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George Harrison: Behind The Locked Door Hardcover – 17 Sep 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Omnibus Press (17 Sept. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780383061
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780383064
  • Product Dimensions: 16.6 x 4.1 x 23.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 219,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Graeme Thomson is the author of several books. UNDER THE IVY: THE LIFE & MUSIC OF KATE BUSH (Omnibus, 2010) was described by The Irish Times as "the best music biography in perhaps the past decade" and by MOJO as "superb". Record Collector called I SHOT A MAN IN RENO (Bloomsbury, 2008) "one of the most informative and fulfilling music books you're ever likely to read."

BEHIND THE LOCKED DOOR, his definitive biography of George Harrison, will be published in the autumn of 2013: http://amzn.to/16nloR7

Graeme Thomson has written for the Observer, New Statesman, Oxford American, the Telegraph, Time Out, MOJO and Rolling Stone, and contributes regularly to the Guardian, Uncut, the Herald and The Arts Desk. He lives with his family in Edinburgh.

PRAISE FOR 'UNDER THE IVY':
"The best music biography in perhaps the past decade... an absorbing, painstakingly researched and downright fascinating book" - Irish Times

"Superb .... A compelling examination of an artist in a constant state of becoming - Mojo

"Respectful, fascinating and full of insight" - Q

"A masterful biography. Thomson's descriptive language is gorgeous" - The Word

"Sheds a light on the women behind the inspiration of many a modern-day chanteuse - NME

PRAISE FOR 'COMPLICATED SHADOWS':
"That rarest of rock & roll studies: expertly researched, restrained yet stylish, and in perfect tune with its subject's work" - Austin Chronicle

"Those with even a remote interest in rock music of the past 30 years will find his book utterly mesmerizing" - Library Journal

"A vital read ... Thomson here returns one of rock's most elusive figures to flesh and blood ... Definitive." - Uncut
"Brilliantly written . . . in the absence of Elvis Costello putting pen to paper himself, this is far and away the next best thing." - Record Collector

PRAISE FOR 'I SHOT A MAN IN RENO':
"Better musical surveys are hard to find, and the results are positively life-affirming." - Paste

"Its contents more than live up to the billing.... a rich and masterful read." - The Word

"Shows an electric ability to craft delectable imagery with informative reporting..... Dude knows the best musical death trips!" - KEXP, Best Books of 2008

"An essential volume for anyone interested in pop as an all-pervasive social force that soundtracks our lives right up to our last breath.... One of the most informative and fulfilling music books you're ever likely to read" - Record Collector

"A wildly cheering history of the subject of death in popular song." - Observer, Best Music Books of 2008

PRAISE FOR WILLIE NELSON: THE OUTLAW':
"An excellent biography. Thomson is too shrewd a biographer to take [Nelson] at his own estimation." - Paul Du Noyer, The Word

"Thomson tells the Nelson story with incision and insight. Sharp writing, astute observation and a wry attitude .... make for a lively read and a vivid portrait of an often baffling talent. Recommended." - Neil Spencer, Observer Music Monthly

Product Description

About the Author

Graeme Thomson is one of Britain's leading music writers. As the author of critically acclaimed and definitive biographies of Elvis Costello (Complicated Shadows, Canongate, 2004) and Kate Bush (Under The Ivy, Omnibus Press, 2010)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By E. Russell on 23 Oct. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For someone who was part of the Beatles and had an eventful solo career, George Harrison has not been well served by biographers. Having read them all, this must rank as one of the best. The author has actually spoken to folk who were part of George's life and has certainly researched previously published material in great detail. The author gives an honest assessment of George's music during the solo years and is prepared to explore some of the darker aspects of Harrison's life.

It had me dipping back into my record collection to refer to albums not played in a while and gave me some insight which got me reassessing the merits of many songs and albums. An excellent book about a very complex man torn between the spiritual and the material worlds.
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81 of 93 people found the following review helpful By HariG on 9 Nov. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Being a huge George Harrison fan, I was so looking forward to reading this. But within five minutes of skimming to a few of my favourite topics/events, I was shocked to see that a huge amount of the details, and even the structure in certain cases, has come straight from Wikipedia's Harrison album and song articles. (I know this because I'm the crazy person who's been expanding Harrison content on that encyclopaedia since January 2012!) It could be a coincidence, I admit. But: a) that would make a *lot* of coincidences, and b) the similarities just jump off the page.

* As an example, take pages 210-11 of this book and compare with two sections in Wikipedia's ALL THINGS MUST PASS album article -- the sections "Release" and "Reception". I believe this author takes the build-up/credibility points from Release; then paraphrases the quote from Robert Rodriguez that sits early in the article's Reception section; then (most obviously) repeats the same line of discussion as the article, through the inclusion of Rolling Stone's critique of the album, followed by the NME's, followed by Richard Williams' in Melody Maker and The Times.
* Loads of other examples: CONCERT FOR BANGLADESH article (under Rehearsals) vs this book's pages 224-25, which repeat details on Nola Studios rehearsals, Harrison's preliminary setlist, and Frampton's role; many other mirror images from Wikipedia's articles (on the concerts, the live album, related songs such as The Day the World Gets 'Round) appear through to p. 235 of the book.
* Or take the chapter covering the LIVING IN THE MATERIAL WORLD album (starting on pages 238-39).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Botnik Roller on 1 Sept. 2015
Format: Hardcover
I'm far from being a "Beatlemaniac", or having all the Fab Four individual discographies. I have all the "regular" Beatles records (from "Pleas Please ME" through "Abbey Road and "Let it Be", and the Red and Blue compilations). From the individual discographies, I have only "Band on The Run" by McCartney, "George Harrison" from 1979, and a double-CD compilation of John Lennon. Of Ringo, nothing at all. Also, I have the "Anthology" box of DVDs.

I say all that to make it clear that in general I know about Beatles songs, but I'm not an avid collector by any strech of the imagination. So, I went into this biography of Harrison looking for information that would be new to me. And I found it.

The book has 16 chapters, usually between 20-35 pages each, It has a good flowing between ths history of Harrison and and critical analysis of the quality of his albums. There is also the more known facts: the discovery of India, the Clapton/Boyd affair, the inernal Beatles fighting, his absence from touring, etc, etc... In general, however, the author clearly makes it best to not throw garbage over George's name, be it in drug use or infidelity.

A good, thick book.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By James Bevarage on 14 Nov. 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is a superb read, painstakingly researched and beautifully written. I know my Beatles books very well and what the author does here so effectively is bring a freshness to such a familiar subject. Having said that, The Beatles period stuff is great but the book really comes to life when its getting to grips with the complexities of Harrison's life after 1970. Definitive, I's say.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Peter Milne on 30 Aug. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book; in fact, I found it hard to put down. So, I would strongly recommend it to anyone who has a fascination with the life and music of George Harrison, even those who have already seen the excellent Scorsese documentary, Living in the Material World, and also The Beatles Anthology. Graeme Thomson has done an even more impress job that his previous biography of Kate Bush, and added a deeper understanding of George Harrison, the man.

What makes Behind the Locked Door such a fascinating read is the author’s honestly about his subject, revealing the warts-and-all nature of Harrison and the conflicts within his personality that seem to have brought him so much angst and mental anguish over the years. It is interesting to see this developing mid way through The Beatles decade, and growing to the point at which he was absolutely through with The Beatles quite some time before the final split. But Thomas goes on the describe the struggles that pervaded Harrison’s life after he had moved on from the Beatle George role; the drugs, the infidelities, the obsessive rejection of his Beatle past, the nervousness and sensitivity, to mention but a few. Thomson always treats his subject with the greatest sympathy and sensitivity, while offering his own candid and thought-provoking insight into the man and what he was going though at various stages of his life.

One of the most fascinating parts of the book for me was in describing the making of The Beatles Anthology, and the tensions that this reignited within the three surviving Beatles. It touches on one of the issues that has always fascinated me, namely whether Harrison and McCartney ever really reconciled.
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