Spitz writes economically, and with flair, letting the facts and characters speak for themselves. In doing so, he captures an ironic sadness that accompanied the Beatles' runaway success—how their dreams of stardom, once realized, became a prison, forcing the band to spend large parts of their youth in hotel rooms to avoid mobs and to stage elaborate escapes from literally life-threatening situations after appearances. As with all great history writing, Spitz both captures a moment in time and humanizes his subjects. Do something useful with your life.
Spitz's book was the first major Beatles biography to be published after the emergence of internet forums, fan sites and online publications—an environment that ensured the scrutiny it received was widespread and influential. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved Jefferson, NC: McFarland. With sweep already built into its story and the cumulative effects of the author's levelheaded, anecdotal approach, the book emerges as a consolidating and newly illuminating work.
For the right reader, that combination is irresistible. Much of this information can be found in other accounts. There are nearly Beatle books floating around. But Spitz means to be authoritative, to cut through the fictions and calumnies of earlier versions, and to put together a broad, incisive overview. Among the areas in which he succeeds startlingly well is the specifics of songwriting, performance and studio work that made the Beatles worth such scrutiny.
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It shapes a particularly vivid picture of the young, surly John Lennon, with a particularly revisionist and haunting portrait of his mother. It also captures the exhilarating freshness of young English musicians ready to try any crazy thing with no clue about how far they might go. And he transports the reader to the time when that could be true.
Like Martin Scorsese's recent documentary about the young, meteoric Bob Dylan, this book powerfully evokes both the excitement and the price of such a sudden rise. This book is with the Beatles as they hit upon a winning, hair-shaking performance style and as they watch the world go berserk over it. When the exhilaration begins to sour, it captures the frightening fishbowl sensation of their being imprisoned by fans' hysteria and critical acclaim. For guitar and voice.
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