maricar's Reviews > Magical Mystery Tours: My Life with the Beatles

Magical Mystery Tours by Tony Bramwell
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Apr 27, 09

bookshelves: nonfiction, contemporary, the-beatles

With Bramwell, psych yourself up for some juicy tidbits…


*bytheway, for fans of Yoko Ono, it’d probably be advisable to overlook this book. Or maybe not…your call =) *

*also, one may opt to read other Beatles chronicles first…just to be a little bit more familiar.*

A lot of people who have written memoirs about their experience with the Beatles are almost always touted to be the “ones who were there”; the people “who knew what really happened behind the scenes.” Since I’ve barely read more than a couple of books written by those supposedly belonging to the Beatles sphere, I find myself not quite ready to trust what I read—were they really “there” when a momentous Beatles event occurred—whether personal or public? Are their accounts the genuine article (read as “firsthand”) that they can really be trusted? Sometimes it seems all too easy to believe that these “memoirs” are just another hodge-podge of widely-researched-and-collected gossips and tabloid articles, as well as a rehashing of secondhand accounts. Who knows…

So, in coming across Tony Bramwell’s account, I really was not that expecting much in the way of stumbling across new info about the band. (I admit, I cannot remember Bramwell’s [or "Tone’s":] name being mentioned much in those books that I have read, and I’m much too lazy to go through those pages again. No offense to Tony’s admirers.) Even so, the front cover splashing McCartney’s vouchsafing for Bramwell’s memory of the band was enough to make me go, “hmmm….let’s see…”

Even from just the first chapter, Bramwell impresses on the reader that his account is definitely different. He exhibits no reluctance in saying, “look, what you have been reading about the Beatles with regards to what happened in this or that is a load of hogwash…’cos THIS is what really happened…” It’s a bit “in-your-face” for me that I was taken aback.

Or maybe I really am green behind the ears regarding this band that what seemed to me as unheard-of accounts by Bramwell are actually old news to die-hard zealots, despite popular belief.

In any case, it didn’t stop me from being titillated.

From setting to rights the real story behind John and Paul’s first “meeting” on that auspicious day, the “fiasco” that was the Decca Auditions, the mystery that was Brian Epstein, the slew of girls that came and went in the Beatles' life, to the "Paul is Dead" rumors, Bramwell lays it all out.

Of course, the reader still gets the feeling that Bramwell is a little bit more prudent regarding some other topics. Either these subjects are really touchy or long-held secrets that he is bound to keep quiet despite wanting to thrill the reader, or his memories are scanty that he makes only a passing remark. In fact, he rarely expounds on the momentous events surrounding Beatlemania…and this is one of the things I was dissatisfied with, including not having written more about the John-Paul-George-Ringo dynamics (hence the 4 stars)—there really were very very few narrations on the more personal relations among the members (the times he has mentioned poor Ringo can even be counted).

But, boy, on those topics that he’s probably waiting to spill the beans on…he definitely makes no bones in keeping back.

And one of those is Yoko Ono.

In fact, his biting tongue (which is actually funny most of the times) comes to the fore whenever Yoko is mentioned. The reader is left with no doubt regarding his feelings for her. Which really surprised me, since this is the first written work I’ve come across that does not hesitate to be acerbic on the Ono-Beatles phenomenon, and with him being close friends with the band and all.

This is one of his first references to her (and arguably the most polite, at that): “We weren’t aware of it at the time—no one was—but she should have come with a warning stuck to her, like a cigarette packet, because gradually, inch by inch, she intruded into our lives.

Granted, he came out with these writings more than a decade after John died…so I am a bit on the fence…is Bramwell a guy who’s got balls…or not? But then again, Yoko is still around…

On the whole, Bramwell’s accounts on his life around the Beatles were extremely fascinating to read. Although, I would advise others to read the more comprehensive accounts and trivia on the band before this. Bramwell’s stories take for granted that the reader has already a passing familiarity with at least the more popular 411 regarding the FabFour. His stories about meeting the other heavyweights in RockNRoll, Pop, and Hard Rock are added perks. (But really, I *was* salivating still for more insider info on the Beatles [Bramwell, ironically, can still be such a stint regarding them:].)

Still…definitely worth the read! I enjoyed soaking up another person’s insights on the wonder that was the FabFour…
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Quotes maricar Liked

“Sometimes not knowing enough can allow you to think you can achieve anything.”
Tony Bramwell, Magical Mystery Tours: My Life with the Beatles


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