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Author Topic: Best Beatles Biography?  (Read 2687 times)

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Best Beatles Biography?
« on: April 15, 2008, 06:20:43 PM »

Hi all!

I'm very interested in reading a biography of the Beatles this summer, and I was wondering if you could give me any tips as to which is the best. I'm fascinated by both the Beatles and the history of popular music in general, and I'd like to read one which tells the reader more than just what's on the surface, while at the same time not being a "Shocking view into the private lives of the Beatles!!!" I do love behind-the-scenes information, though. I'd love to make an informed purchase, rather than just head to my local Chapters and pick out whichever one looks the best on the shelf. Length isn't a worry --- long is good!

Thanks so much! Any help at all would be greatly appreciated.
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harihead

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Re: Best Beatles Biography?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2008, 07:27:51 PM »

Hello, L4 Ferguson! Welcome to the forums!

My highest recommendation goes to Jonathan Gould's Can't Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain, and America. Jonathan blends history, music, and the Beatles' story together equally. I've read every bio I can get my hands on, and I like this the best. Jonathan has absorbed the material and doesn't have a particular ax to grind, which cannot be said about most other biogs. I rave about the book here:

http://www.dmbeatles.com/forums/m-1169261662/s-120/ (reply 155).

You might want to poke around this forum to find other people's recommendations. See "Books, Magazines, Articles" here: http://www.dmbeatles.com/forums/b-books/

Beyond Jonathan's book, I highly recommend Hunter Davies' Beatles biography. Get the newest edition (he's updated it twice, I believe). He was the only biographer to compose his book while the Beatles were together and with direct access to the Beatles. Yes, it's an "approved" version, but it captures the Beatles at work and play in their time, so I consider it a vital historical piece.
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Mr. Mustard

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Re: Best Beatles Biography?
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2008, 03:48:05 AM »

The first Beatles tell-all that I read was The Love You Make, by Peter Brown, when I was 13.  This lurid bio had me mezmerized (the book opens with Cynthia catching a drug-addled John with Yoko in 1968 ), but the consensus amongst fans and the band themselves was that this was gossipy, scandal-ridden and trashy.  While I don't disagree with that, let's face it, the Beatles did a ton of drugging and whoring during their day, so who's to say it should have been suppressed?

The big coffee-table book The Beatles Anthology (a companion piece to the DVD series) is probably the best book: it's got a massive number of great photos, and the entire story is told by the Beatles and the inner circle.  It could be said that because the Beatles told their own story, it's a sanitized version; but I don't get that impression from reading it.  They all tend to be pretty honest.  The main drawback is the size of the book -- you can't exactly whip it out and read it on the bus.

The recent book The Beatles (the author's name is Spitz, I believe) looks pretty great, too, from the excerpts I've read.
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Beatlemania31

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Re: Best Beatles Biography?
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2008, 09:45:39 PM »

No doubt it's DEFINITELY Here, There, and Everywhere, My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles by Geoff Emerik. its the BEST!!! It taught me so much about the Beatles, and it was fast paced, and extremely informative.
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Bobber

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Re: Best Beatles Biography?
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2008, 12:26:37 PM »

Quote from: 1333
The recent book The Beatles (the author's name is Spitz, I believe) looks pretty great, too, from the excerpts I've read.

No!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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BlueMeanie

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Re: Best Beatles Biography?
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2008, 08:23:04 PM »

Quote from: 1333
The recent book The Beatles (the author's name is Spitz, I believe) looks pretty great, too, from the excerpts I've read.

Yikes!!!! Take a dive, now!!
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aspinall_lover

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Re: Best Beatles Biography?
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2008, 08:49:23 PM »

Quote from: 1333
The first Beatles tell-all that I read was The Love You Make, by Peter Brown, when I was 13.  This lurid bio had me mezmerized (the book opens with Cynthia catching a drug-addled John with Yoko in 1968 ), but the consensus amongst fans and the band themselves was that this was gossipy, scandal-ridden and trashy.  While I don't disagree with that, let's face it, the Beatles did a ton of drugging and whoring during their day, so who's to say it should have been suppressed?

The big coffee-table book The Beatles Anthology (a companion piece to the DVD series) is probably the best book: it's got a massive number of great photos, and the entire story is told by the Beatles and the inner circle.  It could be said that because the Beatles told their own story, it's a sanitized version; but I don't get that impression from reading it.  They all tend to be pretty honest.  The main drawback is the size of the book -- you can't exactly whip it out and read it on the bus.

The recent book The Beatles (the author's name is Spitz, I believe) looks pretty great, too, from the excerpts I've read.
^^^^^^^All three of these I have in my collection and I think they all are very good.  I loved the Peter Brown, "The Love You Make" one.  Yes, trashy, but who in rock music WASN'T "trashy"????  No saints, more sinners.............the "Anthology" is excellent for the photos alone...........and the book by Spitz, is good, but a long, hard read.  
Now..............I loved the two books by Larry Kane.........."Ticket to Ride" and "Lennon Revealed".  From Larry's point of observation, these books are highly entertaining.  Recommended reading from me.........

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Mr. Mustard

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Re: Best Beatles Biography?
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2008, 09:11:18 PM »

Quote from: 483

Yikes!!!! Take a dive, now!!

So what's wrong with it?  Keep in mind, I've read snippets of it, not the whole thing.
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aspinall_lover

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Re: Best Beatles Biography?
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2008, 09:13:32 PM »

It's a LONG, LONG read............at almost 1000 pages, and good, but not THAT good.  I've read better................
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BlueMeanie

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Re: Best Beatles Biography?
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2008, 09:37:59 PM »

Quote from: 1333

So what's wrong with it?  Keep in mind, I've read snippets of it, not the whole thing.

Riddled with errors and inconsistencies. Avoid.
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aspinall_lover

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Re: Best Beatles Biography?
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2008, 09:48:33 PM »

Quote from: 483

Riddled with errors and inconsistencies. Avoid.
^^^^^^^You're right BlueMeanie.  It does have alot of errors in it, now that I think about it.  I guess that's why it took me soooooooooooo long to read.

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Geoff

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Re: Best Beatles Biography?
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2008, 12:56:10 AM »

It's strange, but there really isn't a reliable Beatles biography (that I know of, anyway), and I'm waiting for Mark Lewisohn's new books on the subject to come out. Hunter Davies' The Beatles is a good piece of journalism written while the band was still active and has a valuable account of The Beatles' songwriting practices at the time of Sgt. Pepper. John complained that the book was a whitewash, and he's right, up to a point, but it's still worth reading anyway. Philip Norman's Shout! is pretty good, but it has errors in it that have gone uncorrected after several editions, and Norman's anti McCartney bias feels like a relic of the critical assumptions of the seventies rock press.
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aspinall_lover

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Re: Best Beatles Biography?
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2008, 01:29:13 AM »

Oh..........but come on Geoff!!!!  You KNOW all us female fans want to hear the "dirt, gore and DIRTY" on the world's most famous, iconic rock band.  Give us a break!!!!
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Geoff

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Re: Best Beatles Biography?
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2008, 01:40:36 AM »

Quote from: 1255
Oh..........but come on Geoff!!!!  You KNOW all us female fans want to hear the "dirt, gore and DIRTY" on the world's most famous, iconic rock band.  Give us a break!!!!


 ;D

Then you want the Geraldo version; that is if he's still got a TV show:



Gerry himself, probably after another run in with his own Nielsen ratings.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nielsen_Ratings

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aspinall_lover

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Re: Best Beatles Biography?
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2008, 01:45:51 AM »

NOT!!!!  Too funny Geoff!!!  I want to hear/read what the "Boys" did on the road.  And I've read soooooooo many books on the Beatles, I can put my own story together............
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Andy Smith

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Re: Best Beatles Biography?
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2008, 02:09:36 PM »

Quote from: 1413
No doubt it's DEFINITELY Here, There, and Everywhere, My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles by Geoff Emerik. its the BEST!!! It taught me so much about the Beatles, and it was fast paced, and extremely informative.

It's a brilliant book, just finished reading it & its so easy going & you get carried away!
if you wanna know the recording side of the Beatles work then this is the book for you!
i recommend it highley!!!  :) :)
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aspinall_lover

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Re: Best Beatles Biography?
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2008, 05:45:42 PM »

I'll have to check that one out..............thanks guys!!!
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