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The Beatles: The Authorised Biography

Narrated by: John Telfer
Length: 18 hrs and 1 min
4.5 out of 5 stars (227 ratings)

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Summary

There's only one book that ever truly got inside the Beatles, and this is it....

During 1967 and 1968, Hunter Davies spent 18 months with the Beatles at the peak of their powers as they defined a generation and rewrote popular music. As their only-ever authorised biographer, he had unparalleled access - not just to John, Paul, George, and Ringo, but to friends, family, and colleagues. He collected a wealth of intimate and revealing material that makes this the classic Beatles book - the one all other biographers look to. Hunter Davies remained close with the band and as such has had access to more information over the years.

This 40th anniversary edition contains new material which has never been revealed before, from the author's archives and from the Beatles themselves, that will bring new insights to their legend.

©1968, 1985, 2002, 2009 Hunter Davies (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Surprised

As I have read a lot of Beatles books I was reluctant to listen to this audio book because I thought that I had a good understanding of the Beatles.
I dont think I have ever got through listening to an audio book so quick.
Really interesting and well structured and with the additions from Hunter Davies brings the story upto date.
The narration is first class and I would recommend this to anybody as a really good listen and also to anybody like me who thought that they already most things about the Beatles.
I guarantee you will be engrossed by this audio book and also at times surprised.
Thank you Audible for a great audio book.

13 people found this helpful

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Superb

Loved this listen. Kept going for just one more chapter. Would reccommend to fans and just those with a little interest.

5 people found this helpful

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If you read only one Beatles Biography...

Hunter Davies has written 'the' fundemental historical account of the Beatles. I can't imagine that anyone has succeeded in getting closer, and then committing to paper, such an unabashed, unbiased and unphased account of the band.

At no stage does Hunter Davies seem awestruck or overshadowed by the people that he is describing. Nor does he ever seem to treat them unfairly as individuals. His treatment of Ringo, for example - so often over looked and subject to so much lazy journalism, is given every bit as much attention as John Lennon or Paul McCartney.

There are no punches being pulled here either - and if you're looking for a rose tinted event that is going to stay away from unfortunate truths, this probably isn't the book for you.

In the course of the journey, not only do you get an insight into this band (which frankly changed so much in pop culture) - but you get an insight into the post-modern condition of extreme fame (fame at the greatest outer reaches of sanity).

Bizarre human behaviour is included - such as the American hotel that saved the pillow cases the band slept on, cut them up, and sold them in squares. The misery inflicted on the band when they were completely stripped of their ability to walk down the street when 'Beatlemania' was at it's height. Four young men under the tedium of house arrest, waiting for their next performance.

The tragic circumstances of both John Lennon's murder and the knife attack on George Harrison in the presence of his wife - both are examined in some moving detail. The whole time you see these events unfolding, not with abstract celebrity figures, but with complicated intimate real life people.

It's a great book, and it's a super performance, and I don't think you'll be unhappy.

8 people found this helpful

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excellent

ignore the bad reviews about the accents. he reads well. very good listen. recommended.

2 people found this helpful

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The greatest pop story ever told...

As a Beatles fan for a very long time, I imagined I’d read most of the key biographies/memoirs. I knew about Davies’ book, but assumed it was so widely quoted elsewhere that there would be limited point in reading it. In fact, this bumper edition, which includes various updates since the original publication date in 1968, and a long, revealing foreword, was gripping throughout. There’s a lot of detail I’d forgotten, or hadn’t ever come across before; Davies’ fly-on-the-wall account of Beatle life, including a Lennon and McCartney songwriting session, is fascinating. It’s a vivid snapshot, and particularly good on Brian Epstein. Epstein died before the book was published, and had been happy to be ‘outed’ in it as gay. But after his death, his mother Queenie vetoed this. The foreword provides this detail and other material that was left out. In some ways, the foreword is the most compelling section. The biography is authorised, and inevitably has a slightly ‘sanitised’ feel. But it works because Davies got astonishing access to friends, family and staff, at a key point in time - few of them had spoken publicly about the Beatles at any length prior to his book. Davies has a reassuringly level-headed approach to the subject, despite being a Beatle fan - the tone is worldly, and perhaps slightly dismissive of really obsessive Beatle fans. But again, it’s such an important historical document that true fans will enjoy it regardless. The narration is very good - the voice is similar to Davies’. Liverpudlian accents are attempted, and though not always accurate - maybe sounding more Midlands thank Scouse? - they do help to bring the text alive. An obligatory listen for all Beatles devotees, and those curious about the Fab Four’s amazing journey.

2 people found this helpful

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Great Biography of the Beatles

Easy to listen to with interesting stories from someone who knew the Beatles and their families

2 people found this helpful

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I love the beatles

Hunter deserves credit for this book he has done his research I love music biographies that is why this is another good addition to my collection he really delves into the subject I agree too many books print rubbish but hunter knows what he's talking about and it's worth buying thanks for this great book not many know that the Beatles was on polydor before parlophone they did some good songs with tony sheridan thanks hunter for the best and true biography and a good read

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Liverpool or Birmingham?

It's a good listen,if a little sugar coated due to being an official book authorised by the Beatles during the pepper period.
The narrator is good except his total inability to do a Liverpool accent, he does brummie.this gets very annoying listening to john Lennon quoted with the wrong accent.
Why oh why did someone not spot this when it was being recorded?
It's very important to get the regional accents right,particularly when it comes to the people's republic of Liverpool!

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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This book is of interest to Beatles fans

The book is of the time and a primary source but as the author points out in the introduction, the book was heavily edited, sugar-coated and made to suit a fake public image which the Beatles themselves were getting pretty fed up with at the time. An important book but not the whole truth or detail of what was going on at the time.

1 person found this helpful

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comprehensive!

It was a long slog but ultimately kept me engaged. I'm not a huge Beatles fan but they're a fascination and as a music fan, I found it a really good listen. The narrator does his best to emulate Liverpudlian accents and they're not too bad. There's a lot of detail in there but if that's what you're after, then get stuck in.

3 people found this helpful