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The Beatles - All These Years: Volume One, Tune In. Part One: From The Beginning ... To 1960 Audio Download – Unabridged

4.8 out of 5 stars 152 customer reviews

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Audio Download, Unabridged, 10 Oct 2013

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Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 20 hours and 51 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio UK
  • Audible.co.uk Release Date: 10 Oct. 2013
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FLKR2FU

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4.8 out of 5 stars
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By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Over the years I have read more books about the Beatles than I care to admit to and they vary in quality from pretty good to absolutely terrible. However, when Mark Lewisohn announced that he would be writing the `definitive' biography of the band, fans believed him. Lewisohn is not only THE Beatles expert, but he is also someone who has an obvious love for them. In other words, he is also a fan and the little details, which intrigue us, also interest him.

This first volume looks at their family history and childhood, then splits into five chapters; taking detailed looks at the years 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961 and 1962. From the first, two things become abundantly clear - that the author understands the relationship between John and Paul and that he is keen to debunk myths that have become almost accepted - especially ones built around John's childhood. Yes, his childhood was difficult, but films such as "Nowhere Boy" have created a totally fictional account of what happened and even recent books, such as "When They Were Boys" by Larry Kane, simply repeats them. Stories of Mimi dodging bombs to visit the baby John in hospital or John's mother and father forcing him to choose between them in an emotional `tug of love' are just that - stories. Mimi also gets a much more sympathetic portrayal and we learn how, rather than trying to keep John's father away from him, she even allowed him to write to his son from prison. They may have lost touch, but it was certainly not Mimi's fault that they did.

Having established that he wants to tell the story as the truth, Mark Lewisohn is certainly not portraying the band in a better light, or concealing their flaws. They were young boys at this time, each with their own character traits and faults, as everyone has.
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Format: Hardcover
If you've read any of Mark Lewisohn's previous books, you'll know he's the definitive Beatles historian, and now he has been given special access to various sources and material to write the definitive story of the fab four. `Tune In', is the highly anticipated first part of a trilogy titled `All These Years' that has taken almost a decade to complete and as Lewisohn clarifies "all the information is tested, accurate, and free of airbrushing".
While many will ask do we need another Beatle book? It's clear from the opening pages here that the author is digging deeper than the official Anthology did a decade ago, so deep in fact that Volume 1 is over 800 pages and details the early days of childhood right up to the end of 1962, and the release of their first single.
While most of their 214 tracks recorded in 7 years will be dealt with in Volumes 2 and 3, here we get the complete story of the 1100 hours performing (and 38 weeks spent) in Hamburg, which Lennon commented "we went in young boys and came out old men". These are the formative years, the less visible years, and possibly the most fascinating and exciting period of their career.
The opening chapters cover the period up to 1945 and Lewisohn is clever here. All the Beatles family trees are well rooted, but he keeps it brief, keeps the reader entertained throughout, switching between the births of Ringo and John, while his factual account of John choosing between his mother and father is the ready made script for a Hollywood movie. By the time we get to July 1954 the author has John, Paul, George & Ringo's lives intersecting with each other on every page, writing that Tarantino would have been proud of.
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To Beatles addicts like myself ("OK then, just one more biography and I'm done") this is one to savour. There have been plenty of readable accounts of the pre-fame Beatles before. I would always recommend Philip Norman's Shout and Alan Williams's heavily biased but entertaining the Man Who Gave The Beatles Away. But in the absence of a hard nosed academic albeit enthusiastic historian's job on the story there were some big and unexplained gaps. So do you want to know what happened during the year long 'dead period' where The Quarrymen were without any gigs or a drummer? It's all filled in over hundreds of pages. Want the low-down on John and Paul's two weeks in Paris as The Nerk Twins? A whole chapter. And want a witness's account of what really happened when John's mum and dad decided on his upbringing? Prepare to read this and several other received stories shot down in flames.

In this mammoth tome Lewisohn brings new life to a great story (and the history of The Beatles really is a great story) and, as importantly, as a backdrop he gives a good account of a remarkable cultural renaissance in a remarkable city. Simply as a social history it rightly kicks back at the lazy Dominic Sandbrook school of postwar revisionism which seeks to belittle the postwar political consensus. More specifically, without the NHS Ringo wouldn't have lived past the age of 7 and without decent affordable council housing the McCartneys might have been destitute after the death of Paul's mother and the consequent loss of income. In other words, No Atlee or Bevan, no Beatles.

This took over a decade to write and the detail makes it worth the wait. I only hope we don't have to wait so long for volumes 2 and 3.
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