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Author Topic: Which Beatle book are you reading right now?  (Read 44490 times)

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Buttmunker

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Re: Which Beatle book are you reading right now?
« Reply #140 on: October 15, 2007, 07:23:48 PM »

Quote from: 696
I so want to get cynthia's Book 'John'. I was about to get his sister Julia's book but changed my mind.

I would say to you don't waste your money, but you probably already bought it.  I stopped reading it after being half-way through - the book offered up no "secrets" or revelations into John Lennon's personal life at all, really.  She talked about what the Beatles did, which you can find out everywhere else.  Pah.

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Chris

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Re: Which Beatle book are you reading right now?
« Reply #141 on: October 18, 2007, 08:54:40 PM »

Hi there. I'm new.

The Sinatra connection is merely Gould's theory, and while anyone's interpretation is "valid" (the ear cares about the actual music a lot more than the lyrics anyway), this brings to mind the problem I tend to have with any lone person's "definitive" version of the Beatles' musical story: The new slants are presented as facts, case closed, no argument allowed, whereas they're just good guesses. Gould doesn't seem to realize that "bird" is slang for "girl" in the UK, and he ignores certain words that certainly sound directed to a woman rather than an overrated lounge singer ("Look in my direction/I'll be around").

Here's a long-winded review. I agree that Can't Buy Me Love is, for the most part, outstanding, but it's marred by the usual useless bits of criticism, and Gould places too much importance on the lyrics, ignoring a lot of the melodies, harmonic climates, arrangements, etc. that made the Beatles music appealing. He thinks "Cry Baby Cry" sucks just because of the lyrics, for instance, and doesn't even address its catchy chord progression.

Still, this six-hundred-page surprise is exceptionally insightful and well written. It even startles you with brilliant bits of humor when you're least expecting them. In spite of getting a few lyrics wrong (doesn't he have the songs handy?), he's written a book about the Beatles and their impact for (gasp) intelligent adults who appreciate the watertight application of a wide vocabulary.

Regrettably, as with too many books that center on the work of musical artists, it's tarnished by negative criticism of many songs -- even entire album-sides, written off with incongruent flippancy. Nobody would suggest that every piece of music the group recorded is fantastic, but this berating adds nothing, merely warding off the reader a bit and detracting from the astute bulk of the book.

Why does everyone who writes a Beatles volume feel that he must intermittently assume the musically cynical, aloof and utterly useless role of "music critic"? It's not as if it changes people's tastes, or the way the music sounds coming out of the speakers.

The irrelevant disapproval periodically pulls the book down from its otherwise enlightening and highly erudite bearing into the realm of isolated and quite useless subjectivity. And the charm of the early recordings is, for some reason, utterly lost on the author. We honestly don't care which songs you don't like, Mr. Gould; the title and presented notion of your book, not to mention the majority of its prose (thankfully), don't indicate snide personal opinions, isolated from the substance; rather, a historical and sociological context-painting of the Beatles' music. You do this remarkably well, so you don't need to resort to imitating the hack writers of Rolling Stone and other immensely overrated periodicals.

Speaking of the misquoted lyrics, why not get pedantic about a few other bits while I'm at it, on behalf of like-minded fanatics: In "Paperback Writer," the background vocals are "frere jacques," not "paperbacker" sung merely "to the tune" of that French song. And Paul sings the first line of the "Lucy" chorus, not John - listen carefully. The collage of cut-up tapes in "Mr. Kite" is not heard after John introduces Henry the Horse, but rather at the end of the song, after he sings "topping the bill." Apart from the song citations, the normal slang is "old stamping ground," in keeping with the horse metaphor, not "stomping" (in spite of erroneous popular usage). And a "meteoric rise" doesn't exist, since meteors fall, not rise. Finally, LSD is not an acronym -- just initials. An acronym is a set of initials that actually spell out a word.

Anyway, the author's immaterial tracts of criticism aside, the book is superb, and this is coming from an extremely picky reader/writer whose favorite Beatles books include their own Anthology, Recording the Beatles, the Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, An Oral History and the incredibly good Many Years From Now (the best non-technical books tend to consist mainly of interview sections, rather than merely the author's removed take - for obvious reasons).

If the occasional inaccuracy doesn't annoy the reader too much, this book pleasantly separates itself from the ever-growing stack of "I wasn't there" accounts with a writing style that gloriously refuses to dumb itself down, insight worth its weight in syllables (for once), and a rare capacity for making dyed-in-the-skull music sound fresh. It's unquestionably worth reading - more than once, in fact, given the sheer amount of gossip-free historical and musical perception - to anyone who likes the Beatles' music and is interested in the environmental circumstances under which such revolutionary work buds, blossoms and thrives.

(Damn, I have some nerve.....sharing my Amazon review as my first post! What a dork, huh.)
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Bobber

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Re: Which Beatle book are you reading right now?
« Reply #142 on: October 18, 2007, 08:58:39 PM »

Welcome to DM's Chris. Funny enough, a certain 'jongould' signed in a couple of days ago.
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Chris

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Re: Which Beatle book are you reading right now?
« Reply #143 on: October 18, 2007, 09:26:30 PM »

Thanks. Well, if it's really him (is this a particularly popular forum? I signed up because it was the only one I could find that had that whole, y'know, "literacy" thing going on), I certainly hope he's more graceful about what he surely must have anticipated would be overly picky reading than Spitz was to the Beatles Magazine bird. As it were.
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Bobber

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Re: Which Beatle book are you reading right now?
« Reply #144 on: October 19, 2007, 08:21:22 AM »

It is him. I've sent him an e-mail and he confirmed. He admitted he's a bit tired talking about the book over and over again, but is willing to answer questions! Oh, and he said he would like to thank Harihead for her kind review.
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BlueMeanie

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Re: Which Beatle book are you reading right now?
« Reply #145 on: October 19, 2007, 08:49:51 AM »

Quote from: 911
Speaking of the misquoted lyrics, why not get pedantic about a few other bits while I'm at it, on behalf of like-minded fanatics: In "Paperback Writer," the background vocals are "frere jacques," not "paperbacker" sung merely "to the tune" of that French song. And Paul sings the first line of the "Lucy" chorus, not John - listen carefully. The collage of cut-up tapes in "Mr. Kite" is not heard after John introduces Henry the Horse, but rather at the end of the song, after he sings "topping the bill." Apart from the song citations, the normal slang is "old stamping ground," in keeping with the horse metaphor, not "stomping" (in spite of erroneous popular usage). And a "meteoric rise" doesn't exist, since meteors fall, not rise. Finally, LSD is not an acronym -- just initials. An acronym is a set of initials that actually spell out a word.

I love this bit. I can be a picky little sod!! ;D

Welcome to the forum Chris.
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Re: Which Beatle book are you reading right now?
« Reply #146 on: October 19, 2007, 03:24:59 PM »

Quote from: 911

. Gould doesn't seem to realize that "bird" is slang for "girl" in the UK, and he ignores certain words that certainly sound directed to a woman rather than an overrated lounge singer ("Look in my direction/I'll be around").

  

You seem to ignore the existence of lyrical ambiguity, in the sense that artists are not averse to using double entendre or even dual-connotation in their symbolism..hence, Hari's point that Lennon's "bird" use might refer equally to a Sinatra "swipe" AND the English colloquial term for "girl"...why limit an artist of John's stature to only one meaning? Both are equally valid and can comfortably "cohabit" a song verse.

btw welcome, Chris.

were all Beatle pedantics here:)

picky sod #2,
MMM
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Chris

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Re: Which Beatle book are you reading right now?
« Reply #147 on: October 19, 2007, 08:30:09 PM »

Quote from: 829
You seem to ignore the existence of lyrical ambiguity, in the sense that artists are not averse to using double entendre or even dual-connotation in their symbolism..hence, Hari's point that Lennon's "bird" use might refer equally to a Sinatra "swipe" AND the English colloquial term for "girl"...why limit and artist of John's stature to only one meaning? Both are equally valid and can comfortably "cohabit" a song verse.
Excellent point. In fact, I suppose that where Lennon's concerned, ambiguity's the norm, rather than the exception.

Solid. This is my kind of forum.

Thanks for the comments, BM.......O-bloooooooooooo-ter-ate them!
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Re: Which Beatle book are you reading right now?
« Reply #148 on: October 19, 2007, 09:33:24 PM »

Quote from: 911

Solid. This is my kind of forum.



yes..@ dmbeatles, the Fab are respected, dissected,inspected,never negleted or corrected, collated,annotated, never repudiated...but MOST OF ALL, loved and listened to..

-mmm

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Andy Smith

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Re: Which Beatle book are you reading right now?
« Reply #149 on: October 19, 2007, 10:11:19 PM »

Welcome to the forums Chris!
lots of Beatles people on the horizan! :D :)
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Chris

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Re: Which Beatle book are you reading right now?
« Reply #150 on: October 20, 2007, 01:14:17 AM »

Thanks!
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An Apple Beatle

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Re: Which Beatle book are you reading right now?
« Reply #151 on: October 20, 2007, 02:22:50 AM »

What a great thread! Nice one Chris....The Beatles were a band at the end of the day and humoured themselves as such I feel. 'In' jokes betwen bands is a very important part of writing for a group that cuts the mustard. The Beatles have always inspired me that way. Lyrics should be ambigious in the sense that more people draw their own meanings. All a band can really achieve in a bigger sense is to reach peoples conscience.....I love The Beatles. What a balance they had.
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An Apple Beatle

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Re: Which Beatle book are you reading right now?
« Reply #152 on: October 20, 2007, 02:26:24 AM »

Quote from: 829

yes..@ dmbeatles, the Fab are respected, dissected,inspected,never negleted or corrected, collated,annotated, never repudiated...but MOST OF ALL, loved and listened to..

-mmm


nice wordplay..Very right-eous. ;) ....As in good righteous. :)
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Re: Which Beatle book are you reading right now?
« Reply #153 on: October 21, 2007, 09:25:43 PM »

Quote from: 15

nice wordplay..Very right-eous. ;) ....As in good righteous. :)


thx..see what happens when I take a break from The Fab and listen to too much Dylan ?? ;D
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dcowboys107

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Re: Which Beatle book are you reading right now?
« Reply #154 on: October 22, 2007, 03:11:02 AM »

Geoff Emerick's Here There And Everywhere, an awesome book highly recommended.
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Ligger

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Re: Which Beatle book are you reading right now?
« Reply #155 on: March 19, 2008, 03:28:33 PM »

I just came across a newish book about John, "Shoulda Been There," by Jude Kessler. It is historical fiction and supposedly based on twenty years of research.

Here is a link to an excerpt about John and Cyn in 1958:

http://www.ontherockbooks.com/Shoulda/excerpts.html

The writer really breathes some fresh life into a by now familiar story. I also have to give her credit for getting Cynthia's perceived rival, Helen Anderson's personality spot on.

I once spent an afternoon at Ms. Anderson's home in suburban Liverpool, talking about her college days with John and Cynthia, for a project that I was working on. She was so gracious and charming. The lady put me at ease and showed me some warm Liverpool hospitality.

I look forward to reading Ms. Kessler's book. The cover photo was taken by Astrid.

Has anyone read it yet?
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Re: Which Beatle book are you reading right now?
« Reply #156 on: May 06, 2008, 07:46:22 AM »

Hi, Jude Kessler here! Thanks for the kind words, Ligger. I know the book release date is a bit confusing. It was copyrighted as a manuscript in 1994, but the book was actually only released the day before Thanksgiving in November (2007). It's been out for about 4 and a half months now.

I started the book in 1986 and did secondary research by building a 300 plus volume Beatle library in my home. But 1993, I knew I HAD to go to Liverpool if I wanted to do the book justice. I spent the next 7 years traveling back and forth to Liverpool to interview Bob Wooler, Allan Williams, June Furlong, Rod Murray, Colin Fallows, Joe Flannery, and on and on...And then spent years actually writing and rewriting the work.

It's unique...it reads like a novel, but each chapter is footnoted and has end notes which discuss the discrepancies in the non-fiction biographer's accounts of that particular event. It even has a Scouse glossary and an encyclopedia of the real characters in the book with bios of each.

There's a review of it on beatlelinks.net and one on daytrippin.com if y'wanna check it out.

And on my site, ontherockbooks.com, you can read a sample chapter, too.

I'd be glad to answer any questions about the book for anyone. I'll check back in tomorrow night to see if anyone has replied.

Thanks again for the kind words...I really appreciate it!


I'll also be glad to give any member of this site free shipping in addition to the $5 off sale on the book right now. Just e-mail me at kesslerjude@yahoo.com and tell me you are a member of this forum.

Talk to you soon!
Cheers!
Jude
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An Apple Beatle

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Re: Which Beatle book are you reading right now?
« Reply #157 on: May 06, 2008, 09:10:22 AM »

Hey welcome Jude...Always a pleasure to be in good company...I am now more intrigued about your book, do stick around. :)
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Re: Which Beatle book are you reading right now?
« Reply #158 on: May 06, 2008, 10:10:55 PM »

Thanks! Glad to be here...I'll check in tonight to see if anyone has a question I can answer. Thanks for the welcome!
Jude
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Bobber

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Re: Which Beatle book are you reading right now?
« Reply #159 on: May 07, 2008, 07:23:51 AM »

Any chance of shipping to Europe, Jude? And how's the new project going?
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