Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Yesterday: Memories of a Beatles Fan -- a Book Review

John and Marg at the Casbah in 1962--this photo is the cover of the book

Today's Wednesday review is what I am going to call the surprise Beatle book of the summer:   Memories of a Beatles Fan by Margaret Hunt.     

How many times have you wished that you could go back in time and see what it really was like when the Beatles were at the Cavern Club in the early 1960's?    Well--through the book Memories of a Beatles Fan you get the opportunity to live through Margaret's story and read in detail what it was like to be a fan in the 2nd row of the Cavern!

Margaret first saw the Beatles at the Aintree, when there were five of them.   She and her best friend, Carol thought they were a Germany band because the sign said they were from Hamburg.    They were blown away by the look of the guys in leather and the sound, which was better than the other groups.  

She never thought she would see the Beatles again, but surprisingly they came to the Cavern Club and well--as they say the rest is history!    Marg and Carol became fans--some of the first.   And it wasn't long because Margaret went to the Mersey Beat magazine headquarters and bought some Beatles photographs.   Margaret is the very first Beatles photo collector!!    She kept a scrapbook of all of the photographs and news clipping she could find.   And every photo she bought, she had autographed.    Bill Harry asked her who her favorite Beatle was and at the time, she didn't even know his name, but learned that her favorite was John Lennon.    And she and John began a special friendship, which is very touching and sweet to read about.    Marg gives you a look into a side of John Lennon that we all know about, but at times forget because we get wrapped up in the rock star with the attitude Lennon and this book really reminded me WHY John Lennon has always been my favorite Beatle---for the very reasons Margaret loved him in 1961.   

the Beatles on fan night before they left for Hamburg in 1962----Marg was there!

There are some things that stood out in this amazing book.   The first is that this is the story of one of the very first Beatle fans and that she was extremely loyal to the group.   She had the exact same feelings about the Beatles that all of us have today--over 50 years later.    She would stand out in the pouring rain in a long que outside of the Cavern to see the Beatles.   Some of her stories of waiting to see the Beatles paralleled those of the Apple Scruff girls 7 years later in London.    It is interested to read about when Pete Best was fired from the group and how Marg and the other girls reacted.  I had never heard about it in detail before.    And Marg never truly accepted Ringo, even though she didn't dislike him or anything.     But Margaret did dislike Brian Epstein.   I think this is the first book I have ever read that didn't paint Brian in a positive light.   However, she didn't write it in a nasty or mean way and it is understandable why she does not have share the nice view of Brian that we typically read.

Read about John's reaction to the photos Margaret took of John at the Casbah

While this IS the story of Margaret's experiences as a Cavern girl, it is also the story of two best friends.   I loved reading about Margaret and Carol's dynamic and teenage best friends.   How they would argue over Margaret being late all of the time, or how they gossiped about the Beatles.   I loved how they were opposites in so many ways, but truly were best friends.    How wonderful it was for them to share the Beatles experience together.

I wish the book had photographs.   Margaret talks about how her friend and her shared that they personally took, but none are in the book.   I had to dig through my files and find the photos she was talking about.    And I am sure I have never seen some of the photos she speaks of.    There were a few mistakes in the book, but nothing huge or takes away from the story or accuracy of what was being told.

I really see Yesterday: Memories of the a Beatles Fan as a companion piece to Mark Lewishon's amazing Tune In book.    Mark talks of this same time period in his book and has done all of the research.  He has the details and the dates down.   Margaret's book does not list any of the dates, but has the emotion and the feelings of what it was like to be around the Beatles during that time.    Pair these two books together and I think you really get the full story of the Cavern period of the Beatles career.  

This book is really a great book and I am so thankful that one of the original Cavern girls took the time to write down her memories and stories for us to enjoy.    I can't recommend this book enough!  It is only available on Kindle and is $4.99.      


  1. This one sounds fabulous! I will get it as soon as I finish mine. By the way, if - like me - you don't have a Kindle, you can download the application and read it in your phone.

    1. Lizzie---as a John fan you will enjoy this book as much as I did. Lots of great John stuff in there.

  2. The photo of her and John is AMAZING!!!

  3. Oh my gosh, I can't WAIT to read this book! The sections in "Tune In" about the early fans....and also "Good Ole Freda", the stories she had about the's my favorite thing to read about!

    Thanks for the great review, your enthusiasm for the book is contagious!!!

  4. PS: I love how you mention how John and her struck up a platonic friendship, which reminds me of the friendship he had with another early fan (written about in "Tune In", her name escapes me! You all know who I'm talking about!).

    It's good to keep such things in mind next time you get those bizzarre people who just want to take a"Polaroid" of John at his worse, point to it, and say "That's who John Lennon was! A violent misogynist! That's all he was, ever. Everything else you think you know about's all a lie!"

  5. Wow! I have a particular interest in this book. Believe it or not, I actually have in my collection three pieces that used to belong to Margaret Hunt: her 1963 Cavern Club membership card, her 1962-63 Beatles Fan Club card, and an original photo she took of the Beatles playing at Assembly Hall in Mold, Wales on January 24, 1963! What makes having her '63 Cavern Club card particularly amazing for me is that it was issued to her on "17.3.63" -- March 17, 1963 -- which also happened to be my 11th birthday! I'd love to have this book but, alas, I can't access Kindle. Why can't people publish good, old-fashioned printed books anymore? Thanks for posting this, Sara!

    1. Mark---that is really cool! She talks about how she sold a large part of her collection in the early 2000's because she needed the money. I hope she kept a few things for herself. I really am interested in seeing more of the photos that she and her friends took (obviously since I am the "picture girl").

      I hear what you say about old fashioned printed books. My book will NOT be available as an ebook because I really dislike them. I know they are money makers, but publishing a book electronically is not part of my dream of writing a book. I like to read print books. I downloaded the kindle ap on my laptop and got it from there. I got the ap through the google store. Hopefully if there is enough interest, her book will be a print book---that sometimes happens with these ebook only books.

  6. God bless you Sara,I can always see Love shining through in what you write.The Beatles really were something else,I've been a guitar player for 35 years now and played with hundreds of people,I can honestly say that the Beatles were TOP NOTCH Musicians,not instrumentalists,but tasteful players who LISTENED to what each other was playing.

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  8. I'm reading this book now and it's terrific!! well worth buying for any Beatles fan. I also recently read and enjoyed a time travel novel featuring the Beatles titled "Get Back, Imagine Saving John Lennon." both good reads....