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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here It s not a perfect book, but I think this is a decent enough Beatles biography It s certainly a long one I can t believe I just read an 800 page book It took a little under a month to read The good Spitz really captures the insanity of Beatlemania and the craziness that came with being a Beatle With all the strange goings on during the latter part of their career, it s amazing that they pulled it together enough to create such magic on record Spitz touches on all the biggies Hamburg, Sg It s not a perfect book, but I think this is a decent enough Beatles biography It s certainly a long one I can t believe I just read an 800 page book It took a little under a month to read The good Spitz really captures the insanity of Beatlemania and the craziness that came with being a Beatle With all the strange goings on during the latter part of their career, it s amazing that they pulled it together enough to create such magic on record Spitz touches on all the biggies Hamburg, Sgt Pepper, Paul is dead, Ed Sullivan, the trip to India The detail is overwhelming, although it starts to lack in the last part of the book.The bad This really should have been called John Lennon, Brian Epstein and three other guys A Biography John seems to be the main character in the story I realize he and Paul were the two geniuses in the band, but I was under the impression that The Beatles were four men Not one, not two, but four I really could have used fewer depressing details about Brian Epstein although they help you understand the tragedy of his life and death anddetails about George Harrison and Ringo Starr Ringo, in particular, comes across in this book as simply a hired hand who was brought out for cheeky laughs and studio drumming He was certainly muchthan that Also, some parts of the book could have used muchdetail No discussion of the second side medley of Abbey Road Come on.The ugly Reviews on.com make it clear that this book is flawed and contains many errors This is the first Beatles book I ve read, so I know not what is fact and what is not However, out of 860 some pages, Spitz must have got something right Is his book anyflawed than any of the hundreds of other Beatles books Also, when reading nonfiction, it is a good policy to take everything you read with a large grain of salt Even first hand accounts will be biased The best thing to do is readthan one book to get all possible sides to the story The presence of errors, though, keeps me from scoring this book higher.Did I enjoy it Mostly The Beatles aren t portrayed as good people When possible, Spitz will point out a flaw over a virtue The end of the book, of course, is a downer But the behind the scenes stories and the mostly good details of the creation of the music make this book worthwhile Last thing I ll say I consider this to be a beginning to my quest for Beatles knowledge I will not stop here, nor should I I just realized I got sucked into another abridged version How the hell do I know if this was good or not when I didn t read the whole thing I HATE ABRIDGED VERSIONS.Okay, so I got that off my chest On the plus side, I have read reviews that complained about how long this book was, but I didn t feel that way at all I wantedI loved having Alfred Molina read to me while I was walking around the lake in my neighborhood Then I would go home and play whatever Beatles album had just been I just realized I got sucked into another abridged version How the hell do I know if this was good or not when I didn t read the whole thing I HATE ABRIDGED VERSIONS.Okay, so I got that off my chest On the plus side, I have read reviews that complained about how long this book was, but I didn t feel that way at all I wantedI loved having Alfred Molina read to me while I was walking around the lake in my neighborhood Then I would go home and play whatever Beatles album had just been discussed, hearing many songs I haven t listened to in years It was a joy to revisit all of their incredible music, enhanced by recognizing a little lyric or chord or bit of trivia from the book One thing that kind of surprised me, because I ve known about this forever but reading about their early days, it hit me like a ton of bricks how absolutely heartbreaking it was for Pete Best to get kicked out of the band on the very eve of their success, and in such a sleazy, cowardly way I don t have enough of my own real problems, I have to walk around in a funk for days about what happened to a guy from Liverpool who played the drums 60 years ago For some reason I just could NOT let it go But I m okay now.A complaint I have about the book, and this is again possibly unfair because of the abridgment, is that the writing was a strange combination of flowery and detached over familiar e.g describing what George thought or Paul felt at a particular moment yet removed and impersonal For all the detail provided, I somehow felt like the author didn t bring these very famous men into clearer focus as real people Except for Pete Best see previous paragraph He also didn t go into much depth about their relationships, which disappointed me give meabout Pattie Boyd and George and Eric Clapton any day of the week He devoted a lot of vitriol towards John and Yoko, who based on this account were terrible people who deserved each other The bulk of the narrative, and where the author did the best job, was in describing each album and how it evolved, and who wrote which songs, and how the lyrics were inspired That was fascinating and as I said before, it really made me want to take a listen to these well loved songs from a fresh perspective.The story ends with the Beatles break up in 1970, and their lives after are only briefly summarized If you re a Beatles fan and love their music, I think you will enjoy this @Download å The Beatles: The Biography ⚣ Even before the Beatles hit the big time, a myth was created This version of the Beatles legend smoothed the rough edges and filled in the fault lines, and for than forty years this manicured version of the Beatles story has sustained as truth until nowThe 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 a vast, complete account as brilliant and joyous and revelatory as a Beatles record itself Spitz begins in Liverpool, a hard city knocked on its heels In the housing projects and school playgrounds, four boys would discover themselves and via late night radio broadcasts, a new form of music called rock n rollNever before has a biography of musicians been so immersive and textured Spitz takes us down Penny Lane and to Strawberry Field John later added the s , to Hamburg, Germany, where amid the squalor and the violence and the pep pills the Beatles truly became the Beatles We are there in the McCartney living room when Paul and John learn to write songs together in the heat of Liverpool s Cavern Club, where jazz has been the norm before the Beatles show up backstage the night Ringo takes over on drums in seedy German strip clubs where George lies about his age so the band can perform on the lonely tours through frigid Scottish towns before the breakthrough at Abbey Road Studios, where a young producer named George Martin takes them under his wing at the Ed Sullivan Show as America discovers the joy and the madness and onward and upward up the charts, from Shea to San Francisco, through the London night, on to India, through marmalade skies, across the universeall the way to a rooftop concert and one last moment of laughter and musicIt is all here, raw and right the highs and the lows, the love and the rivalry, the awe and the jealousy, the drugs, the tears, the thrill, the magic never again to be repeated Open this book and begin to read Bob Spitz s masterpiece is, at long last, the biography the Beatles deserve Rating for the quality of the book 4 out of 5Rating for how much I enjoyed the book 2 out of 5I realized as I was finishing this book that I wished I hadn t read it Don t get me wrong it was well written and well researched and I learned a great deal I didn t know about the Beatles And therein lies the problem.There is a whole lot I learned in this book that I wished I didn t know I mean, I knew there was drug use I knew there were countless affairs I knew that none of them were standup Rating for the quality of the book 4 out of 5Rating for how much I enjoyed the book 2 out of 5I realized as I was finishing this book that I wished I hadn t read it Don t get me wrong it was well written and well researched and I learned a great deal I didn t know about the Beatles And therein lies the problem.There is a whole lot I learned in this book that I wished I didn t know I mean, I knew there was drug use I knew there were countless affairs I knew that none of them were standup human beings But I guess I didn t know just how bad things got John, in particular, I found to be utter repulsive Incredibly talented, true, but reprehensible I think he is the most selfish person I have ever read about this extensively Not that any of the rest with the possible exception of Ringo who knew are that much better But John s treatment of his wife, child, manager, and bandmates was awful I could continue with the adjectives, because there s a long list, but I won t, don t worry.I think one of the reasons I feel this way so strongly is there is no redemption for anyone at the end of the book The book ends with the end of the Beatles, when everyone was behaving badly I think that if I d been able to follow their lives a little longer, they generally clean up their acts a little bit and become a bittolerable However, I understand that this is outside the book s purview It just would have given me a bit of catharsis.I will give a tip of the hat, though, to the last line, which manages to re instill in me a bit of the respect that I ve always had for my favorite band These are the closing words from Spitz regarding the Beatles And from them, a flood of song and love and pain and beauty, a flood that cascaded out of the Cavern and Hamburg and London town, into the world, a flow that pushed aside what had come before, that cleansed and battered and in the end nourished Water Beautiful Still finishing this up, but it s certainly the most comprehensive Beatles bio out there, and very well written and readable The best chapters are probably the school years and the Hamburg period which the author fleshes out with muchdetail than I ve ever encountered He also has a talent for making it feel immediate when you are reading, with great descriptive passages that give you a sense of what the dives in Hamburg were like and just how grueling the Beatles early touring schedule wa Still finishing this up, but it s certainly the most comprehensive Beatles bio out there, and very well written and readable The best chapters are probably the school years and the Hamburg period which the author fleshes out with muchdetail than I ve ever encountered He also has a talent for making it feel immediate when you are reading, with great descriptive passages that give you a sense of what the dives in Hamburg were like and just how grueling the Beatles early touring schedule was for example Their drug use is also chronicled indetail I don t think I knew that the Beatles smoked their first J with Bob Dylan Not a book for someone just looking for the Beatles story you get the full family tree of each Beatle , but fans who have read several Beatles books will find compelling new vignettes here, and be pleasantly surprised at the quality of the prose I m finally done after reading this book for two full months I really wanted to give this book a five star rating, but I just couldn t There are such great moments in here, and as a music and production nerd, I was in love with how well Bob writes their recording sessions and explains the songwriting process in a reasonably accessible way Many other moments are also written so well travels and German shenanigans and agent meetings and everything The thing that I am most impressed with is I m finally done after reading this book for two full months I really wanted to give this book a five star rating, but I just couldn t There are such great moments in here, and as a music and production nerd, I was in love with how well Bob writes their recording sessions and explains the songwriting process in a reasonably accessible way Many other moments are also written so well travels and German shenanigans and agent meetings and everything The thing that I am most impressed with is the ridiculous level of detail that went into researching this book, which was a seven year project However, I didn t like the bias in how John and Paul were treated next to George and Ringo John gets three chapters and some change devoted to his childhood, actually reaching back some generations to how his grandparents met and lived, with a surprising amount of detail Paul gets about one chapter, and then George and Ringo really only get enough to bring you up to speed with how they ended up meeting each other The spotlight is on Lennon McCartney, and if you re a George or Ringo fan, this book will infuriate you This biography also continually paints John in a bad light a moody, drug addled narcissist, and tries to redeem Paul s faults by explaining that he was just trying to make the music he loved, or trying to bring the band back together The book also screeches to a halt mere pages after the release of Abbey Road, and it almost feels like Bob is out of breath as he tries to explain how the band broke up We then get a page an a half describing all four of their lives, which feels very lopsided compared to the 300 pages that are written before the Fab Four come together I still had a fantastic time reading this, and can t express how impressive this work is It has its faults, but in the end, it made me re listen to the entire Beatles discography, so it did something right Well, I only read the last half, to see what jolly Bob Spitz could do with the tale of hippy woe which is the decline fall of the four jolly boys I was expecting a whole lot of fun to be had in the style of Bob s outrageous biography of the other Bob, Dylan In that one, Spitz makes up whole conversations, assumes things when he hasn t got any facts or sources, jumps into Dylan s head to riff on what he probably would have been thinking, kicks him when he s down, and all in all has a right Well, I only read the last half, to see what jolly Bob Spitz could do with the tale of hippy woe which is the decline fall of the four jolly boys I was expecting a whole lot of fun to be had in the style of Bob s outrageous biography of the other Bob, Dylan In that one, Spitz makes up whole conversations, assumes things when he hasn t got any facts or sources, jumps into Dylan s head to riff on what he probably would have been thinking, kicks him when he s down, and all in all has a right good laugh But in this Beatles tome disappointingly he plays it completely straight So it comes off as pretty good, pretty comprehensive, nothing that you didn t already know but you can probably give half of your other Beatles books to Oxfam now because it s all in here A threshold book If your interest in The Beatles is only so so, you ll be bored stiff by the book and I suspect you won t make it to page one hundred The writing is only fair in style not quite historical, not quite journalistic, and not quite pure tabloid y entertainment and the substance is frankly too thin to warrant eight hundred plus pages of reading for all but the most maniacal of Beatle maniacs For good or bad, I am such a one And so I raced through it over a long weekend It doesn A threshold book If your interest in The Beatles is only so so, you ll be bored stiff by the book and I suspect you won t make it to page one hundred The writing is only fair in style not quite historical, not quite journalistic, and not quite pure tabloid y entertainment and the substance is frankly too thin to warrant eight hundred plus pages of reading for all but the most maniacal of Beatle maniacs For good or bad, I am such a one And so I raced through it over a long weekend It doesn t lack for effort In an effort at contextualizing the story and following good historiography, Spitz providesthan enough details of early Liverpool, of each of the families of the Beatles, and their early school experiences I remarked to my family that I was on page 340 and the Beatles had yet to make their first single, Love Me Do Despite the read, the Beatles as a phenomenon are still mystifying Regardless of a near day by day account of every significant decision of the members of the band and their select inner circle, the meteoric rise of Beatlemania remains a mystery Nor, finally, can the avalanche of tawdry stories of personal lapses and petty feuds satisfactorily account for their dissolution at the height of their creative powers And despite the author s truly heroic efforts at getting into the musical mindset of the Beatles, the book cannot adequately explain how, even in the midst of their bitter rancor and drug abuse and unwillingness to communicate with one another, the group continued to produce sublime music music that always transcended their own respective individual prodigious talents The book did nothing to diminish my musical appreciation of The Beatles, but I came away admiring only RingoNot only do I now better appreciate his musical contribution to the group, but I came to appreciate him as the sole likable member of the group Ringo alone seemed to appreciate that the stars aligned with fantastic good fortune in his favor, and that the fame and money that came with that fortune were not entitlements George s eccentric if heartfelt spiritualism was marbled with a mixture of second banana diffidence, smoldering resentment and, ironically, excessive hedonism And as for Paul and John, their respective musical talents were genuinely unmatched by anyone else in the 20th century, Dylan included Except for by one another And that competition of egos so instrumental early for fueling the Beatles rise to prominence was in time enough to undo the group, as neither man could stand to recognize the obvious each man was smaller than The Beatles as a group In the end, the only thing larger than Beatlemania was their egos Holy crap is this book long And informative Also fun to read, so yay Here s some fun stuff I learned 1 They all had gonorrhea when they recorded Love Me Do 2 John was a huge asshole.3 Brian Epstein would invite really rough dudes back to his house to beat the crap out of him.4 Yoko was even worse than John.5 Paul was kind of a dick, too.6 But Ringo was a nice guy.7 During early Beatles concerts, theater owners or whoever would wheel retards into the front row until John started makin Holy crap is this book long And informative Also fun to read, so yay Here s some fun stuff I learned 1 They all had gonorrhea when they recorded Love Me Do 2 John was a huge asshole.3 Brian Epstein would invite really rough dudes back to his house to beat the crap out of him.4 Yoko was even worse than John.5 Paul was kind of a dick, too.6 But Ringo was a nice guy.7 During early Beatles concerts, theater owners or whoever would wheel retards into the front row until John started making fun of them by putting a plastic bag on his foot and limping around like a spaz Also, sometimes the parents of said retards would like, bring their kids backstage and then leave them alone With the Beatles The opening chord of A Hard Day s Night George, on a twelve string, plays a Gsus chord From bass to treble that s G,C,F,A,C,G On a twelve string guitar, the bottom four notes get doubled at the octave, while the top two are doubled in unison Underneath, Paul plays a D And John strums a Dsus chord, ADADG, leaving out the bottom string So from bass to treble we get the following D, G, A, C, D, F, G, AA, CCC, DD, F, GG, A The result is a perfect collaboration, and a beautiful example of the The opening chord of A Hard Day s Night George, on a twelve string, plays a Gsus chord From bass to treble that s G,C,F,A,C,G On a twelve string guitar, the bottom four notes get doubled at the octave, while the top two are doubled in unison Underneath, Paul plays a D And John strums a Dsus chord, ADADG, leaving out the bottom string So from bass to treble we get the following D, G, A, C, D, F, G, AA, CCC, DD, F, GG, A The result is a perfect collaboration, and a beautiful example of the Beatles ability to come up with something that is both chaotic and suberbly balanced all at once If you ve heard it, you remember it, and you know what I mean If not, then why are you reading this far Spitz describes this chord in some detail, and quite differently He says George plays a G7 chord with an added ninth, and a suspended fourth, and leaves it at that I bring this up for two reasons First, if Spitz gets this wrong, then it casts into doubt the accuracy of much of his definitive biography This example is important for me, because I have always cared most about the Beatle s music, and much less about all the surrounding stuff.Second, Spitz attributes this chord to George, instead of highlighting what a brilliant group effort it was That s about the only time in the book that George gets put in the forefront, and on this rare occurrence, Spitz gets it wrong This book is mostly about John, then Brian Epstein Paul is still a large figure, but not as much as the first two George is a strong supporting character, and Ringo hardly gets much attention at all The amazing thing about this is that the amount of attention a person gets is inversely proportional to his likability John is a dick Spitz tries to attribute much of this to his various drug addictions But he was being a dick to his audiences even before the drugs became an issue It s pretty amazing that such an inconsiderate asshole could write and perform such brilliant, sensitive music Well maybe not so much I have a whole list of artists whose work I adore, but who I would never want to meet, and Lennon doesn t even get close to the top of this list.Epstein didn t interest me back then, and he doesn t interest me all that much now I guess its worth seeing how he screwed up so many deals for the Beatles But his character seems almost stereotypical If someone made him up for a novel, I think most people would roll their eyes at the cliches And that s pretty sad for him.Paul comes across as controlling, a perfectionist, self centered, terrible to women, but mostly a decent mate to his buddies Except then there is the point where the new manager has Paul s longstanding assistant fired The guy worked for Paul basically all the way back when they played in the Cavern in Liverpool, for over seven years And when the manager had him fired, Paul refused to even return the guy s phone calls So, in the end, Paul showed no loyalty at all But his music, when not corny does anyone actually like Someone s Knocking at the Door , can be glorious.George is painted as insecure, but growing and spiritual By the end, he is at least acknowledged as a good song writer But as the Beatles retreated into the studio, John and Paul treated himandas a hired hand And Ringo is barely seen here as a full Beatle He doesn t enter the scene until the book is half done, and he doesn t fit He treats his wife well, and cares about her And he seems like a nice and stable person What Spitz does show about Ringo, is how important he was for their live sound He wasn t the most technically accomplished drummer, but he had an uncanny musical sense and the ability to fit himself in perfectly.The book inevitably tries to answer two questions First, why the meteoric rise Here, I don t think the book comes up with any good explanation In Outliers, Gadwell attributes the rise to the Beatle s time in Hamburg, where they put in the 10,000 hours needed for mastery That certainly helped them, but there were lots of other groups with their own 10,000 hours In the end, I think the Beatle s were just a black swan There really isn t any explaining the sudden mass hysteria that surrounded them If it had not happened to them, it probably would have been someone else But I have to admit that its awfully difficult for me to imagine some others in the same role.The second question is why the break up The book mostly blames John s envy of Paul, and Paul s need to control things Add to this the drugs, and their seclusion, and the break up becomes almost inevitable The book also lays out another scenario The Beatles became a truly great live band with all of their experience in Hamburg and at the Cavern and on tour through England Once they hit the big time, their shows topped out at 35 minutes or so, instead of several hours a night They played in huge venues to girls who threw jelly bellies at them, and screamed over the music No one listened, and the Beatles couldn t even hear themselves The shows were unsatisfying and becameanddangerous to them So they quit.But the energy, and their first love, came from the live playng Once they retreated into the studio, George and Ringo were no longer as much a cohesive part of the group And Paul and John could goandtheir seperate ways So they lost their energizing source, and they lost the feeling of being a band And that led to them breaking up Spitz doesn t put it in so many words, but that s what I was left with In the end, the fans broke up the Beatles