Learn more Download now Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop now

on 3 April 2014
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.
11 Comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 2 August 2017
To me they were the greatest band this country has ever produced and now i know from reading this book the people behind them. I knew it was a struggle from the off to get recognition and the fame and fortune that was to follow, but i now feel as if i knew them as friends thanks to this remarkable on the scene biography from Hunter Davies. Brilliant!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 17 June 2017
very short comment; simply ingulf the haydays the beatles.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 28 March 2012
This is the only `official authorised biography' of the Beatles and, as such, has some wonderful advantages over other studies.

All the key personalities get to have their say; friends and family as well as professional contacts. Mums and Dads, brothers and sisters, Aunt Mimi and, even, Freddie Lennon are all here.

Davies deals honestly with the Sutcliffe and Best matters and he makes no attempt to make excuses for our heroes as they behaved so badly toward two young men who were crucial to the band's early development. (There's a whole chapter devoted to `Decca And Pete Best').

The book moves chronologically from the earliest days up to 1968. By then the touring was over and the band were peaking as a truly innovative musical force in the studio.

My own (2009) edition has a 'postscript' which Davies penned in `85 and brought things up to date at that point.

For fans of the Beatles this book is pretty much indispensable.
Depending what you want to know about the most influential music-group of all time, this book may well be all that you'll ever need.
For fans who want to know more about the music that the Beatles created and how they did it, `Revolution In The Head' by Ian MacDonald would make an ideal companion read to this book by Davies.

0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 24 October 2002
Hunter Davies is a great writer who has been lucky enough to write about some fascinating subjects. But none better than the Beatles.
His research centres in 1967-8, with the Beatles at work on the White album and it's a sort of glossed picture. For example, he doesn't go into John's infidelities - he is still the family man here - nor does he divulge all he knew about Brian Epstein, though he deals with this in the add ons to a later edition.
Yet even with this, he spent such a long time with them - and they obviously like him - that you get really intimate details. He is best on John and George -I think- and finds Paul the hardest to get to grips with.
This isn't the perfect biography, as he concedes: it's a bit like he never quite got on top of the mountain of material he accumulated, but it's totally readable and rich in detail. If you are interested in the Beatles, this is a gold mine, and it catches something of the Sixties London atmosphere too.
Even more to the point, loads of great books have been written about the Beatles since, "Revolution in the Head", "Shout" etc.etc. but no one except Davies had the opportunity to get this close.
You can read Lennon interviews or the Miles book on McCartney, but they are biassed. Davies captures them as they really were in the latter stages: his portrait is both perceptive and affectionate. A terrific book.
0Comment| 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 4 September 2009
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.
0Comment| 58 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 10 October 1998
Because this book was the only authorized biography ever written of The Beatles and also because it was written at the time, rather than researched & compiled years later, I felt that I could believe what I was reading. It was facsinating reading comments from John before the breakup when he still enjoyed being a Beatle, rather than the cynical type of quotes from after all the animosity came into their relationships.
0Comment| 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
VINE VOICEon 13 January 2010
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).
0Comment| 33 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 31 July 2017
Brilliantly written. The best biography e v er
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 28 June 2017
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)