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Author Topic: Beatle books - Top Five  (Read 4952 times)

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zipp

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Re: Beatle books - Top Five
« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2015, 03:35:59 PM »

When they conquered Britain, their fans were a bit younger than them, and when Beatlemania erupted as a worldwide epidemic, most fans were 13 or 14 years old.

I think this is where we disagree. When they conquered Britain in 1963 all teenagers were fans, plus they conquered a lot of older people with their bright personalities.Maybe in the States the audiences were younger, I don't know.

I think I bought the Beatles' London book on amazon.It's published by Portico. Of course it's also interesting even if you can't go to London since there are photos of how things have changed. My copy is even signed by the authors (Lewisohn, Schreuders and Smith).I can't remember why. I've certainly never met them.

I've got Ken Scott's book but will have to read it again. It's true that there was some tension between him and Emerick. I agree with what's been said about the Emerick book. It's good but not a hundred percent reliable or convincing.
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KEROUAC

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Re: Beatle books - Top Five
« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2015, 05:27:06 PM »

Also didn't Derek Taylor do a book which is hard to get hold of or did I imagine that?
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giveawaychord

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Re: Beatle books - Top Five
« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2015, 09:14:03 PM »

Derek Taylor's book is called As Time Goes By, a slim volume of about 150 pages, first published in 1973. I read it years ago and I must confess that I don't remember anything from it! Michael Braun's Love Me Do is a first hand account of the Beatles' rise to international fame. Braun, a journalist, was part of the Beatles' entourage during the first American tour. The book appeared in 1964. The sense of wonder at what was happening is palpable and borders on disbelief, and although Braun tries to be as discreet as possible, his account is more revealing than many later books. A quick read and a historical document!

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I think this is where we disagree. When they conquered Britain in 1963 all teenagers were fans, plus they conquered a lot of older people ...


Do we really disagree? When they conquered Britain, the Beatles were no longer teenagers, but their fans were. They won over older people as well, true, but that was at least partly due to their specific Britishness and does not necessarily apply elsewhere. In other parts of the world they became weapons in the hands of teenagers fighting their conservative parents. Remember all those discussions over 'the generation gap', about youth going to the dogs, of psychologists' warnings etcetera. It's even in the films: the gentleman with the bowler hat on the train (in A Hard Day's Night) who 'fought the war for the likes of you', on the one hand, and the middle-aged housewives in Help, on the other, who like them and wonder if it's proper to wave at them.

In Paris, the Beatles wonder why there was a majority of 14- or 15-year old boys in their audience. And look at the vast majority of teens in the Shea Stadium audience. But maybe you're right and any watershed that separates age groups among the Beatles' fans is more or less artificial.

Here's a link to one source about the controversy Emerick/Scott that Moogmodule and Zipp mentioned:
http://www.macca-central.com/news/2100/
« Last Edit: November 20, 2015, 09:18:31 PM by giveawaychord »
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Fab4Fan

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Re: Beatle books - Top Five
« Reply #23 on: November 21, 2015, 04:14:15 AM »

Also didn't Derek Taylor do a book which is hard to get hold of or did I imagine that?

Are you referring to "Fifty Years Adrift"? It was a limited edition of 2000 copies published by Genesis and signed by both Derek and George Harrison.

Here are some photos of my copy:

 
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zipp

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Re: Beatle books - Top Five
« Reply #24 on: November 21, 2015, 09:38:37 AM »

Do we really disagree? When they conquered Britain, the Beatles were no longer teenagers, but their fans were. They won over older people as well, true, but that was at least partly due to their specific Britishness and does not necessarily apply elsewhere. In other parts of the world they became weapons in the hands of teenagers fighting their conservative parents. Remember all those discussions over 'the generation gap', about youth going to the dogs, of psychologists' warnings etcetera. It's even in the films: the gentleman with the bowler hat on the train (in A Hard Day's Night) who 'fought the war for the likes of you', on the one hand, and the middle-aged housewives in Help, on the other, who like them and wonder if it's proper to wave at them.
In Paris, the Beatles wonder why there was a majority of 14- or 15-year old boys in their audience. And look at the vast majority of teens in the Shea Stadium audience. But maybe you're right and any watershed that separates age groups among the Beatles' fans is more or less artificial.

I don't think it's a question of Britishness. The main thing was their sense of humour which worked throughout the world. For example when they arrived in America the first people they conquered were the middle-aged journalists at the airport, not with their music but with their humour.

As for Paris the Beatles were surprised that the audience was mainly male and somewhat effeminate. I don't think they said they were particularly young and I doubt they were.

I also have Derek Taylor's "As Times Go By". Not particularly interesting except for showing it could be difficult to work with Epstein and there's one nice passage about going to a pub with Paul in a small village where he played Hey Jude for the locals before it had even been relesaed.
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Mr Mustard

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Re: Beatle books - Top Five
« Reply #25 on: November 22, 2015, 02:34:19 AM »

The Beatles: An Illustrated Record by Roy Carr & Tony Tyler (1975) Gorgeously illustrated coffee-table chronology of Beatle lore and record releases and my personal Beatles Bible in the 70s, when their shadow still loomed over all contemporary pop and speculation was rife that they might be about to re-form at any moment.

The Man Who Gave The Beatles Away by Allan Williams (1975) Gripping, no-holds-barred account of the seedy, sweaty slog towards fame as our heroes prowl the burgeoning Liverpool club scene and cut their teeth in Hamburg. Relayed in memorably warts and all style by their original manager who pulls no punches in delivering a fascinating firsthand account.

The Beatles Forever by Nicholas Schaffner (1977) Engagingly written and rather sumptuously illustrated softback which picks up the legend from 1964 and guides us through their global odyssey with emphasis on their cultural impact from an intriguingly American perspective. A treasure trove of memorabilia is explored in pictures and the solo careers and performances examined in some detail.

A Hard Day's Night In America by A.J.S. Rayl (1989) The first book my then girlfriend (now wife) ever bought me. A detailed diary of their first US Tour, it covers key dates and events but is far from a dry itinerary; instead it documents in words and scores of previously unpublished pictures the breathless momentum of their whirligig Stateside adventure and the celebrities, fans, police chiefs and reporters they encountered along the way.

You Never Give Me Your Money by Peter Doggett (2009) Absorbing page turner which chronicles in Machiavellian detail the "almost Shakespearian" power struggle behind their legacy, with each ex-Beatle's helpless inability to escape the voracious gravity of Fabdom brought under the microscope. It corkscrews through a labyrinth of lawsuits, rifts and rapprochements and ruthlessly highlights the blessing/curse of four lives trapped aboard an unstoppable juggernaut of their own making.

"What?? No Lewisohn???" I hear you cry: well, "Tune In" is on my Christmas list, so after 26 years I've dropped a strong enough hint that it's time the missus once again included a Beatle Book in my Yuletide stocking!

Just a note on a couple which disappointed me by the way: "Shout!: The True Story Of The Beatles" by Philip Norman (1981) was too blatantly anti-McCartney to gain my favour and is for me arguably the most overrated Beatles book ever.

My eager anticipation for "John, Paul, George, Ringo & Me", Tony Barrow's 2005 insider account was a huge damp squib and astonishingly managed to make the early flush of fame and those witty press conferences seem - dare I say it - boring.

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Normandie

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Re: Beatle books - Top Five
« Reply #26 on: November 22, 2015, 03:03:41 PM »

Just a note on a couple which disappointed me by the way: "Shout!: The True Story Of The Beatles" by Philip Norman (1981) was too blatantly anti-McCartney to gain my favour and is for me arguably the most overrated Beatles book ever.

Completely agree. Norman's book on John (John Lennon: A Life) also was blatantly Paul. On the other hand, Geoff Emerick clearly didn't care too much for George, but he didn't seem as mean-spirited about it as Philip Norman does about Paul.

There are so many good suggestions in this thread. I'm heading to the bookstore later to buy a gift for a friend and am going to be hard put to not pull up this URL on my phone and start digging around in the music section.
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Normandie

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Re: Beatle books - Top Five
« Reply #27 on: November 22, 2015, 07:28:27 PM »


To clarify....I feel Geoff Emerick had a bit more leeway in regard to expressing his personal opinions given that his book is really a memoir. I get more annoyed with Philip Norman because his books seem to be more reference-style biographies, which IMO should be kept neutral.
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giveawaychord

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Re: Beatle books - Top Five
« Reply #28 on: November 23, 2015, 03:01:13 AM »

Mr. Mustard, are you a professional reviewer? 'All you need to know about this fall's books -- in five lines each!'

The Illustrated Record was one of my first treasured Beatle books as well. I wouldn't recommend it today, though, because the authors simply didn't have the information that has become available since and make mistakes: 'Only Paul could get away with "Goodnight" ...' I don't know if there's a revised or updated version. There was a second one after the one I've got, and in it they revised some of their judgements (they hadn't liked Walls and Bridges, for example, and now found it had grown on them).

Allan Williams is fun, really great. The only thing is that you can't believe everything he said. So much booze during those years that you can be pardoned for forgetting things and asking a journalist instead to make up convincing and entertaining dialogues for you.

Unfortunately, that's the problem with many collaborations. (See Geoff Emerick!) But not only with collaborations, as we know. People who make up dialogues, or tell us how John or Ringo felt at a given point, or what the expression on Epstein's face was when he talked business with Dick James one day, are not trustworthy. Albert Goldman. Bob Spitz. And probably dozens of others.

Doggett's You Never Give Me Your Money is on my list, but I've heard that it is painful to read and you have to be a very devoted fan to finish it!
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giveawaychord

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Re: Beatle books - Top Five
« Reply #29 on: November 23, 2015, 03:09:28 AM »

Oh, I forgot to ask ...

Are you referring to "Fifty Years Adrift"? It was a limited edition of 2000 copies published by Genesis and signed by both Derek and George Harrison.

I think I've never even heard of that book. What's in it? Wasn't Geneasis where George's I Me Mine originally appeared? 
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In My Life

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Re: Beatle books - Top Five
« Reply #30 on: November 23, 2015, 04:49:29 PM »

To clarify....I feel Geoff Emerick had a bit more leeway in regard to expressing his personal opinions given that his book is really a memoir. I get more annoyed with Philip Norman because his books seem to be more reference-style biographies, which IMO should be kept neutral.

I agree Kathy. That's why I strongly disliked Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney by Howard Sounes. It seemed more like a way to discredit Paul than anything else.
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Kelley

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KEROUAC

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Re: Beatle books - Top Five
« Reply #31 on: November 24, 2015, 12:16:33 PM »

Doggett's You Never Give Me Your Money is on my list, but I've heard that it is painful to read and you have to be a very devoted fan to finish it!

I didn't find it a difficult read at all and there's a great attention to detail which I love.
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zipp

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Re: Beatle books - Top Five
« Reply #32 on: November 24, 2015, 11:11:40 PM »

The Beatles: An Illustrated Record by Roy Carr & Tony Tyler (1975)
The Man Who Gave The Beatles Away by Allan Williams (1975)
The Beatles Forever by Nicholas Schaffner (1977)
A Hard Day's Night In America by A.J.S. Rayl (1989)
You Never Give Me Your Money by Peter Doggett (2009) .

I still think The Illustrated Record is a good book. It may have a few mistakes but it's very clear and the comments on the records are usually sound. It's also nearer to the actual events than most books. So, for example, it tells us the truth (now considered heresy) that Please Please Me was number one in the UK.

The Allen Williams book is great and very believable. Their search for a drummer fits in with what Lewisohn has since told us.

I'll certainly look out for the other three books which I haven't read.
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giveawaychord

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Re: Beatle books - Top Five
« Reply #33 on: November 25, 2015, 04:12:10 AM »

I didn't find it a difficult read at all and there's a great attention to detail which I love.
Sorry for causing confusion. When I said 'painful to read' I didn't mean 'difficult'. From all I've heard about the book I conclude that some of the information given may shatter long-held beliefs. No hero escapes scrutiny unscathed, and some people may find that hard to swallow.

re Allan Williams:
Quote
Their search for a drummer fits in with what Lewisohn has since told us.
Another misunderstanding. I didn't say that the book was wrong in everything it says, I said that it is unreliable as a whole. I think there are various posts on this forum where Bill Harry flatly dismisses some of Allan Williams's 'facts' as fantasy. The book is such a lively account that you can enjoy it whether all the details are correct or not.  If you're interested in the facts alone, it will be a better idea to turn to Lewisohn.

I've been reading several Beatles books this year (Revolver by Robert Rodriguez, While My Guitar Gently Weeps by Simon Leng ...) but none of them would make it into my top five in either the 'enjoy' or the 'consult' categories. I recommend the Revolver-book anyway. It's sort of a book-length 'Microscopes' for one album with lots of background and argues quite convincingly for Revolver as the peak of what the Beatles did.

« Last Edit: November 25, 2015, 04:13:58 AM by giveawaychord »
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zipp

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Re: Beatle books - Top Five
« Reply #34 on: November 25, 2015, 10:49:18 AM »

re Allan Williams: Another misunderstanding. I didn't say that the book was wrong in everything it says, I said that it is unreliable as a whole. I think there are various posts on this forum where Bill Harry flatly dismisses some of Allan Williams's 'facts' as fantasy. The book is such a lively account that you can enjoy it whether all the details are correct or not.  If you're interested in the facts alone, it will be a better idea to turn to Lewisohn.

I didn't intend to criticise your opinion at all, since I'm sure you're right... but I think nevertheless that maybe Allen's book would make my top five! Lots of things about it ring true.

Another two books for consideration : Eric Kraskers' "Fact and Ficion 1960-1962" is a very serious study of some questions concerning the early years. Peter Brown's "The Love You Make" reveals some stuff I don't remember reading elsewhere, especially the Ringo George Maureen love triangle.It's been criticised as kiss-and-tell but nobody has said it didn't happen.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2015, 11:19:19 PM by zipp »
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KEROUAC

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Re: Beatle books - Top Five
« Reply #35 on: November 25, 2015, 11:21:00 AM »

Thanks for the headsup regarding Revolver by Robert Rodriguez which I wasn't aware of and it's my favourite album. At first I though you were referring to another book which I've seen available for free online Abracadabra by Ray Newman. http://www.revolverbook.co.uk/
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Brynjar

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Re: Beatle books - Top Five
« Reply #36 on: November 28, 2015, 10:14:50 PM »

Twenty-five of the best Beatles books for giving or getting

http://www.examiner.com/list/twenty-five-of-the-best-beatles-books-for-giving-or-getting
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Bingo Bongo

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Re: Beatle books - Top Five
« Reply #37 on: November 29, 2015, 12:01:19 AM »

Without a doubt, the 2 best Beatles books to get are:

1) Andy Babiuk’s Beatles Gear.  Great pics of every instrument the Beatles played. Followed closely by
2) Mark Lewisohn’s The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions.

The best part is, reading them in unison so that you learn what they played on what songs at what date.

CLASSIC!  icon_king
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In My Life

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Re: Beatle books - Top Five
« Reply #38 on: November 29, 2015, 02:59:40 AM »

Without a doubt, the 2 best Beatles books to get are:

1) Andy Babiuk’s Beatles Gear.  Great pics of every instrument the Beatles played.


I had the privilege of hearing Andy speak in February of 2014. As a someone who doesn't play guitar or know a lot about them I wondered if the talk would go over my head but that really wasn't the case. He put it all in context with the Beatles' history as I know it. I was actually quite surprised when I heard he was coming to this area but then I learned that he's from Rochester, NY which isn't too far away.
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Kelley

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Re: Beatle books - Top Five
« Reply #39 on: December 02, 2015, 01:20:33 PM »

Twenty-five of the best Beatles books for giving or getting

http://www.examiner.com/list/twenty-five-of-the-best-beatles-books-for-giving-or-getting


That's a good list and a few I hadn't heard of. Thanks
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