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When They Were Boys: The True Story of the Beatles' Rise to the Top [Kindle Edition]

Larry Kane
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Like The Dew
“An insightful and revealing study of the act we’ve known for all these years….goes beyond the who, what, when, where, why and how found in the best reporting. Kane establishes a deliberate, you-are-there pace, bringing clarity to the Beatles’ successes as well as the early setbacks.

Kirkus Reviews
“A spirited jump down the rabbit hole to the early years of what would become the Beatles, from TV news anchor and Beatles chronicler Kane (Lennon Revealed, 2005, etc.)…A that should fill in many of the cracks in readers’ knowledge of pop-music history.”

Publishers Weekly
“Kane (Ticket to Ride), a longtime Philadelphia journalist and author who covered the Beatles’ first tour in the U.S. in 1964 and subsequent tours, works by mosaic in piecing together the shards of “the boys’ ” early stories in Liverpool… Many roiling, conflicting voices are brought together.”

Library Journal
"This reexamination of the Beatles' teenage years, which focuses not on the band members themselves but rather on those who nurtured and influenced them through their pivotal first few years together, will inform popular-music scholars and delight fans."

The Christian Science Monitor
“Larry Kane was the only broadcast journalist to travel with the Beatles on their triumphant 1964 and ’65 North American tours. He chronicled those heady experiences in his 2003 book, Ticket to Ride. Now he’s back with When They Were Boys: The True Story of the Beatles’ Rise to the Top. Combining the results of some deep digging and revealing interviews with those who knew them best, Kane unearths fascinating details from the earliest days of the boys’ growing up in hardscrabble Liverpool in the 1950s to the eve of their world conquest in 1964.”

Denny Somach, author of Get The Led Out: How Led Zeppelin Became the Biggest Band in the World and well-known rock historian
“The book is excellent.....Larry has gotten into nooks and crannies of Beatles history that other books have scarcely touched......When They Were Boys completes a fantastic trilogy.”

Chris Carter, Breakfast with the Beatles – Sirius/Xm Radio –KLOS Radio Los Angeles
“ there anything left to learn about the Beatles? Well, if you happen to be a Beatles fan looking for a new book full of information NOT found in any of the other pages on the nearby shelf…well When They Were Boys just may be the book for you! See, Larry Kane not only knew the boys personally, (they knew him by name!), he also knows how to tell a damn good story. Larry Kane delivers his best yet, his Beatles-book hat-trick is now complete! Buy two!”

John Lorinc, former CNN correspondent and Producer/Reporter at WABE-FM (NPR)
"When They Were Boys is Larry Kane's Sgt. Pepper. Larry's previous books on the Beatles are, well Fab, but this book sheds light.....a lot of light......on an era that isn't as familiar as the "eye of the hurricane" days of Beatlemania. Even though I've literally read hundreds of books on the Beatles over the years, there were more than just a few new things I learned from Boys. Larry is a true insider of the Beatles, and that's why he's able to get the scoop from others WHO WERE ACTUALLY THERE AND ACTUALLY KNOW THE FACTS. That's the difference, and it's a big difference. Larry Kane is a great writer, and he tells the story about a group of Liverpool scruffs who eventually became people who reached first-name-only-needed status across the globe. Larry Kane, once again, passed the audition.”

Shelley Germeaux, Correspondent, Beatles Examiner
“Larry Kane’s newest book, When They Were Boys is the most comprehensive and fascinating account to date of all four Beatles’ lives in the youthful prelude to fame. Larry’s account exudes incredible depth, compassion, and a sense of down-to-earth reality about John, Paul, George and Ringo. When They Were Boys provides a glimpse into who they were at that time—just boys with a shared dream—a dream that was about to change their lives forever. His in-depth interviews with those who were there at the time this was all happening, such as Bill Harry, Allan Williams, Tony Bramwell, and John’s sister Julia Baird, make this a most remarkable read. It takes you back to the unfolding of the Beatles and how they became the sensation they did.”

Steve Marinucci, Beatles Examiner
“Larry Kane's Ticket To Ride is one of the best looks at the Beatles and Beatlemania because, as a journalist, he told it like it was. When They Were Boys continues that tradition, except it's about the Beatles' beginnings in Liverpool. If anyone has the true story, it's Larry. “

Bill Harry, founder of Mersey Beat, friend of John, Paul and George, and the most respected journalist and analyst of the Beatle years
“Larry Kane is a legend in the Beatles fraternity – and beyond. His latest work is diligently researched, atmospherically written in a way which makes you hang onto every word of information you’ve never read before, which makes its appearance on the pages.

Larry travelled America with the Beatles and became one of their close friends. As for myself, I grew with them at every stage of their early career from the beginning of their musical odyssey and Larry has recreated the landscape and excitement of those heady early days, which takes me back in memory to how it really happened. This is one of the great page-turners in Beatles history, brought alive at last.”

Ron Ellis, award winning Beatles researcher who knew all of the Beatles
“Told in Larry Kane's inimitable journalese style, When They Were Boys is a breath-taking, roller-coaster ride through the early days of The Beatles, given new perspective by the passage of time by a celebrated reporter who was able to observe them at both ends of the spectrum. A serious and invaluable work for students of popular music history and, with more 'secrets' emerging over the years, a must-buy for Beatles fans all over the world.”

David Bedford, author of Liddypool and famous Liverpool native
“Larry Kane knew The Beatles and became a trusted friend, so to now be invited to read some of their memories about the early history of The Beatles is fascinating. However, this is not just a re-telling of the same old stories. Larry has done what he does best as an investigative journalist and re-examined the key events and talked to the people who were there to take a fresh look at how this group of lads from Liverpool became the most famous pop group in history. This is a compelling read for any fan of the Fab Four.”

Jude Southerland Kessler, author of The John Lennon Series
"For years, my favorite Beatles book has overwhelmingly been Jim O'Donnell's The Day John Met Paul. It was the only book that I felt captured the true spirit of the Liverpool I know. But now, Larry Kane's When They Were Boys has stepped up and equaled the essence of Merseyside in a volume of artistic writing that is in a class all by itself! Readers who have hundreds of Beatles books will not want to miss Larry Kane's new one. His other books are very, very, very good. This one is off-the-charts-great."

“Every Beatles biography begins with familiar tales. When They Were Boys distinguishes itself from most of these books by focusing exclusively on these rough and tumble early years and doing so from a uniquely personal point of view. Kane does not have to rely on a wealth of outside sources to bring his book to life. The vast majority of quotes, whether they come from the Fabs or Yoko Ono or Mal Evans or Pete Best, were spoken to the author directly.”


This is the story of the Beatles’ harrowing rise to fame: focusing on that seven-year stretch from the time the boys met as teenagers to early 1964, when the Fab Four made their momentous first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. From the boys’ humble beginnings in Liverpool, to the cellars of Hamburg, When They Were Boys includes stories never before told, including the heartbreaks and the lucky breaks.

Included are an eyewitness account of that first meeting between Lennon and McCartney, the inside story of how Ringo replaced Pete Best, an exploration of the brilliant but troubled soul of manager Brian Epstein, and the real scoop on their disastrous first visit to Germany and the death of Stu Sutcliffe. With an eye for life in Liverpool during the 50’s and 60’s and over 65 eyewitness accounts from those closest to the Beatles, Larry Kane brings to life the
evolution of the group that changed music forever.


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5.0 von 5 Sternen Good Day Sunshine! 19. September 2013
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
"In my life, I've loved them all." -- John Lennon, 1965 from "In My Life"

The Beatles have been an important staple in my life for the majority of my life. When I say I love the Beatles, I mean I REALLY love them!

Larry Kane was the only American reporter who flew with the Beatles during their US tours. This book is an excellent, full picture of the boys' lives and readers get a sense of each Beatle and the people who shaped him. (Larry Kane's favorite Beatle is John. He disclosed this when he spoke at the 2003 Chicago Fest for Beatle Fans and boy, he is an EXCELLENT speaker and raconteur! I heard the man speak 3 times and I even have an autographed copy of Ticket to Ride: Inside the Beatles' 1964 and 1965 Tours That Changed the World).

I had a bit of a giggle when Larry Kane said that George was "the spitting image of his father, Harold Sr." True, George did have the paternal traits of the Harrison ears; the deep set signature Harrison eyes and the thick wavy hair. The bulk of his beauty came from Louise French and the men in the French family. He was Harold Sr. from the eyes up and Louise French from the nose down and he had the lean, ectomorphic French build from the men in the French family.

I also had another giggle when Kane claimed that Yoko met John's Uncle George, which we know never took place. The man died in the 1950s, years before John even met Yoko!

Then there was Kane's claim that there was rivalry between Paul and Stu over who was bassist. Kane claims that Paul wanted Stu ousted from the group as he wanted to be the sole bassist. That has never been suggested anywhere else and that claim appears to be a fallacy.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.0 von 5 Sternen  75 Rezensionen
38 von 39 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Some new stories, many inaccuracies 11. August 2013
Von Laurzie - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
The most positive thing that I can say about this book is that it contains quite a bit of original research; Larry Kane clearly conducted new interviews with many players in the Beatles' early days, both in Liverpool and Hamburg. As someone who has read MANY books about the band, I appreciated hearing new stories and perspectives.

Unfortunately, the book is riddled with inaccuracies that are very obvious to the well-versed reader. For example, when Kane describes Yoko Ono's first visit to John's Aunt Mimi, he quotes her as saying something along the lines of "John's Uncle George was just sitting in the corner, like he was afraid to speak." It's not surprising that Uncle George didn't say much, given the fact that he had died more than a decade before this meeting could possibly have taken place. Since this is a book that only covers the band's early days, I felt that the treatment of their childhoods was generally quite superficial, and this is borne out by the fact that Kane fails to mention Uncle George's death at all (possibly not being aware of it himself?). The obvious misquoting of Yoko also makes me wonder who else he is misquoting throughout the book.

Another significant error was his assertion that Paul wanted Stu Sutcliffe out of the band in part because he wanted to be the bass player. Everything I have ever heard suggested that no one had wanted to be the bass player, which was the reason that John, Paul and George were all playing guitar before Stu became part of the band. If Paul had wanted to be the bassist, why wasn't he already the bassist? Kane offers no support for his assertion whatsoever, which leads me to believe that he simply assumed it was true because Paul became the bassist after Stu left. If he is going to make a claim that is so contrary to the known facts, he should be able to back it up.

Finally, the book is not very well-written and its style can be very grating. As another reviewer referenced, when Kane quotes interviewees, the constant interposition of his own name is totally excessive, and suggests that he is trying to reinforce his own "insider" status. Even if everyone he interviewed really did preface all their statements with "you know, Larry," and "I'll tell you, Larry," these phrases should not have been included in the quotations. The style is generally very informal and at times it seems like it is aimed toward children rather than adults, due to digressions like "Can you imagine what it was like to use an outdoor toilet in 30 degree weather?" (Here, Kane presents Ringo's lack of an indoor privy as unique; in fact, Paul did not have one until he was a teenager and George probably didn't have one either as a child.) Also, I got the impression that Kane pretty much took the part of everyone he interviewed, so that if he had happened to interview a different set of people, the book's perspective would have been totally different. He is especially credulous when it came to the sacking of Pete Best, pretty much accepting the Best family's interpretation of events without looking very much to other sources or perspectives. Without any comment, he repeats a Best family claim that George Martin told Pete's mother that he had booked a session drummer because Pete's drum sound was "too big," which makes no sense (as well as coming from a very biased source). Kane never seems to evaluate the reliability of his interview subjects or to assess their possible motives, which I think makes his reporting much less credible.

Overall, the book is probably worth reading if you are a serious fan, because it does contain some new information, but do not expect an excellent piece of journalism. Having access to many Beatles insiders, I think that Kane largely wasted his opportunity to produce a definitive document of Beatles' early days.
18 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen When They Were Boys 17. September 2013
Von S Riaz - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition
Author Larry Kane first met the Beatles as a 21 year old reporter in 1964 when he accompanied them on their first US tour - he was also on the 1965 and part of the ill fated 1966 tour of the States and has written A Ticket to Ride: Inside the Beatles' 1964 Tour That Changed the World about his experiences, as well as other books on the band. It is a brave man who releases a new biography about the band's early years, claiming to be "the true story", especially with Mark Lewisohn's epic work about to have it's first volume released in a few weeks. This claims to be the story of how the Beatles became the Beatles, from their childhood up until the end of 1963. In a way, it reminded me of the fanciful account by Allan Williams, "The Man Who Gave the Beatles Away"; entertaining, but more fiction than fact. Some books, for example, "The Day John Met Paul" by Jim O'Donnell have used a fictional feel to good effect - recreating an era, but getting the facts right. This book is a muddled account, which reuses often used myths and stories from those who have their own personal agenda in play.

To be honest I became worried from almost the first chapter - when we are once again treated to the story of Mimi dodging the bombs to visit newborn John in hospital. There was no air raid on the night John was born, which is historical fact. Other reviewers have already mentioned Yoko's story of Uncle George meeting her, when he had died while John was still of school age. Also worrying is the assertion that Mimi had an affair with a boarder. She may, or may not, have had a love affair with a boarder, but it was not an, as implied, marital affair. Mimi only took in paying boarders after the death of her husband, in which case she was a single, widowed lady and perfectly entitled to have a romance if she wished. Few people in the Beatle's story have been as maligned as Aunt Mimi who, surely, had her faults, but certainly did care for John and who he certainly loved deeply.

One of the good things about this book are the number of interviews with people who knew the band in these early days - and it is always interesting to hear their stories, especially those of people who have not written their own memoirs, such as Billy J Kramer. I was unsure why every quote had to be in capital letters though, which was quite jarring to read. Also, there is a real Lennon bias in the whole book, plus a real over emphasis on the influence of Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best. Pete Best and Ringo Starr may have been comparable drummers in the early 1960's, but it was Ringo's charm, humour and personality which made him easily the most popular member of the band when they first went to the States. The recent book by Brian Epstein's friend and Liverpool promotor, Joe Flannery, "Standing in the Wings", has a much more convincing explanation (to my mind) about why Pete was ousted but read "Drummed Out" by Spencer Leigh to assess all the possible reasons for yourself. George's sly sense of humour and his talent are almost overlooked in this book as is the fact that, if there could have been no Beatles without John Lennon - it certainly would not have been the success story it was without the huge influence and massive talent of Paul McCartney. I recently read a huge history of modern pop music, "Yeah Yeah Yeah" by Bob Stanley, in which the author reflects on the Beatles and makes the very sad, but honest, comment that when Paul is no longer with us he will be everyone's favourite Beatle. The tragedy of John's death has made him a myth, which many perpetuate to both Paul's disservice, but also to John's. As for Stuart Sutcliffe; yes, he was John's friend and he certainly was involved in the early styling of the band, but musically he was far less involved. For example, reading Johnny Gentle's book, "The First Ever Tour" reveals that Stuart was always more interested in his art - taking art supplies along to the general mirth and, also irritation, of the other band members. Stylistically he was an influence and he was certainly John's dear friend - but so was Pete Shotton, who continued to be involved in John's life closely, certainly throughout the entire Sixties.

Read this book - much of it is very enjoyable, especially the interviews. However, do not for one moment consider it as the true story - or even a very well researched account. It was undoubtedly written with good intentions, but the Beatles are not fictional characters, but real people. This makes a good story, but anybody who knows anything about the Beatles will spot flaws just a few pages into the book which will make them doubt anything they read from that point on. It is good for both the Beatles, and for the fans, that Mark Lewisohn's forthcoming book will be THE honest, unbiased and impeccably researched account they have waited for.
13 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
1.0 von 5 Sternen Inaccurate account of a Lennon fanboy 8. November 2013
Von M. Rosin - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
If you want an accurate book about the early Beatles, read Mark Lewisohn's fabulous, well-researched, highly detailed new book, Tune in. Kane's book is filled with so many inaccuracies, it's laughable. Kane actually states that Yoko had met John's Uncle George -- who had DIED at least a decade before John met Yoko. And Kane's suggestion that Paul pushed Stuart Sutcliffe out of the band because Paul supposedly wanted to play bass is ridiculous when you consider that Stuart was only IN the band because John, Paul, and George didn't WANT to play bass. Kane's persistent anti-Paul bias is grating and predictable. And why Kane relies heavily on quotes from Yoko -- who wasn't around at all during the Beatles early years -- shows you who Kane was working for when he wrote this feeble book. Ignore the 5-star reviews of this book; they're no do doubt written by the author's friends and family. Instead, by Mark Lewisohn's book. He tells the story without bias.
12 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
1.0 von 5 Sternen A big disappointment 4. November 2013
Von A Beatles fan from the 60's - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Poorly written, repetitive, very hard to force myself to continue to the end. I found that even the pictures were without interest.
15 von 18 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
1.0 von 5 Sternen I Don't Get It 15. Oktober 2013
Von Jim H. - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I'm not quite sure why Mr. Kane (like several other know-it-alls) have to continually refer to Ringo as the "luckiest guy in the world". The Beatles knew him in Rory, they loved his playing, he was a better drummer and better fit than Pete. His left-handed drumming on a right handed kit and his unique style/amazing drum fills that are vastly underrated by people like Mr. Kane, who don't care to know any better. In an era that yielded drum solos and drummers as superstars, Ringo didn't want or need that. Unlike others, he was happiest being part of the team. Ringo was the band's glue, sense of humour, and peacemaker. Give him his due.
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