Beatles biographies?

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anyone out there recommend a good biography of the beatles?

i seem to remember someone telling me to stay away from that sorta-recent Lennon biography (Albert Goldman?), and someone else telling me that Philip Norman's Shout: The Beatles in their Generation was aces.

any advice for someone looking for an informative and fun read about a band he knows little-to-nothing about? (ducks.)

tony bleach, Sunday, 16 February 2003 19:55 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

'The Love You Make' 1983. By Peter Brown and Steve Gaines. The authors were there as it happened, and aren't afraid to paint an honest picture of the "boys in the band".

bahtology, Sunday, 16 February 2003 20:52 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Honestly, the Beatles Anthology book that came out a couple of years ago is FANTASTIC--I mean, it's all the official story, but it's got some amazing primary documents, pictures, etc. Super-fun.

Douglas (Douglas), Sunday, 16 February 2003 20:58 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Norman's Shout! is entertaining but really unreliable (he hates McCartney and doesn't really understand pop at all, so he takes a lot of cheap shots at anyone who ISN'T the Beatles: at one point he says Brian Jones was the Stones' "only musician of consequence"!!) (oddly enough Norman's next project was a Stones bio...)

Justyn Dillingham (Justyn Dillingham), Monday, 17 February 2003 07:30 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The Love You Make's fantastic! Juicy!

James Blount (James Blount), Monday, 17 February 2003 07:35 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"The Love You Make" should be required reading for any fan but it destroyed several of my long held beliefs regarding the band members. As with all things I guess, the myth was nicer than the reality.

J-rock (Julien Sandiford), Monday, 17 February 2003 08:12 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

hunter davies 'the beatles'.
official as-it-was-happening authorised biog, but way revealing and brilliantly written, detailing all the good stuff.

macca's 'many years from now', ace ace ace.
paul in full-on honesty mode, totally different from his pain-in-the-arse-at-times persona in 'anthology' tv show. he talks about everything from taking smack to w*nking competetions with lennon.

dom delillo's 'longest cocktail party' was re-released lately to much hoo-ha. not read it, meant to be ace. it's all about the 67-69 era.

then there's michael braun's eye-witness '64 tour report
'love me do: the beatles progress' which purported to show them
'as they really are' at the time, seemed pretty revelatory in it's day
(" do the boys really swear this much" asked NME) but seems tame now.
good though, as it's a one-of-a-kind job, and they never did it again because lennon said he made them look 'like a bunch of bastards because we are...'

the Q official beatles mag (4.99 from q online) is about as good as a
starter for the full story as you could get. it really is fantastic.
every major bit of their career in detail, loads of opinion, loads of
piss-take, eyewitness accounts, reviews etc. much of it culled from peak-era of Q writing (yes there was such a thing).

their own anthology book should be out soon in pprback too.

mark lewishon's books are a bit too technical and dry i find, though they get lots of critical appraisal.
also it goes without saying that the latest, up-to-date version
of ian macdonald's 'revolution ion the head' is the bible, but there's
obviously no 'story'.

piscesboy, Monday, 17 February 2003 13:29 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

In My Life is a good bio of Lennon by his childhood buddy & later apple records valet Pete Shotton. Covers real well the shock of John's buddies when he got all into drugs & ono.

autovac (autovac), Monday, 17 February 2003 16:08 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"In my life" seconded - tho' it obviously mostly concentrates on lennon, from amusing childhood japes to john buying the author a supermarket cos he thought he might like to manage one!

pulpo, Monday, 17 February 2003 16:54 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Mark Shipper's "Paperback Writer" remains the most accurate, balanced and thorough tome on this seminal band, especially on their attempted comeback in the mid-'70s.

frank p. jones (frank p. jones), Monday, 17 February 2003 18:38 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

seven years pass...

Should I read Norman or Spitz?

If Norman hates McCartney as stated upthread then not only do I hate him but also he should be slowly roasted and killed while "Simply Having a Wonderful Xmas Time" blares in his ears

dark link (roxymuzak), Saturday, 29 January 2011 17:11 (six years ago) Permalink

also curious about the new mccartney bio Fab.

dark link (roxymuzak), Saturday, 29 January 2011 17:12 (six years ago) Permalink

Paperback Writer seconded.

Never Make Your Moog Too Soon (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 29 January 2011 21:45 (six years ago) Permalink

I recently finished Peter Doggett's You Never Give Me Your Money, which covers approximately Abbey Road through to the present day. It's simultaneously fascinating and depressing, and there are a number of revelations (the one that stayed with me most was that the knife attack on Harrison was far worse than it was made out to be at the time). About two-thirds of the way through you realize, wait, this band he's writing about, where each member almost went bankrupt, who got cheated out of millions and millions of the BEATLES.

Son of Sisyphus of Reaganing (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Saturday, 29 January 2011 22:31 (six years ago) Permalink

must read that! You Never Give Me Your Money seems to be the most critically acclaimed fabs book in a very long time. no end of scholars repping for it all over the place.
can't wait for Lewisohn's books though, the first of which is due out this Chrtistmas. 3 volumes over the next decade! (although supposedly Lewishon was only "up to Hamburg" about 6 months ago.) seems Philip Norman's recent Lennon book is another winner, perhaps the most even-handed *decent* Lennon book written since his death.

i can only apologise for my '03 posts being written like i was EE Cummings.

by the way we had a few chats about biogs (and indeed every thing else Fabs related under teh sun) on this thread
I have had it up to here waiting for the Beatles catalogue to be remastered

piscesx, Sunday, 30 January 2011 01:40 (six years ago) Permalink

'The Love You Make' 1983. By Peter Brown and Steve Gaines. The authors were there as it happened, and aren't afraid to paint an honest picture of the "boys in the band".

I love how fucking trashy this book was. Just loved it. Gaines wrote an equally OTT Beach Boys bio.

totally small truffles (Abbbottt), Sunday, 30 January 2011 01:44 (six years ago) Permalink

so what are these new lewisohn books?

tylerw, Sunday, 30 January 2011 02:38 (six years ago) Permalink

As mentioned upthread "Many Years From Now" is A+++.

Love Richie Unterberger's "Unreleased Beatles".

Bought Christopher Sandford's "McCartney" cheap and soon figured out why it was a bargain. Crappy.

A happenstance discovery of asynchronous lesbians (Capitaine Jay Vee), Sunday, 30 January 2011 02:41 (six years ago) Permalink

xp to tylerw
a 3 volume set coming out over the next decade covering the whole story in insanely exhaustive detail. volume 1 pushed back and back, but recently there has been some activity: terrible title!

ADVANCE INFORMATION The Beatles – The Complete Story

Key Editorial Points: UK Publication Date: 01 September 2011 Edition: Hardback

First part of the definitive three-volume biography of the Beatles

ISBN-13: 978 0 316 72960 4

UK Pub Price: £25.00

Classification: Biography

The Book: Format && Size: R (234 x 153 mm)

Illustrations: 16pp of b/w photos Extent: 800 pp

The Beatles are the cultural phenomeon of our time, arguably – unarguably? – of all time.

In addition to their outstanding and clearly timeless music, their influence still pulses around the world in unaccountable aspects of everyday life. FAB has one aim: to be the all-tile standard word on the Beatles. Comprehensive, objective, unexpurgated and the product of definitively deep-level research, it will set down the whole story, easily, in three volumes.

Volume One tells the early part of the story in two parts: 'Passion' from 1940-62 discusses the beginnings of the band, and 'Explosion' focuses on 1963, the year when everything changed.

Mark Lewisohn is the author six previous Beatles books and has been described by the Independent as the band's 'Emeritus Professor'.


The Beatles Live!, The Beatles: 25 Years in the Life, The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, John Lennon: In My Life, The Complete Beatles Chronicle, The Beatles' London

Reviews: 'Mark Lewisohn stands supreme. His dedication in getting all the true facts, coupled with a style of writing that is most readable, leaves him with no rival. Time and again he has proven that he knows far more about what we did than any of us' George Martin.

FAB the working title one presumes.

piscesx, Sunday, 30 January 2011 03:04 (six years ago) Permalink

mark lewishon's books are a bit too technical and dry i find, though they get lots of critical appraisal.

Me too...the only one of his I've enjoyed reading is The Beatles London (one of my favourite Beatles books), and it's notable that it has two co-authors.

Bob Six, Sunday, 30 January 2011 12:05 (six years ago) Permalink


dark link (roxymuzak), Sunday, 30 January 2011 21:26 (six years ago) Permalink

dunno, that bio kind of depressed me -- not that i need a beatles bio to be all la-di-dah aren't the beatles great, but doesn't everyone in it come across as petty jerks?

tylerw, Sunday, 30 January 2011 21:39 (six years ago) Permalink

I'm about 20 pages into You Never Give Me Your Money, and it's so so good so far. Amazing descriptions of Paul in 67, swanning around London charming everyone he meets, followed by him leaving a typewritten note for John saying "You and your Jap tart think you're hot shit" which he left for him "for a lark." Just fucking crazy.

nate woolls, Monday, 7 February 2011 10:22 (six years ago) Permalink

to be fair they did think they were hot shit

dark link (roxymuzak), Monday, 7 February 2011 16:26 (six years ago) Permalink

(just kidding, that's terrible. is it TRUE, though?)

dark link (roxymuzak), Monday, 7 February 2011 16:27 (six years ago) Permalink

(you should see what Lennon said about Linda.,)

Mark G, Monday, 7 February 2011 16:31 (six years ago) Permalink

i am going to read this book.

dark link (roxymuzak), Monday, 7 February 2011 16:38 (six years ago) Permalink

You should, its so good.

nate woolls, Monday, 7 February 2011 16:38 (six years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

Maybe there's another thread already discussing Mark Lewisohn's Tune In? If so, please point me toward it.

Otherwise just want to say that I am ENTHRALLED. It's as detailed as his other books, except far less technical in nature. I can say now that (aside from a potential future corrected/annotated edition) this will be the ultimate Beatles biography and will stand for all time.

It's 900+ pages and covers the story through 1962. Devouring this and more excited for the next entry than I am about another George RR Martin tome. Yeah yeah yeah!

Nate Carson, Wednesday, 27 November 2013 03:16 (three years ago) Permalink

I thought I'd be bored by this, but I'll be damned if it isn't unbelievably engaging. I'm up to (um, spoiler alert?) the part where they get back to Liverpool after their first Hamburg stint, and how everyone is just completely and utterly stunned at how powerful they'd gotten (especially since they weren't thought much of, if they were noticed at all, before they left for Hamburg).

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 27 November 2013 03:49 (three years ago) Permalink

I put it on hold at the public library months ago. Imagine my surprise when I received an email the week it came out. "Your book has arrived..."

Now scrambling to put a dent in it before the due date. Thing is MASSIVE.

Nate Carson, Wednesday, 27 November 2013 04:12 (three years ago) Permalink

Yeah, but it flies by.

The level of detail is staggering, made especially impressive for how readable and well-organized it all is. At no point so far have I thought "Eh, that part isn't necessary."

And seeing as how he'll presumably have exponentially more documentation to work with for the future volumes, I can easily see 900+ pages covering, for instance, just 1963-1965.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 27 November 2013 04:20 (three years ago) Permalink

damn you guys, i've been trying to convince myself i do not need to read another huge beatles biography.

tylerw, Wednesday, 27 November 2013 15:58 (three years ago) Permalink

It's actually a little tough going at the very beginning, with Lewisohn going all the way back to great-great-grandparents. But whereas standard Beatles bios would, for instance, sum up Ringo's upbringing with "he grew up in the slums of Liverpool, and he was sick a lot," this one really digs into just how bleak his living conditions were, how many times he was in the hospital, the frustration at his lack of schooling...and it all just adds another fascinating layer to a story we think we already have a handle on. You really start to think, wait, how is it going to be physically possible for this kid to even lift a drumstick, much less play with a band?

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 27 November 2013 16:43 (three years ago) Permalink

I have the two volume "director's cut" of this and can't wait to dig in!

Iago Galdston, Wednesday, 27 November 2013 17:54 (three years ago) Permalink

It's impossible to fathom that any detail was left out, let alone 800 motherfucking pages of details.

I believe the expanded edition traces each of the Beatles' family lineage to single-celled amoeba.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 27 November 2013 18:03 (three years ago) Permalink

ha ha, yes, the expanded edition is 1,728 pages....

Iago Galdston, Wednesday, 27 November 2013 18:05 (three years ago) Permalink

This'll probably be my first-ever ebook purchase when I finally cave and buy a reader sometime around mid-decade

Sir Lord Baltimora (Myonga Vön Bontee), Wednesday, 27 November 2013 20:45 (three years ago) Permalink

nate you're a genius, my library has it too -- am going to put in a hold request for it :D :D

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 27 November 2013 20:55 (three years ago) Permalink

Does the director's cut include an in-depth history of each individual plank of the stage John & Paul first performed together on? Cause if not, gtfo.

Maintenance Engineer of Foolhardiness (C. Grisso/McCain), Wednesday, 27 November 2013 21:39 (three years ago) Permalink

i think that one appendix with biographies of everyone who attended their shea stadium concert is what pushed it over 1,700 pages

Iago Galdston, Wednesday, 27 November 2013 21:41 (three years ago) Permalink

Man I had no idea there was an expanded edition. Fiddlesticks.

Also want to clarify that it doesn't really begin with great-great grandparents. That info is certainly in there in depth, but Lewisohn wisely opens with the first time Lennon and McCartney played music together. Only then does he reel back in time. I think it's a very graceful approach and I have not been bored.

Nate Carson, Wednesday, 27 November 2013 23:16 (three years ago) Permalink

I got it on the UK site, don't think it's been released in the US (that doesn't help you, I know--sorry, Nate :(

Iago Galdston, Wednesday, 27 November 2013 23:18 (three years ago) Permalink

If I have any complaints, it's the number of notes which require 2 bookmarks and constant referencing of the appendix. A bit of a hassle given the size of the book. Wish these notes were more often on the bottom of the page or in sidebars, but I suppose that would be less scholarly.

Nate Carson, Wednesday, 27 November 2013 23:18 (three years ago) Permalink

I remember one of the beautiful things about the Ian MacDonald book was his use of footnotes.

Eyeball Kicks, Wednesday, 27 November 2013 23:36 (three years ago) Permalink

Anybody know exactly why Mccartney and the rest (of the living) refuse to cooperate with Lewisohn on this project?

For a moment I even though perhaps the BBC Sessions 2 disc was released the same day in order to steal thunder from this book but when I checked again they were released a few weeks apart.

Nate Carson, Thursday, 28 November 2013 00:02 (three years ago) Permalink

I don't think they refused did they? I think he wanted to try to remain independent but ran things buy them now and then when I needed a specific question answered.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 28 November 2013 00:31 (three years ago) Permalink

Josh reveals himself to be Mark Lewisohn!

timellison, Thursday, 28 November 2013 00:40 (three years ago) Permalink

yes, iirc lewisohn has said he deliberately did not seek anyone's approval.

i've picked this up several times in the store and it's very very very tempting -- but, erg, not yet.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Thursday, 28 November 2013 01:15 (three years ago) Permalink

From Amazon:

Q. You have a long professional association with the Beatles, and some of them individually. Are they involved in Tune In and is this book authorized?

A. No. I received the odd tiny bit of help which I specifically asked for and they didn't have to give – but substantially no, they're not involved. That's fine, because it's what I expected and what I wanted. This has to be an independent and impartial book. But are the all main players appearing and speaking at the book's core? Yes, constantly. Paul McCartney decided not to talk to me for this particular project, and I completely respect and understand his reasons – but I've interviewed him maybe fifteen times in the past and I've also sourced other quotes of great strength and immediacy for all the players.

One of many reasons the Beatles' achievements and reputation sustain with such integrity is because they were true. They stood for truth, projected truth and lived truthfully as best they could. It's entirely right that their history is written as true as possible, with no embroidery, nothing faked or glossed, nothing stupidly interpreted, everything transparent, everything attributed. Of course my attachment to this subject is deep and lifelong, but I'm not the least bit interested in writing a book simply to say how great they were. They certainly don't need that, and I certainly wouldn't do it. It'd be a waste of my time. My passion is for learning everything I can about this subject, understanding it, and doing my best to set it down clearly so it can be understood relative to what happened.

Nate Carson, Thursday, 28 November 2013 01:48 (three years ago) Permalink

Paul is left handed, but it's actually Ringo who was born left handed but taught to be right handed, which may be one reason his playing has this nice awkward quality to it.

The Lewisohn book talks a lot about how John originally played guitar with banjo chords, so Paul would have to teach him the correct guitar chords, playing left handed in front of him while John mirrored the finger positions. There are lots of stories of John and Paul (or maybe Paul and George?) taking the bus for hours to some part of England just to see a guy who supposedly knows some chord they can't figure out.

Book also notes - which is obvious once you think about it - that the standard John, Paul, George and Ringo (which sounds weird any other way you say it) is the order they joined the band.

Another neat epiphany in the book is that Paul more or less ended up playing the bass by default. He grew up playing piano, then took up guitar, even played drums on the occasions that Pete didn't show, and would sometimes switch back to piano in the early days when one of the piano players wouldn't show, but took up bass only as a last resort when Stu dropped out. He used Stu's bass, which is only a Hofner because it was the cheapest domestic bass he could find while they were playing in Germany.

The book also tallies up the total number of hours the Beatles logged in Germany, some ungodly number that was the equivalent to a year and a half of steady gigging in Liverpool or some such wild total. All squeezed into just a few months. Maybe the equivalent of 1200 gigs at home? Something like that. It explains how the Beatles got so good, and certainly so much better than any other band in Liverpool. Though curiously fails to explain how Pete Best didn't manage to improve nearly as much as his bandmates.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 20 December 2014 03:07 (two years ago) Permalink

Paul was on the Nerdist podcast today, just casually telling stories from the long ago...having picked up the book yesterday it was just such lovely timing, universe saying YES rereread the book bc here's lovely old macca chatting away about their early years, all the little things I love, the "mach shau!" and john & paul sitting down together "to write a swimming pool", or how they wrote in thd toilet because the acoustics were better, contextualizing the sadness & fear of his parents generation vs the joy & freedom of his teenage generation, being born during bombs & coming of age with rock n roll...i love all that stuff! and hearing it from him is just nice. it makes me so teary!!! he even talked abt him & john at the Dakota watching SNL momentarily toying with going down to 30 rock :)


i think if you have any love or curiosity for the chain of events & cultural forces that brought the lads together, you really really should read Lewisohn

just for the fact that it helps you to re-love them all over again :)

difficult-difficult lemon-difficult (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 20 December 2014 03:56 (two years ago) Permalink

hmm i realize even that overstates it though

for me, it just really is the book i always *wanted* to read sbout the beatles, but i didnt know what i wanted exactly til i read this

difficult-difficult lemon-difficult (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 20 December 2014 04:24 (two years ago) Permalink

I think my favorite part of this book was when poor George got stuck in a car with a wasted and armed Gene Vincent who was trying hunt down an ex-lover or something.

Darin, Saturday, 20 December 2014 14:38 (two years ago) Permalink

Also, how John and Paul are constantly "pulling birds" and desperately searching for places to furtively hook up while poor George keeps getting drawn into these platonic relationships.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 20 December 2014 15:05 (two years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Revolution In The Head the *audiobook*

read by David Morrissey, Robyn Hitchcock, Danny Baker, Matt Berry, David Hepworth and a few others i haven't heard of.

piscesx, Friday, 9 January 2015 07:00 (two years ago) Permalink

One beatle each?

Can't wait to hear Danny Baker's go at Ringo.

Mark G, Friday, 9 January 2015 10:09 (two years ago) Permalink

Ooh look, Joe Boyd's book narrated by Joe Boyd!

Mark G, Friday, 9 January 2015 10:11 (two years ago) Permalink

ten months pass...

good stuff here for anyone waiting for the 2nd volume of Lewisohn's books. due by 2020 supposedly and possibly going from '63 to '66.

i love the cut of his jib i have to say

" I refuse to accept such preconceived views. There are many entrenched opinions about the Beatles history – “this was a mistake, if only that had happened, Brian Epstein squandered all the merchandizing rights, Magic Alex was a charlatan, the Maharishi episode was stupid, Dick James sold them down the river, Allen Klein was the devil, Magical Mystery Tour was a folly, Apple was a waste of money” – all the usual things – but I won’t allow any of that into my head. I refuse to look at things that way.. "

piscesx, Tuesday, 24 November 2015 23:38 (one year ago) Permalink

fuck, i thought TUNE IN was the whole project! wasn't it like 10,000 pages or something? this isn't going to be finished until 2025?

flappy bird, Tuesday, 24 November 2015 23:54 (one year ago) Permalink

fuck, i thought TUNE IN was the whole project! wasn't it like 10,000 pages or something? this isn't going to be finished until /2025/?

That was part one. I read the directors cut version that came in two volumes, forget how many pages it was, like 2000? Flew by.

Iago Galdston, Tuesday, 24 November 2015 23:56 (one year ago) Permalink

so excited for next book, vol 1 was such a treat

Flamenco Drop (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 24 November 2015 23:58 (one year ago) Permalink

I'm not so interested in vol 1 but vol 2 covers my favorite period. 10 years from now I should be able to afford a copy lol

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 00:01 (one year ago) Permalink

i understand he's changed the name of the third volume to Holy Shit, I Am So Sick Of The Beatles

tylerw, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 00:02 (one year ago) Permalink


Οὖτις, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 00:03 (one year ago) Permalink

plz tell me volume 2 isn't going to be called "Turn On"

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 00:03 (one year ago) Permalink

it is!
(but yeah, I agree -- i wasn't toooo interested in the childhood narratives of the first volume, but the rest of it seems like it'll be great)

tylerw, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 00:04 (one year ago) Permalink

lol that is terrible

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 00:06 (one year ago) Permalink

I'm not so interested in vol 1 but vol 2 covers my favorite period. 10 years from now I should be able to afford a copy lol

― Οὖτις, Tuesday, November 24, 2015 7:01 PM (22 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

That's what I thought before I read volume 1. Now I have a new favorite Beatles period. Reading about their earliest days -- as people, not just as bandmates -- has effectively recontextualized their music for me now when I hear it (in a positive way).

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 00:28 (one year ago) Permalink

jesus christ I have to wait 5 more years for this next book?!!!

Darin, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 00:38 (one year ago) Permalink


in the meantime we all have each other

Flamenco Drop (VegemiteGrrl), Wednesday, 25 November 2015 00:50 (one year ago) Permalink

I've been waiting almost 15 years for the second volume of Gary Giddins' Bing Crosby biography. No publication date in sight.

EZ Snappin, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 00:54 (one year ago) Permalink

That's what I thought before I read volume 1.

Me too. I though Volume 1 would be a chore but it was a real pleasure. Everything felt new.

Eyeball Kicks, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 12:14 (one year ago) Permalink

plz tell me volume 2 isn't going to be called "Turn On"

― Οὖτις, Wednesday, November 25, 2015 12:03 AM (12 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Vol 3 is gonna be called "... Naah!"

Mark G, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 12:28 (one year ago) Permalink

I still think Japage3 is some sort of proto-indie 80's bandname.

Mark G, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 12:30 (one year ago) Permalink

Vol 3 should just be called "The End"

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 16:26 (one year ago) Permalink


Mark G, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 16:50 (one year ago) Permalink

I managed to get Vol 1 for €5 but haven't read any of it yet.
I think it's vol 2 or 3 that will most interest me though. Psych era which is probably more 65-68 so probably overlaps the 2 volumes.
So when is volume 3 due? 10 years from now? & if so, do wonder if he is just working totally chronologically or if he is adding parts as research leads him. I think research is unlikely to wind up with information in strict chronological order. THings turn up at unexpected times. Just wondering what happens if he gets in an accident between here and when he has the Beatles split, if his wealth of information might be useful to somebody else who wanted to pick up the reigns.

& I also really want to get a book of the Robert Whittaker photos, so wonder what the best one is.

Stevolende, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 19:06 (one year ago) Permalink

There is something weird about his project i.e. the non-zero chance he will die or get ill before everything is complete, and whether that happens or doesn't how his information is laid out for future biographers.

Eyeball Kicks, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 23:35 (one year ago) Permalink

Like, he is trying to be definitive in the last period in which this might be possible for the Beatles specifically, but also the first period in which it is truly possible information-wise. Like, he's nudging at the edging of the period when all primary sources are available forever.

Eyeball Kicks, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 23:41 (one year ago) Permalink

On my phone so hard to type this crap. But seems tragic. The search for the truth and all that.

Eyeball Kicks, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 23:43 (one year ago) Permalink

His 20 years or more of research will be quickly superseded by regular contemporary précis, rewritten according to the age.

Eyeball Kicks, Wednesday, 25 November 2015 23:53 (one year ago) Permalink

four months pass...

gettin vol 1 from the library today

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 19 April 2016 15:42 (one year ago) Permalink

i'm about halfway through revolution in the head[.

when i started it, i was unaware of the author's depression issues but keep thinking: jeez, this guy is relentlessly/unnecessarily negative. and now i just feel bad.

dc, Tuesday, 19 April 2016 15:54 (one year ago) Permalink

man the Brian Epstein stuff is so sad

Οὖτις, Thursday, 28 April 2016 18:09 (one year ago) Permalink

Good interview:

timellison, Friday, 29 April 2016 00:36 (one year ago) Permalink

Thanks for posting that. Really interesting stuff. When asked "Why Liverpool?" Lewisohn points out that, among other things, Liverpool was the only city in the world in the 1950s with a rock 'n' roll scene. That is, many cities (in the US, obviously less so in other parts of the world) had jazz, blues, and rhythm & blues scenes, but none had (and Lewisohn does leave himself open to correction) a rock 'n' roll scene.

He also talks about how the India trip was the real turning point in terms of them starting to get sick of each other.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Friday, 29 April 2016 19:01 (one year ago) Permalink

three months pass...

There was some other thread where we were talking about the Ron Howard film, but I can't find it. In lieu of that, the full trailer:

timellison, Sunday, 14 August 2016 22:16 (one year ago) Permalink

Another good new interview with our guy:

timellison, Wednesday, 17 August 2016 03:50 (one year ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Watched Eight Days a Week over the weekend. Good fun, but not a lot of new ground covered.

Darin, Monday, 26 September 2016 18:07 (one year ago) Permalink

two months pass...

really enjoying this book:

Some really entertaining anecdotes including Paul playing Tomorrow Never Knows for Bob Dylan before Revolver came out (Bob's response "Oh I get it. You don't want to be cute anymore."), interesting context around Yellow Submarine / infantilism in mid-sixties London and infighting during the recording of She Said She Said.

Darin, Tuesday, 29 November 2016 19:31 (eleven months ago) Permalink

interesting -- jon savage also recently wrote a book about the year 1966.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Tuesday, 29 November 2016 22:51 (eleven months ago) Permalink

Just listened to audio book of Barry Miles' new Zapple history. Very cool history but the Fabs - at least John, Paul and George - come across a bit assholish at times.

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Wednesday, 30 November 2016 00:27 (eleven months ago) Permalink

three months pass...

is there a worse contemporaneous critical body of work than the stuff written about the Beatles? Granted rock crit was in its infancy, but going back and reading reviews from the time (esp as the Beatles got further into their career) the amount of misguided invective and just retrospectively bizarre opinions is mind-boggling. Feels sort of similar to how Zep and Sabbath eventually got ret-conned into the canon at Rolling Stone - at some point critical consensus coalesced into acceptance + much higher degree of acclaim

Οὖτις, Monday, 13 March 2017 17:15 (eight months ago) Permalink

(tbf this occurred to me while scanning the critical reception of McCartney's first two solo albums but larger point stands)

Οὖτις, Monday, 13 March 2017 17:16 (eight months ago) Permalink

nik cohn famously panned both the white album and abbey road:

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Monday, 13 March 2017 22:06 (eight months ago) Permalink

and then there was this gem:

I know they got a lot of positive press too, but sometimes that isn't any better, as it's just vapid and adoring. Rolling Stone did p well in general, but some of the other stuff that was floating around is p dire.

Οὖτις, Monday, 13 March 2017 22:34 (eight months ago) Permalink

Nice take on Beggars Bandquet in that first Cohn link though

Screamin' Jay Gould (The Yellow Kid), Tuesday, 14 March 2017 02:31 (eight months ago) Permalink

i'd seen that richard goldstein pan of pepper mentioned countless places but had never actually read it till now -- i don't agree w/ most of his take on the album but it is actually a more thoughtful, less kneejerk dismissal than i would've assumed. i did kind of lol at this line --

Musically, there are already indications that the intense atonality of “A Day in the Life” is a key to the sound of 1967.

-- because it reminds me of the "maybe he's an early clue to the new direction!" scene in a hard day's night.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Tuesday, 14 March 2017 05:27 (eight months ago) Permalink

Golstein piece isn't dumb but it does reach bizarre conclusions. Like tying their aesthetic legitimacy to their willingness to be shouted at by masses of teenagers, for ex.

We need the Beatles, not as cloistered composers, but as companions. And they need us. In substituting the studio conservatory for an audience, they have ceased being folk artists, and the change is what makes their new, album a monologue.

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 14 March 2017 15:50 (eight months ago) Permalink

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