List price: $60.00 (that's 30% off!)
Used price: $11.88
Collectible price: $34.89
Buy one from zShops for: $29.49
Anthology covers every (well, probably almost every) aspect of the Beatles' life and musical career. It starts as four seperate stories as every band member describes his childhood, then melds into the story of the band. All the interviews from the wonderful Anthology TV series are in the book, but so are many more. There are far more details - especially about the music itself, which was neglected in the series. While in the series some albums were hardly mentioned, in the book the Beatles refer to almost every song, telling a thing or two about its background. Also, more touchy subjects which were avoided in the series appear here - such as, the (phony) death of Paul McCartney, the (real) death of Stuart Sutcliffe, the unfortunate Hell's Angels incident and the terrible case of Charles Manson and his connection to the White Album. The photographs and documents shown in the book are facsinating as well.
And no, it's NOT too long. The only problem with the book is its weight, which makes it quite uncomfortable to read. Anthology is a superb book, which reminded me why I used to love the Beatles so much and got me to hear all their albums again - twice.
This book is special because the Beatles themselves are the authors! There are also contributing quotes from Pete Best, Stuart Sutcliffe, George Martin, Mal Evans, Neil Aspinall and others.
The stories are great, from their childhood (John being an avid reader in grade school, Paul's father supporting his music skills, George mastering the guitar at a young age, and Ringo being shuffled in and out of hospitals) to their days in Hamburg (John claims that's where he truly grew up!).
In Hamburg, John, Paul, George, Pete, and Stu play various taverns (and meet Ringo) until Stu falls in love and abandons the Beatles. It seems like Ringo fits in better so they eventually sack Best for Ringo.
Funny stories include Mal breaking a windshield on a cold day while driving the Fab Four to their next gig and the Beatles hiding like school kids from an angry George Martin after missing a recording session!
They meet celebrities like Fats Domino, Little Richard, the Queen, and the King (Elvis).
John discusses "Help", "Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds", and "Revolution 9", Paul discusses "Yesterday", "Eleanor Rigby", "Yellow Submarine" and the Abbey Road Medley (particularly its highlight "The End"), George discusses "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "Taxman", and Ringo discusses "Don't Pass Me By" and "Octopus' Garden".
There are the sore subjects, too, like Manilla (Paul claims they were the 1st to snub Marcos), John's comments about Jesus, the death of Brian Epstein, the breakup coming close on the White Album and later on Let It Be.
Although some of the photos and interviews here can be seen and heard in the Anthology video series and some perhaps read in other books, this brings most everything you need to know about the Beatles in full circle.
And of course, the Beatles experiment with drugs (and later both John and George get
busted by Sgt. Pilcher for possession of them), seek spiritual guidance from the Maharishi (is he as "cosmic" as they think?), fall in love (John with Yoko, Paul with Linda). Unlike in the video series, there is mention of Paul being "dead" and the final nail in the coffin for the Beatles in late 1969 and 1970.
You can't tell it all even in this one (no mention of the Christmas singles, save for a poem by John called "Wonsapon a Pool Table"), but since the Beatles themselves (and their closest comrades) speak for the Beatles, a lot of myths and legends are put to rest. If you're a Beatles fan, you won't want to pass this by!
Used price: $5.28
Collectible price: $5.29
Buy one from zShops for: $5.79
Used price: $6.22
Buy one from zShops for: $5.86
the pictures are neat, and
the characters are interesting.
This book, though, tends to be written
in a sort of fragmentary style,
leaving out a bit much, and often
not giving a good idea of why one
picture follows another.
On the other hand, my 3-year-old likes
it, like all her other Thomas books.
Used price: $6.22
Buy one from zShops for: $5.60
Used price: $3.46
Buy one from zShops for: $6.40
Clayson's use of quoted interviews with people who knew and worked with Ringo is what makes this book so effective. I like the way he portrays Ringo as approachable, as somewhat humble about his stellar success as one quarter of the world's number one band. This is definitely worth reading.
List price: $24.95 (that's 30% off!)
Used price: $17.42
Collectible price: $40.00
Buy one from zShops for: $17.42
List price: $24.95 (that's 30% off!)
Used price: $2.59
Buy one from zShops for: $3.50
Clayson also seems focused on Pete Best, who I guess gave him an interview (Ringo would not). Finally, there are many sloppy factual errors in the book. The one error I found most ridiculous was Clayson's saying that there was trumpet on Helter Skelter. A trumpet? Is he sure there wasn't a fiddle and banjo on that one too?
One of the few interesting things about the book is a picture of Ringo as Elton John tries to kiss him. His expression is priceless.
Beginning in his teddy boy days in Liverpool and ending with his first "All Starr Band" tour, this biography does have segments to recommend it. In particular, the chapters covering 1970-1990, as Ringo's post-Beatle life has been chronicled less than his days as a mop top. We get some insight into his successes and failures in this period including wayward record deals and a bout with alcoholism.
Sadly though, Clayson's book fails to get close to his subject in any meaningful way. Ringo wasn't interviewed for it and nor were any direct family or former lovers or any of the other Beatles or Beatle sidekicks or musicians who worked with his after the break up. Clayson relies almost solely on newspaper stories, articles in the music press and other author's books to piece together Ringo's story. Those interviewed for the book are a bunch of no-names who could probably call themselves acquaintances of the man but nothing more. It's obvious that Starr and everyone who is really close to him, decided not to cooperate with the author, so Clayson's book reads like a scrappy research project cluttered with endless footnotes. Because of this, the book lacks depth and we learn little of the man who was once Richard Starkey. Clayson's writing style is also quite awkward because he tries to string together forty to fifty referenced quotes into each chapter, making it read like a university thesis at times. The odd factual tidbits are the only thing that recommend it because other than that, it's a hollow book, lacking both insight or emotion.
Used price: $26.47