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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Guest Post: “Who Cares about Paul McCartney’s Voice, What About His Guests?”

Who Cares about Paul McCartney’s Voice, What About His Guests?

by Brody Duggson

Paul McCartney has been receiving flack about his singing voice during his current “One on One” tour.  

Some fans, mainly those who spend too much time on the internet, think his advanced age (he’s 75) has diminished his vocal prowess and made him too reliant on his backing band.

A few want Sir Paul to lower the keys of his songs.  The tune that appears to draw the most ire is “Maybe I’m Amazed.”

I think they’re being a little harsh.  Granted, no one has a higher bar than Paul McCartney, but when compared to most of today’s music, there’s no comparison.  An off-key Macca is still better than a current singer on key. And all you need are a pair of Macca tickets to hear for yourself!

There is reason to critique Paul on his current tour, but it’s not his singing.  It’s his choice of guests.

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon, and Barbadian singer Rihanna have all joined him on stage.  

If you’re going to deride a former Beatle don’t do it over his voice.  Do it for having to share his sound system with Rihanna.  

Yes, I know he recorded “FourFiveSeconds” with Rihanna, performed with her at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, and she has sold more than 230 million records, but I can’t name one of her songs (besides “FourFiveSeconds”), nor do I ever want to.

And what about Jimmy Fallon?  Jimmy Fallon!  Jimmy Fallon shared a stage with the guy who conceived Sgt. Pepper.

Thankfully Rob Gronkowski just danced to “Helter Skelter.”  Great job on not giving him a tambourine or something like that.  Now, Gronk is a great football player, but he’s the Tom Arnold of sports celebrities.  

Gronkowski being on the same stage as McCartney is like McCartney lining up in the slot during a Patriots game.

What’s next?  Is Macca going to perform “Things We Said Today” with Jared Kushner, “Band on the Run” with Sarah Silverman?

If you want to share the stage with Paul McCartney you should have to meet a certain high artistic standard.  Shouldn’t we, as a society, have stringent safeguards to protect our cultural icons from publicly performing with mediocrity?  I think so.

Let’s hope that during his next round of concert dates, Macca’s guests are of a higher caliber.  

McCartney returns to his “One on One” tour on Sept. 11 with the first of two shows at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

He travels to New York City for two concerts at Madison Square Garden (Sept. 15 and 17) and two at Barclays Center (Sept. 19 and 21).

He remains in New York State for a show at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse on Sept. 23 and two at NYCB LIVE’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale on Sept. 26 and 27.

On Oct. 1 and 2, Sir Paul concludes the North American leg of his 2017 “One on One” tour with two performances at the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan.

His latest setlist contains some deep cuts, although a deep cup for McCartney is a hit for most artists: “Here Today,” “Temporary Secretary,” and “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five.”

He ends his shows with “Golden Slumbers,” “Carry That Weight,” and “The End.”

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Documentary Review: “Brian Epstein: Inside the Fifth Beatle”

I delved back into my Amazon Prime account to see if there were any new Beatles flicks I could watch for free. That’s where I discovered the 2004 documentary – Brian Epstein: Inside the Fifth Beatle. If you don’t have Amazon Prime, you can rent it for $1.99 or buy it on DVD for about $5 or less at Amazon. Or you can skip all of the above and just watch the documentary online here for free!

Okay, now that you know you can buy it, rent it or watch it for free….maybe you’d like to know if it’s at all worth it?

This hour long film actually isn’t bad at all! There are many familiar names and faces of people that provide personal stories and commentary on working with the fifth Beatle – Brian Epstein. Included among theses are promoter – Sid Bernstein; Brian’s personal assistant Alistair Taylor; Brian’s secretary Beryl Adams; Mersey Beat owner Bill Harry; Beatles first manager Allan Williams; historian Richard Porter; and Beatles chauffeur Alf Bicknell. (Interesting note that Alistair, Beryl and Alf all passed away within months of this documentary being released.) There are snippets of conversation with Cilla Black, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Derek Taylor mixed in with the often repeated, but tolerable newsreel and film clips.

One point I couldn’t help but notice is that Alistair Taylor is very prominent in this film and provides most of the narration and maybe that was because he was the closest to Brian before and throughout the Beatles years. And interestingly, Alistair also wrote several books on the topic of the Beatles himself, but I’ll save the topic of Alistair’s books for next week’s review!

Though this film is 13 years old, it proved to me that there is still more for me to learn about Brian Epstein. And since one of my criteria for rating system in my reviews is based on whether or not it provides factual information for anyone that is new to The Beatles, I’d have to say that this easily passes that test. And for that reason…

I rate this documentary, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

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