Of course I know who the Beatles are, who doesn’t? Being born in another time, another culture, another everything, it would be lying to say I am a fan. But they have always been around somehow, and in my Spotify playlists.
‘This book is essential reading for any serious Beatles fan, providing a fascinating overview of a band who continue to exert a huge influence on music and popular culture.’
That is from the back cover of The Beatles: Paperback Writer, but I would add that it also appeals to anyone curious for a good story. Bringing together household names, I enjoyed picturing situations that were not caught on camera, such as the awkward meeting between the Beatles and Elvis Presley – or John eyeing up Priscilla Presley’s legs, an anecdote that I really liked. I found myself wanting to find out more about the band afterwards, and in my opinion, if a book makes you feel this then it is worth reading.
A picture of a girl running after the Beatles’ car with a police officer trying to catch her also strikes me; what does it mean to be such a big Beatles fan that you pursue them in that way? Correction: what does it mean when millions of others are having equally intense reactions to them? And then I thought about the word ‘fan’. According to the Oxford Dictionary, it is ‘a person who has a strong interest in or admiration for a particular person or thing.’ I was interested to know how the band felt about these reactions. I think that if something like this happens, nothing can impress you anymore. In one of John Lennon’s interviews, he said ‘We are not Beatles to each other, you know. This is a joke to us […] we turn into Beatles because everybody looking at us sees the Beatles. We’re not the Beatles at all. We’re just us.’ And I could perfectly picture them simply as schoolboys that liked music and decided to do something together. Even though this was not necessarily its purpose, this book made me think about how others appear to us depending on how we decide to see them – prior to any label, they are another human being, just like us.
Fans can bring their informed review to this book, and mere mortals like me can simply enjoy the experience, and learn more about not just the Beatles, but about those four boys behind that big name. I can say that I really enjoyed it.
THE BEATLES: PAPERBACK WRITER is available here!