneliness of fame.

Being Elvis A Lonely Life

Being Elvis A Lonely Life

Author: Ray Connolly Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/01/2017

Elvis Presley is a giant figure in American popular culture, a man whose talent and fame were matched only by his later excesses and tragic end. A godlike entity in the history of rock and roll, this twentieth-century icon with a dazzling voice blended gospel and traditionally black rhythm and blues with country to create a completely new kind of music and new way of expressing male sexuality, which simply blew the doors off a staid and repressed 1950s America. In Being Elvis veteran rock journalist Ray Connolly takes a fresh look at the career of the world's most loved singer, placing him, forty years after his death, not exhaustively in the garish neon lights of Las Vegas but back in his mid-twentieth-century, distinctly southern world. For new and seasoned fans alike, Connolly, who interviewed Elvis in 1969, re-creates a man who sprang from poverty in Tupelo, Mississippi, to unprecedented overnight fame, eclipsing Frank Sinatra and then inspiring the Beatles along the way. Juxtaposing the music, the songs, and the incendiary live concerts with a personal life that would later careen wildly out of control, Connolly demonstrates that Elvis's amphetamine use began as early as his touring days of hysteria in the late 1950s, and that the financial needs that drove him in the beginning would return to plague him at the very end. With a narrative informed by interviews over many years with John Lennon, Bob Dylan, B. B. King, Sam Phillips, and Roy Orbison, among many others, Connolly creates one of the most nuanced and mature portraits of this cultural phenomenon to date. What distinguishes Being Elvis beyond the narrative itself is Connolly's more subtle examinations of white poverty, class aspirations, and the prison that is extreme fame. As we reach the end of this poignant account, Elvis's death at forty-two takes on the hue of a profoundly American tragedy. The creator of an American sound that resonates today, Elvis remains frozen in time, an enduring American icon who could seamlessly soar into a falsetto of pleading and yearning and capture an inner emotion, perhaps of eternal yearning, to which all of us can still relate. Intimate and unsparing, Being Elvis explores the extravagance and irrationality inherent in the Elvis mythology, ultimately offering a thoughtful celebration of an immortal life.

Being Elvis A Lonely Life

Being Elvis A Lonely Life

Author: Ray Connolly Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/11/2016

What was it like to be Elvis Presley? What did it feel like when impossible fame made him its prisoner? As the world's first rock star there was no one to tell him what to expect, no one with whom he could share the burden of being himself - of being Elvis. On the outside he was all charm, sex appeal, outrageously confident on stage and stunningly gifted in the recording studio. To his fans he seemed to have it all. He was Elvis. With his voice and style influencing succeeding generations of musicians, he should have been free to sing any song he liked, to star in any film he was offered, and to tour in any country he chose. But he wasn't free. The circumstances of his poor beginnings in the American South, which, as he blended gospel music with black rhythm and blues and white country songs, helped him create rock and roll, had left him with a lifelong vulnerability. Made rich and famous beyond his wildest imaginings when he mortgaged his talent to the machinations of his manager, 'Colonel' Tom Parker, there would be an inevitable price to pay. Though he daydreamed of becoming a serious film actor, instead he grew to despise his own movies and many of the songs he had to sing in them. He could have rebelled. But he didn't. Why? In the Seventies, as the hits rolled in again, and millions of fans saw him in a second career as he sang his way across America, he talked of wanting to tour the world. But he never did. What was stopping him? BEING ELVIS takes a clear-eyed look at the most-loved entertainer ever, and finds an unusual boy with a dazzling talent who grew up to change popular culture; a man who sold a billion records and had more hits than any other singer, but who became trapped by his own frailties in the loneliness of fame.

Sunday Kind of Woman

Sunday Kind of Woman

Author: Ray Connolly Format: eBook Release Date: 14/02/2013

First published in 1980, this is a tale of Charlie Fairweather, song-writer and occasional performer, for whom holidays meant quick affairs, quickly forgotten. But the woman he met in Sicily was different.Kate Sullivan was beautiful, sophisticated and deliciously sensuous. Why was she so alone? Why was she so afraid of his friendship? Why did she disappear?Obsessed by his search for Kate, Charlie finds himself drawn into an unknown and dangerous world where anything can be bought and death is the easiest answer.

Stardust

Stardust

Author: Ray Connolly Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/01/2013

The year is 1963 and Jim Maclaine, star of That'll Be the Day has grown his hair, grown up and become a singer with a rock and roll band called the Stray Cats. Performing to bored audiences in seedy clubs, they live on dreams of becoming as famous as the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. A combination of luck, ruthlessness and a lot of hard hustling on the part of Mike Mennery, Jim's old fair-ground friend, makes the Stray Cats rock and roll superstars.But just when they have achieved their dream, it starts to go sour...

Sun Place

Sun Place

Author: Ray Connolly Format: eBook Release Date: 11/01/2013

Elixir. World's most luxurious fun spot. Island of coral sands, clear green seas, and wild abandon. Where love and play begin before the sun goes down. Where nights of revelry stretch into eternities of sensuous indulgence. Where the gaudy colours of paradise are splashed with the blood-red terror of a sadistic killer.

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