The Beatles: The Biography

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The Beatles: The Biography
Author Bob Spitz
Country United States
Language English
Subject The Beatles
Genre Biography, music
Publisher Little, Brown and Company
Publication date
November 1, 2005
Media type Print (hardcover)
Pages 992 pp (first edition, hardcover)
ISBN 0-316-01331-5 (first edition, hardcover)
OCLC 77561694

The Beatles: The Biography is the name of a 2005 biography of the 1960s rock band The Beatles written by Bob Spitz.[1][2][3] It was first published by Little, Brown and Company on November 1, 2005.


"Bob Spitz's beautifully written chronicle breathes new life into the familiar story of the Liverpool boys who conquered the world and became, according to a recent Variety poll, the most influential entertainers of the past century. The author's passion for his subject, and for every nuance of every scene, electrifies even the most familiar moments in the legend. Spitz cast his net wide, gathering little-known information from contemporary radio interviews, fanzines, Brian Epstein's personal diaries, and such arcana as the architectural renderings for John and Cynthia Lennon's home and a pamphlet called "A Short History of the Liverpool Cotton Market." The scene-by-scene particulars are fascinating; for example, the description of Ringo meticulously rolling up towels to seal the threshold under the door of a room at the Delmonico Hotel in New York the night in 1964 when they met Bob Dylan and Dylan introduced them to marijuana. "An unusually gregarious Dylan was delighted by the Beatles' curiosity and readiness to experiment," Spitz writes. "They got right in the groove, which relaxed the recalcitrant bard, who lit joint after joint, fanning the fateful flame." The chapter ends: "Nothing would ever be the same again." -The New York Times[4]

"With this massive opus, veteran music journalist Spitz (Dylan: A Biography) tells the definitive story of the band that sparked a cultural revolution. Calling on books, articles, radio programs and primary interviews, Spitz follows the band from each member's family origins in working-class Liverpool to the band's agonizing final days. Spitz's unflinching biography reveals that not only did the Beatles pioneer a new era of rock but they also were on the cutting edge of rock star excess, from their 1961 amphetamine-fueled sets in the clubs of Hamburg to their eventual appetites for stronger drugs, including marijuana, LSD, cocaine and, eventually for John Lennon, heroin. Sex was also part of the equation; in 1962, when the band cut its first audition for Sir George Martin, all four members had a venereal disease, and both John's and Paul McCartney's girlfriends were pregnant. Spitz details the tangled web of bad business deals that flowed from novice manager Brian Epstein (though the heavily conflicted Epstein can be forgiven since he was in uncharted territory). Although this is a hefty volume steeped in research, Spitz writes economically, and with flair, letting the facts and characters speak for themselves. In doing so, he captures an ironic sadness that accompanied the Beatles' runaway success—how their dreams of stardom, once realized, became a prison, forcing the band to spend large parts of their youth in hotel rooms to avoid mobs and to stage elaborate escapes from literally life-threatening situations after appearances. As with all great history writing, Spitz both captures a moment in time and humanizes his subjects." -Publishers' Weekly, starred review[citation needed]


The book received generally favorable reviews,[1] however some journalists and fans of the band noticed a number of factual errors in Spitz's biography.[5][6] Spitz has general been bitter towards his critics. When one of the editors for Daytrippin′, a Beatles fan zine, mailed the author a short list of incorrect facts in his book, Spitz replied: "You need an enema. Really! Do something useful with your life."[5]