Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Anthology' Tells All about Fab Four Beatles' Book Is the Best Yet

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Anthology' Tells All about Fab Four Beatles' Book Is the Best Yet

Article excerpt

Title: The Beatles Anthology

Author: The Beatles

Data: Chronicle Books, 368 pages, $60

Review by Brian McCollum

As a Beatles-obsessed junior high kid in the '80s, I devoured every Beatles book I could buy and borrow.

Fans know the titles well: Nicholas Schaffner's Beatles Forever, Peter Brown and Steven Gaines' The Love You Make , Philip Norman's Shout. Next to the albums themselves, they were the closest you could get to gleaning clues to the Beatles' story. Despite the fact they all pretty much employed the same familiar photos and secondhand sources, each new book -- even a stinker like Albert Goldman's John Lennon bio -- was cause for celebration, a chance to maybe decode one more piece of the Beatles puzzle.

Insight has certainly gotten easier since that pre-Internet, primordial television age.

Still, nothing else has come close to the scope, penetration and flavor of The Beatles Anthology, and unless God suddenly sends down a minute-by-minute replay of the years 1962-1970, nothing ever will.

It's a breezy read, an oral history that's downright conversational. But digesting it is a daunting task. There's a lot here: photos plastered upon photos, including many glorious backstage and hotel room shots. Text interspersed with old memos, telegrams and contracts. Lennon doodles, newspaper clippings, letters.

It's a busy, beautiful book.

The public has often been left with the impression that it knows more about the Beatles than the four guys themselves. Lennon, especially, always seemed quick to dismiss the work of himself and the group, and his weak command of specifics about the group's songwriting and studio work was puzzling.

But something -- maybe nostalgia, maybe the members' resolution last decade of long-pending financial squabbles -- has reignited the memory banks of the three surviving Beatles. …

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