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Publisher's Summary

Ticket to Ride recounts broadcast journalist Larry Kane's travels with the Beatles during their first North American tour. The book provides an intimate look at the Fab Four and contains original interview recordings with the band conducted during the tour.
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Critic Reviews

"This is the most detailed description yet of the Beatles' American tours, and one of the few books on the band written in the past decade that can be considered indispensable." (Publishers Weekly)
"There had never been a cultural phenomenon to match Beatlemania...and Kane vividly portrays its familiar trappings....More fascinating are Kane's behind-the-scenes views of 'the boys', extracted from many interviews." (Booklist)

What members say

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  • Jeff
  • Birmingham, AL, USA
  • 03-26-08

Great Book

This was just an amazing book. From the stories of the road to what went on behind the scenes, the author makes you feel like you're right there on the Electra as the Beatles criss cross America in the mid sixties. Loved every minute.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A Ticket To Ride

This is an account of the Beatle's '64-'65 USA tour from a reporters perspective. He does a good job overall. I wish he would have given more detail of how the beatle's changed in appearance. He talks much of how they matured and came into their own in attitude and confidence and opinions, but how did their hair change, who grew facial hair, how did they dress, etc. The final hour of the book is actual tape recordings taken by the author during the 2 tours. This is the most delightful thing of the book, hearing their young voices and responses to his questions. Many simples answers, but a real bonus. I highly recommend this book to any nostalgic Beatle's fan.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Cargod63
  • palm desert, ca, United States
  • 02-16-12

First audio book I can't finish

I was looking forward to the book but the author decided to narrate it himself, big mistake. He may have been a well known and respected journalist but he should leave narration to a professional. I found myself drifting off and having to rewind constantly. His narration is so very drab, a complete flat line.... I am so disappointed being a HUGE Beatle fan. I can normally find the good in most things, this one was tough. Very hard to listen to for more than five minutes at a time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dubi
  • New York, NY
  • 04-22-16

A Groundhog Day In The Life

Larry Kane's memoir of touring with the Beatles during the height of Beatlemania promises to deliver a treasure trove of inside information about what it was like for the young John, Paul, George and Ringo to grow so spectacularly and rapidly into superstars. Better yet, Kane's personal connection with the boys and their entourage, despite his status as a journalist, promises to show us what they were like in real life.

Unfortunately, it turns out that there is not much there there. A day in the life of the Beatles during their 1964 and 1965 tours was not all that interesting. It was basically the opening scenes of Hard Day's Night, repeated on a daily basis -- run the gauntlet of manic fans to get into a venue, play a short set that could not be heard over the din of screaming maniacs, run the gauntlet back out of the venue, and then get on a plane to the next city.

Kane's formula is to describe the scene in each city, which grown tiresomely repetitive, relay the reminiscences of a fan who was there (tracked down by Kane these many years later), which are also quite repetitive, and quote a short interview conducted with one of two of the band members or their handlers, which is the only redeeming and non-repetitive part of each segment, although something valuable is lost by Kane as narrator reciting their words in his straightforward broadcaster's voice.

He comes up short as well trying to place all this within the context of the times (the Beatles hitting it big just after the demoralizing Kennedy assassination, the start of the Vietnam war and the civil rights movement, the chemical tendences of the counterculture, etc.) as well as within the context of the Beatles' later career. Kane may be a good reporter, but he is not a good enough analyst to make much of any of this. On top of that, because of his personal closeness to his subjects, he is incapable of reporting critically.

The one saving grace is the inclusion in the audio edition of the original recordings he made. Here we do get to hear the Beatles' voices with their nuanced Liverpudlian lilts, reminding us how much we missed it when Kane was reading them. Still, this last hour is enough to raise the rating to three stars, making it worth recommending to hardcore Beatles fans interested in being completists.

Otherwise, there are better books about the Beatles (I'm still partial to Shout all these years later, but there are many others) and there are better books by journalists on tour with rock icons (Larry Sloman's On the Road With Bob Dylan and Billy German's Under Their Thumb about publishing a fanzine about the Rolling Stones, although I have to add the caveat that I know both Ratso and Billy personally).

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Veteran journalist remembers the Beatles' tour

If you could sum up Ticket to Ride in three words, what would they be?

Larry Kane was a 21-year-old radio journalist working out of Miami when his station sent him to report on this British music sensation called the Beatles. Kane had no interest in covering this boy group. Back in 1964, no one knew the lads from Liverpool were the BEATLES in capital letters. As far as anyone knew, they were just another flash in the pan. Something for the 13-year-old girls to pant over, which they did.

Larry Kane had bigger ambitions. He wanted to be a serious journalist and the Beatles were bubblegum. Added to that, Kane had just lost his mother.

But this assignment would alter the course of Kane's life. He says in the book that the Beatles tour was one of the defining stories of his career, which has been long and successful.

As a reader, I wasn't expecting to like this book. Larry Kane is a broadcaster and I noticed he was reading his own book. I thought, great, he might have a good story but he's going to ruin it by sounding like someone reading train wrecks for the five o'clock news.

Okay, Kane does sound like a broadcaster. But I got over that quickly. Because the story is so enchanting. It's hard to ruin a Beatles story (though some have made strenuous efforts). And this is a very specific story about a specific and crucial period in the Beatles career--when they finally have that big number one single in America that opens the door for their first U.S. concert tour.

Kane's book, as the title suggests, recounts the 1964 and '65 tours. He meets four young men--John, Paul, George and Ringo--who are still wide-eyed with their enormous success. But these boys are far from innocent. Kane opens the door a crack so we're let in on some of the perks of success. There's a scene in Las Vegas (I think it's Las Vegas) when hookers are lined up in a hotel room and the Beatles are told to "take their pick."

Fortunately, Kane doesn't bog down in detailing all the romping naughtiness. If you want that, read Hammer of the Gods about Led Zeppelin or Let's Play House about Elvis Presley. (The Presley book is plain depressing.) He just lets you know it was going on.

Kane was one of a handful of journalists embedded (to use an anachronistic 21st-century usage) on the tour. Now I always miss a few bits when I'm listening to an audiobook and I don't know when Kane joined the tour. But I got the impression he hopped on right after the Beatles' historic appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. From New York, they flew to Miami, where Kane was stationed.

So by this time American Beatlemania was in full uproar. And that's one of the significant contributions of Kane's on-the-ground account. He witnessed Beatlemania from the inside, inside the limos and the planes and the hotel rooms with the Beatles, but with the outsider perspective of an observer.

Many was the time Kane was go in his hotel room only to find some luscious girl camped out on his bed and promising to do whatever he wanted if only he'd get her an audience with brainy John, cute Paul, happy-go-lucky Ringo or shy George. The young journalist was a gentleman, but some of his fellow journalists, not to mention members of the Beatles entourage ( Mal Evans and Neil Aspinall) took advantage of the windfall.

A lot of the story takes place on airplanes or in cars going to and from airplanes or in hotel rooms. In New York, Kane gets the task of running downstairs to retrieve one of the Beatles' musician friends, a scruffy kid with a guitar, who turns out to be Bob Dylan. This is the night Dylan introduces the Beatles to hardcore marijuana smoking, and Paul McCartney discovers the secret of the universe.

Other big names weave in and out of the tour. Joan Baez turns up in one of the Beatles' rooms without clothes, if I remember that part correctly. Maybe she was taking a bath. There are American concert promoters, radio DJs and loads and loads of young fans who will do anything--and do--to get to the Liverpool boys.

Kane's observation of the fan phenomenon--Beatlemania--is absorbing. I never really thought about it before, but Beatlemania was restricted to the early years when the Beatles were touring. Kane meets and talks with a lot of the fans. He is the go-between, carting weird fan gifts to the boys, including a bagel inscribed with Ringo's name.

So the Beatlemania portion of the book is great. But every reader is coming to this book for insight into John, Paul, George and Ringo. Kane gives you his take on each of them. He remembers special moments with each of them and unlike some biographers seems to genuinely like each one. John Lennon, even then, was strongly interested in social issues, though he wouldn't become vocal until later. Paul was the gregarious, always charming one. Ringo took simple delight in nearly about this new world opening up to him. George was the down-to-earth guy who wasn't writing many songs yet but wanted to.

Kane also shows us a thoughtful and suave Brian Epstein, the Beatles manager. Epstein, a closeted gay in the '60s, makes a pass at the young Kane, who turns him down with grace.

What other book might you compare Ticket to Ride to and why?

I'm probably preaching to the Beatles choir here. But if you're new to Beatles bios I've got some suggestions. You can't go wrong with Geoff Emerick's Here, There and Everywhere. He was a recording engineer on many of the Beatles' albums. He takes you inside the recording studio with anecdotes about the creative decision-making and technical innovations that went into songs like "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Day in the Life." He's one of the biographers who likes Paul. (So many of them seem to dismiss him as a big plastic smile.)

Mark Lewisohn's Tune In: All These Years is my favorite Beatles bio to date and the narrator does a superb job. (But how do you pronounce Brian Epstein's last name? I hear it pronounced both ways.) Tune In is a mammoth listen but so engrossing you'll forget you're only getting the first third of the Beatles' history. It ends in 1962 just as the Beatles finish their first album with producer George Martin.

Lewisohn digs deep to give you the ancestral heritage for each Beatle, back to the great-greats in some cases. He also spends a lot of time giving you the social history of the 1940s and '50s and laying out the plan of Liverpool. There's so much talk about the early rock-n-roll and skiffle that influenced the pre-Beatles--Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Arthur Alexander, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Lonnie Donegan--that I really wished the audio had come with music excerpts. Wouldn't that be great? But getting copyright permission would be daunting, to say the least.

Anyway, Lewisohn's book is an in-depth look at the four boys and their families. This is the first book I've read (Okay, listened to. But you know what I mean.) that tries to spend equal time with George and Ringo and not just lavish pages on the "important" Beatles, although John and Paul's boyhood forays into songwriting are significant.

I could say more but you don't want me to. You want to get the book, which will occupy the next several weeks of your life--or days if you are hopped up on caffeine, don't need to work or do anything distracting like earn money, and if you have the stamina to listen to 24-plus hours in one long Beatley session. If you do, Audible should give you an extra-special listener badge. And have fun.

Have you listened to any of Larry Kane’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Audible has two other Beatles books by Kane, one on John Lennon and one about the Beatles' years in Liverpool. The latter came out the same year as Mark Lewisohn's Tune In, also covering that time period, and was overshadowed by it. I have both but haven't given them a listen yet. On my to-do list. How 'bout you?

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Ticket to Ride was one of those books I listened to until it was finished. I didn't jump around to other books. I put it on my iPod so I could take it on jogs. I took it in the car with me. And I put it on my iPad so when I was buying baby carrots at Target it had it piping in my ears. Guessed I must've liked it.

Any additional comments?

Thanks, Larry Kane. You made me happy.

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Top of the List Read

What made the experience of listening to Ticket to Ride the most enjoyable?

The fact that it was read by the author.

What did you like best about this story?

Because the author was a reporter, it is very believable. So many books are second and third account references and you are unsure of the authenticity.

Which scene was your favorite?

The whole book was memorable, beginning to end.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

I was there, really!

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Great Read Very Interesting

Would you listen to Ticket to Ride again? Why?

No I do not listen again I have a good memory but I do recommend this book,especially if you are a Beatle fan and want to up close and personal with the group.5 stars a must listen.

What did you like best about this story?

Everything very personal and just like I was there.

What about Larry Kane’s performance did you like?

5 Star

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

yes but was bot able too.

Any additional comments?


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  • Wayne
  • Boca Raton, FL, United States
  • 09-12-11

Buckle up

This is something different. Blow by Blow account of the early Beatle US tours. More than behind the scenes. It also comes with the actual tapes at the end of the book. A must for the Beatle Fan.

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  • Judy
  • Bakersfield, CA, United States
  • 08-28-11

Captivating Insiders View

Larry Kane did an exceptional job in writing this book! I was surprisingly impressed with his professionalism and positive attitude in this truly amazing audiobook. There are several actual interviews with each Beatle included at the end of this book. It was an especially nice treat to listen to!

  • Overall

A great taste of Beatlemania from the inside

It's obvious Larry Kane thought quite highly of The Beatles, although it is equally obvious that John was his favorite, Paul his least favorite (contrast that to Geoff Emerick, who wrote "Here, There and Everywhere," who favored Paul over John). You definitely get the flavor of the whole Beatlemania thing, and a highlight is listening to the actual tapes at the end of the audiobook and hearing the Beatles in their own words. Kane's reading is a little dry, but overall a fascinating listen. Beatles fans will love it.