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Hunter Davies: The Beatles
30 January 2010
12.25pm
mjb
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My first serious book on The Beatles.  I got it in the early 70s and loved it to bits. It was the first book to really tell you about their upbringing etc. Sadly, its rather dated now plus it was written before the break up so when released in early 1968 there was no mention of the disharmony from within the band. There was also no Yoko, in fact, John and Cyn's marriage was portrayed as quite steady.......!

I know Davies has updated it since, but it didn't quiet compensate in my view.

What is interesting is that a lot was omitted at the time.  For instance there was not a word about Epstein's "night life". In fact, his family made sure Davies kept that part out of the book.

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
30 January 2010
9.06pm
Joe
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My parents gave me their original pressing of this. I've still got it. What updating did he do subsequently?

I think the best bit in the book is the description of the writing and recording of Sgt Pepper. He captured some fascinating moments, particularly on the day they were writing With A Little Help. What an incredible experience for a journalist that must have been.

In many ways I think the book worked well for ending in 1968. If it had gone on to chronicle the Apple wranglings and Yoko stuff a) it would probably have been huge, and b) Allen Klein wouldn't have allowed it (I'm guessing here) for focusing on the negative stuff. As it is, it's a nice snapshot of a simpler time before the rot set in.

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

31 January 2010
7.20am
mjb
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Joe said:

My parents gave me their original pressing of this. I've still got it. What updating did he do subsequently?

I think the best bit in the book is the description of the writing and recording of Sgt Pepper. He captured some fascinating moments, particularly on the day they were writing With A Little Help. What an incredible experience for a journalist that must have been.

In many ways I think the book worked well for ending in 1968. If it had gone on to chronicle the Apple wranglings and Yoko stuff a) it would probably have been huge, and b) Allen Klein wouldn't have allowed it (I'm guessing here) for focusing on the negative stuff. As it is, it's a nice snapshot of a simpler time before the rot set in.


I've never bought and read the update, but there are a couple of chapter added at the back if I recall.

Funny you should mention the 'With A Little Help' writing session.  That was done as Paul's home in Cavendish Avenue and there was one little bit in there that has always stayed with me.

John was trying to call someone on the phone and it was engaged. He naively asked "If I stay on the line will it eventually ring?".

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
31 January 2010
11.43am
Joe
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There's another bit from that day that stayed with me (I read the book in 1990/1 and haven't really returned to it since then). When writing With A Little Help, Cynthia suggests the line "I just feel fine". I paraphrase here, but Lennon replied, "Never use 'just' - it's a nothing word". He's right in a sense, but it's funny how it crept into some of his songs anyway ("Well I just had to laugh"; "I know that I just need you like I've never done before").

Just a small thought of no real consequence Wink

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

31 January 2010
11.52am
mjb
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Joe said:

There's another bit from that day that stayed with me (I read the book in 1990/1 and haven't really returned to it since then). When writing With A Little Help, Cynthia suggests the line "I just feel fine". I paraphrase here, but Lennon replied, "Never use 'just' - it's a nothing word". He's right in a sense, but it's funny how it crept into some of his songs anyway ("Well I just had to laugh"; "I know that I just need you like I've never done before").

Just a small thought of no real consequence Wink


"Don't do as I do, do as I say" kind of thing then Cool

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
15 August 2011
11.35am
Zig
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I just picked this up yesterday and haven't been able to put it down (except for right now, of course). I got the 2002 update (the soft cover published in 2006) of this book or only $5.59 USD and the original hard copy of the Doggett book You Never Give Me Your Money for $17. For those of you who live anywhere near a Borders Book Store, you may have heard they are going out of business. Everything is 30 - 50% off.

They also sell CD's and I was surprised at their selection. A lot of the Lennon remasters, the latest McCartney remasters, etc... I picked up 4 compilation discs (The Who, The Clash, U2 and Rod Stewart) for a total of $27.

Now that the advertisement has ended...stay-on-topic

In a 49 page introduction, Davies explains the 1985 and 2002 updates to the original 1968 version (which, by the way, remains untouched). He wrote that the 1985 version described what happened after the original came out - events like John's death. The latest addition to the original (the lenghty introduction) goes into more detail on things like how he came to do the book in the first place and also "observations and information I didn't use in 1968, partly because there wasn't space, partly because there were things I couldn't say, not at the time." These things included more about Brian's exploits and Aunt Mimi's "editing" of the original 1968 edition.

Anyway, I am about to start the chapter about John going into art college. This could be the best 5 dollars and change I ever spent!

To the fountain of perpetual mirth, Let it roll for all its worth.

Every Little Thing you buy from Amazon or iTunes will help the Beatles Bible if you use these links: Amazon | iTunes

15 August 2011
1.18pm
mr. Sun king coming together
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I. Am. Hugely. Jealous. This may be the only time I wish I ever lived in the USA. Zig, it seems to me deals almost find you (Flaming Pie and Memory Almost Full for $12). I haven't read the book in question, but even if I had, I'd still be jealous. But I got Doggett's book for $13, so I'm happy.

I tried to think of something powerful and moving… and failed.  "You were given a choice between war and dishonor - you chose dishonor, and you shall have war" - Winston Churchill
15 August 2011
6.03pm
The Walrus
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I have this book, but I've never read it all the way through, I don't think. What I did read was very well written.

And I neeeeeeeeed her all the time
16 August 2011
11.47am
Joe
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My parents gave me an original copy of Hunter's book. I love it - he's such a lucky man to have been there at that time. I've seen the reissues but never bought them - thanks for the info on their contents Zig. Good haul at Borders too - the UK branches closed a couple of years ago and I picked up some bargains then.

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

13 October 2011
4.24am
Into the Sky with Diamonds
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This was the first Beatle book I ever read. I still have the original hardcover copy somewhere. It was great. The main downside is that it's an authorized biography. There's nothing in there that anyone wouldn't want you to know....

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
21 November 2011
12.14pm
Zig
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I've been meaning to post this for a while but kept forgetting. When I read the following passage from the book, I had an "Ah-ha!" moment. It is George discussing Indian music.

Instead of quavers and dots written across lines, Indian music is written down very simply, like our tonic sol-fa. Instead of Doh, Ray, Me and so on, they sing Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni, Sa.

Did any of you just have an "Ah-ha!" moment?a-hard-days-night-george-2

To the fountain of perpetual mirth, Let it roll for all its worth.

Every Little Thing you buy from Amazon or iTunes will help the Beatles Bible if you use these links: Amazon | iTunes

24 November 2011
2.26pm
Joe
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That Dhani was named after the scale? I think George acknowledged it once, or I read it somewhere or other. I probably wouldn't have worked it out for myself though - congratulations!

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 December 2011
5.16pm
JaiGuruDevaOm
Amy
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I am currently reading this book. I'm on the chapter about Paul, so please, no spoilers for those who have read it! I think I have the 2008 version, I belive it's the 40th anniversary edition. It is somewhat updated I think. In the intro he talks about what he wishes that he had put in the book, you know, certain pictures. Not sure if anyone else has this copy. I wouldn't say it's rare or anything. Even though I've only just started it, it is one of THE best Beatles books I've ever read, along with 'Revolution In The Head' by Ian Macdonald which I highly recommend.

See All Without Looking, Do All Without Doing 
10 December 2011
11.45pm
Into the Sky with Diamonds
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JaiGuruDevaOm, I agree it's a great book indeed, though being fully authorized it's also fully sanitized!

"Revolution in the Head" is great too.

Maybe I'm just lucky, but I don't think I've read a bad Beatle book, though some are more dense than others. They all look at different angles.

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
11 December 2011
12.02am
meanmistermustard
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Revolution in the Head is a great book to read, very illuminating in several areas not just the songs. Hunter Davies book has never appealed to me, i think its down to reading so often that a lot of the stories were vetoed. I know that shouldnt matter as there is good material in there but, i dont know, this book is a 'meh' and a shoulder shrug.

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
11 December 2011
12.35am
mithveaen
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I just hope to have time to read that book in my Christmas vacations.

 

*looking at the pile of books about teaching, action research and bilinguism* a-hard-days-night-paul-1

Here comes the sun….. Scoobie-doobie…… Something in the way she moves…..attracts me like a cauliflower… Bop. Bop, cat bop. Go, Johnny, Go. Beware of Darkness…  I believe in SH...
11 December 2011
11.08am
JaiGuruDevaOm
Amy
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I have got some Beatles books with just pictures in, them are the ones which I despise. I have read really thick books about them but most of them say all the same things. The great thing about Hunter's book is that it's 100%. It's got no rubbish about them. I also have another great one which I recived for Christmas last year, I think it's called '10 Great Years' ny MOJO Magazine or something like that (too lazy to run upstairs and check) It's got this great story about Charles Manson and how he wrote the lyrics of Piggies, Helter Skelter and You Never Give Me Your Money with blood. This was brand new info for me. It's a great book. This is what I could get of Wiki:

 

Manson believed in what he called "Helter Skelter," a term he took from the song of the same name by The Beatles. Manson believed Helter Skelter to be an impending apocalyptic race war, which he described in his own version of the lyrics to the Beatles' song. He believed his murders would help precipitate that war. From the beginning of his notoriety, this connection with rock music linked him with a pop culture in which he ultimately became an emblem of insanity, violence and the macabre. The term was later used by Manson prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi as the title of a book he wrote about the Manson murders.

You should really check this out, although it's a bit creepy.

See All Without Looking, Do All Without Doing 
11 December 2011
12.36pm
meanmistermustard
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Joe has written an article about the Manson murders and its beatles connections here.

How anyone can take Honey Pie as a sign to carry out murder is way beyond me.

Don’t make your love suffer insecurities, trade the baggage of self to set another one free. ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)
11 December 2011
2.34pm
Into the Sky with Diamonds
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This is all good stuff.

You might one day want to check out Into the Sky...

I've collected the very best stories of the major books out there (and many obscure ones). There are over 80 references in my bibliography. I'd be curious to get our feedback.

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
11 December 2011
2.36pm
Into the Sky with Diamonds
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(That would be "your" feedback. Tisk tisk. I should be better at proof-reading)

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
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