Thursday 16 June 2016

The Man Who Gave the "Beatles" Away: The Amazing True Story of The Beatles' Early Years by Allan Williams

In the book, "The John Lennon Letters," edited by Hunter Davis, Lennon recommends "The Man Who Gave The Beatles Away" several times. Lennon's letter to photographer Jurgen Vollmer dated April 1975 states in a postscript: "there's a book coming out -- 'Macmillan Publishers' -- its by Allan Williams (he took us to Hamburg first) -- it's all about 'THEN'-- Liverpool/Hamburg -- pre Brian Epstein -- it's called 'THE MAN WHO GAVE AWAY THE BEATLES.' -- Quite funny -- and sad." In a letter to journalist Robert Weinstein (dated, "june already" 1975) who had written John for confirmation on some facts regarding a record The Beatles cut in Hamburg, Lennon adds this postscript (spelling the author's first name incorrectly, among other typos, which I am including here for authenticity): "Ther's a very good book on those days called 'The Man Who Gave the Beatles Away' (Alun Williams)* I've forgotten which publisher ... it's new, but available. *he was our first 'manager' ... he took us to Hamburg ... tra la la' Excuse typing!"

Sometime later, possibly 1976, Lennon responded to a short survey from a fan named Mark who asked: "Have you read Allan Williams' 'The Man Who Gave The Beatles Away?' Lennon's reply: "Yes". "Is it completely true or has the story been fictionalized somewhat?..." Lennon's reply: "Mostly true."

Fans of the boy-next-door Beatles proceed with caution. You'll find out a bit more about your fab four than you may have bargained for. Williams pulls no punches, painting the boy-next-door Beatles (aka Brian Epstein) as whoring, touring, cussing, drunk and disorderly kids sowing their oats (just like Doris) as they honed their musical chops in the dark, dank, dubious clubs of Hamburg and Liverpool. Williams takes you on a wild ride of the proverbial sex, drugs and rock and roll antics of five red-blooded British lads, belting out American Rock and Roll in Liverpool and German clubs, but you almost don't want the story to end, because we all know how it does end. Bottom line. A great, fast, fun read. Take it from John Lennon himself. And John oughta know.

              1976                                          1975                                        1977

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