Category Archives: Book Review


BEATLES, BEATMAKERS, MERSEYBEAT, AND ME - Kindle edition by Terry, Karl. Arts & Photography Kindle eBooks @ searching for Beatles books that were published this year for my Best Beatles Book 2020 Poll, I stumbled upon Beatles, Beatmakers, Merseybeat and Me by Karl TerryKarl hails from Liverpool and got to not only experience Beatlemania first hand, but he was also in several bands that over the early years considered The Beatles their contemporaries, their competition and eventually the band to emulate.

This 112 page e-book was just published July 4, 2020. And the fascinating thing about it is that it tells the story of what was going on in and around The Beatles during their early years and their heyday. There are plenty of books about The Beatles and other Merseybeat bands, but nothing quite like this one. Karl Terry will give you an inside perspective of what it was like to be one of the other bands in Liverpool in the 1960’s while talking about the other scouser bands he shared the stage and bill with.

But it’s not just about The Beatles and Liverpool. Karl will make you laugh out loud at some of the more outrageous stories and near disastrous happenings of his own band mates and himself as they toured France, Spain and Germany playing to beat loving audiences. How fast can a band get kicked out of a hotel?

If you enjoy traveling back to 1960’s Liverpool and the clubs of Germany, you’ll definitely love reading this short, but thrilling journey. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!





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Book Review: “Dirty Rotten Scoundrel” by Greg Martin

Dirty Rotten Scoudrel Greg MartinOn October 3, 2020, I reviewed Greg Martin‘s newest book, Watch It All Come Down, about the his astrological forecast for the U.S. in the last several months of 2020. I didn’t give it a rating since some people believe in astrology and some don’t. As we near the end of the year, many of his predictions have not come to fruition. Then again, the year’s not over…but one can’t help but notice that he’s kinda backed off from mentioning them on his Facebook page recently.

I decided to look a little deeper into Martin’s background (beyond him being George Martin’s son), including his IMDb page, and I discovered that he had written a memoir in 2000 called Dirty Rotten ScoundrelAccording to the book cover…

He’s seduced thousands of women; He stole Tara Palmer-Tomkinson’s heart; He’s wicked but gorgeous – You’ll love him.

Well readers, I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Maybe with the publishing company that decided this book was worth publishing!  It seems Greg Martin wrote the book to dig himself out of a hole that was created when he became engaged to British actress Tara Palmer-Tomkinson. That name ring a bell? As an American, it means nothing to me, but apparently she was/is a hot commodity in England. The romance started and ended very badly in all of about 6 weeks total. Seems Greg thought he could straighten out the media damage that had been done by publishing his side of the story along with his sexual history in this book. In my opinion, he only does more damage.

I don’t know in what decade anyone would draw upon his stories and think, “Oh what a stud! I want to be just like him!”, but throughout these pages he is bedding women like Madonna and Sharon Stone, Greg claims that many men admire him for his skills as a playboy. Near the end of the book, he even lists tips for successfully seducing women.

Obviously, I’m not the only one that has felt this way about a book that seems to spend more time stroking Martin’s ego and trying to sell him as some sexual gift to women. He got quite the thrashing in The Guardian in March 2000 when a reporter interviewed him about his new book. I’ve attached a link at the bottom of this review for you to read for yourself.

I had to force myself to finish this book (for the sake of writing an honest review), without ever laughing even once, when the inside cover promised, “The anecdotes Greg has to tell are genuinely hilarious as he spills the beans about all his bizarre sexual encounters….” All I can say is – what the hell was he and his publishers thinking! And for that reason…

I rate this book….oh f*ck it…I can’t even rate it!

Mon, Mar 27, 2000 – 40 · The Guardian (London, Greater London, England) ·

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Book Review: “Shot in the Heart” by Mikal Gilmore

I learned of Mikal Gilmore many years ago. Not through his association with Rolling Stone magazine or because of this book, but because one of the members of a band that I had been doing PR for had connected with him on social media and had hopes of Mr. Gilmore taking a liking to their music. That never panned out, but for some reason his name always stuck with me. It was later that I learned about his family’s association with a murder that had made headlines back in the mid 1970s. Even though I was in my early teens at the time, I have no recollection of the story. About 10 years ago, Mikal became one of the first people to “Follow” this blog. I’ve never contact him or has he contacted me…he’s just been ‘around’ me now for over a decade.

I don’t remember how I found out earlier this year that Mikal Gilmore had written a 400 page book in 1994 about his family’s past history and the murders that his brother committed, but when I found Shot in the Heart I decided I needed to read it. The first 50 pages were hard to get through as he describes the history of Latter Day Saint’s religion. Even though it is a poignant part of the story in the end, I put the book down for over a week, wondering if it was going to be wearisome. But when I  picked it up again, I couldn’t put it back down and read it in 2 days.

This story is going to draw you in and it’s going to break your heart. If you are anything like me, you’re going to start seeing yourself and your own family and friends in this story. And like Mikal and his brother Frank, you’re going to wonder what was the factor that made their brother, Gary Gilmore, lead a life of crime and eventually murder two innocent people in 1976. At the time of the murders, committed over two consecutive days, Gary Gilmore was 35 years old and had spent half his life in jail. The story would make headlines around the world when Gary Gilmore was sentenced to death, but refused to have argue the sentence, fight for a retrial, and instead insisted that they put him to death before a firing squad. Nothing his family could do or say would change his decision.

Mikal brings this story to life with such honesty. He lays everything out for the world to see in his own voice even though the story had been published as a book, The Executioner’s Song, by Norman Mailer in 1980. (It would also be made into a movie). It’s the sad story of a family with a lot of dark, dark secrets, lies and abuse that started several generations before the four Gilmore boys (Frank Jr., Gary, Gaylon and Mikal) were born. And despite all his research, there were many secrets that Mikal couldn’t find closure for, including his father’s mysterious life with many former marriages and children before he would marry Mikal’s mother Bessie Brown, a Mormon.

This story is going to stick with you for days. I know it has for me. It’s left me with so many questions about the Gilmore family that I can’t imagine what it must be like for Mikal and Frank, Jr. (the last two survivors in family). And after the book was published, how many people came forward with more information to fill in the missing pieces? How many siblings would he discover or how many of them even know that are part of this family’s sordid past that was splashed across the front pages of major newspapers?

Yes, this book is going to stick with you. I don’t know for how long, but I can’t stop thinking about it. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!


P.S. – to make sure this book review is on topic, it’s essential to point out that Mikal does bring up the night he saw The Beatles perform on Ed Sullivan in 1964 and the impact it had on him to for his future as a music critic and writer for Rolling Stone magazine.



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Book Review: “Em & Moo: Legacy of a ’60s Female Rock Duo” by Kathy Bushnell

When I put out a request earlier this month for guests for my podcast, I Saw The Beatles, I got an email from Kathy Bushnell, the author of the recently published book – Em & Moo: Legacy of a ’60s Female Rock Duo. After recording a show with her, I was anxious to read her book!

Kathy calls her book a memoir and talks about her exciting life growing up in New York City and how a series of events, including seeing the Beatles play at Shea Stadium in August of 1965 inspired her to become a musician. But she didn’t just become a multi-instrumental talent, she went on to form her own female rock duo that toured Europe. Not just any rock duo, but the FIRST female rock duo in Britain.  Their band, Emily Muff, went on to open for such bands as Yes, Family, Steppenwolf and America and eventually played the Royal Albert Hall in London.

You would think this would be exciting enough to read about, but no. It’s her encounters with the Glimmer Twins – Mick Jagger and Keith Richards that makes her story even more dynamic. She first met Keith, Brian Jones and Bill Wyman when her brother helped sneak her into a bar in NYC when she was just 16. She would have run ins with the Rolling Stones several more times after she moved to London after she dropped out of college. And still, the stories don’t stop there…like when one of her flat mates in London tells her he just joined a new band and they’re going to call themselves…Yes!

The great stories never seem to end in this book. I couldn’t put it down. And I doubt too many other readers won’t have the same reaction. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!


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Book Review: “My Private Lennon” by Sibbie O’Sullivan

I need to be honest, I really wasn’t expecting much when I bought a copy of My Private Lennon: Explorations from a Fan Who Never Screamed by Sibbie O’Sullivan. I believe the book came up as a recommendation on Amazon while I was perusing other books. “Another fan book…”, I thought. But, it was only 165 pages long and was published February 17, 2020, making it current. Why not…I need to start reading and reviewing more books.

Reading this wasn’t like reading just another fan book. Yes, she and her friends talked endlessly about the Beatles. Yes, she had teen magazines about the Fab Four. And yes, she did see the Beatles during a dress rehearsal at the Ed Sullivan theater in August 1965, an event she has barely any memory of except for the photo she took of John Lennon on stage. And YES, this book is so much more than just another fan book.

Sibbie O’Sullivan weaves her personal life in with the stories of the Beatles, their wives and their own personal life choices. And she does it in a brutally honest way. She tells stories of the innocence of being a teenager to becoming sexually promiscuous, a shotgun wedding, divorce, friends, family, etc. She ties her stories in with the feelings of Cynthia, John & Yoko, but in a way to show how she can relate to what they must have been feeling at the time. Her stories are told so much deeper, more emotional and grown-up than other Beatle fan books that’s I’ve read. Honestly, and maybe it’s the voyeur in me, but I couldn’t put this books down. I even believe that if she had left the Beatles out of it, it still would be a great read. By the time I finish, I thought, “I hope she feels better now”. It’s a beautifully written memoir. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!





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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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Book Review: “Love Me Do! The Beatles Progress” by Michael Braun

After a friend sent me a link to the April 2020 list of Rolling Stone magazine’s 10 Best Beatles Books of all time, I immediately ordered a copy of the #1 pick –Love Me Do! The Beatles’ Progress by Michael Braun.

(Note: While doing research on this book and it’s author to try to provide a nice background story, I noticed that the author of the Rolling Stone list is a writer who I had exchanged private messages with a year or so ago on Facebook…Colin Fleming. Let’s just say that after about a week, he screamed at me and blocked me for “insulting him”. After reading his very opinionated personal blog, I realized…it wasn’t me! How this will play out in this review, we’ll see.)

According to Rolling Stone (or Colin Fleming), this book beat out all the books you would expect to see on a Beatles top ten books list, including books by Hunter Davies, Pete Shotton, Allan Williams, Geoff Emerick, etc. (most of these have been reviewed in the past on this blog). I was curious as to why a book published in 1964 would be considered the best of all time since it obviously didn’t cover the Fab Four’s entire career?

Well, because this book doesn’t hold back. Reporter Michael Braun had a first hand account of what went on in the private (or not so private) moments in the Beatles world as they toured Europe and the U.S. in 1963 and early 1964. It provides conversations that either no other reporter would dared to print or they weren’t paying attention to what was going on around the mop tops. Braun listened and observed what was going on and being said about the Beatles and by the Beatles. A whole lot of snarky remarks were flying everywhere our boys went. Unfortunately, this didn’t presented John, Paul, George and Ringo in the best light at times and some reviewers of Love Me Do in 1964 grabbed onto those moments to pan the Beatles. (See 3 reviews of Love Me Do from 1964 at the bottom of this review)

Still, this is a more than worthwhile book for any true Beatles fan to add to their collection. Is it the best book? Is it better than say Mark Lewisohn’s works? I personally don’t think so, but it is a great book for those who want to know. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!





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Book and Movie Review: “The Magic Christian” by Terry Southern

A couple weeks ago, I finally decided I needed to see the movie The Magic Christian that is mentioned so often in Beatles books when discussing Ringo or the year 1969 when it was filmed and released. After watching the film, I decided to buy a copy of the book to see…well, read the reviews and you’ll understand…

I tried to find this movie on-demand from several outlets, but eventually I ended up renting this movie from Amazon Prime for about $3.99. The opening credits of The Magic Christian could draw anyone in to wanting to see this movie. Besides the author of the book, Terry Southern, the other writers of the screenplay and script include: Joseph McGrath, Graham Chapman, John Cleese and Peter Sellers – who also stars in the movie with Ringo Starr. There are guest appearances from Richard Attenborough, Spike Milligan, Roman Polanski, Rachel Welch, John Cleese, Gram Chapman and Yul Brenner. Denis O’Dell, who was the Associate Producer of this film, was also the AP of A Hard Day’s Night, Magical Mystery Tour and How I Won the War. Sounds like a winning line-up, huh? There is even a scene where it appears John and Yoko make a cameo, but when looking at the credits on IMDb, it was just two un-credited actors.

I fell asleep after the first 45 minutes and had to watch the second half the following day! The whole thing seems to want to tell a story, but without explanation as to why. Ringo was heralded for his acting in this film, but he really does nothing more than follow around Peter Sellers, his adopted billionaire dad, Guy Grand, in the movie. Ringo’s lines are limited to mostly just one sentence. The plot – they go around spending millions of dollars making rich and poor people look like asses for being so greedy. But why?

I decided that I needed to read the book for more clarity on the who, what and whys to what was happening on the screen….

So I ordered a used copy of The Magic Christian book which took way too long to arrive (damn media mail!). The book, published in 1959, is just 134 pages and can be easily read in a day. Again…it took me two.

The first difference I noticed between the book and film is that Peter Sellers didn’t match the physical description of his character Guy Grand who was “rather stout”. The various scenarios/scenes portrayed in the movie are in the book, but not necessarily in the same order, sometimes with a little more detail or a little less. And Guy Grand does pull off several more antics in the book.

But the major difference…there is no adopted son (aka Ringo’s character Youngman Grand) in the book! I spent the entirety of my reading waiting for him to pop-up, but he never did. Why? Why did Terry Southern and the other writers decide it was necessary to add this character? Was it just to add a Beatle to the film’s line-up and pull in his fan base? Sure seemed that way to me, but I’ll have to do a little research to be sure. Either way, it didn’t work…the critics hated the movie, but loved the book.

So, did I find my answer to the who, what and why of the film in the pages of the book. No. I’ve read it’s an observance of greed in America, but the film was set in England. Does that mean that the author/screenwriters thinks Brits are as greedy as Americans? I have no clue what he thinks. My advice is, don’t feel obligated to watch or read this story because you’re a Beatles or Ringo Starr fan! And for that reason…

I rate the movie: 1 out of 3 Beetles!




I rate the book: 2 out of 3 Beetles!






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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

Book Review: “Me” by Elton John

Very rarely do I ask a publisher for a review copy of a book, but when I heard about the release of the autobiography Me by Elton John, I knew I wanted to get an advanced copy! Unfortunately, the copy showed up too close to the release date for me to get it read and reviewed in time, so I set it aside until I could give it the time and attention it deserved.

And it didn’t disappoint…

This book is everything you would expect it to be. Flamboyant and over the top like the man himself! It’s a real page turner, with never a dull moment. And at just about 350 pages, you almost feel like there is so much he had to leave out in order to keep it down to a decent size.

But don’t get me wrong…Elton doesn’t hold back in the stories he does tell. In fact, there are a couple of TMI moments when you want to yell at the page and say, “I could have done without that little tidbit, El!” Still, he keeps it real and quite humorous. He admits his downfalls, excesses, addictions and flaws whether it be with people, drugs, or sex. He talks openly and honestly about his family, friends and foes on the way to stardom including Freddie Mercury, George Michael, Ringo, Rod Stewart, John Lennon, Billy Jean King, Gianni Versace and his tumultuous relationship with his own mother.

And for the Beatles fans, every Beatle gets a shout out at some point in his story and he even mentions May Pang and John’s Lost Weekend.

I know a lot of these rock star autobiographies are just a lot of hoo-ha, with so much of their lives glossed over and conveniently forgotten. There is also a tendency to want to make themselves appear to be like you and me, but I can honestly tell you that they are not like you and me and they are not approachable without being accosted by their bodyguards. But taking that all into consideration, Elton does do a great job of letting us all know what a prima donna he can/could be, his tantrums and his addiction to buying expensive luxuries that he doesn’t really need. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!






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