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Old May 10, 2008, 07:16 PM   #41
John Cee
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I certainly can't claim to have read all the biographies, but I haven't found any one volume that I'm convinced gets the whole story right. I very much enjoyed Ray Coleman's "Lennon" (the updated 1994 one, which corrects a few mistakes in the original 1980's version); Mark Hertsgaard's "A Day in the Life" is an excellent analysis of the music itself; and I'm just now reading Bob Spitz' book -- I've spotted a few rather embarrassing mistakes in it, but overall, it's one of the better bio's I've read, and certainly much more accurate and balanced than Philip Norman's unjustly acclaimed "Shout". Unlike Norman, Spitz didn't seem predisposed to give every story a negative spin. And he actually interviewed his subjects! Imagine that! Peter Brown's "The Love You Make" is pretty slanted too, and way too gossipy for me to take seriously, although there are some interesting personal observations in it. Tony Barrow's "John, Paul, George, Ringo.. and Me" is fascinating for giving an eye-witness view of the Beatles and their personalities, although it contains a few highly suspect stories too (he backs up John's assertion that the Beatles jammed with Elvis during their epic "summit meeting" in 1965, even though the other three Beatles mocked the claim in the video version of "Anthology"). Barry Miles' "Many Years From Now" is a good McCartney's-eye view of the story. And of course any Mark Lewisohn book is a great Beatles resource. One book I want to read is Geoff Emerick's memoir, since I've always thought he and his fellow engineers (Norman Smith, Ken Scott, Chris Thomas, et al) are the unsung heroes of the Beatles story. But it's interesting to read how negative Ken Scott has been about Emerick's recollections, especially Geoff's opinions of George Harrison. (http://www.macca-central.com/macca-n...ws.php?id=2100)
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Old Jun 05, 2008, 03:30 PM   #42
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I just ordered some books from amazon uk:

1 of: The Beatles Anthology [Hardcover]

£26.58

1 of: All You Need Is Ears [Paperback]
By: George Martin (Author)
£18.39


1 of: Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me [Paperback]
By: Pattie Boyd (Author), Penny Junor (Author)

£7.38

And this one from https://www.historydirect.co.uk/1/:
BAIRD, JULIA IMAGINE THIS £4.79
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Old Jun 06, 2008, 12:25 AM   #43
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I don't think there is a definitive "story of the Beatles" book as there's too much action in such a condensed time, so authors are bound to miss sections out. I suppose it depends on how geeky you want to get and how deep you want to know the story. Obviously The Anthology is an amazing book, but I do think there are bits that have been cleaned up for public consumption....

For early Beatles I personally *love* "How They Became The Beatles" by Gareth L Powlowski. So many lovely rare photographs and an amazing questionnaire a fan wrote for Paul, and he answered ALL the questions no matter how naughty! I was shocked and stunned!

From a fan point of view (and one of my all time favourite books...actually when I die I want this buried with me I love it so much) is "Waiting For The Beatles - An Apple Scruff Story" by Carol Bedford. It reminds me that the Beatles were human and had their faults - which I needs reminding of every so often - but it also makes me pine for a time I wasn't even born.

This is going to be controversial and I don't mean it to be, but I tend to steer clear of books written by people who have been rejected by the Beatles at one stage or another. I just think the bitter memories always outweigh any interesting facts - so this includes Cynthia Lennon, Pattie Boyd, Francie Schwarz et al. I *have* read the books, but only on loan and I do believe it proves my point. NOT that I expect all books about the Beatles to be favourable, but I do expect the book to be first and foremost factual and then not to attack their respective former husband/employer/friend just for the sake of it.

One last book worthy of a mention just for the sheer hilarity of it. Allan Williams Is The Fool On The Hill. This is a MUST READ for anyone fascinated by what the old so and so got up to after his split with the Beatles!
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Old Jun 06, 2008, 12:27 AM   #44
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From a fan point of view (and one of my all time favourite books...actually when I die I want this buried with me I love it so much) is "Waiting For The Beatles - An Apple Scruff Story" by Carol Bedford.
Awwww! I'll be sure not to spill tea on it or anything then!!
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Old Jun 08, 2008, 09:30 AM   #45
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This is going to be controversial and I don't mean it to be, but I tend to steer clear of books written by people who have been rejected by the Beatles at one stage or another. I just think the bitter memories always outweigh any interesting facts - so this includes Cynthia Lennon, Pattie Boyd, Francie Schwarz et al. I *have* read the books, but only on loan and I do believe it proves my point.
I know what you mean, starstruck, about the bitterness in these books. However, I do tend to thumb through them, not because I believe they give me the "real" story of who and what the Beatles were, but at least it gives me another point of view to consider. Cynthia's latest book, for example, has some very interesting (and bitter) observations about John from Julian.... and I can't blame him for feeling the way he does. The "Apple Scruffs" book you mention by Carol Bedford is one I haven't found yet, but I've seen her quoted in a couple of books -- in Philip Norman's "SHOUT" with (naturally) some pretty bizarre stories about George, and in a rather poor book about George by Mark Shapiro ("BEHIND SAD EYES") with completely different stories. I'd be interested to see what she herself would say.

You have to read all of these books... in fact, all of the biographies... with a certain degree of scepticism. But they give you interesting insights.. and they usually have good photos... even a highly controversial book like Freddie Seaman's "THE LAST DAYS OF JOHN LENNON".
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Old Jun 08, 2008, 10:55 PM   #46
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There are over '4000' Beatles Biographies & Memoirs at amazon.
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Old Jun 12, 2008, 07:44 PM   #47
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I'm about halfway through the Bob Spitz book right now and I'm enjoying it a lot. The writing is very good and makes you feel like you are there.
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Old Jun 13, 2008, 02:14 PM   #48
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[quote=instant karla;670440]i'd suggest "love me do, the beatles' progress" by michael braun for beatlemania-era history minus the fluff (unusual for 1964, when it was published).QUOTE]
Yes, an EXCELLENT book, reprinted a few years ago and well worth picking up. Like the Hunter Davies book, it was written DURING the Beatles years, and it has a really vivid feeling of 1963/4. I reckon it's probably the best Beatles book, (until Mark Lewisohn's 3 volume version comes out!) but don't take my word for it, Lennon thought so too. Borrow it, read it, it's the best!
Obviously it's not definitive but it's You Are There feel makes it a real winner.

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Old Jun 15, 2008, 03:17 AM   #49
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Peter Brown's The Love You Make is supposedly rather trashy and tabloidish.

Nasty little book. Don't waste your money. I couldn't stomach reading the whole thing so off to the trash it went! What kills me is, he claims to have been their friend. RIIIIIIGHT!
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Old Jun 19, 2008, 01:25 PM   #50
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As far as a biography goes... it has to be the recent Bob Spitz book. A huge amount of work went into it (he says seven years of research), it's brilliantly written, and the book is unbiased and sympathetic. You're 100 pages in and he's still talking about the Beatles when they were at school! Philip Norman's Shout is also very good, but shorter, and with unfair bias to Paul and George. However, I think for commentary on Sixties culture, Shout has the upper hand. His book on the Stones written not long after is great as well (though the story is hardly as interesting, to be honest).

And I was shocked at how good Anthology was... the whole thing about it being sanitised is unfair and misinformed (it has a quote of John saying the Beatles were 'the biggest bastards in the world', for god's sake!), I found the interviews honest and interesting. The book is incredibly produced, and the interviews from the Beatles reveal a lot of detail you'd never find in a biography written by someone else.

So I'd put Anthology and the Spitz book equal.
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Old Jun 20, 2008, 04:44 PM   #51
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Nasty little book. Don't waste your money. I couldn't stomach reading the whole thing so off to the trash it went! What kills me is, he claims to have been their friend. RIIIIIIGHT!
I had a copy of that book which also ended up in the trash after reading a little bit of it. It was so negative and unpleasant, I couldn't stand it.
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Old Jun 28, 2008, 03:22 PM   #52
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As far as a biography goes... it has to be the recent Bob Spitz book.

So I'd put Anthology and the Spitz book equal.

I heard that the Bob Spitz book had a lot of inaccuracies though. Is that true?
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Old Jun 29, 2008, 06:26 PM   #53
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I heard that the Bob Spitz book had a lot of inaccuracies though. Is that true?
I've spotted a couple.. but overall, I think Spitz did a pretty good job of researching the Beatles' lives -- and, unlike most of the biographies, he lists his sources at the back, page by page, so you can go through them yourself and see where he got such-and-such a fact. Another interesting facet of the Spitz book is his use of the interviews taped by the discredited Albert Goldman. While he dismisses Goldman's "The Lives of John Lennon" as unreadable, Spitz claims there was a wealth of information in the taped interviews, much of it never before reported, that Goldman chose not to use because it wasn't sensational or smutty enough. Overall, I've found the Spitz book very worthwhile.
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Old Jun 30, 2008, 02:37 PM   #54
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For a good overview of the "Apple Corps. years", I'd get "The White Book" by Ken Mansfield.
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Old Jun 30, 2008, 03:24 PM   #55
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I have this book and it is a good read, Ken Mansfield is a lovely warm person! I had a photo taken with him when he signed my copy for me at Beatle Fest in new Jersey this March!
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Old Jun 30, 2008, 05:57 PM   #56
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I heard that the Bob Spitz book had a lot of inaccuracies though. Is that true?
There are a couple of obvious mistakes in the photo credits that I can't believe weren't noticed before the book was put out. Like that Patti and George met on the set of Help.
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Old Jul 01, 2008, 05:35 AM   #57
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ahh okay. Someone actually gave that book to my mom (no it wasnt me) and she hasnt read it yet for that reason...But maybe she'll give it a chance once I tell her that the inaccuracies may not be as much as there was rumored to be
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Old Jul 02, 2008, 10:01 PM   #58
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I'm back! I lost track of the web site (don't ask), and I thought I forgot my password. So this is my first post in like 2-3 years.

I guess I get to be the first to comment on a book I found in the library this week - Can't Buy Me Love by Jonathan Gould.

I'm only as far as chapter 5 out of 53 plus an epilogue. But so far I'm impressed with the style and breadth of knowledge of the author. It's not merely a biographical account of the Lads. The author promises to spend a third of the book telling how the Beatles wrote their music which is why I decided to stick with this one and not the enormous tome by Bob Spitz. I already know more about Liverpool, skiffle, the Goon show, education, the Scouse accent and more than I know about my own home town.

I'll get back to the Spitz book. Maybe I just picked the wrong time to start reading that. This book promises to be more interesting, at least for me.

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Old Jul 04, 2008, 09:50 PM   #59
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The author promises to spend a third of the book telling how the Beatles wrote their music which is why I decided to stick with this one and not the enormous tome by Bob Spitz. I already know more about Liverpool, skiffle, the Goon show, education, the Scouse accent and more than I know about my own home town.

I'll get back to the Spitz book.
I have to admit I found the first several chapters of the Spitz book overburdened with this sort of background stuff (Liverpool, skiffle, etc), and I have tended to hop around back and forth reading it. I still like it, and would recommend it -- but a book that focuses on the music and how it was written would appeal to me more. After all, it's the music that matters.
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Old Jul 05, 2008, 04:31 AM   #60
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Tony Bramwell's book Magical Mystery Tours is very anecdotal esp. about the early days when he knew them before he got a job with B.Epstein. He makes out his was part of their scene but it was a lot younger and considering how much of a thing it was that George was a bit younger it seems more likely to me that he wasn't that close until later. He claims John and Paul knew each other 'years before' they 'officially' first met at that chuch fate.
He does a hatchet job on Yoko's character and claims that she was 'on the spike'.
I think he's a bit egotistically in the way he goes on about i did this i did that. Paul asked me to do this John said i was blah blah blah. And he loves tellin' us about how many women 'took a shine to him'. At one point he claims he'd been going out with this girl called Christine who turns out to be C.Keeler...just about the most famous woman of the mid60's. Yeah right, Tone.
There's also a weird error about Phil Spector and John recording the Instant Karma 'album' in 7 days!!
The covers ridiculous too. It's 4 little tacky models of 4 guys that one presumes is supposed to be the Beatles.
I think it's worth reading but it should have ended 100 pages sooner 'cause there is literrally hadly any mention of The Beatles in them pages!!
Alistair Taylors book With the Beatles is the same as his book The Beatles secret story or whatever it's called. It/they are quite interesting although some of his facts are wrong. He says the Beatles smoked joints in 1963, for instance. It's good for Paul that AT explains that P.Brown was wrong to say that Paul used sheep dip to try and get rid of an infection on his prick becuase he was on his farm and didn't want Jane Asher to realise he'd got infected by fuckin' somebody else. The 'sheep dip' was proper tablets or cream but was labeled 'sheep dip' as a ruse. He also contradicts P.Brown (who's book he trashes) on the death of B.Epstein they both claim to have been there or in PB's case on the phone Epstein was found. He also goes for the Pauls only talented while Johns a genius line. Despite the fact Paul wrote 70% of their best work and kept them going as a singles band for the last 3 years. And Linda was a bitch to him and offended his integrity.
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