Category Archives: Book Review

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!

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Book Review

Book Review: “It’s All In Your Head: Get out of your way” by Russ

It’s interesting what shows up in your mailbox when you get on a major publishing company’s list of reviewers. Several weeks ago, I got an email asking if I would be interested in reviewing a digital version of It’s All In Your Head: Get out of your way by Russ. I said, “Sure. Send it on over!” I got no response and no .pdf. A couple weeks later, a hard back copy of the book showed up via the postal service! Much better…I really don’t like reading ebooks anyway.

So…who is Russ?! I had to look him up too. Turns out he’s a multi-million dollar selling rapper from Atlanta. And what does he have to do with the Beatles? Well, nothing really, but he does quote John Lennon near the end of his book.

It’s All In Your Head is a self-help book from beginning to end with Russ explaining the way he got to be the superstar that he is. But it’s not just about those looking to make it in the music world. His words and ideas go well beyond the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and the music industry. If you want to think of it in terms of the Beatles, then just remember Lennon’s words in the early days of the Beatles, “Where are we going boys?”…to the Toppermost of the Poppermost! John never let doubt sink into his head about being a rockstar. He never gave up. And that’s the same way of thinking that Russ says made him what he is today.

The one downfall to Russ’ idea, though, is that he had the financial support of his parents. After dropping out of college to pursue his music full-time, he was allowed to continue to live in their basement where he created his own beats and songs 24/7. He had a couple jobs to help him with his little expenses, but pretty much he relied on his folks to carry him while he did nothing but believe that one day he would be a worldwide phenomenon. Most people in this world don’t have that luxury. But putting that one downside aside, his words are a source of inspiration to anyone that knows what they want. This little 150 page book is a book of inspiration.

“I’m an artist, and if you give me a tuba, I’ll bring you something out of it.” – John Lennon

Never give up…never doubt what you were truly meant to do…just do it and great things will happen.

*Note: this book contains profanity, but would you expect anything different from a rapper?

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review

Book Review: “The Beatles from A to ZED” by Peter Asher

I’ve been slacking…I know. Summer seemed to be going along just fine, but somehow I lost control of my time to read when fall hit! During this time, though, I’ve been reading an Advance Reader’s Edition (that I got in July) of The Beatles from A to ZED by Peter Asher. I thought I would have this review out months ago and I must apologize to not only my readers, but also the publisher – Henry Holt and Company for my tardiness. The book will be released on October 29, 2019, but you can pre-order it now through Amazon where it’s currently ranked at #8 in Beatles books!

Most of my readers are familiar with Peter Asher, either because he’s the brother of Paul’s ex-girlfriend, actress Jane Asher, or because he worked for Apple Records, or because he was a member of the famous duo Peter and Gordon. Now a days, you can find him hosting his own radio show on Sirius XM’s Beatles’ station called “Peter Asher: From Me to You“.

Peter came up with the idea of using letters from the alphabet as a fun and interesting way to organize topics for his radio show and was inspired to write the book using this same format. The book, about 250 pages long, is filled with not only Beatles’ song titles to represent each letter, but also people, places and things that start with the corresponding letters that were a part of Beatles’ history. And Peter came up with some dozy subjects to discuss in each chapter and you’ll find yourself almost playing a game in your head as you read as to which songs and subjects he’ll cover.

This book is an easy and fun read. It might take a little getting used to, though, since it’s written almost like a script to his radio show. It reads as if your listening to Peter on Sirius XM or if you’ve ever heard him speak or sing in his lovely English accent, completely freestyle! And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 BEETLES!

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review

Book Review: “Malibu 90265” by Linda Lane and Nancy Lee Andrews

Malibu 90265 Linda Lane Nancy Lee AndrewsYou know those moments when you’re bored and find yourself doing ridiculous searches on the internet and stumble upon something so unexpected that you just have to get it? Well, that’s how I came about reading Malibu 90265 which just happened to be co-authored by Ringo Starr’s former fiancé Nancy Lee Andrews (and Linda Lane)! It’s also my justification for reviewing it as a Beatles related book on this blog, because one has to wonder if Ritchie was the influence behind any of the male characters.

Published in 1990, Malibu 90265 is exactly what you would expect it to be by the name and book cover image…a steamy romance novel that contains all sorts of debauchery and sexual exploits that would be expected of the Hollywood/Malibu crowd! Nothing seemed to be off-limits to Lane and Andrews as the write about a circle of friends and lovers in this 310 page romance novel.

Don’t get me wrong here…I’m not a fan of romance novels. I can probably count on one hand the number of smut novels I’ve read in my lifetime. It just ain’t my bag, baby! But when I found one authored by someone that I know, I had to dive in head first to see how deep Nancy would go. And to tell you the truth…she goes pretty damn deep into the sex scenes, only proving that she’s not only sexy on the outside, but on the inside too! From the story lines, it’s obvious that Andrews and Lane are feminists too, as the female characters prove themselves in this book.

If you need a beach read this summer, or just want to see another one of Ms. Andrews’ many talents on display, you can actually pick up a used copy of this book for $0.01 on Amazon.com! Don’t be shy…you know you want to read it! Indulge your senses. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Book Review

Book Review: “The Meaning of Contentment” by Mary McGuinness

The Meaning of Contentment by Mary McGuinnessSome of you may remember me NOT reviewing a book called Mary’s Prayer several years ago because of my rule not to review books of people I do PR work for. Well, The Meaning of Contentment by Mary McGuinness is the follow-up book that was just released this past December 2018…And since Mary has been doing such a swell job of promoting her own books, she hasn’t needed my help in any way…so here’s a review of her latest book.

For those that haven’t read Mary’s Prayer yet, Mary McGuinness wrote the book to tell the story about her struggles when she developed depression and panic attacks in her mid 30s while working as an accountant in Glasgow, Scotland. She talks of being forced to drop out of the workforce and her need to make peace with the fact that things will never be the same for her. Mary talked a lot about how music, especially that of the Beatles and John Lennon, really spoke to her during this difficult time and helped her to understand what she was going through.

Now, Mary McGuinness has continued her personal story in The Meaning of Contentment. In this 256 page memoir, McGuinness continues the story of how despite her best efforts to return to the workforce after getting an Honors Degree in Psychology, the universe led her in another direction. It was though helping her elderly uncle John with his daily needs that Mary learned that sometimes life isn’t about working 9 to 5 and bringing home a paycheck and that maybe her focus should be about helping others who also struggle with the hardships of life. She learns that contentment is found in some of the most unlikely places.

It takes a brave soul to be as open as Mary McGuinness is in this new book (and in Mary’s Prayer). Combined, the books cover 20 years of her personal battle with depression and panic attacks. She also continues to tell the story of her love of The Beatles and John Lennon and how her trips to Liverpool and The Peace Tower in Iceland brought so much joy back into her life. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Beatles influence, Book Review

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!

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under beatles, Beatles books, Book Review

Book Review: “Burning Down The Haus: Punk Rock, Revolution, and the Fall of the Berlin Wall” by Tim Mohr

burning down the haus punk rock revolution and the fall of the berlin wall tim mohr

Burning Down the Haus: Punk Rock, Revolution, and the Fall of the Berlin Wall by Tim Mohr was released on September 11, 2018. I’m not into punk rock, but my friend Jim Breslin is and he had posted on Facebook that this was a good book, so I thought I’d take the plunge and bought a used copy on Amazon.com

From the Introduction:

“The craze surrounding the Beatles – as well as demonstrations and a near-riot by hundreds of kids in Leipzig in October 1965 after authorities there banned almost all the local Beat bands – elicited commentary directly from head of state Walter Ulbricht during a meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party: 

‘I am of the opinion, comrades, that we should put an end to the monotony of the Yeah Yeah Yeah and whatever else it’s called. Must we really copy every piece of garbage that comes from the West?'”

And so it began, a crackdown on music in the Eastern Bloc. But that wouldn’t stop the kids in East Germany, where everything about their lives was controlled by the government, including their schooling, housing and professions. 

In 1977, Britta Bergmann saw a picture of the Sex Pistols from pictures in a magazine that had been given to her sister by someone who had visited West Germany. Immediately, she could relate to someone…anything! She began changing her look and attitude to punk. As time passed, she would find other punks (they stood out!) and they would form bands denouncing the government and their own personal lack of freedom.

This book is amazing. It tells the story of the creation of punk rockers in East Germany and their fight for freedom…freedom of speech and freedom to live their lives the way they wanted (it was against the law not to work in East German). It tells the story of the harassment and abuse by not only the Stasi, but by the ordinary people who would tell them Hitler should have killed them. And how Stasi snitches would infiltrate their illegal bands and organizations and report back (only government licensed bands could play in public). For over 12 years they fought with lyrics, with protests and their bodies when they would be arrested, interrogated, beaten and locked up. 

This is the book that they should have as required reading for high school students. If you want to know what was really going on before the fall of the Berlin Wall, this book will not only tell you through the eyes of the punk rock movement, but also through the environmental and peace movements that would eventually join them in fighting for change. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review