David Haber, Beatles News Editor

War is over, if you want it. Unless you’re Yoko Ono, and the war you’re fighting is a war against the truth. Or, so says Geoffrey Giuliano.

Since 1984, acclaimed Beatles author, journalist and actor Geoffrey Giuliano has written twenty books on the Beatles, and thirty books altogether, including books about Rod Stewart, Jimi Hendrix, and The Who. This year is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the writing of his first book, “The Beatles, A Celebration,” which was published in October, 1986. Paul McCartney wrote the forward for his second book, “John Lennon, My Brother”, written with John Lennon’s sister Julia Baird.

But as the years passed with each new book about the Beatles that he researched and wrote, Giuliano started to get to the real picture of the lives of the Beatles, buried under the veneer of their carefully crafted public relations image.

Giuliano told Beatles News, “When I wrote my first two books, ‘The Beatles, A Celebration’ and ‘John Lennon, My Brother,’ those were very complimentary. Even the Beatles had ‘The Beatles, A Celebration’ on the coffee table at Apple. And then, as I continued my research, and went to Liverpool and got in touch with the Beatles’ families, a lot of great things came up, but a lot of disturbing things came up as well. I’m a writer and a journalist, and I have an oath and allegiance to the truth. And fortunately, or I guess unfortunately, I’ve discovered and still possess a lot of information on John Lennon in particular and the other Beatles’ private and personal lives that if you look at them, should change your worldview of who they were.”

Giuliano knows his presentation of the “real” Beatles to the world in his books hasn’t endeared him to some Beatles fans who’d rather view them through rose-colored glasses. He’s sure it hasn’t made Yoko Ono happy, either.

“I don’t see Yoko as particularly talented,” Giuliano says. “John Lennon has said, look, if you want to blame her for breaking up the Beatles, please credit her for Imagine, and there’s no question, if you read Grapefruit, that Imagine came from Yoko’s influence or inspiration. But surely, the entire body of his solo work cannot be credited to her.”

“I believe that Yoko was a not very talented young person who had her own issues, her family was concerned about her mental state in Japan, she was a hustler, esoteric, exotic, worlds away from Cynthia. But if you tear apart her contribution to John Lennon’s life, it’s far more negative than positive.”

What were Yoko’s contributions to John’s life? Because of his extensive research and unrivaled Beatles archives that he’s collected in the course of his work over the last twenty-five years, Giuliano can shed some very specific light on that question.

Giuliano said, “When Yoko Ono met John Lennon, she was living with her husband, Tony Cox, in London. And there was a document which has been referred to in a number of books and I actually at one point in London was shown a copy of something that was purported to be this document, which was an agreement between Tony Cox and Yoko Ono saying basically that Yoko would render to Tony Cox fifty percent of whatever she got from John Lennon, or got out of John Lennon. Now that, to me right off the bat, doesn’t sound like true love.”

Giuliano also has documentation about John’s use of psychedelic drugs and where John was in his life at the time when he first met Yoko.

“The acid wore him down. His career, his bad marriage to Cynthia,the incredible pressure of being John Lennon. He was ground down by his life, and for John, Yoko was more an escape from his mock-Tudor life in Kenwood, as he put it, rather than going towards something else. It was him wanting to get away and distance himself the teenage marriage thing he got into with Cynthia.”

Although in the decades since 1969 it has become to be thought of as apocryphal, Giuliano believes that from those bad beginnings, Yoko Ono really did go on to break up the Beatles.

“I know the truth. The Beatles had no love for this woman. She was a negative influence on the continuation of the Beatles. She felt the Beatles were such a great influence over John that it threatened her position, and so she needed to get him out of there, so that she could have him for herself.”

“That’s my position on Yoko Ono, and I have made that very clear in all of my books, and Yoko is aware of that.”

But why does Giuliano take these positions when it makes him unpopular with some of the fans, and some of the people he writes about?

Giuliano proudly says, “I think of John Lennon as a hero, as a mentor. John Lennon’s message was very clear. He said, all I want is the truth. Just gimme some truth. He didn’t mince words, he didn’t waltz around the truth, so why should I?”

“There’s no sense in wasting my life by sitting down and writing twenty books about the Beatles that are just press releases, they’ve got people to do that for them. As a journalist, I’m only interested in getting to the truth.”

“The Beatles are far more interesting as human beings, flawed, fallible humans that came from extraordinary circumstances with everything going against them, for their talent to rise up from nothing and supersede their environment, and allow them to change the whole world, that’s an amazing, much more compelling and interesting story than some kind of Disneyland, magical nonsense that these people keep putting out.”

“I’ve spent the bulk of my adult life doing this, documenting the Beatles, because I didn’t want the sands of time to sweep it away. I wanted it accurately recorded.”

And recorded it, he has. Over the past twenty five years, Giuliano has built a job writing books about the Beatles into a publishing empire, composed of a backlist of thirty published books and over 200 audio tapes, backed up by an impressive library of rare interview tapes, photographs and other archival material about the Beatles and Rock and Roll that can be found nowhere else in the world.

So, what do you do after you’ve written and published thirty books and 200 tapes? Eight years ago, Giuliano, who is a vegetarian and meditates, and was making frequent trips to meditate in India, ended up in Bangkok, Thailand, to put his life in order. One of his books, “Paint It Black, The Murder of Brian Jones,” was made into a movie called “Stoned, The Wild and Wycked World of Brian Jones,” made by Stephen Woolley, who also made “Interview With A Vampire” and “The Crying Game.” He was doing some acting, and had done his own radio show. And he came to the realization that he had done it all, and decided to retire.

Giuliano’s plan for retirement was to sell his publishing empire, all the rights to his thirty books and 200 audio tapes, including all of his rare archival tapes and photographs, for $12 million, which would provide a nice living for him and his family in Bangkok. He formed a company, G2 Media, to organize it all. Over the following few years he got some offers to buy one piece of the company or another, but he always refused, preferring not to break up his Beatles books, other books, published tapes and all of his archival material, which alone could be used to create other insightful new books and documentary movies.

Around this time, he became aware that Yoko was buying up material about herself. He said, “I sell Beatles memorabilia from time to time from my collection that’s worth a few million dollars, and I was approached by someone who said that Yoko Ono was purchasing and looking to purchase tapes, books, documents, about herself or her and John, and inquired if I had anything I might want to sell her.” But he says, he didn’t think much of it at the time.

In the meantime, writers don’t stop writing, and in 2001 he published the controversial and very successful “Lennon In America,” based on material from John’s lost diaries, copies of which he obtained from John’s long-time friend, Harry Nilsson.

“When I got copies of Lennon’s diaries, people said, wow, you can’t publish that. The copyright clearly belongs to the Lennon estate. But my attorneys told me, no one owns a thought or an idea, only the particular expression of a thought or idea. That means I couldn’t quote from the diaries, I had to reword them. Which I did. That’s how I got around that one and Yoko didn’t appreciate it.”

“I later met someone who worked for Yoko who told me that Yoko was really worried about ‘Lennon In America.’ She left the country with Sean and hid-out in Switzerland until the publicity died down. Another reason I’m not on Yoko’s Christmas card list,” says Giuliano.

And for the last twenty-five years, Giuliano has had another book in the back of his mind, fueled by everything he’s learned about the Beatles and the life of John Lennon. He is currently working on a book called “Black Widow, Yoko Ono Unauthorized.”

Which brings us to the present, and Giuliano’s recent discovery of a special CD interview set that he produced several years ago but ended up never being put out. He found the CD masters in a drawer where he had forgotten them since the company that was to issue the set went out of business. It was to be a five CD box set of John Lennon interviews from 1969 and included many rare interviews including the Bag event in Vienna. The set took two years to assemble and edit, at the cost at that time of about $80 thousand.

Upon rediscovering the material, Giuliano realized that this year, 2009, is forty years since the interviews, and the fortieth anniversary of John Lennon’s bed-in for peace and international peace campaign. The timeliness of John’s anti-war philosophy to today’s problems jumped out at him as if the tapes were meant to be saved for just this moment in history.

So Giuliano went out and hired one of the world’s best designers, and worked up the CD set into a new package that is going to be something that’s really special.

The new CD set, now called “John Lennon, Man of Peace”, will include the original five CDs of John Lennon interviews from 1969, a 32 page book of liner notes about the CDs, an additional special 300 page book of interviews of John Lennon from 1969, created especially for this set, a previously unpublished 8×10 photo of John from 1969, a button and a bumper sticker, all contained inside a limited edition specially designed vinyl shoulder bag. The impressive set can be seen at its official web site,

It’s very likely you’ve gone ahead and viewed the link above. I did, when I first heard about the site. So did Yoko Ono.

Shortly after the release of the web site, Giuliano received a cease and desist letter from Yoko Ono’s lawyers. Want to try to guess why? Because Giuliano had used interview material who’s rights she claimed? (Which he hadn’t.) No. Because Giuliano had used photographs she claimed she owned? (Which he hadn’t.) No, nothing like that.

Yoko’s lawyers informed Giuliano that Yoko believed she legally owned the words “Imagine” and “Peace.” And that Giuliano did not have her permission to use those words, “Imagine” and “Peace,” on the accessories included with the “John Lennon, Man of Peace” product.

Through his company, G2 Media, Giuliano responded with several letters back and forth between his company and Yoko’s lawyers. His company gave Yoko’s people complete and unrestricted access to the new product and to vet all the material it contained. He even went as far to change “War Is Over, If You Want It” that was to be printed on the set’s shoulder bag, and changed it simply to “War Is Over”.

“I was begrudgingly cooperative,” Giuliano remembers, “but I didn’t want any trouble with her anymore. I was trying to be nice.”

The original cease and desist order and the situation surrounding it has still not been completely settled. But in the course of the letters being exchanged between Giuliano’s company and Ono’s lawyers, and remembering how he previously had heard that Yoko was interested in buying material about herself, Giuliano wondered if Yoko might not be interested in buying his entire company, the rights to all of his published books and vast unpublished archive, just as he’s been openly and publicly trying to sell it for some time.

“My company, G2 Media, offered Yoko Ono, through her attorneys, the same deal that I offered anybody who’s got $12 million to spend. The lawyers wrote back and said Yoko, or perhaps some associated company, like Apple, could have an interest in the material, and they asked for a brief description of all the material, books, tapes and archives.”

It was at this point, sensing there might be some kind of deal in the works, that Giuliano brought in his own lawyer, to protect his financial interests. However, he says he quickly heard from the lawyer for another reason.

“The lawyer told me, Geoffrey, we have a problem. Yoko Ono is talking to the district attorney in Kings County, and they’re attempting to have you arrested for blackmail.”

Giuliano couldn’t believe it. He says, “I’m not a criminal, just a hard working guy, honest to a fault. I’m not trying to blackmail anybody, my company was just offering her the same deal my website was offering, so that I could retire.”

“I have tapes of John Lennon and Yoko Ono that no one’s ever heard, and on these tapes they talk about all manner of things. And after the latest cease and desist order, I said, OK, well, maybe it’s time to put this thing down, I’ve been fighting with this chick for years, it’s getting a little old, so, look, why don’t we just offer her the company? I wasn’t trying to blackmail her, first of all, if you’re going to blackmail someone, you wouldn’t do it through their attorneys, would you?”

Mr. Giuliano is still interested in selling all of his research on the Beatles and John Lennon, including his vast audio archive of lost and historically important, unpublished and very private Lennon home tapes. In addition, he’s currently seeking a publisher for his next book, “Black Widow, Yoko Ono Unauthorized,” as well as two new books, “Lennon In London” and “Lennon In Liverpool,” the follow ups to his successful book, “Lennon In America.” Film rights to “Lennon In America” are also available.

Giuliano says, “How can you like her? Because you see what she’s done to John, you see the weakness she exposed in John Lennon, how vulnerable he was. People have demonized me for exposing this. It’s very hard to like Yoko Ono and to have very much sympathy other than the fact that it was quite touching that during WWII she got separated from her family and after the atomic bombs dropped she was homeless with her two younger siblings and they had to beg, so she’s had kind of a tough life, but that doesn’t mean she’s had a charmed life also, and she has a modicum of talent, I suppose, in some quirky way, but certainly not mainstream, you know, nobody goes, ‘Hey! Let’s put on the Yoko Ono records tonight, kids!’ But would be talking about her if she never met John Lennon?”

But we are, indeed, talking about her, and Giuliano insists that it is his mission, he will never stop speaking and publishing the truth about Yoko Ono and John Lennon.

He says, “I guess I am now the Salman Rushdie of Rock and Roll. And Yoko is the Ayatollah.”



Geoffrey Giuliano, author of half a dozen controversial Beatles books, is a reported victim of last week’s terrorist attacks.

Spike Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) September 18, 2001 Tuesday


Giles Smith, The Independent, November 7, 1991

I realized it was daft to collect things,” says author Geoffrey Giuliano. Yet he was daft enough to collect $ 700,000-worth of Beatle memorabilia. He houses it in his mansion in Lockport, New York. He’s put the hand-written poster from the Cavern Club (showing the bill on the night Ringo first appeared with The Beatles, cost pounds 40,000) in the hall. Rare records, magazines, papers are in a room of their own, spilling all over the carpet – or rather, all over the hand-crafted Beatle throw-rug (see left). It’s apparent that, for a sizeable portion of his life, Geoffrey Giuliano was daft on a full-time basis.

”John Lennon once said, good quote, ‘Gurus are the pop stars of India, pop stars are the gurus of the West’. The Beatles were my gurus, I wanted everything to do with them. I once knew a Hare Krishna devotee, mad as a March hare. If a guru came to visit and he left a napkin, he would keep it. I went in his room there were napkins, batteries, half an apple. Same thing: I was just trying to collect what my gurus left behind.”

In 1968 Giuliano persuaded his friend Frank to part with a mint copy of John and Yoko’s Two Virgins. Shortly afterwards, he acquired a pressing of an experimental synthesiser piece by George Harrison. ” ‘Electronic Sound’ was on the Zapple label. Zapple was supposed to be the Beatles’ own disposable label – like Apple would be hardback and Zapple would be paperback, listen to it once and toss it in the bin? Completely backfired, of course – they became collector’s items.”

And Giuliano became chief collector. He was in London this week, wearing a flowing shirt and an Eastern haircut, and spiking his conversation with quotations from the literary giants; Shakespeare (” ‘This bank and shoal of time,’ as the Bard calls it”) and Pete Townshend (”As Townshend says, ‘In every silent hour, eternity will beckon’ ”). Nowadays, he thinks of his collection, he says, as a way of saying thank you.

”I thought The Beatles should be chronicled. I was a plumber’s son, I was a nerd from Upstate New York, with a brush- cut, I dreamed about astronauts sitting in my little room. Then I heard The Beatles: not the ‘She Loves You’ stuff – that was for girls – but when they got heady and John Lennon looked like a Hasidic Jew and had his hair long. And I looked in the living room and saw my parents sitting on the couch dying – farting and brushing their teeth and watching the television. And I thought, that’s not it. The Beatles woke me the fuck up.”

So off he went, acquiring some original art-work from the Sgt Pepper frieze, a hat worn by Harrison, a luggage-label addressed by John Lennon, 19 hand-written lyrics . . . He had to see off other Beatle collectors along the way. ”But I went direct to the relatives. No-one thought of that – they were thick. They went to Sothebys – I went to their aunties. Said, ‘Hey, what’s in the bottom there?’ ‘Oh, this is just a letter John sent . . .’ ‘Well, I’ll give you 20 quid.’ ‘Twenty quid? Sure!’ There’s big people out there, man. I know one guy owns shopping malls, and he collects Beatle video. There’s some sick puppies, Beatles are their whole life.”

Now he says he’s disillusioned with collecting. ”Ive spent the rent. I was like an alcoholic most of the time. A piece of half-eaten toast, served to George Harrison on the set of A Hard Day’s Night has just been offered for sale. Where does it end?” And anyway, he’s assigned himself another role. ”I am the Fuehrer among rock biographers. I’ve done all The Beatles now. Except Ringo, but Ringo was like the guy who won the pools; there’s no story there.”

Giuliano has two new books out presently: Tomorrow Never Knows (a coffee-table number documenting his Beatle collection) and Blackbird: The Unauthorized Biography of Paul McCartney. More follows. ”I’ve written a book with Jo-Jo Laine called Get Back Jo Jo: Confessions of Rock and Roll’s Groupie Queen, with a foreword by Rod Stewart and an appreciation by Lord Weymouth. Then I’m doing a book called Behind Blue Eyes; The Life of Pete Townshend. Then I’m doing Born Under A Bad Sign: Cream, Blind Faith, Heroin and the Sixties by Ginger Baker. Although I’m writing every word – he plays the drums, I write the books.

”Then there’ll be Like Dreamers Do: The Songwriting Genius of Lennon and McCartney. It’s my last Beatle book, I promise. It’s about their partnership, it’ll chronicle every note they wrote – when, where, how, why – from the moment they met to the moment Lennon died. Then I’m doing a book with Gloria Hunniford, an authorized biography. Little jump, there.”

Contemporary pop stars don’t detain him. Today’s youngsters have Betty Boo, he says, where he had the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. But even those who share his sadness about this may be reluctant to endorse his remedy: take a vat of acid to our water supply’s main source and ”dump it the fuck in”. Still, few writers of celebrity biographies take time to discuss with you the ”idiot wind of illusion blowing over the whole material plane”, nor indeed the condition of their ”provisional ego”, and their aspiration towards a renunciation of life, in the style of the Hindu sannyas. ”I wanna be dead to the world, that’s my goal. Give it up bit by bit.”

It’s hard to know how this sort of thing goes down with Gloria Hunniford. In fact these days, it doesn’t even seem to cut much ice with the original gurus. ”Pete Townshend said something that pissed me off; I said, ‘What’s happening with your spiritual life, Pete?’ He said, ‘It’s on hold’. George Harrison said much the same. Knowing this stuff is not enough. Like the Christians say, you talk the talk, you fuckin’ walk the walk. I have integrity. Even if I did take one trip too many, even if I am toasted around the edges.”

He says his collection would run to one more book of memorabilia, ”but I’d be down to the napkins. Anyway, the major work’s done. I have given the world The Beatles – again.”


Joanna Coles, Arts Correspondent
The Guardian (London), May 16, 1993

“Have you any idea how disappointing it was for me to discover the Beatles were such shits in real life?” Geoffrey Giuliano was wrestling Japanese rice balls with his chopsticks.

 “George Harrison is an eccentric recluse, a possibly failed Yogi and somewhat disillusioned with life. Paul McCartney, well he’s rather shallow.” Mr Giuliano gesticulates for the waitress and demands in an upstate New York accent: “Hey! Is there fish in this? By the way you’re delightful.”

 If anyone should know what the Beatles – or for that matter, Rod Stewart, Pete Townshend, the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker – are really like, then Mr Giuliano should. He’s a pop biographer extraordinaire. “Before the recession I had to write one book a year, now I write eight?”

 He produces a large carrier bag and out they come. Rod Stewart: The Biography, The Private Life of George Harrison, Blackbird – The Life and Times of Paul McCartney, Lennon – My Brother, Not Fade Away – The Rolling Stones, and finally The Beatles – A Celebration.

 “I didn’t have a dad.” The very prolific author beckons. “The Beatles were my dads. John Lennon was the first intellectual I was exposed to.”

“Here I am, the world’s greatest rock and roll biographer and all I really wanted was to become a Shakespearean actor. Still I may get a chat show on the BBC. I’ve got an interview tomorrow.”

 Geoffrey Giuliano grew up in Tampa, Florida, an all American kid. By the age of 19, “I’d done acid many times. Then I saw there was no point. It was a dead end. I had George Harrison’s Hare Krishna mantra in my head, so I ended up in India.”

 It was there he decided to become a vegan. “And I don’t drink alcohol or take coffee or tea. I meditate every morning for two hours and rise at 4am.”

 Four am? “Every day. Sleep is ignorance. And we don’t have any friends either.” What, none at all? His wife murmurs something about no time, what with tending their 10 acres and four children back in upstate New York. But Mr Giuliano is forthright. “We try to lead a life of non-attachment. Our goal is dispassion.”

 At the age 19 he was working as a dogsbody for Pete Townshend of the Who. “I wrote to him and he said why didn’t I go stay? It was great – we used to ride around Richmond Park in his Mercedes and he would talk about how miserable he was.”

Back in the US he flicked through the Yellow Pages, stopping at P for publishers. “I stuck my finger on one, Methuen, called them and said ‘Listen guys, I know more about the Beatles than anyone on the planet and I want to write a book about them.’ They said, ‘Get down here’ – and the next thing I knew they’d signed me up.”

 It’s a long way from the Beatles to documenting the life of Gloria Hunniford – Mr. Giuliano’s new project – but he is undaunted. “I went on her show and I thought why not? She’s unspoiled. She’s worked hard. She’s never cheated or lied. Hers is an inspirational story.”


Zev Singer, The Ottawa Citizen
November 25, 1999

The clown is not laughing anymore.

The man beneath the Ronald McDonald costume has become one of the fast-food restaurant chain’s fiercest foes. Geoffrey Giuliano, who played the friendly clown in Canada in the early 1980s, says he now feels tremendous remorse for inspiring millions of children to love their happy meals.

Now a vegan and animal-rights crusader, Mr. Giuliano says: ”Billions and billions served means billions and billions slaughtered.”

He is doing everything he can to make life difficult for his former employer. ”I’m going to use the fact that I was Ronald McDonald as a big stick to beat these (vulgarity) over the head,” he said. ”I want to get the word out: this is animal genocide.”

Mr. Giuliano, now 46, took the job playing the familiar red-haired character after he graduated from acting school. He earned a masters degree and was trained in the Shakespearean tradition. At the time, he took what he could get. The job, by the standards of most actors, paid very well. Mr. Giuliano says he made $50,000 a year, had a limousine driver and a penthouse office in the company’s Canadian head office in Toronto.

At first, he says, he thought the job would be rewarding.  ”I had really big ideas that the Ronald McDonald Safety Show would help children not to drink bleach and set themselves on fire and things, so I learned it and did it.”

The turning point came, Mr. Giuliano says, when he began to believe the emphasis was on marketing rather than on safety.

The young idealist was overcome with guilt. ”It was madness, cheap, sullied and dirty. You could feel the dirt, and everybody just took with both hands. After a while, it got to be too much. My conscience got the better of me. These things stated to eat away at me, and over a few months, I decided, ‘I can’t do this anymore. This is just sick and pointless’.”

Mr. Giuliano’s next career proved very successful. He went on to write more than 20 books, mostly celebrity biographies, including works on the Beatles, Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jordan and Ronald Reagan.

But even this career is one he is now losing interest in. ”What I care about now is teaching devotional yoga, ” he says in a phone interview from Rishikesh, India.

He now uses the proceeds from his writing career to subsidize his yoga-teaching project. He says he has more than 70 disciples in the U.S., India and Nepal. ”I’m the all-American-boy-turned-guru,” he says. ”I’m a natural-born promoter. What can I do?”

One of the things he most wants to do is to start a lawsuit against McDonald’s, although he does not specify what kind of lawsuit. ”I’m here to shut those (expletives) down,” he says.

”If you kill a dog, you go to jail. If you kill a cow, you’re a millionaire.”

Mr. Giuliano now works with PETA — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals –who have been responsible for such programs as ”Slam McDonald’s Month.”


Marion Kane , The Toronto Star
September 12, 1990

A meatless meet

Meat won’t be on the menu at the Sixth Annual Vegetarian Food Fair – but plenty else will.

The fair, organized by the Toronto Vegetarian Association, is to be held Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Harbourfront’s York Quay Centre.

One of the liveliest events promises to be a talk by Geoffrey Giuliano – a former Ronald McDonald now a vegetarian activist – at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Giuliano, who has a master’s degree in Shakespearean drama, is an American actor who toured Canadian schools as Ronald McDonald from 1980 to 1982.

“Little did the corporate cowboys know at the time,” jokes Giuliano (who describes himself as “an old hippie”), “that I was a strict vegetarian.”

Giuliano is a vegetarian on ethical grounds: “Human beings are technically omnivorous – so why not elect the common-sense, less violent thing by not eating animals?”

Giuliano is also the author of several books. His latest, Blackbird: The Life And Times Of Paul McCartney, will be published in Canada by Random House later this year.