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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Dirty Story By A Dirty Man., 10 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Shout!: The True Story of the "Beatles" (Paperback)
This is the granddaddy of bad Beatles biogs. Published in the immediate aftermath of John Lennon's murder, it initiated the fundamentally wrong-headed view that John was the dominant talent in the band. Norman clearly has an agenda against McCartney and cannot resist taking a dig at him at every opportunity - Paul is given the doubt of every benefit. As for George and Ringo, both are summarily dismissed, the former as an 'average guitarist' who 'got lucky', the latter as a loveable idiot. In truth, though, both are given short space by Norman, who clearly feels that Lennon was the class act and that McCartney cramped his style.

So far, so bad. But Norman has 'updated' this piece of Sunday Times style journalism with a postcript, where we learn that John's post-Beatles career was a fairy-tale of loving marriage, househusbandry and baking bread: the view propagated by Yoko Ono, whom Norman cleary wants to keep on the right side of (this whole book might as well have been ghost-written by Norman on her behalf), while Paul, George and Ringo quickly slipped into well-heeled mediocrity. The postcript on McCartney, in particular, represents one of the most mean-spirited things ever written about anyone anywhere.

In conclusion: you'll probably enjoy this if you're a 'John was s saint' delusional fantasist, but if you want a balanced picture of the Beatles, you'll (still) have to turn to Hunter Davies' forty-two year old 'authorised' biography, which - for all its many flaws - does attempt an honest and fair look at its subject.

The one star is for Norman's commentary on the affairs of Apple, which manages to reduce this labrynthine and forbidding subject to manageable proportions - though in this he has recently been superseded by Peter Doggett's (much better) book on the subject.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Jan 2011 11:54:29 GMT
The granddaddy of bad Beatles biographies is 'The Love You Make' by Peter Brown & Steven Gaines. 'Shout!', to me, is reasonably OK up to the final chapters but Brown & Gaines really go for the jugular!!!!

Posted on 30 May 2011 10:15:29 BDT
Matt Blick says:
"Paul is given the doubt of every benefit" - love it! I'd say you're pretty much spot on. There's a good bit about how they broke the States, but his lack of musical knowledge is pretty shocking.

Posted on 1 Nov 2012 13:24:49 GMT
Taranis says:
The books merits a one star for the preface alone.

Its historical view of the 60s as the original 'culprit' for all the ills of the world today is deluded, 100 per cent off-beam, reactionary, right-wing garbage worthy of a Daily Express journalist and that's saying something. :)
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