Book Review: “My Beatles Hell: The Tragical History Tour of Beryl Adams” by Lew Baxter

My Beatles Hell: The Tragical History Tour of Beryl Adams by Lew Baxter is one of those books that you keep seeing popping up in Amazon’s recommended reading list or on other people’s bookshelf and eventually you hunt down a used copy and probably pay way to much for it, only to realize that ….yeah, you paid too much for an awful book!

To be completely honest, I started this review yesterday, but decided that I needed to read more than 93 of the 222 pages in this book to be able to give an honest review. Sixteen pages later, I’m more adamant in my opinion that this book is a sham!

She was scathing about the legions of folks – mostly men – although the recently published “ramblings” of Pauline Sutcliffe on her newly “exotic” brother caused incandescent ire in Beryl. These are people, she ranted, who’ve relentlessly jumped on the Beatles’ bandwagon over the last four decades; many touting mythical tales of links with the Fab Four or fabricating stories to make themselves look good or to savor some vicarious pleasure.

This is just a huge embarrassment to the Beatles world. There are very few who don’t/didn’t come under fire from Beryl in this book including Alastair Taylor, Peter Brown, John Lennon, Cynthia Lennon, Bob Wooler (who was married to Beryl), Allan Williams (who was Beryl’s live in lover) and Brian Epstein (for HIS decision to sack Pete Best). I’d truly like to believe that if Beryl hadn’t passed away suddenly (from mad cow disease), she would never have allowed this awful portrayal of her, her time as Brian Epstein’s secretary and her life to have ever been published!

Lew Baxter should be ashamed of himself. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 1 out of 4 Beetles!

4beetle

 

 

 

 

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New review tomorrow, but in the meantime….

I’m a little behind on my reading, but I promise to have a new book review tomorrow!

In the meantime, I’d like to share a wonderful Beatle-y gift that was given to me last weekend by my dear friend Lisa…

The Yellow Submarine Bath Bomb by Lush cosmetics! The image is a little deceptive…the bath bomb is a good 4″ long.

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You may remember my review of A Hard Days Night spa treatment I had at Lush. Now, I can’t wait to have submarine races (or battles) with my husband with a couple of these! You can purchase them online at Lush for $5.95 each. Enjoy!

 

 

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Review of 3 Different Beatles Quiz Books

My husband had a function to attend in Connecticut this past weekend that he wanted to write about in his Cigar Blog. I decided that the five hour road trip there and back would be an excellent time to test our knowledge of the Beatles by asking each other questions from three different used Beatles quiz books that I picked up cheap at AbeBooks online. Here are my thoughts for each one.

 

The Beatles Quiz Book by Eric Saunders

A hardcover spiral bound book with a book marker, this is the prettiest of the three books. But don’t judge a book by it’s cover, right? This book contains 100 separate 10 question multiple choice quizzes with the answers provided at the end of each quiz. The first question: What was the name of the very first band (actually a skiffle group) formed by John Lennon and his friend from childhood, Peter Shotton? A. The Jets B. The Black Jacks C. The Wanderers D. The Dockers. Second question: Born on the 7th July 1940, who was the oldest member of the final Beatles Line-up? A. George Harrison B. Ringo Starr C. Paul McCartney D. John Lennon. These particular questions make the book seem like an easy read, but there are some toughies mixed in for us mere mortals! Still, a fun book just to test you and your friends knowledge of the best band the world has ever known.

 

Complete Beatles Quiz Book by Edwin Goodgold and Dan Carlinsky

A nice book with questions for all levels of expertise and non-experts. I read several pages of this to my husband while driving. After all I’ve read, I still think I did slightly better than 50% on the quiz questions. The first question: What’s Maxwell’s last name and what was he majoring in? Second question: Would the Beatles believe in love at first sight? The book also contains picture puzzles like guess which eyes or nose belong to which Beatle. There are word searches, crosswords and other type of puzzles including put events, albums or songs in their chronological order. All the answers are provided in the back of the book. A lot of fun built into this little book (91 pages of questions and puzzles).

 

The Ultimate Beatles Quiz Book by Michael J. Hockinson

Wow! This book gave me a run for my money. Definitely a book for ‘the ultimate Beatles freak’. The first question in the book is: List the titles on the Beatles’ Decca audition tape penned by Lennon and McCartney. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read about the Fab Four’s Decca audition, but never did it occur to me that someday, someone would ask me what songs were on the tape! The second question: Issued nearly twenty years apart, which U.S. Beatles singles feature “I’m Happy Just To Dance With You” as their B-side?. Uh….(insert cricket noises here). If you know the answers to these questions, I never want to want to play Trivial Pursuit Beatles Edition with you! 🙂 All the answers are at the end of each of the 50 chapters.

 

Any of these books would be fun to pick up cheaply online or at a used book sale just to have around to either test your own knowledge or to pass around and play with friends. It’s like playing Beatles’ Trivial Pursuit without having to collect little pie pieces or throw dice.

 

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Bonus Book Review: “Gone: A Girl, A Violin, A Life Unstrung” by Min Kym

Gone: A Girl, a Violin, a Life Unstrung by Min Kym is another book from the Blogging for Books program. I chose this book because of it’s musical storyline and to give me a little break (and to clear my head) from all the Beatles books of late.

This is the true story of Min Kym who was born in South Korea, but her family moved to London for her father’s work when she was young. Still, the household remained respectful of their Korean traditions such as bowing to each other and the father eating first followed by the children and then the wife. These cultural difference would be at odds within Min’s psyche and would contribute and exasperate many of the struggles throughout her life.

Min was born a child prodigy of the violin. From the moment she picked one up, it became part of her and she would never let it go. Music schools, lessons, concerts, competitions were her life by the age of seven. By 21, she would meet the violin that would become her other half. A 300 year old, £450,000 Stradivarius that never left her side. Wherever Min went, so the Strad went in a case slung over her back. Until that fateful day 10 years later in a London cafè when 2 men would cause a distraction while a 3rd slipped part of her soul out a back door. Would it be found? Could she replace it with another violin? Could she continue to play without it?

I can’t say this is one of the best books I’ve read…the writing leaves a lot to be desired, but does get better the farther the reader gets into it. Still, this is a touching story of being a child prodigy and growing up in two very different cultures at the same time. I hope to someday be able to see Min play…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: “The Longest Cocktail Party” by Richard DiLello

Oh dear sweet lord, where has this book been all my life?…

The Longest Cocktail Partywritten by the Apple Corps ‘House Hippie’ Richard DiLello and published in 1973, is just the book I needed after reading both Peter Brown‘s book and Alistair Taylor‘s book.

This book as quite the refreshing look inside the workings of the Fab Four’s company Apple Corps. Richard DiLello was a New York born hippie who was traveling around the world trying to find himself, when he picked up a newspaper in London and saw a picture of Beatles PR man Derek Taylor whom he had known from when he spent some time in Hollywood. After giving Derek a call, Richard was offered a job working under Derek as a Client Liaison Officer, (but he was given the unofficial title of House Hippie). Technically, he was a gofer who spent from 1968 to 1970 working at his dream job.

This book is absolute for all Beatles freaks. I’m just sorry I took so long to get a copy after hearing about it for several years. It offers a humorous and very real look inside the going ons and ultimate demise of what was to be the Beatles dream production company that was going to turn away no one with talent. At the start of the company, the Fab Four had put out ads telling any and all talented people to send in their tapes, poems, scripts and artwork for consideration for financial backing by the Beatles new no nonsense company. This book gives us all a glimpse of the diverse characters that walked through the doors, call on the phones and even took up residency within the walls of 3 Savile Road, London. Richard also let’s us in on the early management of Apple’s most successful talent: Mary Hopkins, James Taylor, The Iveys (Badfinger), White Trash, Jackie Lomax and others.

There were a couple points of interest for me in this 286 page memoir that left me scratching my head. The first was the mention of the car accident John had in Scotland. Richard’s book only mentions John, Yoko and Kyoko in the car, but fails to mention that Julian was with them. Odd that he would be left out. Second after reading the book Miss O’Dell in which Chris O’Dell mentions Richard over 30 times (according to the index), Richard only very briefly mentions Chris maybe six times (“Chris O’Dell stuck her head in the door and asked…”). I expected to read more about her having a bigger part in this ‘party’.

Note: In 2010, Liam Gallagher of the band Oasis took on the project of making this book into a movie. In 2014, Liam was picking actors for the film, but by 2016 he was unable to get financing and the production company Revolution Productions pulled out of the project. Boy, would I have loved to see that movie!

I know this review is choppy, but there is just so much information in these pages it’s hard to organize my thoughts onto a page. It’s definitely a book that I would love to sit down and discuss with friends and freaks alike! And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

 

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Guest Post: “Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band: A Splendid Time Is Guaranteed for All”

Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band: A Splendid Time Is Guaranteed for All 

by Brody Duggson

Ringo Starr and His All-Star Band are touring the United States this October and November.  

Between Oct. 13 and Oct. 28, Ringo and company will play eight gigs at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

From there, he’s off to the Lone Star State.  Richard Starkey and his band will be in El Paso on Oct. 30, Austin on Oct. 31, and Sugarland on Nov. 2.

Two days later, the band rocks the Global Events Center at Winstar in Thackerville, Oklahoma.

Ringo will perform back-to-back nights, Nov. 7 and 8, at Parker Playhouse in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

His route takes him to Atlanta, Georgia on Nov. 11; Norfolk, Virginia on Nov. 12; and Morristown, New Jersey on Nov. 14.  

The Beacon Theater in New York City hosts his penultimate concert on Nov. 15.  His final date in the U.S. is set for Nov. 15 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.

The All-Star Band is comprised of Gregg Bissonette (David Lee Roth, ELO), Warren Ham (Kansas, Toto), Steve Lukather (Toto), Richard Page (Mr. Mister), Gregg Rolie (Santana, Journey), and Todd Rundgren (Utopia, solo career).  They been together since 2012, making this the longest running incarnation of the All-Starr Band, which started in 1989.

There’s a tendency, especially by rock snobs and the pop culture intelligentsia, to dismiss this tour.  To write Ringo and his band off as has-beens and shysters.

That’s a mistake.

I’ve attended to hundreds of concerts and none have been more enjoyable than Ringo Starr and his All-Star Band.  They give fans a spectacular evening of music.

Ringo performs a lot of songs he sang while a member of the Fab Four: “Act Naturally,” “Boys,” “Don’t Pass Me By,” “Honey Don’t,” “I Wanna Be Your Man,” “Matchbox,” and “Yellow Submarine.”

Of course, he closes each show with “With a Little Help from My Friends.”

Ringo also performs “It Don’t Come Easy,” “Photograph” (both written by him and George Harrison), and “I’m the Greatest” (written by John Lennon).

Does Ringo hit all the notes?  No, but for being 77 years old, he sounds pretty good.  What he lacks in vocal strength he makes up for it with energy.  Despite being close to 80, he’s still got a motor.

Between Ringo’s songs, his bandmates take center stage.  When this happens, don’t rush off to get another beer or visit the restroom.  If you do, you’ll miss something special.

For example, Greg Rolie performs “Black Magic Woman,” Steve Lukather performs “Rosanna,” and Todd Rundgren performs “Love Is the Answer.”

Richard Page’s “Broken Wings” is haunting.  He sounds amazing live.

As you can see, the setlist for Ringo Starr and His All-Star Band is nothing but hits—more than two dozen classic rock songs.

Now, Ringo and his band aren’t redefining the rock concert.  They’re not on the vanguard of live music.

Instead, they’re just having a blast playing good old rock and roll.  You’ll have tons of fun.

If you’re a Beatles fan, or a classic rock fan, you’re going to love Ringo Starr and His All-Star Band.  

If you’re neither, but appreciate great live music, you’ll definitely enjoy yourself.  It will be worth your time and effort.

The only way you won’t have a fun at a Ringo Starr concert is if you lack a pulse.

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Book Review: “With The Beatles” by Alistair Taylor

Last week I said I would touch upon the commentary given by Alistair Taylor in the documentary Brian Epstein: Inside the Fifth Beatle. It just so happens that I was reading Alistair’s autobiography last week when I took a break to see the film. With the Beatles was the last book written by Brian Epstein’s personal assistant Alistair Taylor. It’s actually revision of his 2001 book A Secret History. Alistair also wrote a book Yesterday: The Beatles Remembered in 1988 that was reissued in 1991 under the title Yesterday: My Life With the Beatles.

Why so many books by one man?

Alistair Taylor started working at NEMS in late 1960 at the age of 25. Originally he had been interviewed for a sales clerk position, but after a two hour interview, Brian Epstein hired him as his personal assistant. The rest my friends is history. Alistair would become Brian’s right-hand man throughout his time as the Beatles manager and would come to be known as “Mr. Fixit” in the Beatles circle.

Mr. Fixit was exactly as his name implies. He was in charge of any problems that arose in the Beatles professional and personal world. Alistair would shop for cars, houses, islands or anything else the Beatles might request.  If a pregnant fan showed up, Alistair could make her go away with a check from Brian. If a Beatle happened to unfortunately come down with a STD, Alistair would find the cure and hand deliver it to them. And so it went, for 9 years Alistair Taylor literally waited on John, Paul, George and Ringo hand and foot even after Brian’s death. He was even a shoulder to cry on when Jane Asher left Paul. Until 1969 when Allan Klein did a clean sweep of Apple Corp., fired Alistair and the Beatles stopped taking his calls. Life would never be the same….

This is Alistair’s story of those years. Interestingly, much of the first half of this book is quoted a lot in the documentary I watched last week about Brian. Still, it’s a book worthy of shelf space with any Beatles freak’s collection. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

 

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