Bill O'driscoll's Reviews > The Beatles: The Biography

The Beatles by Bob Spitz
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M 50x66
's review
Jan 02, 2012

really liked it
Read in December, 2011

Great straight-ahead history of the band. Solid and engaging all the way through, but I found Spitz at his best in covering the members' pre- and early Beatles years, their individual journeys to music in the very particular time and place that was post-war Liverpoole. Interestingly, he put most of this together from secondary sources (other writers' books about or interviews with the band) and from eyewitness accounts by people who were not Beatles. (The sources, as far as I can tell, include only one original interview with a surviving band member, McCartney in 1997.) Makes for interesting reading and perhaps a more accurate, or at least nuanced, account. He's especially good at capturing the insane Hamburg scene and the events leading to and including the band's first professional recording session with George Martin.

A remarkably deft storyteller with a great eye for detail, Spitz also smartly captures what made the band special, and gives you some idea of how four unschooled lads from a provincial British town, in a matter of a few years, improbably changed virtually everything about how popular music was written, performed, recorded and listened to. (Talent, sure, but also drugs -- especially acid -- and Martin, not forgetting Brian Epstein ... whose untimely death surely had more to do with the band's breakup a couple years hence than did the arrival on the scene of Yoko Ono.)
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