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One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time: Winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize Kindle Edition
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WINNER OF THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE 2020
A Spectator Book of the Year • A Times Book of the Year • A Telegraph Book of the Year • A Sunday Times Book of the Year
From the award-winning author of Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret comes a fascinating, hilarious, kaleidoscopic biography of the Fab Four.
John Updike compared them to ‘the sun coming out on an Easter morning’. Bob Dylan introduced them to drugs. The Duchess of Windsor adored them. Noel Coward despised them. JRR Tolkien snubbed them. The Rolling Stones copied them. Loenard Bernstein admired them. Muhammad Ali called them ‘little sissies’. Successive Prime Ministers sucked up to them. No one has remained unaffected by the music of The Beatles. As Queen Elizabeth II observed on her golden wedding anniversary, ‘Think what we would have missed if we had never heard The Beatles.’
One Two Three Four traces the chance fusion of the four key elements that made up The Beatles: fire (John), water (Paul), air (George) and earth (Ringo). It also tells the bizarre and often unfortunate tales of the disparate and colourful people within their orbit, among them Fred Lennon, Yoko Ono, the Maharishi, Aunt Mimi, Helen Shapiro, the con artist Magic Alex, Phil Spector, their psychedelic dentist John Riley and their failed nemesis, Det Sgt Norman Pilcher.
From the bestselling author of Ma’am Darling comes a kaleidoscopic mixture of history, etymology, diaries, autobiography, fan letters, essays, parallel lives, party lists, charts, interviews, announcements and stories. One Two Three Four joyfully echoes the frenetic hurly-burly of an era.
‘A ridiculously enjoyable treat . . . Brown is such an infectiously jolly writer that you don’t even need to like the Beatles to enjoy his book . . . brilliant . . . hilarious . . . And at a time when, like everybody else, I was feeling not entirely thrilled about the news, I loved every word of it.’ Sunday Times
‘A celestial combination of writer and subject . . . One Two Three Four is a critical appreciation, a personal history, a miscellany, a work of scholarship and speculation, and a tribute as passionate and worshipful as any fan letter.’ Esquire
‘The perfect antidote to these times.’ Julian Barnes, Guardian
‘Kaleidoscopic … It’s like a compilation of mobile phone footage in a modern editing style as you piece together this extraordinary journey. I think it’s the most exhilarating way of reading a biography; a masterpiece’ Alexander Armstrong
‘It’s ingenious, wholly original (not a given, what with the subject matter), absolutely gripping, funny, sad and moving. A complete treat.’ India Knight
'I have never been very interested in the Beatles. In fact I wouldn’t cross the road to see them . . . even Abbey Road. Yet I can’t put this wonderful book down.' Barry Humphries, Telegraph
‘A brilliantly executed study of cultural time, social space and the madness of fame . . . One Two Three Four, by putting The Beatles in their place as well as their time, is by far the best book anyone has written about them and the closest we can get to the truth.’ Literary Review
‘Brown seems to have invented a wholly new biographical form. In a polychromatic cavalcade of chapters of varying length, the man with kaleidoscope eyes conveys what it was like to live through those extraordinary Beatles years . . . If you want to know what it was like to live those extraordinary Beatles years in real time, read this book.’ Alan Johnson, Spectator--This text refers to the hardcover edition.
Winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize--This text refers to the hardcover edition.
- ASIN : B07XDMZS2X
- Publisher : Fourth Estate (2 April 2020)
- Language : English
- File size : 42733 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 642 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 000834003X
- Best Sellers Rank: 34,602 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer reviews:
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Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 May 2020
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p.65 - Brian Epstein's family business was North End Music Stores, not North East Music Stores.
p.123 - The New York folk music venue was 'Cafe Wha?' not Cafe What.
p.259 - Prime Minister Harold Wilson was not "a fellow Liverpudlian", he was from Huddersfield in Yorkshire.
p.308 - John and Aunt Mimi lived in Woolton, not Walton.
p.363 - The lyrics to Across the Universe are "Jai Guru Dev", not Jai Guru Deva.
p.389 - The song It's Getting Better is not "set in school".
p.451 - Across the Universe wasn't written in India.
p.491 - Two different lines from Hey Jude are mixed up, so the point about mishearing the lyrics makes no sense.
p.552 - Paul has a cigarette in his right hand on the Abbey Road cover, not his left hand.
p.575 - "Marital virtues" should read martial virtues.
I absolutely loved this book, it’s a history of the Beatles without the boring bits. It’s extremely funny and Craig Brown never misses a telling anecdote. Quite clearly not a fan of Oko Ono, he has enormous fun at her expense, brilliantly ridiculing her exploits. Of course this is a brief overview so don’t expect detailed critiques of every album and there are some major omissions- Linda McCartney doesn’t get a mention at all but I have never read such an entertaining book on the Beatles. In these dark and troubled times I can highly recommend this astonishing book. A superb treat.
If I'd one slight criticism it's that it goes on a wee bit too long, maybe like The Beatles did too. And some of the techniques, such as recounting Brian Epstein's life backward, don't really work. But then, people used to play Beatles LP's backward for enlightenment, so I get the idea. In the end, this was a really entertaining, really enjoyable history of The Sixties and The Beatles too, and I doubt I'll read a better book this year.
John formed the Beatles, lead the Beatles until he disappeared into a cloud of hallucegenics for a while. Paul only led by default it could not have happened without John allowing it to happen.
There does exist a genius in the Beatles, and it is not Paul Mcartney.
As usual with 21st century Beatles books the truth has been rewritten, how much does Mcartney pay for these relentless whitewashes