The entire story is pretty great, but the last 50 pages or so are riveting. By that point, they’re on the verge of breaking up after the agonizing experience of recording Let it Be and the white album. I put a lot of the blame on John and Yoko for this. They’re both into H by this point, and are just really into themselves. For all of John’s complaints that Paul loved to pander to the public and the media, he comes across as just as guilty, churning out media stunt after stunt to promote his wife’s art and their collaboratively made art crap.
So with 50 pages to go I’m sitting there wondering how they are going to manage to put together Abbey Road after their two prior albums, Let it Be and the white album had so much sub-par music on them, and when they hate to be in the studio or near each other. The book doesn’t do justice to the Abbey Road sessions, for they’re end up being kind of neat end to the story. Basically, they find that the joy of playing together somehow helps them forget about all the crap they had going on in their personal lives. They bring George Martin back. It’s like old times in some ways. So, even with Yoko directing their recording from a bed she had installed in the studio, they manage to put together something brilliant. Even George gets his day with some of his best work.
And in the end . . . here are some conclusions:
- I appreciate John the artist much more than I used to. You get the feeling that even he didn’t fully understand his talent, and he needed Paul to help make it work, but his music is probably the best, I have to admit.
- I hate who John was to his family, his band mates, his friends, to strangers, and to himself. He may be one of the most un-likeable famous rockers I’ve ever read an 800 page book about.
- Paul is the reason they ever got anywhere. On his own, he would have found fame. You can’t say that about any of the others.
- They ripped off a lot more people than I realized. In more ways than I realized, these fellas were just really good at making derivative versions of the music they heard and loved, much of it coming from black America.
- Their best haircuts were in the late 60’s. I wish like the devil I could grow a beard like Paul’s.
- After they did the first Ed Sullivan Show, they stopped being funny. I don’t know why, but the beginning of their career, when they were poor and struggling, their wit seemed to be just really vital to who they were. After they started touring, they all get kind of cranky, caught up in the womanizing and the reefer and the LSD and the whatnot.
- In the end, the love you take is equal to the booty you shake. I made that one up myself.