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Hilariously Brilliant, Bittersweet Memoir,
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This review is from: The Longest Cocktail Party: An Insider's Diary of the Beatles, Their Million-dollar Apple Empire and Its Wild Rise and Fall (Paperback)
"The Longest Cocktail Party" is not a "definitive" biography of The Beatles. It does not abound with exclusive contemporary Fab Four interviews (The Beatles themselves aren't even featured in it much), nor does it seek to offer weighty analysis of their music. It is neither a conventional account of their Apple Empire nor an in-depth examination of the myriad boardroom wheelings and dealings that eventually destroyed them.
So why is "The Longest Cocktail Party" hands-down one of the best Beatles books ever published?
In a nutshell, it puts us slap-bang inside The Beatles' HQ at 3 Savile Row, London, between 1968-1970, and it does so magnificently. During this time The Beatles were going to change the world with their utopian dream of "Western Communism" and every misunderstood (i.e.- talentless) artist, musician, freeloader or downright headcase from all corners of the globe dropped by to take a bite out of the Apple. And what a tale it is. The Apple Manifesto might well have been: Never A Dull Moment.
"House Hippy" Richard DiLello is our eyes and ears throughout this wonderful memoir. Luckily for us, he had a great eye for absorbing all of the madness and an even better ear for the relentlessly funny dialogue which flowed like all those Scotches and Cokes poured in Derek Taylor's Press Office. The vivid snatches of conversation allows the roll-call of wonderful characters to leap from the page. Reading this book is like being a fly on the wall in the coolest record company on earth.
The Beatles hang over proceedings like benevolent benefactors, flitting in and out of the Apple offices in various states of exasperation at the chaos they've unleashed; meanwhile the staff whisper in hushed, awed tones about the band's next grand scheme or the increasingly frequent news filtering through of furious arguments emanating from the studio.
As the notorious Allen Klein moves in and the cast of characters either jump ship or walk the plank, there's a genuinely poignant sadness which John Lennon, succinct as ever, would sum up in his magnificent solo debut: "The Dream Is Over."
DiLello shows us that it was at least a hell of alot of fun while it lasted. "The Longest Cocktail Party" is essential reading for anyone with a love of wit and a passion for The Beatles. If you're receptive to both, why wait any longer to pick up a copy?