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Beatles books you own
5 February 2010
11.24am
Joe
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Looks like we've got quite a few of the same books. What's the Fred Seaman one like? I always imagined it would be a bit like the Goldman book - full of juicy details but with a slightly distasteful agenda.

I didn't know The Beatles Live! had extra information. I might have to get hold of that.

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5 February 2010
2.09pm
mjb
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Joe said:

Looks like we've got quite a few of the same books. What's the Fred Seaman one like? I always imagined it would be a bit like the Goldman book - full of juicy details but with a slightly distasteful agenda.

I didn't know The Beatles Live! had extra information. I might have to get hold of that.


It's a typical Lewisohn book Joe - VERY well researched and extensive.

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
5 February 2010
5.05pm
Joe
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Oh dear, my credit card's just taken another hit. It's a real shame it's out of print - the second hand prices range from £30-80+.

I bought a paperback copy with the flexi disc from Amazon for £30 - it felt like I need this book in my life. Should arrive next week sometime.

Please don't spoil my day; I'm miles away

Can buy me love! Please consider using these links to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes

5 February 2010
8.30pm
PeterWeatherby
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Great forum topic!  I remember that it was reading my first few books about The Beatles when I was twelve (all those years ago!) that really pushed me out beyond being just a fan of their music.  The books made me an addict of The Beatles as an entity.  :-)

In my library, I have:

Barry Miles: Many Years from Now (loved it - I re-read it every 12-18 months or so)

Philip Norman: John Lennon - The Life (very, very well-researched and balanced, I thought - I'll come back to this one multiple times, I think)

Cynthia Lennon: John (obviously written from one viewpoint - a very sad book for me to read)

Joseph Niezgoda: The Lennon Prophecy (ok, so I bought it for a lark, just to see how he'd twist all the Paul-is-Dead clues to point to John - it's good for a chuckle)

William J. Dowlding: Beatlesongs (one of the first I ever bought - ransacked it for months and months on end, memorizing who played which instruments on what songs, etc. - it'll always have a special place in my memory)

Albert Goldman: The Lives of John Lennon (Tabloid stuff, you know, but it got me turned on to the Brandy Alexander, so I have to at least acknowledge it from time to time)

John Lennon: In His Own Write/A Spaniard in the Works (what an absolute trip - many words and phrases from these books have found their way into my ongoing vocabulary, e.g., "Haddy Grimble", "Randoob", "Ella Fitzgerald my deaf Whopper", "we killed him, you know", etc.)

I have other books in the library, but I haven't read them carefully yet, so I won't make comment (included: Spitz's book, Harrison's book, Sheff's book, Carlin's book).

Not a bit like Cagney.
6 February 2010
5.01am
BeatleMark
Pensacola, Florida
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Yeah Joe....

"The Beatles Live" is also interesting for the photos of newspaper clippings from back in the day that are big enough to still read.  Lots of dates mentioned in the "Beatles Chronicles" have more of an explanation in "Live".  Lists all of the songs they ever played live, who sang what and so on.  Not a lot of different info, but a must have for any completist.  Also the flexi disk included is fun to listen to.  (Supposedly their first live radio interview right after Love Me Do was released.) 

"The Last Days of John Lennon" by Fredrick Seaman.   A great read for anyone interested in John's life/activity the year and a half before his death.  Lot's of personal day to day recollection by John's last assistant, Fred Seaman.  The author was well schooled, includes a bunch of rare snapshots, and really gives his honest opinion of what it was like to live with/for John and have to put up with Yoko on a day to day.  His reputation was somewhat ruined after John died.  (He got caught trying to smuggle John's journals "supposedly" to give to Julian.)  I personally really enjoyed this book.  A great read for any Beatle/Lennon fan. 

Sunday's on the phone to Monday, Tuesday's on the phone to me.
6 February 2010
11.46pm
skye
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Is The Beatles by Hunter Davies worth buying?

Ad hoc, ad loc, and quid pro quo! So little time! So much to know!
7 February 2010
8.25am
mjb
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skye said:Is The Beatles by Hunter Davies worth buying?


Yep! But bear in mind when this was written (published in 1968) so there are things NOT mentioned (Epstein's homosexuality, Yoko) but lots of interesting stuff about their childhood and families.

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
7 February 2010
8.27am
mjb
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A book on books!

http://www.tmrzoo.com/?p=7601

Just for this forum............

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
7 February 2010
8.30am
mjb
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Joe said:

Oh dear, my credit card's just taken another hit. It's a real shame it's out of print - the second hand prices range from £30-80+.

I bought a paperback copy with the flexi disc from Amazon for £30 - it felt like I need this book in my life. Should arrive next week sometime.


That's exactly the one I have. You'll love it - trust me Laugh

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
7 February 2010
10.58am
Joe
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One thing that annoys me about this is that the book's out of print, Mark Lewisohn's not making anything from the sale, and the only person profiting is the second-hand dealer. Although I generally like to pay for things I did do a Rapidshare search to see if I could download it first, but couldn't find it ('beatles live lewisohn' gave me a load of bootleg results).

It's a shame the publishers don't keep books like this in print. Roll on Google digitising them.

Please don't spoil my day; I'm miles away

Can buy me love! Please consider using these links to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes

7 February 2010
1.03pm
Joe
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mjb said:

A book on books!

http://www.tmrzoo.com/?p=7601 suggest it would have been better with some kind of commentary, rather than just being a list. Still, you've got to admire someone's diligence in compiling something like that.

Skye - there's a thread on the Hunter Davies book here: http://www.beatlesbible.com/fo.....e-beatles/

Please don't spoil my day; I'm miles away

Can buy me love! Please consider using these links to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes

7 February 2010
4.18pm
skye
AZ
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I knew I saw it somewhere! Amazon has picked up on my Beatles habit and suggested it. I will have to start searching the forum - too many threads to skim now.

Commentary would be nice, but just three lines on each of the 1400? It would take forever to read all of those books, let alone sum them up.

Ad hoc, ad loc, and quid pro quo! So little time! So much to know!
8 February 2010
7.54pm
Von Bontee
A Hole In The Road
Apple rooftop
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Picked up Clinton Heylin's "The Act You've Known For All These Years" on the weekend, looking forward to that once I finish the novel I've currently got going....

Something I'm curious about that mysteriously isn't covered in any of the books I've currently got: Exactly how and when did John Lennon learn to play piano/kbds?  Books I've read make a point of mentioning how he came to pick up the harmonica and guitar, of course, but keyboards? not a word! Did Paul teach him the basics? (Surely Aunt Mimi didn't pay for lessons?)

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!" -- Paul McCartney
8 February 2010
9.19pm
skye
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The book I'm reading right now says that playing the piano was something that his aunt wanted him to learn. So I guess she did.

Ad hoc, ad loc, and quid pro quo! So little time! So much to know!
9 February 2010
10.03am
Joe
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I'd imagine (no pun intended) he picked up a lot while writing closely with Paul, who knew a bit before. Here are some Anthology quotes that suggest they passed around some knowledge between them.

PAUL: "Dad was a pretty good self-taught pianist, but because he hadn't had training himself, he always refused to teach me. I would say, 'Teach us a bit,' and he would reply, 'If you want to learn, you've got to learn properly.' It was the old ethic that to learn, you should get a teacher. It would have been OK for him to teach me, but I respect the reason why he wouldn't. In the end, I learnt to play by ear, just like him, making it all up. I did then take lessons, but I always had a problem; mainly that I didn't know my tutor, and I wasn't very good at going into an old lady's house - it smelt of old people - so I was uncomfortable. I was just a kid. I quite liked what she was showing me, but then she started setting homework: 'By next week I want you to have learnt this.' I thought it was bad enough coming for lessons, but homework! That was sheer torture. I stuck it for four or five weeks, and then the homework really got difficult so I gave up. To this day I have never learnt to write or read music; I have a vague suspicion now that it would change how I'd do things.

"To this day, I have a deep love for the piano, maybe from my dad: it must be in the genes. He played the piano from when I was born through until I was well into The Beatles. And you can start to see where I'm coming from when you hear an old number like 'Stumbling', which is a very clever tune. Dad told me what was clever about it; he was my musical education. There was none in school; we never got music lessons. He would always point out things like the chord changes at the beginning of 'Stairway To Paradise'. Later, he'd tell us we should do that one with The Beatles. We'd say, 'Dad, Dad... "Build a stairway to paradise"? Please!'"

PAUL: "Stuck out in Hamburg with no instrument, I was forced onto piano as they had one on stage at the Kaiserkeller. I was used to facing the audience so this was an excuse to turn my back on the audience and just get into the music, which was good. I started to get into numbers like 'Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying', a Ray Charles B side. That was a good little period for me, and I think I developed my piano-playing quite a bit. I ended up being slightly better than the other guys on piano from that period by pure default: having no guitar."

JOHN: "I like 'I Want To Hold Your Hand', it's a beautiful melody.70 I remember when we got the chord that made that song. We were in Jane Asher's house, downstairs in the cellar, playing on the piano at the same time, and we had, 'Oh, you-u-u... got that something...'

"It's a bit haphazard. There's no rules for writing. We write them anywhere, but we usually just sit down, Paul and I, with a guitar and a piano, or two guitars, or a piano and a guitar and Geoff (that's George).65 It's all the combinations you can think of; every combination of two people writing a song. And we obviously influence each other, like groups and people do."68

I also read a George Martin quote where he said he learned the guitar in the 1960s to try and keep up with The Beatles, but that they were always better. I can't remember the precise quote but I think he said they were better on the piano (Martin's instrument) than he was on guitar.

No definitive info about how John learnt though.

Please don't spoil my day; I'm miles away

Can buy me love! Please consider using these links to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes

10 February 2010
12.32pm
Joe
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The Beatles Live! by Mark Lewisohn arrived this morning. I've only had a quick look but it seems like the sort of quality offering you'd expect from Lewisohn (ie thoroughly dependable).

One thing I did notice was that several times Lewisohn says something like "Now a long-circulated rumour can be put to rest: this was the first time The Beatles played x venue, rather than on y date as often reported."

As the book was written in 1986, it's quite likely there were incorrect 'facts' which had been widely-repeated before then. However, after Lewisohn's definitive day-by-day guides were published (Live!, Sessions, Chronicles) nobody really bothered with the older, incorrect sources, so the rumours and fallacies he was correcting aren't all that well known nowadays. It's just a funny thing that struck me.

As for the content, there doesn't seem to be masses that weren't included in Chronicles. I was hoping for more detailed info such as setlists etc for each concert, though they're probably not known.

Please don't spoil my day; I'm miles away

Can buy me love! Please consider using these links to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes

10 February 2010
4.24pm
PeterWeatherby
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I'm a little more than half-way through Spitz's bio (it's about 1966, they've decided to quit touring, Revolver has just been released - we're not yet to Sgt. Pepper).

So far, I'm really, really enjoying it.  Looks like he really did his research, and I don't detect any hints of slanting the story toward one particular Beatle viewpoint or another (as was the case in Norman's Shout! which seemed to be a bit more pro-John/anti-Paul).

I keep seeing a lot of mention of Lewisohn's books in this thread - he must be something worth checking out, eh?

Not a bit like Cagney.
10 February 2010
5.36pm
Joe
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Mark Lewisohn is the granddaddy of Beatles historians. He's the man, absolutely. My favourite is The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, which is a day-by-day guide to what went on in the studio. The follow-up was The Complete Beatles Chronicle, which added live dates, radio sessions, interview info etc. Both are great.

At the moment he's writing a three-volume Beatles biography, which should be the last word on the subject. Volume one is due sometime in 2010. It's supposed to be less of a reference book than his others, so it'll be interesting to see how he handles it. Rather well, I'd imagine. One of his first breaks was as a researcher on Philip Norman's Shout!, so it should comfortably eclipse anything in there.

I've read some mixed reports about the Bob Spitz book - apparently there are some glaring errors in it, though I'm not sure what. Glad you like it though.

Please don't spoil my day; I'm miles away

Can buy me love! Please consider using these links to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes

10 February 2010
9.59pm
Lewis346
Penny Lane
Decca
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Here are mine

Treasures Of The Beatles

The Beatles. Then there was music

Help Movie Booklet

Yellow Submarine Movie Booklet

STILL NEED IN HIS OWN WRITE!!!!!!!!!

LaughLaugh

Anytime at all, all you gotta do is call, and I'll be there.
10 February 2010
10.05pm
PeterWeatherby
A Park in the Dark
Carnegie Hall
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Wow, Lewis, I don't have any of those.  Are there one or two that you'd recommend as favorites?

Until you get IHOW (and you should), you can read most of it here:

http://homepage.mac.com/tedgor.....Write.html

Not a bit like Cagney.
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