Let Love Rule by Lenny Kravitz
An artistic, spiritual, if slightly self-entitled autobiography from legendary rock icon Lenny KravitzDuffythewriter
‘I see my story as a suite of songs that have a magical connection. I never understood that connection until I sat down to write. It was then that the magic started to flow.’
Let Love Rule is a work of deep reflection. Lenny Kravitz looks back at his life with candour, self-scrutiny, and humour.
‘My life is all about opposites,’ he writes. ‘Black and white. Jewish and Christian. The Jackson 5 and Led Zeppelin. I accepted my Gemini soul. I owned it. I adored it. Yins and yangs mingled in various parts of my heart and mind, giving me balance and fueling my curiosity and comfort.’
Let Love Rule covers a vast canvas stretching from Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant, Los Angeles’s Baldwin Hills, Beverly Hills, and finally to France, England and Germany. It’s the story of a wildly creative kid who, despite tough struggles at school and extreme tension at home, finds salvation in music. We see him grow as a musician and ultimately a master songwriter, producer, and performer.
We also see Lenny’s spiritual growth-and the powerful way in which spirit informs his music. The cast of characters surrounding Lenny is extraordinary: his father, Sy, a high-powered news executive; his mother, Roxie Roker, a television star; and Lisa Bonet, the young actress who becomes his muse.
The central character, of course, is Lenny, who, despite his great aspirational energy, turns down record deal after record deal until he finds his true voice.The creation of that voice, the same voice that is able to declare ‘Let Love Rule’ to an international audience, is the very heart of this story.
‘Whether recording, performing, or writing a book,’ says Lenny, ‘my art is about listening to the inspiration inside and then sharing it with people. Art must bring the world closer together.’
Duffy’s thoughts on Let Love Rule
I love the music and style of Lenny Kravitz. So, when I was offered a chance to read his biography, I was pumped. I was about to read about the life of one of the coolest cats on the planet, written by the man himself. Perfection.
The book starts as most good autobiographies do. In childhood. And usually, one that isn’t all glitter and gold. This is true of young Lenny who lives in a few worlds; Jewish, Christian, black and white, rich and poor. These chapters I really got into, particularly the ebb and flow of Lenny’s prose, musical, even when he is writing a story.
Then Lenny’s family gets one hell of a stroke of luck, and it’s all comfort, celebrities, opportunities, women and exploration of faith. This is where I lost a bit of interest. It’s awesome to listen to tales of celebrity parties and introductions. Still, after a while, the sense of entitlement and privilege overtook the aura of the previous chapters which were filled with culture, diversity, music and faith.
There is some humble bragging, which is displayed on the book jacket about turning down music deal after music deal until ‘it felt right’. No penniless musician striving for a dream, living in a squat and signing a shonky contract. Not Lenny. Lenny crashed on celebrity couches and turned down record deals from major players because he had the cushion of his family, wealth and connections. He was friends with the Gordy’s for goodness sake. Even if you are jumping trains and scraping by, there’s always that phone call for the lucky people to literally ‘get out of jail’.
Let Love Rule also wraps up pretty quickly at the meeting and marriage of another style icon, Lisa Bonet. I found this an odd juncture to stop. Will there be a part two? If so, what will it have to say?
I will forever love Lenny’s music, style and uniqueness. However, I read the last page feeling like I read an autobiography that didn’t have any real struggle, scandal or strong story arc. A thread which makes you resonate with the writer and think ‘hey, they’re just like me!’ Instead, I was left thinking ‘Wow, what a lucky life.’
If you’re looking for a true grit rock autobiography, I wouldn’t pick up this one. However, If you are a fan of Lenny Kravitz and want to hear what it was like to grow up with connections, celebrity friends, cool parties and a journey to discover inner voice and spirituality, Let Love Rule is a book you should be reading. Preferably while sipping cocktails in the summer sun with Lenny on your Spotify playlist.