One of the better rock biographies I’ve read as of late, this one really gets down into the history of the Fab Four and all the dirt and eccentricities that came out of the Beatles, Beatlemania, and the eventual personality clashes as they grew older.
Personally, I’ve never quite understood the popularity; until Rubber Soul and Revolver, their music was pretty staid and lackluster – some good riffs and licks, a good backbeat, but nothing out of the ordinary. I know it was their Beatlemaniac arrival that “changed” pop music all over the world, but until they started experimenting in the studio, I didn’t really hear anything that special. But when they started raising the bar, they opened the floodgates for everything and everyone out there, as they legitimized rock music as art.
Bob Spitz’s book covers all aspects of their careers, from their individual life histories in Liverpool, the myriad early groups and gigs they performed there and in Germany, to Pete Best, Stu Sutcliffe, Brian Epstein, George Martin, and all the major figures in their lives, and to the strangeness: The drug use, Yoko Ono, and the blatant fear for their own lives they had when performing on some tours.
This is definitely a good read for any Beatle fan, and I think it provides a good look as to how the pop music industry used to work (originally and post-Beatles), which shows a marked contrast to the pap of today.