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Best Beatles Book?
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4 May 2016
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C.R.A.
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Beatles author Robert Rodriguez took this list to task today.

source

So, this came up:

http://www.rollingstone.com/â€.....s-20160504

Never mind the fact that none of my stuff is represented - I’ll overlook that. But there are some SERIOUS omissions here, and some completely inexplicable choices. Here’s my take:

10 'The Beatles, Lennon and Me,' by Pete Shotton

Can’t disagree with this one. A very good insider book, written with love by someone without an axe to grind, while not sparing unflattering depictions.

9 'The Man Who Gave the Beatles Away,' by Allan Williams

One of my personal faves and highly-recommended, though with the caveat that there is some creative writing going on here. Viewed as historical fiction produced by one who was there and not as gospel, a perfectly worthy volume.

8 'Here, There And Everywhere : My Life Recording the Beatles,' by Geoff Emerick

(Groan) No, no no. My feelings on this book are well known, and if it were viewed the same way I described Allan Williams’ book, there’d be no issues. But it isn’t: it’s a much-loved volume treated as gospel by too many people who should know better, as well as the final word on what went on in the studio. It’s neither: instead, it offers biases presented as fact, none so much as the anti-George slant throughout. Further, Emerick’s miraculous vivid recall of events occurring decades before, as well as his assuming credit for much innovation, must be taken with a massive grain of salt.

First, there’s this (http://www.angelfire.com/…/b.....k1979.html ) - an interview done far closer to the Beatle years revealing his inability to remember the details of anything. Then too there is the call out from colleague Ken Scott, who spoke of Emerick’s franticly reaching out to past co-workers for anecdotes as soon as he got a book deal, owing to the fact that he couldn’t remember enough to flesh out a book.

There’s a great book waiting to be written on the Beatles in the studio - this isn’t it, but THIS one comes much closer to the mark: http://www.curvebender.com/rtb.html

7 'Shout!: The Beatles in Their Generation,' by Philip Norman

Meh. Lots of great narrative, marred by Norman’s Lennonista tendencies (“John was 3/4 of The Beatles,” he said in an interview at the time) and marginalization of Paul, which he’s since recanted. Mark Lewisohn’s Tune In makes a far worthier addition to this list (without covering the entirety of their career, of course).

6 'The Beatles: The Authorized Biography,' by Hunter Davies

Derided by Lennon as a sanitized telling of their story, it is still a must-own, if only for the access The Beatles gave Davies, who - as a fly on the wall - not only observed Lennon-McCartney writing sessions (for Sgt. Pepper ) but also recording dates, plus their personal interactions, wives included.

5 'Lennon Remembers,' by Jann S. Wenner

Revealing the perils of a fanboy getting unfettered access to his idol at a time when he (John) was coming off incomplete psychotherapy treatment and looking to sell his new album while laying waste to his Beatle past. If a real journalist had gotten a shot at this and called bullshit on the mountains of it being shoveled his way, the results might have been quite illuminating and worthwhile. Instead, we’re treated to a series of contradictions and John’s unfettered expressions of his id, unchallenged.

Maybe a more insightful volume to take its place would be the combined In His Own Write/ A Spaniard in the Works - unwittingly revealing and far more entertaining.

4 'The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions,' by Mark Lewisohn

This work IS essential, but I would substitute The Complete Beatles Chronicle - a broader work that folded in his earlier The Beatles Live!, plus updated with new information and corrections of previous errors.

3 'The Love You Make: An Insider's Story of the Beatles,' by Peter Brown and Steven Gaines

The “scandalous choice” would’ve been Albert Goldman’s The Lives of John Lennon - a work that invited the overkill of derision it got for its hardline anti-Lennon editorializing - yet actually includes some worthwhile research, but not for the demonizing spin put on everything.

The Love You Make, on the other hand, represents nothing less than salacious gossip and score-settling from an insider who apparently wished not to be one anymore. Brown betrayed his past associates and the Beatles by using his privileged position to sell them all out - a pox on it.

2 'Revolution in the Head,' by Ian MacDonald

Another much-loved work nonetheless loaded with errors of fact (most involving music theory) beyond counting and some heavy-handed biases expressed. Worth reading, if one recognizes upfront the author’s tendency toward expressing opinion as fact, and applying an obtuse level of scholarly analysis to things that don’t always warrant it.

Far more recommended (by me): the multi-volume examinations produced by both John C. Winn and Walter Everett. They too examine everything through a musicologist’s ears, but rely less on opinion, have far greater accuracy and just more readable.

1 'Love Me Do ! The Beatles' Progress,' by Michael Braun

A real dark horse choice - recommended! An insightful account of their rise to fame, informed by proximity to the group as they went about their frenetic business, filled with some great journalistic observations early on that would take on greater meaning in the years that followed.

Among the missing:

Can’t Buy Me Love by Jonathan Gould

Highly recommended account of their story, presented as a contextualizing narrative that fills in the gaps missing in most other books: how their times shaped them and vice-versa. Understanding exactly WHY their story is so compelling requires knowing the world they lived in and what made what they accomplished such a big deal.

The Beatles Gear by Andy Babiuk

You don’t have to be a gear head to appreciate the great history and insight presented here. The book puts you in the Beatles’s shoes as they acquired the tools with which they changed the world, explaining why certain choices were made and how they in turn influenced the resulting music.

The Longest Cocktail Party by Richard DiLello.

Wonderfully entertaining insider account of the brief Apple years, pre-Klein. Terrific portraits of the Beatles and their circle, from the perspective of a young American.

You Never Give Me Your Money by Peter Doggett

Traces the business side of their story, well into the solo years, while shining light on the interband dynamics. Grasping this side of things goes a long way toward providing understanding of what happened between them and why.

Honorable Mentions: The works of Bruce Spizer are all worthwhile for those interested in the presentation of their works.

Nicholas Schaffner’s The Beatles Forever - a great single-volume narrative, richly illustrated; recalled fondly by us fans of a certain age.

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Zig, ewe2

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5 May 2016
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Zig
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ahdn_paul_06Very helpful for anyone looking to build a Beatles book collection.

I'll be picking up a few more based on his recommendations as they jibe with many recommendations I've seen from BBFFers.

Thanks, @C.R.A. .

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C.R.A.

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5 May 2016
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C.R.A.
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Personally, for anyone just now getting into the subject matter, that anything written by Lewisohn be among the first to kick off the collection.

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Necko

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14 May 2016
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Bullion
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Does anyone know if they'll be another reissuing of Mark Lewisohn's The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years

15 May 2016
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Ahhh Girl
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Don.W said
Does anyone know if they'll be another reissuing of Mark Lewisohn's The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years  

A quick Google search doesn't link to any stories about more reissues. Amazon has some 2013s for around $90.

30 August 2017
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fabsies
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I think Alistair Taylor's with the Beatles is the only one I've read more than once and yet I attended the Beatles convention with Mark Lewishon and he said there's some made up stuff in there. There was a Raymond Jones for a start!

29 October 2017
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Billy Rhythm
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There's really only two Beatles' books one needs to get the whole story...

1)  'The Beatles Anthology' - read The Beatles tell their own story themselves...  sometimes they even get it wrong but one of the other three will set the record straight...  It's one of the beautiful things about hearing them tell the tale, The Beatles' experience was something different for each of them...  If you're gonna read one Beatles' book in your life then this is the one...

2)  'The Love You Make - An Insider's Story of The Beatles' - if you're looking to fill in the blanks that The Beatles either can't remember or, more commonly, would rather you not know about then this is the only other book you need...  Authored by Peter Brown, someone who was there through it all...  Having been written just over a decade after The Beatles broke up, the memories are still somewhat fresh and his sources are virtually all from the same ilk...  insiders...  His sources are well referenced throughout and are people you've likely heard of before...

A lot of effort has gone into smearing Peter Brown's name (yes, the same fella from 'The Ballad of John & Yoko') after this book went out...  That in itself seems to authenticate a lot of what he said...  Really now, there's plenty of volumes out there that contain so many blatant obvious lies that no one even comments on at all...  Paul & Linda McCartney were particularly upset by the book (Peter Brown did consult & interview them for the work) but I don't believe that it's because they felt he wasn't being truthful, in fact, quite the contrary...  When asked about the book's accuracy in an interview, Linda's response was "it doesn't matter what he wrote, he was a friend and we trusted him"...  She quickly redirected the question and went on about how Peter held her baby when she was born...  Sir George Martin himself also said something to the effect that "there are no actual lies in the book, but he just took all the juicy stuff and made it out to be all that there was"...

You'll find that a lot of Peter Brown's accounts were vindicated and matched up to The Beatles' 'Anthology' interviews released just over a decade later as well...  Nearly all of the other Beatle books, and there are many, are written by Outsiders who weren't there and are likely doing it for:  a) Hoping to attach their name to The Beatles' legacy (some have had tremendous success with this) or,  b) Trying to cash in on The Beatles' name...  often they gun for both...

Whenever one wants "the real story" about anything then I say, go to the source...  and these two books are the closest thing you'll get to "the real story" anywhere, in my opinion...:-)

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Into the Sky with Diamonds
29 October 2017
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The Beatles: An Oral History is great because it is told through contemporary interviews. 

"The pump don't work cause the vandals took the handles!"

-Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues

"We could ride and surf together while our love would grow"

-Brian Wilson, Surfer Girl

28 January 2018
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Ludwig
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Hi all

Three questions re: Beatles books

1. Will the Ryan & Kehew book 'Recording the Beatles' ever be reprinted? It's seems daft that second hand copies are going for a grand.

2. I love Revolution in the Head so have been surprised to read on here that there are many errors. Can anyone tell me just what these errors are and how we know them to be errors?

3. Are Bruce  Sprizer's books limited prints? They seem few and far between and very pricey.

Cheers.

30 January 2018
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Shamrock Womlbs
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Ludwig said

1. Will the Ryan & Kehew book 'Recording the Beatles' ever be reprinted? It's seems daft that second hand copies are going for a grand.

I once sent them an email (one year ago or so) asking them that very same question but had no reply.

"I Need You by George Harrison"

8 April 2018
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Timothy
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How many Beatles books do people here have in total? Just curious. 

1.The Beatles 2.Sgt. Pepper 3.Abbey Road 4.Magical Mystery Tour 5.Rubber Soul 6.Revolver 7.Help! 8.Let It Be
9.A Hard Day’s Night 10.Please Please Me 11.Beatles For Sale 12.With The Beatles 13.Yellow Submarine

9 April 2018
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Von Bontee
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Ludwig said
Hi all

Three questions re: Beatles books

2. I love Revolution in the Head so have been surprised to read on here that there are many errors. Can anyone tell me just what these errors are and how we know them to be errors?

Cheers.  

I'm not sure if MacDonald is the one responsible, but the incorrect claim that the TNK guitar break is just the Taxman solo played backwards is a particular bugbear of mine. 

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sir walter raleigh

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9 April 2018
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Ludwig said
Hi all

Three questions re: Beatles books

1. Will the Ryan & Kehew book 'Recording the Beatles' ever be reprinted? It's seems daft that second hand copies are going for a grand.

2. I love Revolution in the Head so have been surprised to read on here that there are many errors. Can anyone tell me just what these errors are and how we know them to be errors?

3. Are Bruce  Sprizer's books limited prints? They seem few and far between and very pricey.

Cheers.  

Revolution In The Head is great in my opinion. Several of the flaws are in his personel listings. Although several of the points in question are highly debatable. 

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9 April 2018
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TheWalrusWasBrian
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I really enjoy Steve Turner's A Hard Day's Write, gives quick, but detailed, explanations on how the song was written. Plus, has great pictures!

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Beatlebug

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9 April 2018
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^ I've read that one as well. john-lennon-salute_gif It's a bit heavy on personal opinion, but it does have some cool, obscure photos.

Actually, it's the only proper Beatles book I own (Life magazine books on the Beatles and George Harrison and a Rolling Stone Beatles album guide notwithstanding). a-hard-days-night-paul-7

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TheWalrusWasBrian

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9 April 2018
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I believe I own three, not including I Me Mine and a magazine about Paul.

But this one's my favourite, I can just flip to a page and be greeted by a song and some info, and of course a beautiful picture. (of Ringo if I'm lucky)ahdn_ringo_09

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20 April 2018
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Hi Everyone,

Im new to the forum and glad to be here. My appreciation of The Beatles has grown over the years to the stage where I am really appreciating their music and their genius and the fact that they grew and transformed as artists in such a short period of time. I would like to ask about books that you guys would recommend that should be read so my education and appreciation of The Beatles can continue to grow and mature.

Many thanks,

Dave

20 April 2018
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Hey Dave.

 

Have moved your post to here, it's a thread where folk can recommend books but you can also read thru and see what has previously been highlighted and possibly appeal to you. Enjoy the forum.

"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris) 

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21 April 2018
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The Beatles Anthology is a must own, in my opinion.

I also love All The Songs : The Story Behind Every Beatles Release. 

1.The Beatles 2.Sgt. Pepper 3.Abbey Road 4.Magical Mystery Tour 5.Rubber Soul 6.Revolver 7.Help! 8.Let It Be
9.A Hard Day’s Night 10.Please Please Me 11.Beatles For Sale 12.With The Beatles 13.Yellow Submarine

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The book with the Andy Warhol cover is my favorite.  It's fantastic!  I used to have it and need to get a copy of it again.

If I were stranded on a deserted island and could only bring one album with me, it would be Revolver. 

I just hope that I would have some means of playing it.  Ha ha!

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