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Book suggestions..
8 September 2012
8.08am
fabfouremily
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Thanks, I must of missed that thread! And yes, the book about George was written to go along with the documentary/film.

''We're just knocked out. We heard about the sell out. You gotta get an album out, you owe it to the people. We're so happy we can hardly count.''

26 September 2012
12.00am
Von Bontee
A Hole In The Road
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Just a suggestion that you all skip Tony Bramwell's terrible "Magical Mystery Tours: My Life With the Beatles" unless you enjoy inaccuracies, anachronisms, outright lies, outright mindreading, namedropping, frequent photographic-memory accounts of tedious alcohol-fueled poolside idylls, irrelevent digressions on Bruce Springsteen, Leonard Cohen and the joy of car radios, the occasional burst of awesomely awful prose ("A she-wolf had descended on [Cynthia's] quiet fold, ready to gobble them up" for chrissakes!), and endless, endless bucketsful of over-the-top Yoko-loathing. So much so that you wonder how he could possibly have any leftover hatred for the other usual bad guys (Spector, Klein, Magic Alex, the Maharishi, even The Fool and Harold Wilson!), but somehow he does.

SO glad I got this at the library and didn't have to pay for it. I read the entire second half in a single evening just to get it over with sooner.

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
26 September 2012
12.59am
Wildcat
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haha! I love a withering review of a bad book! It's pathetic, really, how someone with even the most tenuous connection with a celebrity tries to re-write history to put their own self at the center of attention, or spew out their decades-old grievances about people who are deceased or couldn't bother to dignify their trash with a statement that only gives it more publicity.

Thanks for the warning – one might have thought someone like Bramwell could put an interesting narrative together without embellishment of facts or maligning others; there are enough fine books about The Beatles that a true fan can usually spot the bad ones.

When in doubt, try your local library!

26 September 2012
8.03pm
Von Bontee
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Haha, I returned it to the library just last night and was dismayed to find that they have TWO copies, one already on the shelf!

Actually, to be fair, the first 1/3 or so of the book, isn't so bad. It mostly covers the early days in Liverpool and is harmlessly nostalgic, if you care about that sort of thing. But man, the bad parts really left a bitter taste that overwhelms the whole thing.

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
27 September 2012
12.24am
linkjws
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I really enjoyed "You Never Give Me Your Money"  by Peter Doggett.  The cover says "The Beatles after the break-up", but a great deal of the book is spent detailing the birth, insanity, and death of what was Apple.  If I remember correctly the book really picks up around 68' when they were forming Apple, and the downhill slide from there on.  I loved it, but in a way it was very sad (like any book covering the break up).  Lots of legal and financial details, and it kind of put into perspective why The Beatles didn't reform beyond personal differences (although that was a majority of it).  Sad to read some of what went on, but very well done in my mind.

27 September 2012
1.10am
SatanHimself
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I just finished the audiobook of Cynthia Lennon's "John", read by the author.  Like any book about a deceased subject, you may need to take some of it with a grain of salt.  But it's hard to deny the legal details and John and Yoko's shabby treatment of Julian (who delivers his own *very* bitter introduction.

E is for 'Ergent'.
27 September 2012
5.23pm
fabfouremily
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I love both of the afore mentioned books.

''YNGMYM'' was a little sad as mentioned but it was a delight to read about the financial buisness behind Apple and The Beatles, somehting that until reading the book I didn't know a lot about (or cared, really.).

''John'' is one of the best books I have ever read. Somethings are a little over-exaggerated imo and other things were quite hard to read, especially because John isn't here to defend himself and give his side of the story. Loved reading about John before he was famous, there aren't many books that go into much detail about his time at art college and shortly after, if any.

''We're just knocked out. We heard about the sell out. You gotta get an album out, you owe it to the people. We're so happy we can hardly count.''

27 September 2012
7.35pm
Dipsy
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a-hard-days-night-ringo-8John was one of the best books I have ever read, period. I actually got so invested in the story that I had to set the book down after the part where he hit Cyn: I can still remember intensely staring at the bolded number 4 that headed the next chapter, too apprehensive to actually dive into it. Of course, I read this when I didn't know much about John's personal life, so I was shocked out of my wits that a man who sang about peace and love actually abused his ex-wife (even if it was, as Cyn claimed, only once)! Ironic as it may seem, I gained so much respect for John the further I got into the story--even throughout Cynthia's recollection of his ill treatment of Julian and her during the divorce. I just started viewing him as a man who overcame his demons rather than as a man who didn't have any. It was a great read, but--like you said--you have to take some of the stories with a grain of salt. Especially since we can't ever have both sides of the story…

"I'm not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I've always been a freak. So I've been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know? I'm just one of those people."
27 September 2012
8.05pm
Joe
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Von Bontee said
Just a suggestion that you all skip Tony Bramwell's terrible "Magical Mystery Tours: My Life With the Beatles" unless you enjoy inaccuracies, anachronisms, outright lies, outright mindreading, namedropping, frequent photographic-memory accounts of tedious alcohol-fueled poolside idylls, irrelevent digressions on Bruce Springsteen, Leonard Cohen and the joy of car radios, the occasional burst of awesomely awful prose ("A she-wolf had descended on [Cynthia's] quiet fold, ready to gobble them up" for chrissakes!), and endless, endless bucketsful of over-the-top Yoko-loathing. So much so that you wonder how he could possibly have any leftover hatred for the other usual bad guys (Spector, Klein, Magic Alex, the Maharishi, even The Fool and Harold Wilson!), but somehow he does.

SO glad I got this at the library and didn't have to pay for it. I read the entire second half in a single evening just to get it over with sooner.

This is right on the money. I read it and wrote down all the inaccuracies as I was going through it. There were masses. I meant to write a review but never got round to it, but it's one of the worst Beatles books I've read. It's a shame, because he was one of the few people who was actually there. I suspect the main issue is that his ghostwriter wasn't too diligent and wrote up a load of great yarns without checking too carefully for accuracy. But I've had email exchanges with TB where I've challenged some of his assertions (such as McCartney crediting him for coining the word "heavy" to describe The Beatles' latter days, which AFAICT McCartney has never done, certainly not in Many Years From Now as Bramwell claims), and he stands by them regardless.

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

27 September 2012
8.39pm
Von Bontee
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Oh thanks Joe, I'd forgotten his "heavy" coinage-claim! Yeah, that was one of the book's, uh, "highlights". Like there weren't already three dozen blues groups in England and America describing themselves as "heavy" by, like, 1967. LOL

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
28 September 2012
3.51am
Wildcat
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Can't Buy Me Love is an excellent choice, linkjws. Like you described, I put off buying this book for a Long, Long Time simply because I thought it would be too depressing to read about the 'aftermath' and post-Beatles years – but this is the one to read after you've ingested a few other books that deal mainly with The Beatles' history from childhood to breakup.

I've read Philip Norman's Shout! a couple of times, and think it's a very good source -- for it's time, that is. But at 30 (!) years old, I wouldn't recommend it as a start for a newer Beatles reader. Peter Brown/Steven Gaines The Love You Make came out just a couple of years later (1983), and it was a lot more fun to read all the salacious gossip and tawdry stories in that one after the more conservative and scrupulously detailed Shout! A lot of people were talking about it at its initial publication, and the surviving ex-Beatles & their close friends were furious at the writers- and rightly so, in many instances, because it isn't very flattering but probably more honest than not!

Back at the beginning of this Topic, Joe said, "personally I'd wait for Mark Lewisohn's Beatles biog." Well, Joe wrote that over two and a half years ago; it was due over a year ago, and Lewisohn recently said it will more likely be released around the end of 2013! I hope some poor soul out there hasn't held off from reading another Beatles book waiting on this one. But anything by Lewisohn about The Beatles is worth waiting for, and the one I most highly recommend is going to be discussed separately right after I finish this.

Also from Joe: "I've heard very good things about Jonathan Gould's Can't Buy Me Love (which I own but have yet to read)." While there's a lot of good stuff in this to read, Gould (and this is just my opinion) seems kind of "off" in his overall tone, like he wants to get it right, and he's very sincere in his attempt. But when he gets sidetracked on something like the commercially-unreleased 'That Means A Lot', he goes overboard in his praise, hailing this 'adequate' McCartney tune as an overlooked masterpiece. I tried to catch some of his enthusiasm for this song as he went on and on about it, but I got the sense he was trying to come off as a 'unique' appreciator of music that the ordinary, 'unschooled' Beatles fan couldn't quite comprehend. Gould didn't just stumble on some hidden treasure that the rest of us overlooked – it's like my trying to convince you that 'You Know What To Do' would have catapulted George Harrison to the pinnacle of singer-songwriting status and forever alter The Beatles' Lennon/McCartney dynamic had it only been included on one of their LPs.

BUT, I can't not recommend this book, because of some passages that truly rival the best of the Beatle biographies – there is not a more riveting, or heartbreaking, event in the history of The Beatles' early years, nor a better description of it, than Gould's recounting of how a very young, confused, and frightened John was actually forced to choose between staying with his mother and leaving with his father, right there and then, in their presence, when he hadn't even reached the age of 10.

"I've also enjoyed Spitz's biography The Beatles: The Biography, but I've heard some complaints about it. I thought it was a good read, but my eyebrows went up a couple of times, like when he made reference to "Harry the Horse" in the song "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite." Would a real Beatles follower make that blunder? And shouldn't the author of a Beatles biography at least be a solid follower of their work?"  Peter Weatherby 02/23/10

Again, I wanted to like this book more than I did. The 800-plus pages made me that much more anxious to dive in and get lost in it. I wanted it to be definitive and unequalled in it's epicness. It wasn't, and it isn't. Not a waste of time, but not worth reading 800-plus pages that could just as easily have been edited to half of that without leaving out a single detail.

I have spent FIVE. HOURS. just typing this tonight. I don't want to stop, but there are responsibilities and general hygiene issues I should really attend to before bedtime.

I'll continue tomorrow, so if anyone wants to read more or avoid it altogether, just look for my name and three screens worth of words, always a dead giveaway!

28 September 2012
4.05am
SatanHimself
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I enjoy your postings, but you seriously need to just hit-and-run a bit more.  Five hours to post one comment just isn't practical.  Shut off your logical brain and post emotionally every now and then…

E is for 'Ergent'.
28 September 2012
2.57pm
Von Bontee
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Give him a break, he's only 30 (!) years old, he's got all the time in the world!

I've seen "Can't Buy Me Love" in the library and will probably check it out next, when I'm done the lawyer potboiler and Frank Zappa books I'm reading. But I'm admittedly a bit prejudiced against it already after glancing through a few pages. Guy seems to believe that "And Your Bird Can Sing" was all about Frank Sinatra's privates.

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
28 September 2012
4.01pm
Joe
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Yes, but he did substantiate the claim by referring to a (Life magazine?) interview. Even if it's wrong it's a new interpretation on an old song, and it's always good to see new light thrown on these things.

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

28 September 2012
4.21pm
meanmistermustard
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How does he get to Frank Sinatra'…

you know what, i dont want to know.

 

Was having a flick thru a 1983 book called The Beatles Chronicle (forget the author at the moment) which said that at the the Feb 11 PPM session they also recorded Bad to Me and I'm In Love. Just goes to show what gets cleared up over time.

 

Have finally dusted Pauls book off the shelf and had a glimpse into it. Looks good but am a bit wary as it has a reputation of revisionism.

 

And whilst on books a quick question: 

in 'Abbey Road to Zapple Records: A Beatles Encyclopedia' by Judson Knight (1999) for the entry "Boys"/"Kansas City" (an October 1965 single in the US) he writes that Brian got Capitol to withdraw it in November '65 as it wasnt representiative of the beatles sound and this was shown when Rubber Soul came out a month or so later. Ive never heard that before, has anyone else? Capitol (re)issued 4 other singles on the same day as Boys so it would be strange if only 1 was withdrawn thru request.

"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
28 September 2012
5.57pm
Von Bontee
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Joe, did Gould substantiate that claim in an email exchange or something? I'm told the book itself provides no such accreditation.

Sinatra did indeed say something dismissive about groups with "mops of hair" (not the Beatles specifically) in the April '66 issue of Esquire magazine, and "And Your Bird Can Sing" was recorded that same month. But unless Gould can point to the very Lennon interview in question, I'm still skeptical. The whole thing sounds like a silly rumour mixed with supposition.

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
28 September 2012
7.56pm
Joe
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I've read the Sinatra interview. I think someone posted it here, either in the forum or on the main site. I'll see if I can dig it up.

EDIT: OK, it's here: http://www.esquire.com/features/ESQ1003-OCT_SINATRA_rev_#ixzz21fhVqmka

Mentioned on the And Your Bird Can Sing article, naturally. http://www.beatlesbible.com/songs/and-your-bird-can-sing/comment-page-1/#comment-373537

There's no proof that Lennon based the song on this, but neither is there proof that it's about Mick Jagger/Marianne Faithfull/anyone else. Only conjecture.

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

28 September 2012
9.10pm
Von Bontee
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So all that can be verified is that Sinatra made a disparaging "moptops" remark and used the term "bird". Hmm. I wish there a credible source for this thing – people all over the internet are quoting Gould's book like it's gospel!

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
29 September 2012
12.10am
Wildcat
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I'm sorry, linkjws, in my last comment I mistakenly wrote Can't Buy Me Love when I was thinking of You Never Give Me Your MoneyHuge Mistake. The latter is far superior to the former, so let me correct this: You Never Give Me Your Money 'is the one to read after you've ingested a few other books that deal mainly with The Beatles' history from childhood to breakup.'

There are some really sad moments in You Never Give Me Your Money, and some that will make a fan furious, such as this passage regarding three ex-Beatles attending Eric Clapton and Patti Boyd's wedding in May 1979:

"…Starkey, McCartney and Harrison made music for the first time since January 1970 – drunken, shambolic music, but together nonetheless." "Clapton recalled, 'John later phoned me to say that he would have been there too if he had known about it,' but no one thought to invite him." Which is further proof that Clapton is not God – just an idiot.

The author also writes about one final occasion where John and Paul were going to meet, and Yoko prevented it from happening. I would look that part up in the book, too, but I remember being so disgusted when I originally read it that I'd rather not get all worked up about it again if I can help it. The book as a whole, though, is a great read.

29 September 2012
2.13am
Wildcat
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The Beatles Recording Sessions

is, in my opinion, the single most well-written, engrossing, entertaining, informative and visually beautiful book about The Beatles that will ever be written. It's been narrowly, and unfairly, categorized as a 'reference' book, but I don't think anyone who has read it would agree.

It works on multiple levels: the format is strictly linear, as in not bouncing around to out-of-sequence events, or intermingling various bits of them into a comfortable paragraph or two so the author can theorize on some "deeper meaning" or mold them into a personal opinion he/she thinks the reader is just desperately anxious to know.

[A fat, smug, degenerate sewer rat with a pen and some paper named Albert Goldman did just that with a stack of soiled toilet paper shoved between a book cover and called it a "biography" of John Lennon, published after the man was conveniently no longer around to Give a Piece of his fist A Chance to smack a couple of chins off of Goldman's fat butt-ugly face; it's still considered one of the most viciously slanderous, uninformed and grimy 'unauthorized biographies' ever published.]

Mark Lewisohn's Recording Sessions is a rigidly structured, infinitely-detailed 'journal' – a fancy 'calendar' of the type an obsessively fastidious filing clerk might maintain. There are no 'plot developments' or creative 'twists' to hold on to one's interest, like very good fiction does; none of the suspense a thriller novel should deliver – we, the reader, know that the first 'Recording Session' will be followed by the second one, and the one immediately following that one, with each day of the week, date of the month, and month of the year in a fashion that is wholly predictable and promises nothing more than the fact it will continue that way to the very end.

The Beatles Recording Sessions certainly qualifies as a reference book, still considered one of the finest of its kind. It's also timeless, because it's all real. There's not a fictitious word or sentence to be found. It is a record as true and authentic as the most honest accountant's ledger, as complete and thought-out as your grandmother's most cherished recipe, and as detailed and descriptive as one of those old couples showing you the never-ending slideshow of their recent vacation cruise. It’s also the one book in my lifetime that I’ve read from cover to cover more times than I can remember.

Imagine being the guy who has been given the keys to the vaults of EMI, containing every inch of every tape on every reel of every take of every song ever recorded by The Beatles at Abbey Road Studios;

Imagine having complete, unhindered access to listen, and re-listen to this music, these tapes - every flubbed take, every fragment of clipped tracks and title intros by the engineer, every word uttered, every joke laughed at, every “Aw, shit” and “whoops!” and frustrated noise caught on tape during the creation of the most significant and substantial catalogue of popular music that ever existed.

We may never be able to fulfill that fantasy, but Mark Lewisohn was the most perfect choice to have that access, and he proves it on every page of Recording Sessions. His excitement, and delight, and honest enthusiasm with this project comes through the written page in the kind of way an equally enthusiastic reader can relate to – no stuffy, highbrow criticism or pretentious rambling to distract from the subject we're reading about, but also including the most minute details of these songs and the actual recording process. He dissects individual tracks, and deconstructs the recordings without ever forgetting his purpose or abusing the privilege of sharing these details with the reader. Anyone can play tapes, take notes, gather all the clinical details in chronological order and make a 'reference' book. Lewisohn does all of those things, and then gives us all the juicy details we bought the book for in the first place: the unreleased songs, the abandoned takes, the stuff that wasn't even meant to be recorded; the human element of personalities, group interactions, the tension, the boredom, the discoveries from playing with machines and making experimental collages of sound that end up being the foundation of a completed song.

Lewisohn is such a gifted writer that one just takes for granted his ability to listen. Only someone who has a genuine affection and love for The Beatles' music can accurately describe it. The majority of readers on this site can describe favourite songs, or guitar parts, or harmonies in ways that we all understand and identify with. The difference with Lewisohn is that he is THE person who both listens to, and writes the most beautiful and articulate descriptions about what he hears in The Beatles' music. Without Mark Lewisohn's writing, this could be just another, albeit more accurate, 'reference' book of dates, times, and work accomplished.

When I pay money for a published BOOK about something or someone that I have invested a lot of interest in, I expect the writer of that book to be more knowledgable about that subject than me, and to write about it in an entertaining and informative style that justifies their being worthy enough to deserve having that book published and sold for profit. A serious, hardcore, life-long Beatles fan can spot a fake a mile away. There are people reading these "expert" authorities' books who know more about The Beatles than the writer does. I AM NOT ONE OF THEM, because if I were I would have my OWN book out there and be charging money for it instead of doing it for my own pleasure (and your gracious tolerance) on this site.

If I could keep only one book, or a single written history about The Beatles, it would be this one.

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