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on 29 July 2012
On the plus side Alastair Taylor's "With The Beatles" is a real non stop page turner, fun, colloquial,and human with a touch of the tragic. For Beatle historians Taylor provides some interesting source material and vignettes, particularly on the persona of Epstein. However its a shame the book was not properly proof read as it looses much of its potential weight triping over contradictions and errors. Taylor comes across as a most likeable and honest chap whose tragic missfortune was to turn down a cut on The Beatles original contract.I think I have read almost every "authoritive" book on The Beatles and Alastair Taylor has never previously emerged as anymore than a very useful stage hand, albeit on the greatest stage of the 20th centuary. It's intersting to cross reference his name in the index of all other Beatles tombs for some perspective. The tough truth is Tayor was a most useful fixer to the Beatles and real confidant to Epstein, but uttery replaceable. His contribution was valuable but not fundamental to the greatest rock 'n' roll band so far, unlike say Geoff Emerick. There is a "hard luck" sub text to Taylor's story, but there is little evidence to corroborate his perspective. That said The Beatles could be somewhat small minded/forgetful about publicaly acknowledging and crediting the enablers around them, but in the big scheme of things we can forgive them this flaw when set against their staggering cultural contribution. I am left with the impression Taylor thinks The Fab four should have looked after him better as they imploded after Epstein's death,for which its hard not to be sympathetic. Curiously Taylor makes no such suggestion about the Epstein estate, which to my mind had more responsibility to Taylor than The Beatles did. I hope Alastair has made a stack of cash from his book, its a harmless but likeable real life story. The romantic in me hopes Macca has read it, had him for tea and given him a very late and very large severance cheque, after all they are both nearing the end of that long and winding road they once intimately shared. Buy the book, its worth it if you are a fan, lord knows there are enough of us!
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on 5 February 2007
Well, you must at least feel a little sorry for Alistair Taylor, a man that sacrified so much for the "boys" and indeed for mr Epstein and then got sacked by Alan Klein. However. Even when you discard the most obvious errors, like spelling Brian Brain and so forth, the book is loaded with contradictionary facts. We learn in one chapter that Beatles had no leader, just to read a couple of pages further on that John was the only leader of the band. It becomes even stranger when Taylor and Epstein visit a concert in 1963 which begins with the band playing Michelle (released in 1965). Having also ordered Revolver - The secret history of the Beatles, from the same publishing house (John Blake) I start to wonder if this company ever check their authours stories. Or are they possibly just printing whatever they feel like, hoping to get away with it?
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on 13 September 2015
I enjoyed reading Alistair's story, even though it wasn't particularly well-written. Ultimately, a sad tale, a kind of betrayal of a man who gave his life to the cause of other's, The Beatles and their hangers-on. I actually knew Alistair at one point, and though I don't think he knew anything much about music (as he happily admits), he was a good and well-meaning guy who really was in the thick of things, and lost a lot of his life to these exalted creatures, who seemed to care little about the fate of others they were really responsible for. I suppose such selfishness ended better for Alistair than it did for Badfinger - proving it can always be worse.
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on 1 February 2014
Developing these tall tales must have kept Al sober all afternoon.
A couple of honkers:
John Lennon hadn't even heard of acid when The Beatles got their MBEs...neither had anybody else.
And then there's Alistair's one time headline-grabber 'I was Raymond Jones' which was believed until MOJO magazine found a Mr. Ray Jones who could prove he WAS the guy who ordered 'My Bonnie'!!

It's no wonder the band let him go and let Allen Klein take the blame. He's full of it!

So it is that this book, which I first read, believing most of it, under another of its remarketed titles, is, in retrospect, just about the most useless item from an (actual) insider!
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VINE VOICEon 2 October 2012
What I don't understand is why if this book first came out in 2003 did it take me until 2012 to find out about it? Me, a Beatles fan since 1963. The publicity surrounding this book when it came out must have been very low key. This is a fantastic book for anybody who has any interest in the lives of the greatest pop band that ever\will ever walk this earth. Alistair Taylor was there at the beginning. He went with Brian Epstein to that first visit to the cavern to see this rough and ready band known as the Beatles. He was Brian Epstein's and later the Beatles Mr Fixit. He has interesting views on Linda Eastman. He explains what went wrong with Paul's relationship with Jane Asher. This is not sensationalist like many other books, he states what happened. I didn't believe some of the other books that were written by hangers on. This one I do believe because he was no hanger on, he was employed as Brian Epstein's PA. He really was there! I am sorry he appears bitter at the end of the story when he is unceremoniously dumped by the Beatles new management. That's life I am afraid, move on. For seven years he was very privileged to be close to the phenomenom that was the Beatles. I am so pleased that he finally told his story and managed to fill a few more of the gaps for me.
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The fact that Alistair Taylor gets no mention in any of the Beatles other biographies , makes some of this work a little questionable.
Some of the characters e.g. Magic Alex considered by George Martin to be an opportunist non of whose gadgets ever worked.
Also,the respect they had for Maharishi and the stabilising of meditation in their lives , is ignored .
One or two extra insights, but a very chippy account.
Also not very well written
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on 28 August 2013
I enjoy reading books about the Beatles and have read several. The majority were very rounded giving a balanced view. This seems to be one sided, with the author painting a very rosy picture. Those of us that have read other books will know this was not the case. It does cover a large portion of the Beatles life but not everything should be taken as gospel. Read this book but remember it is is one mans memories.
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on 14 April 2013
I like this book. Alistair was a loyal servant to Brian Epstein & the lads. It's a good read. I do want to mention one thing however, which has left me wondering how accurate it is. I just watched a documentary on the 50th anniversary of Please Please Me. In there they interview Brian's business partner who actually saw 10,000 copies of the single in store that Brian bought in order to make sure it got to No.1, yet In the book Alistair swears his boss would NEVER have done something like that!!!
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on 22 September 2013
I thought I'd read everything about, and by, the Beatles but this was very different because Taylor was intimately involved but writes in a modest voice, and gives a different, and loyal, perspective of Epstein's role and character.
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on 30 March 2013
i thought this book was brilliant it was very interesting and informative from a man who was a friend of the beatles
there was nothing i disliked about this book and i would recomend it to any beatles fan
as far as other books on the beatles it was a lot better than some i have read
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