The product of almost a decade of research, hundreds of unprecedented interviews, and the discovery of scores of never-before-revealed documents, Bob Spitz's The Beatles is the biography fans have been waiting for.
Never before has a biography of musicians been so immersive and textured. We are there in the McCartney living room when Paul and John learn to write songs together; backstage the night Ringo takes over on drums; in seedy German strip clubs where George lies about his age so the band can perform; and at the Ed Sullivan Show as America discovers the joy and the madness. From Shea to San Francisco, through the London night, on to India, through marmalade skies, across the universe, all the way to a rooftop concert and one last moment of laughter and music.
It is all here, the highs and the lows, the love and the rivalry, the drugs, the tears, the thrill, the magic never again to be repeated. Bob Spitz's masterpiece is, at long last, the biography the Beatles deserve.
©2005 Bob Spitz; (P)2005 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved.
"As with all great history writing, Spitz both captures a moment in time and humanizes his subjects. While some will blanch at the unsettling dark sides of the Beatles, most will come to appreciate the band even more for knowing the incredible personal odysseys they endured." (Publishers Weekly)
Alfred Molina did a superb job in making this an enjoyable listening experience. Good content, not much new information but overall entertaining.
A reasonably complete overview of the Beatles' joint career, with three basic flaws. The first is that it's abridged. The original book is far more detailed and far juicier, especially about the financial tangles that led to decades of ugly lawsuits. But the abridgement is at least coherent: it doesn't suddenly jump to Hamburg, for example, and leave you wondering how the Beatles got there.
The other two flaws are in the original book as well. The first is a kind of patronizing tone: long past the point where all four Beatles are well into their twenties, the book repeatedly refers to them as "the boys": so cute, so in-crowd, so grating. The second is a rehash of tired, old anti-Yoko diatribes (and, to a lesser extent, anti-Linda diatribes as well). Enough already. Like Allen Klein himself once said: they're grown men, they know what they're doing.
Taking those flaws into account, though, I would still recommend this to anyone interested in the Beatles. Alfred Molina does a great job narrating the book. He's low-key and unhurried, and, thankfully, never once tries to drop into a Scouse accent. (There aren't many decent books about the Beatles as a group: Philip Norman's book "Shout!" is the only one I can think of that comes close to having as broad a canvas as this one, and it's not available as an audiobook anyway.) As an introduction to Beatles lore, this one works well, it's pleasant to listen to, and with the basic shape of the story in mind, you can always go into more detail with one of the other titles.
What a great walk down memory lane... Mr. Molina puts just the right amount of tone and emphasis in his voice as he tells this fascinating story. And a wonderful story it is, made all the better by the fact that I lived this period with their music in my ears. If you want to go back and re-live the 60's, this is a good way to do it.
The trouble with writing about the Beatles is that you're taking on a subject with more social ramifications than any other artist or group in history. To write about this icon of 20th Century culture, to tell the story of the most pervasive influence on music since Pythagoras, to try to capture and describe the chimera, the phenomenon, the mystery that was the Beatles is to try to hold quicksilver in your hand.
That said, Bob Spitz has dug in with heart and mind to bring us this compilation of the Beatles story. It's more than journalism; less than all-out social commentary, and altogether satisfying. Highly recommended to those who lived through the era that they epitomized, and for those who want to understand how they turned on a generation while turning society on its ear.
I loved it. I learned a lot about the behind the scenes that was a surprize to me. It helped me understand what was behind some of thier actions that did not fit in with what I thought was thier motives.
This book was fantastic for me -- a huge Bealtes music fan but did not know very much about the history of the band. I thought the author did a really good job covering the early life, career steps and personalities of the guys and also brought their climb to fame and love/hate relationship with "Beatle Mania" alive. I especially liked hearing details behind how some of the different songs were written. The narrator transported me to Liverpool!
Dry and lifeless writing. I'm glad I never had this author as a teacher. I would have slept through every class.
This book was the most amazing historical account of the rise and fall of the Beatles ever. ANYONE who even has a remote interest in the
Beatles should give this book a litsten. They won't be disappointed.
A refreshing insight to the inner world of the Fab Four's climb to the top and eventual disbanding. Spitz takes us on this journey from school boys to icons, the whole time keeping his pulse on the real lives of the four young men at the center of it all. - Scott Dreher, X-Ray Star
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