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Best Beatles Book?
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5 March 2014
10.41pm
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meanmistermustard
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Just found this on google books - Way Beyond Compare by John C Winn. 

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
5 March 2014
11.39pm
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PeterWeatherby
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I've been reading a satire about the Beatles by Mark Shipper called "Paperback Writer," and I've been really enjoying that. It's a total bullsh*t history of the band, but it's quite funny, so if you're someone who's already read the real history of the Beatles a zillion times, this is a fun diversion. For instance, in this version, Paul is already a successful solo artist in Germany when he's asked to join the Beatles, although he is mostly writing showtunes and granny music. :) Brian is a plumber who decides he wants to get into artist management, and he's able to get the Beatles a recording contract by offering to unclog George Martin's kitchen sink - stupid stuff like that. Anyway, I've been enjoying it, having a few laughs.

Not a bit like Cagney.
6 March 2014
4.24am
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IveJustSeenAFaceo
Arrived Somewhere (But Not Here)
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PeterWeatherby said
I've been reading a satire about the Beatles by Mark Shipper called "
Paperback Writer," and I've been really enjoying that. It's a total bullsh*t history of the band, but it's quite funny, so if you're someone who's already read the real history of the Beatles a zillion times, this is a fun diversion. For instance, in this version, Paul is already a successful solo artist in Germany when he's asked to join the Beatles, although he is mostly writing showtunes and granny music. :) Brian is a plumber who decides he wants to get into artist management, and he's able to get the Beatles a recording contract by offering to unclog George Martin's kitchen sink - stupid stuff like that. Anyway, I've been enjoying it, having a few laughs.

That stuff bugs me. I can't explain why, but I've always kinda hated book parodies. Most of them are too stupid. You appear to be enjoying it, though, so by all means ignore me.

(This signature brought to you by Spaghetti Tuesdays. Occurring on Wednesdays since 2013.)

6 March 2014
3.43pm
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OneCoolCat
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PeterWeatherby said
I've been reading a satire about the Beatles by Mark Shipper called "
Paperback Writer," and I've been really enjoying that. It's a total bullsh*t history of the band, but it's quite funny, so if you're someone who's already read the real history of the Beatles a zillion times, this is a fun diversion. For instance, in this version, Paul is already a successful solo artist in Germany when he's asked to join the Beatles, although he is mostly writing showtunes and granny music. :) Brian is a plumber who decides he wants to get into artist management, and he's able to get the Beatles a recording contract by offering to unclog George Martin's kitchen sink - stupid stuff like that. Anyway, I've been enjoying it, having a few laughs.

I'll have to check this one out. 

The Beatles story has been told so much, it's well known. To get a satirical take is fresh. Just like how The Rutles was a parody.

6 March 2014
5.17pm
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PeterWeatherby
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OneCoolCat said

PeterWeatherby said
I've been reading a satire about the Beatles by Mark Shipper called "
Paperback Writer," and I've been really enjoying that. It's a total bullsh*t history of the band, but it's quite funny, so if you're someone who's already read the real history of the Beatles a zillion times, this is a fun diversion. For instance, in this version, Paul is already a successful solo artist in Germany when he's asked to join the Beatles, although he is mostly writing showtunes and granny music. :) Brian is a plumber who decides he wants to get into artist management, and he's able to get the Beatles a recording contract by offering to unclog George Martin's kitchen sink - stupid stuff like that. Anyway, I've been enjoying it, having a few laughs.

I'll have to check this one out. 

The Beatles story has been told so much, it's well known. To get a satirical take is fresh. Just like how The Rutles was a parody.

Exactly. I loved The Rutles, so discovering that there was a sort of "book version" of that kind of thing was a thrill.

"And so they found themselves far from home, and far from talented ..." :D

(Now that I think of it, the book has a line very much like this. Something along the lines of, "The album stands up just as well today as it did when it was first released, especially if you lean it against a wall.")

Not a bit like Cagney.
7 March 2014
5.01am
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C.R.A.
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I've read:

"A Day In The Life: The Music and Artistry of The Beatles" by Mark Hertsgaard

Jonathan Gould's "Can't Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain, and America"

Mark Lewisohn's "Tune In (The Beatles: All These Years #1) U.S. Edition"

---

Hertsgaard's book examines the music chronologically, album by album (almost song-by-song), where they fit in on the musical landscape.  He examines the songwriting, the arrangements, the studio innovations, etc.  It's factoid stuff and interesting on that level.  It was a decent book.

The meat of Gould's book is Beatlemania.  He attempts to tie together a whole range of social issues that led (or maybe just contributed) to Beatlemania.  It too, was a good book, especially when it would inform/remind the reader of the world's problems at the time (Kennedy's assassination foremost) and how the world's youth responded to them.

Lewisohn's book is -by far- the best of the three.  This one deals with their heritage, their youth, school, friendships, their musical apprenticeships, the people influential in their career decisions, and just about anything else you can think of that had both a direct and indirect impact on their early years.  Each of them gets the full address.  The book ends with the word "INTERMISSION" just as they're beginning to climb the charts after Please, Please me.  What amazes me most is the degrees of separation that existed before they knew each other.  For instance; When George was 14, he dated Iris Caldwell.  His intentions weren't entirely pure; he really wanted to meet her older brother, Alan, who had a skiffle group called The Texans.  Alan would later be known as Rory Storm.  Two years later, Richy... well.  You know the rest.

I'm enjoying this book so much, I'm half-way through reading it for the second time.

“Send John out first; he’s the one they want.” ~ someone said it, dammit. Memphis, 1966
18 July 2014
6.59pm
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parlance
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So Paul is definitely not impressed with Revolution in the Head:

To get back to my original point, that's the kind of thing that happens in films, but these books that are written about the meaning of songs, like Revolution in the Head – I read through that. It's a kind of toilet book, a good book to just dip into. And I'll come across, "McCartney wrote that in answer to Lennon's acerbic this," and I go, "Well, that's not true." But it's going down as history. That is already known as a very highly respected tome, and I say, "Yeah, well, okay." This is a fact of my life. These facts are going down as some sort of musical history about the Beatles. There are millions of them, and I know for a fact that a lot of them are incorrect.

Wonder what parts he objects to in particular.

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at Vimeo or YouTube.

18 July 2014
7.49pm
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parlance
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Zig said
When I read that book, parlance, I got the impression that the author did not like Paul at all. I couldn't put my finger on just one thing, it was just an overall vibe I got. As a matter of fact, I got the impression he did not care for the Beatles at all.

I got the impression that he didn't care for George specifically. But he spoke glowingly about the experience of hearing Sgt. Pepper when it was released - I think he was in college - and reading his firsthand account is one of the reasons I fell in love with the book. I actually think he looked up to Paul; his description of Penny Lane that I've quoted here before is that it captured the feeling in '67 of being thrilled to be alive. [emphasis his]

If anything, maybe MacDonald was too enamored with The Beatles and felt the need to knock them down a peg - but that's speculation. 

Into the Sky with Diamonds said 
Have you ever been 100% sure of a memory - only to find that it's wrong? (see meanmistermustard's post regarding "1985" being on Wingspan.)

One of my favorite examples is Paul saying in Many Years from Now that "I Don't Want To Spoil The Party" was written for Ringo.

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at Vimeo or YouTube.

18 July 2014
9.12pm
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Von Bontee
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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
19 July 2014
5.56am
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Funny Paper
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I tend to have a suspicion that these Beatles books should be taken with a grain of salt.  In light of this, these words by Paul in a recent Rolling Stone interview seems quite plausible, and I think they should be emblazoned up at the top of this section on Beatles Books:

"...these books that are written about the meaning of songs, like Revolution in the Head – I read through that. It's a kind of toilet book, a good book to just dip into. And I'll come across, "McCartney wrote that in answer to Lennon's acerbic this," and I go, "Well, that's not true." But it's going down as history. That is already known as a very highly respected tome, and I say, "Yeah, well, okay." This is a fact of my life. These facts are going down as some sort of musical history about the Beatles. There are millions of them, and I know for a fact that a lot of them are incorrect."

I can see how that would be frustrating.

"Well, it used to be frustrating. I've got over it. It's okay. "Early Days" has a smattering of that, but the main thing is it's a memory song. It's me remembering walking down the street, dressed in black, with the guitars across our back. I can picture the exact street. It was a place called Menlove Avenue. [Pauses] Someone's going to read significance into that: Paul and John on Menlove Avenue. Come onnnnnnn. That's what it's like with the Beatles. Everything was fucking significant, you know? Which is okay, but when you were a part of the reality, it just wasn't like that. It was much more normal."

 
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