Category Archives: beatles

Book Review: “Dear Prudence: The Story Behind The Song” by Prudence Farrow Bruns

Dear Prudence: The Story Behind the Song: Bruns, Prudence Farrow ...I’m a person who loves numbers and statistics. Every morning I check various stats on several of my websites. I like to know that my efforts aren’t going unnoticed and that I’m not wasting my time doing all this reading and writing. One of my stat pages likes to tell me keywords that I should be using to attract more readers. One of them was “prudence bury”. Not sure where the “bury” came from, but I decided to look on Amazon to see if Prudence Farrow Bruns had written a book. Sure enough, I found Dear Prudence: The Story Behind The Song, a self-published book by Prudence Farrow Bruns put out in July 2015.

Anyone that reads this blog on a regular basis knows by now that I’m not a fan of spending a lot of money on some of the books I read. Unless they are a signed first edition, I usually find a cheap used copy somewhere. In this case, there were no inexpensive used copies of this book, so I had to devise another plan. Turns out, Amazon is offering free trials of their Kindle Unlimited plan. I believe I get the first two weeks (or months) free before I have to cancel to avoid being charged, but I decided this was the best way to read a book that I wasn’t sure I was going to like.

For those that don’t know, The Beatles wrote the song Dear Prudence about Prudence Farrow after meeting her in India in 1968…

Turns out, the dramatic stories that I had heard about why the Beatles wrote this song for Prudence aren’t quite true…at least not according to Prudence herself. Or was she holding back in this book? Well, she kind of leaves it all up to the reader to interpret.

This book is basically a memoir of her life from start to finish. And there were moments while reading it that the words, “spoiled brat”, “poor little rich girl” and “first world problems” all went through my mind as she proceeded to destroy her life throughout her teenage years. But upon closer examination, where were her parents? Both  actors/directors, her parents spent vast amounts of time away on location while Prudence and her FIVE siblings were left with governesses and maids. Finally deciding she needed to pull her life together after a bad acid trip, she discovered meditation and yoga and heard of a guru in India that she desperately wanted to meet.

Prudence finally sets foot at the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi with her famous sister Mia on page 199 of this 224 page book. That leaves just 1/5 of the book for her to meet the Beatles and have a song written about her (John and George arrive on page 204). And as predicted, the whole actual story behind the song is uneventful and there isn’t really a whole lot to tell about John, Paul, George and Ringo except small talk or to say they told her they wrote a song about her and that she didn’t actually hear it until the White Album came out.

I guess I came out of this book thinking, “If she wanted to write her memoir, why didn’t she just do that?!” Why hide it behind a song? Because…then she couldn’t cash in on the Beatles link and sell more books! And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under beatles, Book Review, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Book Review: “And in the End: The Last Days of The Beatles” by Ken McNab

Several months ago, I received an advanced reader copy of And in the End: The Last Days of The Beatles by Ken McNab. I was asked by the publisher not to review it until closer to the release date of August 18, 2020, but since I have two other books in my stack of books to be reviewed and since I couldn’t really put this book down, I decided to review it early.

Ken McNab, a journalist for Scotland’s Evening Times, has done a fantastic job of detailing the year 1969 in the life of the Beatles. Not only is it a blow by blow of their recording and business dealings, it goes into what was going on in their private lives as well. From the conflict caused by the hiring of Allen Klein as their manager, to the birth of McCartney’s first child, McNab gives a month by month history the Fabs.

I loved that this book was divided by the months of that year. It was so easy to just sit down and read a chapter a day and be able to pick up the next day to read what happened next. It’s a smooth and easy read of what many would consider the destruction of the Beatles as it happened. The infighting between McCartney and Lennon; Harrison’s desire to get out on his own; Ringo’s ability to always get along and follow with whatever may come.

The only problem is that December 1969 was not the end, but Ken McNab does include a brief Epilogue to fill in the blanks of what transpired in 1970 when The Beatles officially called it quits as a band.

And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

This book can be pre-ordered on Amazon along with their price guarantee of giving you the lowest price offered before the release date.

 

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Filed under Allen Klein, Apple, beatles, Book Review, Ken McNab, NEMS, Northern Songs

FREE Beatles college course & Upcoming Beatles Symposium

So…you think you know the Beatles? Or, you want to learn more about the Beatles? Well, there is an online course called, “The Music of The Beatles” and it’s FREE! The course is offered through the website Coursera where you can take all types of free college courses. In fact, I encourage you to do a search on any topic in their search engine! The Music of The Beatles is offered on the site by the University of Rochester and the instructor is Dr. John Covach. It’s a seven week course, but if you can spare 2 hours a day, you can actually get through an entire week in just one day. I’ll be finishing up this course as you’re reading this on Sunday morning when I publish it. In the meantime, head on over to the site and check it out. If you’d like more than just a warm fuzzy feeling for finishing the course, you can pay the $49 to get a certificate for having completed it..but you’ll have to download and print it out at home.

John Covach University of Rochester Beatles Symposium

Professor John Covach

Speaking of John Covach, he’s also the Program Chair for the upcoming Beatles symposium to be held September 27-29, 2019 at the University of Rochester. This three day event is titled, Come Together: Fifty Years of Abbey Road, and obviously will have presentations, interviews, etc. based on the Beatles’ album Abbey Road that was released in 1969. According to the website, the featured speakers include John Kurlander (engineer on Abbey Road), Andy BabiukWalter Everett, and Kenneth Womack …just to name a few. Currently, the symposium is still in the Call For Papers stage of being set up, so there are not many details on the website, but I would advice you keep up to date on it and check back often: Come Together: Fifty Years of Abbey Road

In the meantime, why not pick up a copy of Covach’s book, What’s That Sound?: An Introductory to Rock and It’s History

 

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Filed under beatles, Beatles College Courses, Beatles Symposium, Rock and roll

Book Review: “Lennon vs. McCartney: The Beatles, inter-band relationships and the hidden messages to each other in their song lyrics” by Adam Thomas

Lennon vs McCartney The Beatles, inter-band relationships and the hidden messages to each other in their song lyrics Adam ThomasI guess I was browsing around Facebook (or maybe it was on Twitter) a couple weeks ago when I saw the author, Adam Thomas, of Lennon vs. McCartney: The Beatles, inter-band relationships and the hidden messages to each other in their song lyrics post about his book being half price on the publishers website, so I thought I’d give it a go since it seemed like a topic that I hadn’t fully delved into where the Fab Four are concerned.

This book was self-published in November 2014 but is able to withstand the test of time since it starts back at the very beginning of the Beatles career and because there are now only two original Beatles who are still with us here on earth. Paul and Ringo still may write songs about their heydays as Beatles, but most of it is reflective and nostalgic with very little, if any, controversy.

This book is only about 200 pages, but does a great job of pointing out the songs that Lennon and McCartney wrote about each other (both good and bad), both during their time as a writing team and after the split up of the band. The one problem that I found with Adam Thomas’ presentation of this material was that he very rarely quoted the lyrics of the songs and instead would just give his interpretation of what was contained in it. I can only guess that he did to avoid dealing with any copyright issues, but unless you know the words to every Lennon and McCartney song ever written, it can be a little trying. Still, he does do a great job explaining the meaning behind the songs. And…not only does he analyze John and Paul’s hidden messages, he also takes on Ringo and George’s work as well.

The first hundred pages of this book are about the songs in question and the second half of this book is a charted “Relationship Timeline”. I’ll admit that I haven’t read through the time-line yet, but I’ll get to it in the very near future. After reading the first half, I think it’s obvious that Adam Thomas did his homework for this book. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beatles!

 

 

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Book Review: “Turning Points in Rock and Roll” by Hank Bordowitz

Turning Points in Rock and Roll Hank BordowitzIt’s been quite a while since I posted a review and Turning Points In Rock And Roll by Hank Bordowitz is to blame. I don’t remember where, when or why I bought this book, but I found it on my bookshelf and figured I’d give it a read. Some people can read more than one book at a time, but I’m not one of them. So, while the ‘need to read’ pile grew, I slowly made my way through this book.

It may sound like I’ve already dissed this book, but it’s not true. The good thing about this book is that you can take your time reading it and with my busy schedule the last month or so, this book fit right in. Written in 2004 and with 227 pages divided into 20 chapters, it’s easy to digest a chapter at a time and set it down for awhile. The book starts with “1877-1977 – Edison Invents the Phonograph: Recorded Music goes from Science Fiction to Big Business” and ends with “1995 – MP3, Napster, and the End of the World as We Know It”. In between, it covers Les Paul, Elvis, American Bandstand, Chuck Berry, Beatlemania, Monterey Pop Festival and so much more.

This book is for every rock and roll fan. And though some of the chapters sound very specific, the author leads you through how each turning point affected others and the future of rock and roll. Alan Freed, Blackboard Jungle, Transistor radios where all a part of the growth of rock and roll and Hank Bordowitz does a great job of leading the reader from the early beginnings to what we hope isn’t the end of rock and roll. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

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Filed under beatles, Rock and roll, rock n roll