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The Beatles: The Biography by Bob Spitz
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PennyLane
Sitting singing songs for everyone by the mountain stream
1206 Posts
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1
21 December 2010 - 10.36pm

I received this book as a gift and now that my classes are over, I have a chance to read it.

Has anyone read it? Is it any good?

[Image Can Not Be Found]

Well we all shine on like the moon, the stars, and the sun.

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vonbontee
Inside an Apple Orchard in a Letterbox
2815 Posts
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22 December 2010 - 12.10am

I enjoyed that book a lot, considered it practically like a tragic real-life novel. But apparently it's got a lot of inaccuracies, that you may or may not consider minor.

I remember George saying 'Blimey, he's always talking about “Yesterday”, you'd think he was Beethoven or somebody' - Paul McCartney

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PennyLane
Sitting singing songs for everyone by the mountain stream
1206 Posts
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3
22 December 2010 - 12.22am

Hopefully the inaccuracies won't annoy me too much, but I like your description of it being a "tragic real-life novel". Cool, I'm gonna start reading it now. Thanks! 

apple01

Well we all shine on like the moon, the stars, and the sun.

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mr. Sun king coming together
Nowhere Land
6429 Posts
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4
12 February 2011 - 2.25pm

I started it, but Spitz isn't my type of writer. Ov Vey

As if it matters how a man falls down.'

'When the fall's all that's left, it matters a great deal.

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Joe
Pepperland
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12 February 2011 - 3.22pm

http://www.beatlesnews.com/new.....rrors.html

Apparently he wrote the photo captions in a rush just before a deadline, and were corrected for a second edition. I don't know about the rest - I've not read the book.

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

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mr. Sun king coming together
Nowhere Land
6429 Posts
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12 February 2011 - 4.15pm

You really needn't. Just my opinion of course but you seem to know more than Mr. Spitz

As if it matters how a man falls down.'

'When the fall's all that's left, it matters a great deal.

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PennyLane
Sitting singing songs for everyone by the mountain stream
1206 Posts
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7
12 February 2011 - 9.42pm

I haven't finished the book yet. I got as far as I think about John taking dance lessons. I haven't had time to finish it because of my classes.

But reading those mistakes on the article made me laugh. 

Well we all shine on like the moon, the stars, and the sun.

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mr. Sun king coming together
Nowhere Land
6429 Posts
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12 February 2011 - 9.51pm

PennyLane said:

I haven't finished the book yet. I got as far as I think about John taking dance lessons. I haven't had time to finish it because of my classes.

But reading those mistakes on the article made me laugh. 


I saw them earlier, but I gave it a try. Bad choice.

As if it matters how a man falls down.'

'When the fall's all that's left, it matters a great deal.

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deboraht
23 Posts
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9
14 February 2011 - 3.56pm

I think this is the book where he says Patti and George met on the set of Help...I found a few mistakes which quite annoyed me. He heavily used the official bio of the Beatles from 1968 by Hunter Davies for source quotes.

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vonbontee
Inside an Apple Orchard in a Letterbox
2815 Posts
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14 February 2011 - 7.34pm

That's exactly the sort of silly, easily correctable error that plagues the book – I think at one point Spitz claims that Rubber Soul has 13 songs, or something equally flat-out wrong. But when I call the book a "real-life novel", I'm thinking specifically about dramatic passages like this one, depicting the recording of "Twist & Shout":

 

Everyone knew they’d have to get it on the first take — the band, the engineer, everybody had to do his job, without a missed note or a glitch.  There would be nothing left of John’s voice after that.

[. . .]

John tore open a wax carton and gargled noisily with milk.  He’d played most of the day in a rumpled suit, but sometime after dinner the jacket was removed and two fingers yanked down the tie.  Now, without a word, he stripped off his shirt.  He draped it over a bench, then walked over to the mike and nodded to the others: good to go.

It is obvious from the very first notes that John was straining for control.  “Shake it up bay-be-eee. . .” was more of a shriek than singing.  There was nothing left of his voice.  It was bone-dry, stripped bare, with all the resonance husked from the tone, and the sound it made was like an angry, hoarse-voiced fan screeching at a football match.  Between clamped jaws, contorting his face, he croaked, “Twist And Shout.”  He had been struggling all day to reach notes, but this was different, this hurt.  And it was painful to listen to.  Still, John held nothing in reserve.  Trancelike, as the band rocked harder, buliding excitement with their impetuous energy, the struggle grew more intense.  “C’mon, and twist a litle closer” broke up into an agonizing, demonic rasp, until on the last refrain of the tortured throatiness strangled every word before Paul, in admiration, shouted, “Hey,” celebrating, as they miraculously crossed the finished line.

John was wasted, near collapse, but the others already knew what he was about to find out from a playback: that for all its hairiness, “Twist And Shout” is a masterpiece . . .

 

 

That may not be entirely appropriate reporting – it's not as though Spitz was actually there, obviously – but it's good stuff. I'm not necessarily recommending Spitz's book (presumably everyone is going to wait for the Lewisohn's definitive works), just explaining what I liked about it.

I remember George saying 'Blimey, he's always talking about “Yesterday”, you'd think he was Beethoven or somebody' - Paul McCartney

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mr. Sun king coming together
Nowhere Land
6429 Posts
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14 February 2011 - 8.09pm

vonbontee said:

That's exactly the sort of silly, easily correctable error that plagues the book – I think at one point Spitz claims that Rubber Soul has 13 songs, or something equally flat-out wrong. But when I call the book a "real-life novel", I'm thinking specifically about dramatic passages like this one, depicting the recording of "Twist & Shout"

 

That may not be entirely appropriate reporting – it's not as though Spitz was actually there, obviously – but it's good stuff. I'm not necessarily recommending Spitz's book (presumably everyone is going to wait for the Lewisohn's definitive works), just explaining what I liked about it.

I know that mistakes are inevitable, and that passage is great, but The story doesn't pass basic tests. 


As if it matters how a man falls down.'

'When the fall's all that's left, it matters a great deal.

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GniknuS
Rain? I don't mind
1327 Posts
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12
15 May 2011 - 8.51pm

I read this book a few years ago and thought it was okay, but I'm leafing through it again at work and it appears as though Spitz let his imagination get the best of him at certain points. That's not necessarily a bad thing because it makes the book more interesting and readable, but I don't know how factual the book is, especially the White Album and Apple stuff where he really goes off the deep end. He seems to get most of his information from Anthology and various other places, but I get the feeling that he filled in a few areas with his own interpretations. He spends a lot of time talking about Brian's and John's personalities and how self destructive they both were.
It's tough to say about this one, it's a good book but it seems more like fiction in certain places.

I sat on a rug, biding my time, drinking her wine

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PennyLane
Sitting singing songs for everyone by the mountain stream
1206 Posts
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13
15 May 2011 - 10.03pm

I still need to read this... a-hard-days-night-ringo-14

Well we all shine on like the moon, the stars, and the sun.

JFKin60
Tempe, Arizona
72 Posts
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14
28 May 2011 - 7.33pm

Spitz's book was pretty tough to read and reading his mistakes on here were shocking.

However, it's a very detailed book and probably stands as the top biography of the band running through the Beatle years. 

He comes of full of himself on Utube videos and endorsed Goldman prior to the Goldman book and ripped him after.

"If George Harrison can have a triple album, why can't I have a double album?"–Yoko Ono

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C.R.A.
Land of the Rising Sun
468 Posts
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15
31 July 2014 - 11.57pm

Got this one yesterday.

“Send John out first; he’s the one they want.”

~ someone said it, dammit.

Memphis, 1966

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IveJustSeenAFaceo
Arrived Somewhere (But Not Here)
2828 Posts
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16
3 August 2014 - 12.11am

It's meh. It was probably the best Beatles biography out there, but Tune In alone destroys it. 

The following people thank IveJustSeenAFaceo for this post:

C.R.A.

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

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C.R.A.
Land of the Rising Sun
468 Posts
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17
4 August 2014 - 12.07am

I read Tune In... three times, actually. paul-mccartney

I'm just now getting to Spitz' introduction of McCartney and have already come across a couple of "Uh... what?"

But that's the nature of these things.

“Send John out first; he’s the one they want.”

~ someone said it, dammit.

Memphis, 1966

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DrBeatle
Hershey via Boston
1556 Posts
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18
5 August 2014 - 5.17pm

I've made my thoughts on this book known here and elsewhere...it's putrid and not worth reading. Beyond that, Spitz is a grade-A asshole, as evidenced by how he responded to fans who pointed out some his numerous errors to him:

http://www.beatlesnews.com/new.....rrors.html

To give you an idea of what I think of this book, a few years ago our garage flooded and I lost several of my books that were ruined by water and mold damage...the Spitz book survived, to which I was incredibly disappointed. I threw it out with the lot anyway.

"I know you, you know me; one thing I can tell you is you got to be free!"

 

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Zig
The Toppermost of the Poppermost

8722 Posts
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19
5 August 2014 - 7.01pm

Thanks for that link DrB - it was a great read - hilarious!

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

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DrBeatle
Hershey via Boston
1556 Posts
(Offline)
20
5 August 2014 - 9.27pm

Zig said
Thanks for that link DrB - it was a great read - hilarious!

Haha, no problem! Can you imagine the nerve of that clown talking to his customers like that? What a DB! It's not FANS' fault his book is riddled with inaccuracies!

"I know you, you know me; one thing I can tell you is you got to be free!"

 

Please Visit My Website, The Rock and Roll Chemist

Twitter: @rocknrollchem

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