Before They Were Beatles - Review
By Robert Rouse
September 29, 2005
I just finished reading Alan J. Porter's incredible little book about the teen years of four young men who would one day take the world by storm. "Before They Were Beatles" goes where most books on the Beatles rarely go. We get an intimate look into the teen years of John, Paul, George, and yes, even Ringo as they grow up in 1950s era Liverpool.
While some of the information has been in print before, primarily Hunter Davies, who was the Beatles' official biographer. The major difference is, this time we get to hear it right from the mouths of the people who grew up with the Fab Four, especially, Rod Davis.
Without going into details, I can say the book moves along at a different pace from other Beatle books. Porter has done a wonderful job of putting the reader right into the thick of the Liverpudlian atmosphere. At times you can almost feel the breath of John Lennon on your neck as he reads over your shoulder.
It took me some time before I was able to actually sit down and read the book. I had planned on taking it with me on my recent trip to Washington, but it ended up staying at home on my desk instead of in my backpack. However, once I started reading, I found I was unable to stop, except for brief periods to take care of the kids, eat dinner or . . . well, life's other little callings, but, I came right back to this slice of life.
I also have to give Porter credit for trying his best to make sure the book moved along in chronological order and the way he ended the book with a where are they now section. While all of us know about the Fab Four, most might not know about people like Colin, Len and Eric.