Friday, January 11, 2013

The Beatles: The Fab Four....

1983, first edition (but see below), from Treasure Press
Editorial Consultant Jeremy Pascall, Material Compiled by Robert Burt, Epilogue by Chris Rowley
The Beatles: The Fab Four Who Dominated Pop Music for a Decade
Original price unknown, purchase price $4.98
Slightly worn hardcover

While it's nice to see so many color photos of the Beatles, including for Hard Day's Night, in this sort of cheap version of a coffee-table book, the writing is so mediocre to abysmal that I can't recommend it.  Earlier versions of the book appeared in 1973, '74, and '75, but this is listed as "Revised 1983."  Unfortunately, this means that the Epilogue covers only '75 to '80 (don't look for McCartney's '82 duets with Stevie Wonder), and in only two pages.  Although Rowley had years to prepare it, it's probably the most poorly written piece in the whole book.   Some samples:

"Yoko, who is should never be forgotten is an artist in her own right...."
"Ringo flew to America to stay as well....Everything he wanted to do seemed to be in that city...."  (L.A. presumably, although it hasn't been mentioned since the previous section on John.)
"Troubles begat disaster for the tour right from the start."
"John was tiring of the life-as-drunkard-socialite by mid '75 and he and a pregnant Yoko began dating again."  (Implying Yoko was pregnant by someone other than her husband.)

The second worst section is the gushy one on Paul's 1970-74 career, starting with definitions of "super" and "star."  The earlier sections are mostly unremarkable, with no information or perspective you can't find elsewhere.  Yet the book is definitely a contrast to The Love You Make, censoring Lennon's profanity and cleaning up Epstein's messy life.  I think at the time it was worth the five bucks because I was still new to Beatles fandom and it wasn't yet possible to do an Internet image search that brings dozens of color pictures of the band within seconds.  But nowadays, there's not much point in keeping the book.

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