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)
If as I was, you are or have been a Beatles fan(atic); there is not alot that is new here. However if you only know of the Beatles as they were packaged for the public, this will be a good listen for you. It is not a rewriting of the Beatles myth, but is the truth that was left out of the authorized version by Davies and sadly by The Beatles themselves when they issued their anthology.
I did catch a couple of small errors in the book: As I recall,It was a fan that called and got the Paul is Dead hoax rolling, not the disk jockey. And John and Yoko's poster, billboard, campaign was, "War Is Over! (If You want it.) Not, The war Is Over. These are small, but very public things, and it had me wondering what else might not be accurate.
I recommend this book because of all of the information that is in this one source. The Beatles are history now and it is a good thing to be able to see a more complete picture of the group.
This audio was very well done. This audible tells a version of the Beatles' story which explains the genesis, the genius and the genocide of the group and the interpersonal dynamics. If you idolized John as your favorite Beatle, this account may have you reconsider. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and highly recommend it.
I loved listening to this book. The Beatles' history comes to life in chapters which held me from beginning to end. The story starts at the literal beginning with the formative childhoods of each of "the boys" and goes straight through to the end of the Beatles in 1969. The last five minutes gives a retrospective "where are they now" finish bringing us right up to the present day. I especially enjoyed the candor of the book towards the interpersonal relationships. This book does not pussy-foot around the John-Paul dynamic, the Yoko-everyone dynamic and even "names names" in the Beatles introduction to drugs and counterculture. I did not know it was Dylan who first turned the Beatles on to pot. The book was filled with gems like that, bringing you into the hotel rooms and parties. The book also relates stories and origins for many of the Beatles' songs. "Hey Jude" started off as Paul's ode to Julian Lennon ... "Hey Jules ...." The reading was of a very high quality. I found myself wanting more. I highly recommend this book.
An Ansett Airlines Refugee from Melbourne in Australia, living in Dubai and flying for Emirates. Author of ON TOUR, TravelsWithAnAirline Pilot.
For those of us who thought they knew the true story of The Beatles, think again.
You've heard all the tripe: " get this... it is the definitive version, rah rah" well, believe the hype - it's true. A truly remarkable piece of journalism.
I wished the story hadn't concluded so quickly - but then I feel the same way about The Beatles. On one hand they should have done another few albums; on the other they had each out grown the other, so we are lucky that Abbey Road and Let It Be were ever created.
These days, if a band has more than three hit songs they are Legends. And more often the New music is a rehash of OUR music.
Just how lucky were we to have had The Beatles as OUR music?
And how lucky are we to have this book to fill in all those gaps. Do yourself a favour and have a listen.
But first fill your IPOD with Beatles songs and listen to them as they are mentioned.
Hearing about their beginnings as a fragile group of gifted but limited teenage musicians, as they slowly put together, piece by piece, the sound and image they would become famous for. The book helped to bring home their roots as being similar to so many high school garage bands that start with high hopes.
Great pacing, great expressiveness.
Entertaining and fresh.
As a lifetime Beatles fan there is little that I have not heard before in this audiobook, but still it had me hooked and I could not break away. I felt like a fifth Beatle and rode the roller coaster ride the Beatles were on. I understood each character perfectly, warts and all. The Beatles were a magical creation, a miracle, there is no other way to describe it. It was an incredible journey of truly gifted souls that came together and changed generations. If you like the Beatles, I believe you will love this.
The most memorable moment was the firing of Pete Best.
Alfred Molina was an excellent narrator. He kept my attention throughout.
I didn't want to stop listening. I listened to Part 1 for nearly 4 hours before stopping.
Thoroughly enjoyable and very interesting.
The book should be retitled "why you should hate john lennon" bit i enjoyed the book very much, although obviously biased against john lennon for whatever reason. still worth listening to
This book is not bad and, since it is available as an audiobook, I was glad to read it. Moreover, the book is quite strong in places. I was particularly taken by the depth and detail of Spitz's handling of the band's early years in Liverpool and Hamburg. The problem is after that. It is as though the bulk of Spitz's actual research had been devoted to that part of the story and he had relied more on secondhand sources for the rest.
Two major shortcomings of the book stem from the author's evident unease regarding certain very sixties aspects of the band's experience - eastern spiritualism and LSD. These were, undoubtedly, key catalysts for the members of the band. These were young men and their discovery of their artistic selves involved a sort of wide-ranging (and quite bold) experimentation and self-examination. Spitz seems too anxious to gloss this over and/or apologize for it. I thought the discussion of the band's time in India - perhaps the creative high-point for the band, at least as a unit - was particularly thin. Spitz is overly anxious to display that he isn't taken in by the snake-oil salesmen to seriously discuss what it was that, most especially, George Harrison and, to a lesser extent, John Lennon were drawing out of these experiences and interests. Still, for someone like me this subject matter is infinitely fascinating. The Beatles were, after all, the greatest rock 'n' band and this book is about them. At times, moreover, it comes close to being adequate to its subject matter.
It was a trip down memory lane. Loved hearing about their lives. Hard to imagine a bunch of poor kids becoming so very famous and rich so fast and not being destroyed by it all.
His performance was excellent.
This is a good start for anyone who wants to get an overview of the history of the Beatles. A word of warning though: few persons come out looking good in the end so if you harbor a idealized image of the band it might get smudged.
The focus of this book is the drama and personal relationships. A supplementary book would be Ian MacDonald's "Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties" which focuses entirely on the recordings (each and every one of them). That one is a must-have for any Beatles fan.
Alfred Molina does a good job but I can't help to wonder how it would be if it was read by someone with a northern accent.
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