The Beatles: The Biography

Article excerpt

The Beatles: The Biography. By Bob Spitz. New York: Little, Brown, and Company, 2005. [983 p. ISBN 0-31680352-9. $29.95] Index, bibliography, photos.

Bob Spitz's massive 992-page The Beatles: The Biography is a significant addition to the 500 plus books already written on the Fab Four. At last, a Beatles biography where the information is sourced. There is new accountability which is essential when a reader is weighing accounts and their trustworthiness. Spitz conducted hundreds of new interviews for the book. To readers familiar with the Beatles story, there is an endless repetition among Beatles books. Spitz covers the familiar terrain but sheds new light on the story, dispelling old myths and adding key details that bring the events into greater focus. Much of the new information is tawdry (sex, drugs, and death), but the details bring home the point that apart from their public image and preference for Motown over delta blues, not much separated the Beatles from the Rolling Stones.

Spitz effectively synthesizes what has previously been published on the subject. There have been a lot of excellent books released since the last major Beatles biography including significant research by Keith Badman, Mark Lewisohn, Barry Miles, and of course, The Beatles Anthology.

Spitz's biography is a good read, but frustrating over all. It is much stronger in the first half which leads the reader from the band's humble beginnings to their first American visit. By the end of the book, it almost feels as if the author is rushing to complete a deadline. …