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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing Beatles story from a 1968 view, 4 Sep 2009
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This is a 2009 update on Hunter Davies' original tome from 1968. By update, I mean that he has included the 1985 postscript and has now added some text from this year. These extra entries are a perfect complement to the 1968 book, which is reproduced as the main part of the book.

The story itself is utterly compelling even to long-standing Beatles fans like myself. I cannot read too much about this wonderful band even if I already know some of the facts. I say "some" because there is always something new to learn about them as you will find in this book. The author tells the story beautifully and breaks the chapters down into different segments (e.g. a chapter on each of the fab four and chapters on Hamburg, Beatlemania, The End Of Touring etc.). There is a certain chronology to the book without becoming the usual month-by-month tale.

I found it difficult to put this book down. Hunter Davies' style is crisp, witty but factual and lets family and friends do the 'talking' when necessary. I had an eerie feeling whilst reading this, especially the 1967/68 years when the breakup of marriages and indeed the band itself had yet to come. A great book for anyone who wishes to read the story about The Beatles, a marvellous one for fans like myself.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic, 13 Jan 2010
By 
John W. Edelman - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This was the first book about the Beatles that I read and I would highly recommend it to anyone just starting out in the world of the Beatles. In fact I think that if you read this, then Revolution In The Head and finally You Never Give Me Your Money, in that order, you will have a good all round Beatle education; something that every music fan should aspire to!
By all means buy other books about the Beatles (I have bought tons over the years) but you don't NEED anymore than these three (IMHO).
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An updated edition!, 6 July 2009
By 
R. E. Sheehan - See all my reviews
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I am only reviewing this book to address the 1 star given by the only other reviewer as of July 2009. The previous reviewer seemed to be complaining about Amazon's lack of information about whether the book is a reprint rather than the book itself.

Hunter Davies' was the authorised biography and this is an updated edition of that biography. It is a hugely enjoyable read and much of the content of other books on the fabs is taken from here.

It thoroughly deserves the 5 stars and is highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A useful insight into the fab four, 12 July 2011
By 
LXIX (scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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Hunter Davies, a Sunday Times journalist and originally from Scotland, was given exclusive access in the late 60's to put together the first official and authorised Beatles biography. His terms of reference had two main implications - on the positive side it was jam packed with anecdotal details (e.g. the Beatles got lost near Wolverhampton during the 10 hour drive to London for the Decca audition on New Year's Eve 1961; Pete Best (unsurprisingly) never turned up for the Chester gig after being dismissed that afternoon on 15 August 1962 etc); however, on the downside, due to the need for a myriad of approvals before publication, some of the book feels like it has been written by committee - this is manifest in sections where short sharp sentences dominate, and, of course, in the lack of opinionated analysis.

I was also left wondering if it was all 100% fact or if any urban legends had perhaps slipped through the net ... for example, did a "Raymond Jones" really walk into Brian Epstein's record store in 1961 and ask for a copy of "My Bonnie"? This may be a minor and irrelevant point, but Alistair Taylor, an assistant of Brian Epstein, is quoted in The Brian Epstein Story as saying that "The legend has it that a lad named Raymond Jones walked into the shop and asked for 'My Bonnie' by the Beatles and that Brian put his name in the book and that's how we found the Beatles. What in fact happened was that I got fed up with youngsters coming in asking for the Beatles record. So I put in a name, Raymond Jones, in the order book. I just made it up." Interesting!

Ironically, some of the most rivetting and enjoyable parts of this revised version are the updated the 68 page Introduction section (written in 2009) and the 44 page Postscript (written in 1985), both penned when the author had more licence to articulate the background to his book, his personal insights and the subsequent impact that the Beatles have had on music and culture. Another fascinating section is the description of the creative process, with case studies provided of 'With a Little Help From My Friends,' 'It's Getting Better,' and 'Magical Mystery Tour.' The author was privileged to sit in on these sessions and provides a lucid account of the nuts and bolts of how the Beatles actually put their songs together.

If you're expecting a nuts and bolts overview of each Beatles album and how it was put together, then you won't get that from this book. Instead, there's a great deal on family backgrounds and even a 'through the keyhole' approach to how all 4 were living in 1967/1968. This was quite intriguing stuff. All 4 seemed to have happy home lives, and yet they all subsequently left the women that they were with as this point in time (Cynthia, Jane, Patti and Maureen later making way for Yoko, Linda, Olivia and Barbara).

The story of the Beatles is quite possibly the greatest in the history of the music industry. They demonstrate what can be achieved when talent, hard work, organisation, and of course, the lucky breaks all come together. Indeed, at one point the author refers to their "illogical" optimism when all the record labels in London had turned their nose up at them.

This book is therefore a must have for any Beatles fan. You'll get plenty from it and may actually be rather inspired if you have any artistic leanings of your own.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The True History of The Beatles!, 29 Jan 2011
Anyone who either lived through the sixties or loves the Beatles will adore this fabulous book by Hunter Davis. It is a real page-turner.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A day in the life, 29 Dec 2010
This review is from: The Beatles: The Authorised Biography (Kindle Edition)
I love the beatles and always have and this book has given me even more information on them from before they picked up an instrument and played a tune and so far I've only read a sample and can't wait to read the rest.
From Harry
12 year old
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life of The Beatles, 12 Feb 2010
By 
Mr. R. STANSON "rodley" (liverpool) - See all my reviews
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If you like your info on the group to be true and very intersting, this update is a must read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read, 28 April 2014
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This review is from: The Beatles: The Authorised Biography (Kindle Edition)
An interesting insight into the history of the Beatles, their history and perhaps everyday lives.

Also includes up dates from the 1980's and 2000's which enables the author to be a little more free with his opinions and stories.
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4.0 out of 5 stars By Royal Command, 3 April 2014
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This review is from: The Beatles: The Authorised Biography (Kindle Edition)
As the authorised biography of The Beatles you'd expect Hunter Davies' account of the lives of Fab Four, from their very birth to the final breakup of the band, to be factually accurate and without the flaws that are sometimes seen in other biographies and hustled together books on the phenomenon that ended up being called Beatlemania.

Unfortunately, as Hunter Davies himself points out in the notes and additions that accompany the original biography, the story had to be approved by each individual member of The Beatles and, in one case (Brian Epstein), relatives too. So what we end up with is a heavily edited and censored account that glosses over details that others have pursued with greater in-depth investigation, notably 'You Never Give Me Your Money' by Doggett.

Also the tone of this book is lightweight, written as though it was meant for The Beatles fan club, using short sentences which sometimes makes it seem almost fictional in nature which it certainly is not. None of that detracts from the story of how each Beatle grew up, what made them the characters they were, and how they found each other by fortuitous chance.

Indeed it is the early parts of the individual stories which are the most interesting, especially as the accounts are based on extensive interviews and character drawings which you won't find in other books. Note that this latest edition keeps the original early edition text as the core of the book but surrounds it with additional notes, comments and added historical perspectives that are well worth having.

No-one interested in how The Beatles grew up and what made them what they were should be without this book. You'll need others too, particularly Lewisohn's The Complete Beatles Chronicle and Doggett's You Never Give Me Your Money, to complete the history and give more of the facts, but Hunter Davies lived through Beatlemania and was close to the Fab Four and, even though this story reads as though it's by Royal Command, you get a real feeling of how these four musicians rocked the '60s - literally.
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5.0 out of 5 stars the dogs, 24 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Beatles: The Authorised Biography (Kindle Edition)
read this in the early seventies and at that time was a huge fan still am and although lennon said it was a whitewash this was as near to the truth as you could get hunter davies was hands on and did a great job any new fans this is the book you need
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