In a similar vein to 2000’s Beatles Anthology, this hefty paperback is a combination of detailed biography, photo album, sheet music and oral history (with quotes from ex- Quarry Men, the band’s Hamburg cleaning lady and the man who cut the first mop-top). The story has been told countless times before, not least by Miles, author of official Macca biography Many Years From Now and “manager” of the short-lived Zapple label, but rarely with this much detail.
Though comparing The Beatles’ split to an expensive, public divorce is a tad unfortunate given Paul McCartney’s recent past, Miles’ exhaustive research and recollections will please even the most ultra-curious Beatles fan. A gigography covers wedding receptions (George Harrison’s brother’s), TV auditions as The Silver Beatles and stints backing poets and strippers, to the American stadium tours, plus day-by-day accounts of every studio session. The rarely-seen photos are excellent, even if some glossy paper would have done them more justice: blurry live shots from Hamburg and the Cavern; backstage at Morecambe & Wise; out and about in Liverpool; Harrison among the 300,000 cards he received for his 21st birthday and a teenage Ringo Starr as sulky, big-quiffed teddy boy.