Jann Wenner and The Beatles

By |2019-08-12T23:28:10-07:00August 11, 2019|biography|

Lately I’ve been starting books and stopping partway through. I get what I want in the part I read, or else I get the general idea and move on. So it was with surprise that I recently found myself finishing what could almost be called a tome—Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine by Joe Hagan. It’s a story I knew next to nothing about and it pulled me along like a novel. What will this ambitious, insecure, bold, reckless man do next? I’ll focus here mostly on where Jann crosses paths with our four heroes, [...]

Gopnik on Norman on McCartney

By |2016-04-26T21:37:24-07:00April 26, 2016|biography|

Paul, looking over his shoulder Adam Gopnik has contributed a peculiar review of Philip Norman's new bio, Paul McCartney: The Life. The TL;DR is "A reader familiar with the past twenty years of Beatles biography will have a pretty hard time finding a single new fact or revelation within [Norman's biography]." Pretty damning, right? Apparently not; Gopnik hastens to add that we shouldn't blame Norman. "After Lewisohn; after Barry Miles’s strange Many Years from Now, a semi-official biography; after Albert Goldman’s The Lives of John Lennon and the Beatles Anthology series, there just isn’t much left to say. Even if [...]

Biography vs History: Expectations and Assumptions about Beatle Narratives

By |2016-03-11T15:29:15-08:00March 11, 2016|Beatle History, biography, books|

Over at the Tumblr fandom categories post, an interesting and lively discussion is taking place about Beatle biographies, and our expectations of and assumptions about authorial intent and accuracy.  I thought the topic warranted a closer look. Are journalists and biographers simply writers "who are paid to tell a story that sells", as Mike Gerber contends, or should they be held to a higher standard because their work, as Ruth contends, is presented and consumed as history?  Should biographers be held to the same journalistic standards of factual reporting which govern the Fourth Estate? Here are some basic elements: Reporters are expected [...]

Tumblr Fandom Categories and Beatle Books

By |2016-03-08T09:13:27-08:00March 7, 2016|Beatles Criticism, Beatles on the Web, biography, books, Uncategorized|

By Gibson DelGiudice, guest Dullblogger As a 21st century Beatles fan (born in 1990, and so coming of age during the new millennium), it seems only natural that I probably have a different perspective than most Beatles fans on the literature that documents the group's rise to fame and the careers of its members. I’d like to share a Tumblr-influenced way of looking at Beatles books and sorting them into categories, based on the attitudes they express. Like many young people today, I’m a consummate Tumblr user. At the time of posting, over 277.2 million blogs make up the Tumblr network , [...]

Paul and Hunter Davies, 1981

By |2016-01-26T13:28:02-08:00January 26, 2016|biography|

Hunter Davies in 1980 In the Allen Klein thread, @Ruth mentioned an interview Beatle biographer Hunter Davies conducted in 1981 with Paul McCartney, in which Paul expressed some more caustic feelings about John, rather than his usual "butter-doesn't-melt-in-my-mouth" persona. Though things apparently improved between Paul and Hunter Davies, McCartney was apparently pretty angry that the author chose to publish it in a revised version of his 1968 biography. I found it on the internet and have pasted it below. (H/T Abbeyrd's Beatles Page; their store is here, if you buy something they get a few shekels.) "Not long after John's [...]

The Beatles and Drugs: the best books?

By |2016-03-08T09:58:24-08:00October 12, 2015|biography, books|

Yes, this is a bong. I don't even smoke and I want one. Folks, someone in the Beatle fan community told me recently that he's writing a book about the Beatles and drugs. It's a fascinating, underconsidered topic -- well, underconsidered by all but right-wing nutjobs, more about that later. Any weary perusal of our comments will attest that it's one I have a lot of interest in, and opinions about. (This post and thread is but one of many.) This fellow asked me a question about John's drug use in the 1979-80 period, and I immediately thought of several [...]

Mark Lewisohn Interviewed at Critics at Large

By |2014-08-01T11:51:23-07:00August 1, 2014|biography, books, Mark Lewisohn, Tune In|

DEVIN McKINNEY  •  One of my colleagues at Critics at Large, Toronto-based arts critic Deirdre Kelly, has scored a dynamite interview with Mark Lewisohn, recently in T-Town for a screening of the Hard Day’s Night re-release and a book-signing. The interview is both substantial and delightful, especially for we who so eagerly consumed Tune In last December, who still see its vivid pictures in our minds, still hear the hum of the history it reanimated. Lewisohn is just as engaged a subject as he is a writer, and Deirdre elicits much fascinating info about the research process he’s been following as “the [...]

Critics at Large reviews “The Fifth Beatle”

By |2014-03-08T11:09:37-08:00March 8, 2014|alternate history, biography, books, Brian Epstein, Reviews|

DEVIN McKINNEY  •  While the world waits for the sunrise, and Hey Dullblog for the opinion of honorary Brian Epstein Fan Club president Mike Gerber, take a look at David Kidney’s review of the fantastic-seeming graphic novel The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story, by writer Vivek Tiwary and artists Andrew Robinson and Kyle Baker. Posted over at my “other” blog outlet, Critics at Large, Kidney’s review gives enough flavor of the visual and textual of the book to get you wondering how much you’d be willing to spend on one of its numerous permutations:  Standard; Deluxe; Super Deluxe Limited Edition, signed; [...]

Lewisohn: Tune-In Extended Edition No Longer Available in the US

By |2014-08-04T15:40:16-07:00February 2, 2014|biography, books, Mark Lewisohn, Tune In|

Sure, we're all smiling before we deal with the book business. Eagle-eyed commenter Sandy wrote, late last night: I don’t know if anyone is interested but here you go from Mark [Lewisohn]'s twitter today: “The extended edition of Tune In has sold out and is now unavailable. Another print may or may not be scheduled at some future time. The e-book (issued in two halves) IS still available, but it’s UK only. My US publisher, Crown, wouldn’t issue the extended book and couldn’t agree terms for the e-book. I’m sorry about that, for me and for everyone in US who [...]

Lewisohn review round-up

By |2014-08-01T11:56:19-07:00December 9, 2013|biography, books, Mark Lewisohn, Tune In|

The title that always gets attention For those of you who have asked for details on what can only be called "revelations" regarding George Martin's forced signing of The Beatles, Tim Riley's review in the NYT spills the beans on that. He also notes Lewisohn's possible debunking of Lennon's Choice between Alf and Julia though—to his credit, I think—Riley doesn't really buy Lewisohn's take. What man would turn to his sailor buddy and say, "Yeah, my son just picked his mother over me"? BTW, our Devin's Magic Circles gets name-checked and called "shrewd" to boot. For those of you who've [...]

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