Tag Archives: beatles books.

Book Review: “Ringo: With a Little Help” by Michael Seth Starr

The first thing Michael Seth Starr, the author of Ringo: With a Little Help, is going to tell you is that he’s no relation to Ringo Starr…so let’s get that off the table right now.

I began this book on Monday and went cross-eyed trying to get it read in time to review it by Sunday. Nothing against the book, it’s an easy read, but when I got it on Monday, I expected  a large print book with a not so detailed story of Ringo Starr’s life (in actuality, it’s over 350 pages of small print).  But how does anyone tell Ringo’s story without telling the entire Beatles story along the way?

Author Michael Starr claims in the introduction that he will not be telling the Beatles story, but I’m here to tell you that he lies. There is plenty of Fab Four details in this book and it occasionally looses it’s direction throughout it’s 350 pages. There’s not a lot of new stuff to be told about our hero Ringo that we haven’t already been told. I’d say I could count on two hands the number of details contained in this book that I was unaware of about the life of Richard Starkey. Most of the stories have been told in other biographies, such as Pattie Boyd’s story of Ringo’s wife’s affair with George (then again…who didn’t sleep with George?).

Still though, it’s nice to finally have a book about Ringo, even if Ringo took to Twitter to inform his fans that this book is an unauthorized biography that “has nothing to do with me”.

The author did seem to have a problem with keeping focused throughout the book and would digress into other stories, and then come back to his topic at hand. The chapters also seem to be a little disjointed and appear more to give the reader a break off point to eat, sleep or pee, then to finish off any particular time period.

Unless you’re an over the top Ringo fan, I would recommend borrowing this book from the library. I don’t believe it’ll ever become a collectors item (but then again, a lot of people thought the Beatles were just a fad too, so who am I to say).  I also think the publisher  may have randomly missed the editing of a few chapters, as the typos seem to come in clumps.

It don’t come easy…but this book is an easy read. And for that reason…

I rate this book: 3 out of 4 Beetles!

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Contest: Enter to win 6 author-signed books about the Beatles!

Contest Time!

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In celebration of all these sexy authors and their books, I’ve decided to have a contest.  Leave a comment below to be entered.  One entry per email/person.  Contest ends on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015 at 11:59 p.m.  I will have Random.org select a winning entry.  It’s really that simple!

Here’s what you’ll win.  All books (except Dee Elias’) are signed by the author!

Solo in the 70s: John, Paul, George and Ringo 1970-1980 by Robert Rodriguez

Revolver: How the Beatles Reimagined Rock ‘n’ Roll by Robert Rodriguez

Confessions of a Beatlemaniac by Dee Elias

“We’re Going to See the Beatles!” by Garry Berman

The Beatle Who Vanished by Jim Berkenstadt

Changin’ Times: 101 Days That Shaped a Generation by Al Sussman

Good luck!

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Book Review: “It’s Sid Bernstein Calling” by Sid Bernstein

Maybe it was just a coincidence, but the fact that I started reading this book this week became really surreal when I realized, it’s been two years this week since Sid departed this earth.  And throughout this week, while reading It’s Sid Bernstein Calling, there have been a lot of other coincidences too.  Just as I put the book down for a moment, something will come on TV or someone will bring up a topic that I just read about in this book.  Makes me think Sid’s still with us.

What a wonderful man Sid was.  I had the pleasure of meeting him twice in my lifetime and he was a joy to be around.  And I attended the memorial tribute they had for him in NYC where I ran into the lovely May Pang while standing in line.

May and I at Sid Bernstein tribute show Feb. 2014

May and I at Sid Bernstein tribute show Feb. 2014

Once again, I digress.

This book was a real surprise to me.  I had no idea what an incredible man Sid Bernstein was beyond his dealings with bring the Beatles to America and a few other various artists.  Sid Bernstein was in WW1…in Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge.  He started managing musicians when he was just 14 years old and never stopped.  And this book is written, just as if Sid were sitting in front of you, modestly telling it to you himself.  Not only did he represent some of the biggest names in show business, he rejected some of the biggest names in show business (Barbra Streisand!).

Sid’s book is out of print, but you can still buy new and used copies at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Half.com.

I rate this book: 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

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Book Review: “Wonderful Tonight” by Pattie Boyd

Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me by Pattie Boyd was written in 2007.  This book should be used as a learning tool for all models and teenagers that dream of marrying a rockstar!  Her story is also proof positive that growing up in a rich family doesn’t necessarily mean you had a happy childhood.

At the tender age of 20, Pattie Boyd married George Harrison at the height of Beatlemania.  But after several years, as her marriage started to crumble, Eric Clapton took a fancy to her and from what appears to be a case of jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire, Pattie left George and ended up married to Eric.

Throughout this book, Pattie questions just about every romantic decision she’s ever made…even as they were happening to her. She brings us through her two well publicized divorces; her striving to be on her own; George’s death and the tragic death of Eric’s son from an affair he had while married to her, only coming out of the haze in her early 40s realizing she doesn’t know who Pattie Boyd is aside from the ex-Mrs. Harrison and ex-Mrs. Clapton.

Pattie does a great job telling her life story and letting you in on the private lives of both her ex-husbands.  There are a few stories along the way that contradict other people’s versions of the same tales, but she tells you in the beginning of the book that this books tells the stories the way she remembers them.

Oh…and in case you’re wondering (since we are talking about George again!), there is plenty of pot smoking and acid dropping in this book too!

You can buy copies of Wonderful Tonight on Amazon or Half.com for $0.01 or more.

I rate this book: 4 out of 4 Beetles!

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Book Review: “I, Me, Mine” by George Harrison

Call me a glutton for punishment.  After reading Derek Taylor’s book about his non-stop LSD trips and then seeing Derek’s widow talk about their non-stop LSD trips in “Living in a Material World“, I decide to read George Harrison’s autobiography that he wrote in 1980 with the assistance of …Derek Taylor!  Oh goodie…more acid trips!

Several years ago, I asked a world renowned Beatles expert and radio show host what book he thought was the best book ever written about the Beatles.  His answer was I, Me, Mine by George Harrison, so in realty, this book has been on my list for years.

This book is three separate parts.  Part one is a conversation between Harrison and Taylor about George’s thoughts on everything and nothing at all.  For the Beatles fans that are looking for secrets into George’s past, you won’t find them here.  What you will find is his thoughts on Beatlemania and his religious beliefs.  And of course, you’re going to get the bonus of a lot of mumbo jumbo from Derek in between!

The second part of the book is page upon page of pictures of George throughout his life.  From childhood, adolescence, Beatlemania, Monty Python and beyond, including snapshots from the family album.  I can’t say there was anything that wow’d me.

Part three of the book is meant for the diehard Beatles and George Harrison fans.  Each of the songs that George wrote are presented in their raw handwritten form, typed form and another page with George’s explanation behind what inspired the song.

This book left me a little disappointed.  I guess I was looking for more about George from George instead of Derek’s edited version.  The book almost seems like it was published as a way to placate the ever hungry fans for more information.

Copies run on Amazon and Half.com from $0.75 up to $200.  I borrowed mine from the local library!

I rate this book: 3 out of 4 Beetles!

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Book Review: “As Time Goes By” by Derek Taylor

By the time this review is scheduled to post,  I’ll be on a 4 day silent retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Trappist, KY.  I considered taking another Beatles book with me to review, but decided to leave work at home while I contemplate world peace.  Enjoy the review.

Derek…Derek…Derek!  Every book I’ve read about the Beatles mentions Derek Taylor.  One author even went so far as to say Derek is the real fifth Beatle!  Derek was Brian Epstein’s personal assistant before becoming the press agent for the Beatles.  Then he quit…then he came back again.  In that time, he wrote two books.  This is a review of his first book, As Time Goes By.

As Time Goes By by Derek Taylor is a 181 page memoir of Derek’s life in the music business from 1968-1971, with a lot of stories before and after those years.  This was Derek’s first memoir, his second was titled – Fifty Years Adrift and a third book, It Was Twenty Years Ago Today, about the anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s album was published in 1987.  He also helped George Harrison write his autobiography, I, Me, Mine.

I don’t know that As Time Goes By is the right title for this book.  After several chapters, I started to think it should be called ‘Everybody Must Get Stoned’ or ‘I Get High With A Little Help From My Friends’ or ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.’  It would seem from what I read in these pages, that Mr. Taylor spent most of his working years in an altered state of consciousness.  He even goes so far as to refer to himself on several occasions as an acid-head or pot-head.  His stories are great, but they come in no real chronological order.  The book seems to just be random memories and anecdotes of him and famous people.

Is it a good book?  Meh.  Is it a fun book?  Yes.  Is it weird as hell?  Oh, hell yeah!  Will I read his other books?  Only time will tell since I’m still trying to figure out what I just read.  What a long strange trip it’s been…

You can find a used copy of As Time Goes By on Amazon for less than $3 if you choose to go down that rabbit hole.

I rate this book: 2 out of 4 Beetles!

You can read more about Derek Taylor on Wikipedia.

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Book Review: “Wings Over New Orleans” by John Taylor

It was a hot time down in New Orleans last weekend…and I mean that literally and figuratively!  My husband, blogger CigarCraig, and I were in New Orleans for the Cigar and Pipe Retailers convention, but that didn’t stop me from finding a way to fit a little Beatles into our trip!

On Sunday morning, Craig and I had the pleasure of meeting up with John and Janet Taylor of Slidell, LA at the Market Café in the French Market.  We had a great time chatting over coffee, bread pudding and grits with a great jazz band playing in the background.  It felt like we were meeting up with old friends as we looked at photos from when John met Paul and Linda McCartney in 1975.  (John is also a part time actor and has had uncredited roles in movies like Dallas Buyers Club and Django Unchained!)

Now, back to my review…

John Taylor is the author of the new book Wings Over New Orleans: Unseen Photos of Paul and Linda McCartney, 1975.  This book is his account and photos of when Paul and Linda McCartney, along with their band Wings, came to New Orleans in the winter of 1975 to record their album Venus and Mars.  Though only 88 pages long, this book was published by Pelican Publishing (ISBN 9781455620340) of New Orleans and contains countless photos and stories by John and several of the other groupies and fans that hung out outside of Sea-Saint Studios for 3 months talking and talking pictures of the McCartneys during their three month stay in the Big Easy.

After 35 years in storage, John finally brought his photos out of their box in hopes that other fans might like to read and see his story of meeting his idol (John used to play bass in a Beatles tribute band called the Blue Meanies!).

This book is definitely a must have for all McCartney and Wings fans for their collection.

I rate this book: 4 out of 4 Beetles!

You can order Wings Over New Orleans at Barnes & Noble or Amazon.  You can also find Wings Over New Orleans in bookstores.

You can find John Taylor on Facebook

Jennifer w/ author John Taylor in New Orleans (July 2015)

Jennifer w/ author John Taylor in New Orleans (July 2015)

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