Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The love you make -- A book review

The Next Big Thing.   That is basically the theme of Peter Brown and Steven Gaines' 1983 New York Times best selling book, The Love you make.   The  book goes on about how John Lennon was always wanting The Next Big Thing.   First it was a rock and roll band, then it was fame, then it was drugs, then it was the Maharishi, then it was Yoko, then it was primal scream therapy, then it was the politics, then alcohol and partying and finally Sean.    And I suspect that the authors of this book in 1983 thought that their Beatles biography was "The Next Big Thing" and after being a best selling book and having speaking engagements and interviews around the world that The Love you Make would be something that would be referred back to for years to come.  However, like many of John Lennon's "Next Big Things" this book fizzled out after the 1980's and does not hold up well in 2016.

As I said last week in the "pre-review" this book had a lot of potential if written as Peter Brown's memoir.   Here we have a bloke from Liverpool who worked for Brian Epstein and knew the Beatles from the start of their career and traveled with them to London.    He was one of the few close friends that Brian Epstein had.   I didn't realize it, but according to this book, Brown went on tour with the Beatles in 1966 and traveled to Germany, Japan and the dreaded Manila with them, so he saw some stuff.   He was with Brian around the time of his death and had to help with the aftermath of it.   He worked for Apple and attended two Beatle weddings (being the best man for John and Yoko) and is immortalized in a Beatles song!    The guy has stories that could have filled up a book and help it's own 33 years later.   And that was what I enjoyed the most from this book---the stories from when Peter was there and witnessed it himself.     While it was a downer, I did appreciate the in depth look into Brian Epstein's life in this book and I just couldn't help but wish Brian had gotten the help that had been offered to him so many times for his depression.    The funniest thing in the book for me was when talking about Allen Klein, the book states that when the Apple Scruff girls saw his car pull up to Apple, they would stick their head in the door and yell "Mafia's coming!"    Now I don't know if that is true or not---but the visual image of it made me laugh out loud.      Speaking of Klein, you had to feel bad for Peter Brown for having the terrible job of firing folks like Alistair Taylor and then having Paul claim how difficult it was to let him go.  

Overall---the book has an extremely negative vibe about it.    It is a depressing book!   Now I know that the Beatles' story isn't filled with all happy events, but geesh---this book was full of one sad story after another!    I know the Beatles had some good times together---even during the end!  

While I am sure that some of the gossip in this book was juicy in 1983, it is old hat in 2016.   I really don't care to read about Brian and John in Spain again.   Who cares anymore?   Read that tale a million and one times.    John and Yoko's  heroin usage?    Why do you think he wrote "Cold Turkey?"  Old news.    What was REALLY annoying and made this book not hold up very well is the constant use of the phrase, "the story told here for the first time...."    Okay Brown and Gaines, we get it---you are the first people to publish this scoop of something that most people already knew about.   Other things in the book that weren't really "gossip" but just layed out as as facts were very strange.  Such as Stu slept in a silk coffin, the Beatles watched porn in their dressing rooms during the making of a Hard Day's Night (ummm...I have seen the schedule...they didn't have time for that!) and everything Magic Alex said had to have been out right lies.  

Then there were things that I just know to be wrong information.   The one that stood out the most to me was that Paul McCartney went into the studio and re-recorded Ringo's drumming on most of the Beatles songs and that Ringo noticed but never said anything.    The book's portrayal of Ringo as the bumbling lucky drummer that stumbled into the Beatles actually made me mad.    Brown and Gaines claim that when Ringo left during the White Album sessions he went home and played with his kids and wished the Beatles would ask him back.    Well that is a lie!   We all know he went to Sardinia where he ended up writing "Octopus' Garden" and the other Beatles sent him postcards asking him to come back and telling him he was the world's greatest drummer.

The mistakes that were supposedly "fixed" in the 2002 edition were all still there.   Pattie Boyd's name was Patti or Pattie throughout the book, the last concert on the tour was Cow Palace and Tony Barrow was the press manager during the Feb. 1964 American trip.   You would have thought those small errors could have been fixed up---

The bottom line?    This book has NOT held up over time as a great Beatles book, although I doubt any fans ever though it would to begin with.


  1. very very disappointing book from someone who was there for such a long time; the only thing I agree with was that John did appear to be wanting the next big thing during his life

  2. The sensationalist approach of this book reads almost like a forerunner to Goldman. Factual errors and the retelling of events he was not part of diminish it further. I still enjoyed it, part for the gossip and part for the insight, though I don`t claim to always be able to differentate between the two.

  3. You know....I have a feeling now that the negative, sensationalist tone is not Peter Brown, but Steve Gaines.

    For instance, I remember when the two were getting grilled by Beatlefans about factual innacuracies (many which you mentioned), Peter Brown would get this kind of confused look and just turn to Steven Gaines, who would then answer. Thinking back now, I get the impression that Brown probably just told his story to Gaines, and of course, I know the two did go and interview people but I bet it Brown was providing the introductions and Gaines was doing the interviewing.

    HOWEVER: I ALSO remember Pete Shotten being at Beatlefest, the next year. And, explaining WHY he wrote the book, he mentioned something like "someone who I won't mention....(pause).....Peter Brown (audience laughs) contacted me about a book he was doing about the 60s, took me to a pub, we had some drinks...and I don't know if he had a tape recorder or what, because when the book came out,there was all this stuff..." etc etc.....

    So definitely they did trick people.

    The "for the first time anywhere". We have to keep in mind, this was 1983. The state-of-the-art of Beatle books was "Shout". Which we KNOW is full of tons of inaccuracies (and is really mean towards Paul, also). The Hunter Davies book wasn't even in print anymore. Again, that's Steve Gaines, I doubt that's Peter Brown.

    I wish Peter Brown would write a SECOND book. Just his own memoir. Did you see him in the beautiful "Brian Epstein Story" documentary? He's a very intelligent, beautifully spoken man, with great insights. And as you say: he DID see stuff, he WAS there.........and some of that stuff is in the book! Unfortunately, he left out some of the warmer stuff, and just going for the sensational stuff.

    As far as Beatle-associates that we know WERE in the inner circle, this book is not the only one to have dubious stuff contained within. The Tony Bramwell book, for instance....he puts himself at the Woolton Village Fete....walking with GEORGE no less....and just happens to be walking past the church, looks in, and sees Paul teaching John "Twenty Flight Rock". Sorry, that's a little far-fetched!

    Lastly: regarding watching porno films in their dressing rooms....I'm sure someone had a projector (like many people used to have back then) and, for a laugh, run some dirty flickers (boys will boys!). Especially on a film set, where there's lots and lots of waiting while they set up the shot. I don't find that too far-fetched.

    Interesting reading your review though!!! I agree, it's ONLY of interest to people like you and me, who are going to glean those little bits of stories and information, and leave the rest.

    Peter Brown should have written a book in the first person; instead, he and Gaines wrote a half-baked history of the band. Let it be, Peter!!!!!