"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. The three "core" Beatles were all guitarists before Stu entered the picture and many have said that Stu's guitar skills were rather limited.
As for poor Pete Best, he was not the greatest drummer under Here Comes the Sun. He can be heard on the Beatles' Anthology 1 and his timing left a lot to be desired. Tony Sheridan, a very early pre-Beatles and Beatles' insider also noted that Pete's drumming was not teriffic and he did not strive to improve. Naturally the Best family found their version of Pete's ultimate dismissal from the group more palatable. They claim he was fired. Sheridan was an objective party and I would certainly put more stock into what he said than what the Best family said. Sheridan was also a noted musician during the early days of rock and roll. Add to it is that if Pete's performance and displays of irresponsibility, e.g. missing rehearsals, showing up late and reported conflicts with other members, then how on earth could he reasonably expect to stay in the group? And if he was not doing well in 1962, he would have been left behind for sure by 1965 when the Beatles' music entered the Experimental Phase. As another reviewer on the U.S. boards noted, I, too am glad Pete got his day in the sun with monetary recognition from the Anthology releases, but even so that doesn't mean he belonged as the Beatles' drummer. Yeah, he deserved his long overdue nod, but no, I don't think the Beatles should have kept him on for the reasons they themselves have given.
Readers get a broader and fuller picture of the other members of the Quarrymen, the Beatles' first incarnation as a band; the unfortunate Pete Best who was sacked in 1962 to be replaced by Ringo Starr and the people who were part of the Beatles' touring days of 1964 - 1966. Readers also get treated to stories about the Beatles' trips to Germany in 1960 and 1961 and learn that Harold Sr. was "livid" upon George's being deported in 1960 due to being underage. The Beatles' friends in Germany, Astrid who gave them their iconic beautiful coiffure and Jurgen, famous for his early photographs of the "pre-Fabs" and also Klaus Voormann, who would later draw the cover for their 1966 "Revolver" album are fully "introduced" to readers. An excellent Beatle biography is like the 1966 Paul McCartney classic, a genuine "Good Day Sunshine."
Larry Kane is a truly gifted writer and writing a good Beatle biography that stands out among the plethora of good Beatle books is not easy to do, but he did it. I am an inveterate, hard core Beatle fanatic and have been one since I was tire high to a Ford Falcon and a Ford Galaxie. The Beatles were with me, every step of the way. In my life, I've loved them all and always will. Larry Kane tells how each member of the band including the early players in their early line ups and their evolution to the Beatles, the Fab 4, the Moptops, the WORLD's NUMBER ONE BAND who influenced EVERY aspect of culture and not just pop culture brilliantly and masterfully.
It is a treat to read Larry Kane's accounts of his days as a reporter with access to the World's Greatest Band. He has, as another U.S. reviewer rightfully pointed out earned his title as the World's Best Beatle Biographer. Be sure to read Ticket to Ride: Inside the Beatles' 1964 and 1965 Tours That Changed the World and listen to the bonus CD that come swith it and his biography of John Lennon. I promise you that you will not be disappointed! Larry Kane is here to stay!