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Feature: Imagine there's no Beatles: Unthinkable question posed in new book about John Lennon

LONDON, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- The song Imagine was penned by one of the 20th century's most celebrated songwriters, John Lennon.

Celebrated as a working class hero, Lennon formed the western world's most successful pop groups, the Beatles.

But an explosive book by a Liverpool academic poses the unthinkable for millions of fans, Imagine there's no Beatles.

Social researcher Francis Kenny says without a tortured and unhappy childhood, the Beatles would never have happened.

Strip away the mask, says Kenny, and it exposes a suicidal depressive individual, tormented by an unhappy childhood.

One thing saved Lennon's life as he grappled with the ghosts that haunted his life ... the Beatles.

Social researcher and academic Frances Kenny says the Beatles would never have been formed without Lennon's long and lonely, and tortured life.

Kenny has ripped away that mask and told the untold story of the real John Lennon, revealing many unknown facts about his life.

Lennon, says Liverpool-born Kenny, was a genius whose work will continue to be celebrated well into the 22nd century.

His cruel and unhappy upbringing fed that streak of genius that gave the world a massive collection of poems and songs.

"His poetry, his words, his drawings and most importantly the Beatles were his anti-dote, his way of escaping his depression," says Kenny.

Had Lennon not been gunned down outside his New York apartment in 1970, he would, in his 70s, be one of the world's living icons, preaching his life-long message to give peace a chance, adds the Liverpool-born Kenny.

Call it a Magical Mystery Tour, or a Long and Tortured Road, the story of the man who created the Beatles is graphically told by Francis Kenny in his book: The Making of John Lennon - the untold story behind the rise and fall of the Beatles.

Kenny spent years reading more than 150 books about the Beatles, interviewing key players close to Lennon and doing forensic research spanning five years.

There is no airbrushing in Kenny's graphic examination of Lennon's life, just raw and often brutal facts explaining what made John Lennon and what made the Beatles.

Says Francis Kenny: "John Lennon failed at school (his end of year report predicted he was on the road to failure), he was snatched from the mother he adored and placed with a strict and authoritarian aunt. He lived in a middle class home that betrayed his working class roots, leading to conflicts within the group in its early days.

"He lived with the constant fear of being 'outed' as a plastic working-class 'Scouser'." Scouser is the local name given to a person from Liverpool.

Lennon and his band partners gave the world the Beatles, but the price he paid along his long and winding road was heavy.

The Making of John Lennon is published November 28, 2014 by Luath Press of Edinburgh.

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