Monday 20 June 2016

John, Paul, George Ringo & Me by Tony Barrow

This is not merely a biography of The Beatles but a unique and vividly personal, first-hand account by a Liverpool-born author who knew John, Paul, George and Ringo as friends throughout the height of their fame. As The Beatles' Press Officer, he worked within the group's closest circle for six breakneck years during the Beatlemania era of the Sixties. Few were closer to The Beatles than Tony Barrow, and here, for the first time, he holds a mirror up to the Fab Four and offers his own insider's perspective on that four-way dynamic that spawned the greatest pop group the world has ever seen. Tony Barrow, who coined the phrase the Fab Four and whose sleeve notes adorned some of The Beatles' biggest-selling albums, was the band's press officer from 1962-68. He is the only surviving professional writer who witnessed Beatlemania from the inside.

One highlight is the visit to Elvis's house in '65. Tony was one of the invited guests along with Neil, Mal and Brian. You get an eyewitness account of the entire evening and it was more revealing than the Fab's version on Anthology. This book is recommended because Tony was there and he tells it plainly the way he remembers it. Barrow's recollections of John are the most seering. John's caustic and often cruel humour was directed against Barrow for several years. The press chief relates a story where John deliberately embarrassed Brian Epstein by grabbing him in the crotch during a business meeting. Poor Brian stood there, gasping in emotional and physical pain, while John plopped down in his chair, laughing.

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