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Old Jul 05, 2008, 05:37 AM   #61
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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 he 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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Old Jul 05, 2008, 01:01 PM   #62
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I think you need to read all and any books possible to get a point of view of your own. Considering the literal (lol) buffet of books out there certainly there are some to like and some not. But I've always been of a mind to try anything once. If you think it will be a good read... read it. If you don't, then regardless of what critics, et al say, don't read the darn thing. Books are written from the POV of the author. How can it be otherwise? Esp. with the "insider books" so take those as their opinion not fact. That's not to say we go about disputing Feb 7th, 1964 the Beatles landed at the newly renamed Idlewild Airport (JFK). Just be aware that if what an insider is saying about an incident deserves consideration from their POV. Think about why Tony Bramwell would have the view of Yoko he does. He's entiteld to his opinion as you are to yours of both of them. I try to keep these thing in mind when I'm reading. Hey, even the historians can't be completly unbiased. However, it's just a little more reprehensible when an historian tries to push off their opinion as fact. This I found to be true in Albert Goldman's book. Yes, I did read the whole thing and managed not to toss it across the room.-lol (I did close it with disdain though)

Do I have any recommendations? Sure but you've named them here and have plenty to consider already.
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Old Jul 08, 2008, 05:01 PM   #63
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Dr. D.! Great to see you back!

There is a plethora of excellent Beatle biographies out there - it's just a matter of picking which you feel offers you the best source of information.

I suggest you trawl through Amazon.com and Amazon.ca and Amazon.co.uk for Beatle books. Read the synopses and the reviews.
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Old Jul 22, 2008, 06:56 PM   #64
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Beatles Gear isn't a biography, but it has some stories that I never read before. I highly recommend it.
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Old Jul 26, 2008, 05:38 PM   #65
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How's about "Things We Said Today" by Geoffrey and Vrnda Giuliano, I've started reading it and it's pretty interesting. It's conversations and interviews with the Fab Four. you'll learn a few things!
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Old Jul 26, 2008, 06:07 PM   #66
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In "Things We Said Today",i was reading how Paul scammed the fur company. I think being a vegatarian has made a softie,but I agree on his anger with fur company. Anyway,the company had an ad for a selection of furs and it was by phone to get your catalog on the furs. And Paul somehow got those customers' #'s and sent them insted a tape on how animals were horribly killed by being drowned,electrocuted and having thiers broken just so people could wear fur. It convinced many people not to buy fur. GO PAUL!!!!
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Old Aug 01, 2008, 07:33 PM   #67
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I am by no means an expert on Beatles history, I have only recently become interested in reading full biographies on the Beatles so I'm sure I've missed errors in Bob Spitz's book, but so far I've enjoyed reading the book. As others have mentioned the book is a well written narrative and if for nothing else it makes a fun story if not an entirely factual one.
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Old Oct 11, 2008, 05:59 AM   #68
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wow, did i find this thread in time.
my dad is a huge Beatles fan, and i wanted to get him the perfect Christmas present, after awhile, parents are hard to shop for, they have everything. i'm glad to get some feedback on these books, i've narrowed it down to 2.
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Old Oct 11, 2008, 10:01 AM   #69
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Anthology - it's their own story in their own words, so... what could be better? Nice size and weight too! ;)

Spitz's book - it was huge and I loved reading it. Very detailed. Maybe not accurate everywhere, but which book is...? I am sure even Anthology has it's share of BIG mistakes!) I also liked all the details about the parents and so on: the roots of The Beatles. Well written: read it without getting tired of it. ;)

Hunter Davies' book - only read the first edition (three times, I think) and I liked it mainly because it was written while The Beatles still existed. As if you were travelling back in time. It doesn't give you all the juicy detailt though, like Spitz... Nice but not the best.

Emerick's Here there and everywhere - to tell you the truth: this book was the most fun to read. Somehow Geoff manages to take you back in time with him: you really get the feeling you are there in the studio! I found this one the most exciting one to read because I sort of felt what Geoff felt and that was great. Only thing I did not like was the way he made clear he loves Paul and didn't quite love George. But still, this book excited me most while reading it. It's not just about The Beatles btw: also about himself. Nevertheless a great book. But... not a real Beatles-biography...!

Right now I am reading Shout! It's a nice read but a bit too much stories from old aunts, old friends, old neighbours and other assorted slightly Beatles-related people... Not the best I've read, but it reads well.

Monday I will get Beatles Gear and Revolution in the head for my birthday. Looking forward to those!

Besides these book I also (of course) like Lewisohns books (Sessions and Chronicles) but merely for reference, not to actually sit and read.

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Old Oct 11, 2008, 10:30 AM   #70
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I liked Clayson's box set of Beatle biographies. Comprehensive.

Although Bob Spitz' book is rife with errors (and believe me, we could easily pick them apart and identify them - that would be child's play for us), the book is still very interesting. While the Beatle literati is displeased that the error-laden book got past the editors, it still makes for interesting reading.

"A Love There That's Sleeping" is a good George biography.
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Old Nov 24, 2008, 02:21 PM   #71
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I've just ordered "Shout" for Xmas. Woooooooo. Considering going for "Anthology". Wish I could sample Lewisohm's "Chronicles" book somewhere before buying it. Can't seem to find it anywhere in Australia, but I'll keep looking.
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Old Nov 25, 2008, 01:31 PM   #72
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Quote:
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I've just ordered "Shout" for Xmas. Woooooooo. Considering going for "Anthology". Wish I could sample Lewisohm's "Chronicles" book somewhere before buying it. Can't seem to find it anywhere in Australia, but I'll keep looking.
I finished reading Shout! last week. Well, er... I won't say anything about it: I hope you like it...
Anthology is a must have imho. You can't go wrong with that one.
Lewisohn's books are awesome too, but not to simply read. These aren't novels...! You use them as you would use a dictionary or encyclopedia. (O, I just notivced I wrote that already the last time... ;) )
I PM'd you about Lewisohn's books btw.

To update my earlier post about the books I've read: well, as said I've finished reading Shout! and that's it... Right now I am reading Beatles Gear and I love it. Great book. Nice to read about the Beatles from a different perspective. Very informative. Looks good too. I am not too happy with Revolution in the head, I have to say... I specially do not need to read the writers opinion about the songs... He clearly dislikes some songs I love and he says so without good reason (imho). I don't like that. I am sorry I bought the book really... Some information about the songs is very interesting, I have to admit, but I wished he wouldn't have added his personal views on the songs. Just give me the info and I'll decide myself what to like or dislike...
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Old Nov 25, 2008, 01:53 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by J van E View Post
I finished reading Shout! last week. Well, er... I won't say anything about it: I hope you like it...
Anthology is a must have imho. You can't go wrong with that one.
Lewisohn's books are awesome too, but not to simply read. These aren't novels...! You use them as you would use a dictionary or encyclopedia. (O, I just notivced I wrote that already the last time... ;) )
I PM'd you about Lewisohn's books btw.

To update my earlier post about the books I've read: well, as said I've finished reading Shout! and that's it... Right now I am reading Beatles Gear and I love it. Great book. Nice to read about the Beatles from a different perspective. Very informative. Looks good too. I am not too happy with Revolution in the head, I have to say... I specially do not need to read the writers opinion about the songs... He clearly dislikes some songs I love and he says so without good reason (imho). I don't like that. I am sorry I bought the book really... Some information about the songs is very interesting, I have to admit, but I wished he wouldn't have added his personal views on the songs. Just give me the info and I'll decide myself what to like or dislike...
I read the first edition of Shout that came out 20 odd yrs ago, and I thought that was a pretty good read. So, I know what I'm in for. I have checked out Anthology, great book yes, but I think it'll have to wait due to budgetary restrictions . I know that Chronicles is not like a novel-type read. But the info that I think it has relating to the recording sessions and concerts is what I'm after. But I still want to be sure before I import it.

I appreciate your various book reviews and thoughts too.
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Old Nov 25, 2008, 05:18 PM   #74
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I have to be honest - I view books written after any of the lads approved with more than a bit of scepticism, because I know that book is going to reflect "the party line", so to speak.

Folks like to say, "Well, he said it and I trust him," about folks they've never met face-to-face, let alone had to deal with in stressful situations.

I can't trust Goldman's book, despite his protestations of the number of sources he "quotes".

But I do trust Cynthia's, especially the later one. While it's true her memory of the facts may have been skewed over time, her impressions and emotional memories during the events she cites cannnot be glossed over with time. I'm certain she refrained from mentioning things that may have put her in a bad light - it's typical of people to represent only what they themselves perceive to be the best bits of themselves, with just enough of the bits they see as not-so-good to come across as "normal".

For the same reason, I trust May Pang's book.

Biographers' books I like to read together. Even when interviewing the same panel as any other biographer, they will oftentimes report different answers. This isn't because they're "making errors", as so many of us dun them for - it's because they're "quoting" errors, assuming them to be common enough info in the general scheme of things to neglect researching them.

The date Paul and John met, though - unless there's a schedule running around with the date and time on it, there is absolutely no reason for me to assume ANY of the various dates reported (even the supposed canonical ones) are ACTUALLY the date they met. Let's face it - they weren't the Beatles back then, they were two lads with a liking for the guitar and rock and roll music. There was no reason for either of them to circle that date on their calendar, make a notation in their diaries, or post a "Guess who I met????" to the important people in their lives.

For instance, I cannot to this day tell you the precise date I met Kat. As important a date as that became later in my life, at the time he was just another customer I had a lovely visit with while at work.

Just my 2 cents' worth . . .
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Old Nov 25, 2008, 06:41 PM   #75
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Some writers have got a better reputation than others. Some are only concerned with writing the facts which they would've checked thoroughly before going to print. Others are more concerned with sensationalising a story with little emphasis on fact and truth. It's a matter of filtering through all that hog wash.
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Old Nov 25, 2008, 07:09 PM   #76
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Writers whose reputations have been thumbs-upped by the subjects of their tomes don't impress me much - it just means they (mostly) stuck to the party lines.

Writers whose reputations are earned by sales volumes do get my attention - if they're fiction writers. Biographers, on the other hand, who have large sales figures are generally writing with an eye towards catering to the reader. In other words, not falling off the party lines too often.

I know people who'd swear a certain person I know is a nicey-nicey sort, complete with a prudish character and extremely high morals. They won't swear around her, they won't confess to being harsh with the old man, or even their kids.

They've never lived with her, or spent more than the barest few private minutes in her company when she's not "up". She has a sailor mouth to put sailors to shame, she is constantly ignoring family and friends both in favour of the addiction of the moment, she's an exotic dancer who loves prancing about in the nude in front of strangers, and she's "dated" seven men since moving in with her fiancÚ. And by dating, I mean hopping into bed with them within 72 hours of meeting them, certain that THIS is the one!

Not one of those men, in spite of personal experience otherwise, believe she would ever sleep around on them, and continue to this day to see her as an innocent who's been mistreated by a string of sleazy sex addicts.

None of her so-called friends know that side of her. Only a few of us do - and we're chided for being "sour grapes" when we try to comfort the latest discarded conquest by revealing her insincerity to them.

It's her personna - nobody believes anything but the best of her, and she refuses to take responsibility for her actions in any of those failed relationships, presenting them all to newcomers as users and abusers who took advantage of her.

Again, I say - I never, ever trust the party line.

Of course, that's just me . . .
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Old Nov 25, 2008, 07:33 PM   #77
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she's an exotic dancer who loves prancing about in the nude in front of strangers,
Have you got her phone number SH?
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Old Nov 25, 2008, 09:33 PM   #78
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Yup, but I would never wish her off on anyone I know, LOL!
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Old Nov 25, 2008, 11:40 PM   #79
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I can't trust Goldman's book, despite his protestations of the number of sources he "quotes".
There's the saying that you're only as good as your sources. Not all sources are of equal value and for a source to have value the reader should ideally have access to it as well. Too often in biographies there are less than well documented sources. Anyone can claim so and so said this or that to them. That's not a documented source. But, if the biographer can say "Paul said in an interview with BBC December 12 1964", well, that is such a source. Of course, even tapes can be doctored and edited, and often are, but they at least have more substance than some undated recollection.

We also have to remember the difference between primary and secondary sources. Primary sources are original, first hand accounts, while secondary sources are quoting the former. Cynthia talking about her life with John is a primary source, Cynthia's diary (if she had one) is a primary source, photographs taken at the time are as well. Newspaper articles may or may not be primary sources. Most biographies are secondary sources while, autobiographies are usually considered primary sources.

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But I do trust Cynthia's, especially the later one. While it's true her memory of the facts may have been skewed over time, her impressions and emotional memories during the events she cites cannot be glossed over with time. <snip> For the same reason, I trust May Pang's book.
I agree. In the essentials, since this happened to Cynthia, this is her life, then her source value is very high. Just as May's account is of high value when she talks about her own life and where it touches Johns. However, neither can really speak for him, can they? Only where their own lives and John's touch are they to be considered primary sources.

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Biographers' books I like to read together. Even when interviewing the same panel as any other biographer, they will oftentimes report different answers. This isn't because they're "making errors", as so many of us dun them for - it's because they're "quoting" errors, assuming them to be common enough info in the general scheme of things to neglect researching them.
True. Those that think there's no fiction in a book that calls itself factual have another thing coming! Going beyond 'the usual suspects' and find the truth is difficult and become more and more difficult as time passed. It's human to be influenced by others and very tough for the researcher not to be colored by previous interpretations. This goes for all historical research, whether about the Beatles, Napoleon or prehistoric dinosaurs. I'm not trying to discourage anyone from reading books about the Beatles. It's fun! I'm only saying that the word Biography on the spine doesn't mean it's all gospel truth!
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Old Jul 04, 2015, 09:57 PM   #80
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Mark Lewisohn's biographies are exceptional and outstanding. I highly recommend his works.
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