150 Glimpses of the Beatles

With a nod to "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," satirist Craig Brown (Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret) examines the Beatles through kaleidoscope eyes in this wildly imaginative and tremendously entertaining biographical collage. In 150 non-chronological chapters, Brown picks pivotal events and people important to the band and devotes an entire chapter to each.

With nearly 200 books previously published on the Beatles and its four members, Brown delights in sorting through conflicting versions of band folklore--such as John Lennon and Paul McCartney's first meeting in 1957, and whether Lennon and gay manager Brian Epstein ever consummated their relationship. Even fans who have read numerous books on the Beatles will enjoy Brown's sharp eye for fresh details and sharp tongue in his retelling. Fans know Pete Best is considered "the fifth Beatle," but Brown offers a whole chapter on the sixth Beatle: drummer Jimmy Nicol, who replaced an ailing Ringo Starr for 10 days during the Beatles' 1964 Australian tour. The final chapter is one of its most compelling: told in reverse chronological order, it details Brian Epstein's 1967 suicide. It begins days after his funeral when two additional suicide notes are found and backtracks through his life to 1961, when he first saw the fledgling group perform and recognized their potential.

150 Glimpses of the Beatles is compulsively readable, and Brown's love and admiration of the band shines on every page. His perceptive take on a treasure trove of stories creates an indelible, full-bodied biography of one of the most important bands in music history. --Kevin Howell, independent reviewer and marketing consultant

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