Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Love you Make--- a pre-review of the book

I am currently re-reading the controversial book from 1983, The Love you Make by Peter Brown and Steven Gaines for the new feature of Wednesday Reviews where I take a look at a "classic" Beatles book and see if it holds up to what was written about it when it was originally published.

At the time, Peter Brown's Beatles biography caused quite a disturbance in the world of Beatles fans.  It was really the first book that told the Beatles' story with a lot of juicy gossip.    1983 was a time when bookstores weren't saturated with a new Beatles book every few weeks.   The book sold 225,000 copies in hardback and spent five months on the national booksellers list.  

One would have thought that Peter Brown would have written a memoir of his time as Brian Epstein's personal assistant and working with the Beatles at Apple Records.  Instead Peter wrote a complete biography of the band, including times when he was not present (such as the Quarry Men days, the Cavern Club, Hamburg, touring, etc.).     Starting in 1979, he interviewed all of the members of the Beatles plus others (such as Cynthia Lennon, Magic Alex,  and others who were insiders).  He recorded all of the interviews (now those are some tapes I would love to hear!) and in an interview with Bill King in a 1984 issue of Beatlefan magazine, Brown says, "There was no question in Paul and Yoko's case that they wished to come out as  best they could in the book and that why they were so overtly and excessively helpful."   In the same interview Brown states that Yoko opened up her Florida home to him so that he could work on the book and that he met personally with Paul over several weekend.  

So this book was written by a Beatles insider and taken from first hand accounts plus personal interviews with the Beatles and other insiders.  So why was this book hated so much at the time that fans began referring to it as "The Muke You Rake?"    Why did Mark Lapidos have Brown and Gains as a guest at Beatlefest when the book was first published to decide to have them permanently banned from ever appearing again?   Let's take a look at the reasons:

1.   It was heavily pushed in the tabloids.     In the UK the Sun published exerts from the book with the National Enquirer   in the U.S. doing the same.    So the book started off in the mind of many as just tabloid gossip and not the truth.

2.   So many errors!    When a biography of the Beatles states that the last touring concert was at the Cow Palace, you know you have issues.   Fan had a difficult time getting past the hundreds of incorrect dates and misspelled names.    I will be reading the 2002 re-release, which supposedly has fixed these errors.  

3.   Steve Gains was a jerk to fans.   At the Boston Beatles Convention in 1983, the co-authors were interviewed by Bill Last for Good Day Sunshine .   Bill, being a mega-Beatles fan, wanted to know about some detailed information, namely the correct names of the Decca auditions songs.   According to the book, the Beatles sang "Red Sails on the Sunset."  and Bill wanted to know more about this because fans cannot find this song and he states, "for a lot of people, that an important thing..."  to which Gains replies, "No.  I don't think for a lot of people.  I think for a very, very small select group of people.  I think maybe 50 people in all of America that's important to."    He went on to say later in the interview, "I wanted to do a story that would fascinate people who really didn't care what the Decca songs were or if we misspelled the third letter of a name."

As you can imagine the die-in the-wool Beatle lovers did not appreciate Steve's words.   And fans began to tell each other not to read the book.  If he didn't think want the fans were interested in was important, then why support the book?

4.   Paul McCartney  (and Yoko )said the book was terrible.    This is the most powerful one of them all.   For one of the Beatles to come and speak out against a book, makes more than just hard-core Beatle fans take notice.   Paul appeared on Entertainment Tonight and was asked about the book.  He looked into the camera and clearly said, "It was a betrayal."   However, Paul didn't stop there.   In an interview with Playboy, Linda said, "It is like he doesn't exist.  And his book...well, it doesn't matter what he wrote, because he betrayed a trust .  We decided not to read it, but we heard things.  We put the copy he sent us in the fire and I photographed it as it burned, page by page.  As to what he wrote about Paul or about John's experiences, you'll have to ask Paul."    Paul chimes in and says, "He told us he was going to write about the music of the 60's, not a book about the Beatles.  I took him into my house, something we don't do; we had lunch, showed him the kids, showed him around our village.  I actually thought he was a friend."

It is interesting that Paul disliked the book, which he never read, because Peter betrayed their friendship and the Beatle code of not talking, however Paul does not say that the book is full of lies about him.  The only thing he speaks of is what Peter says happened in Spain between John and Brian and how it isn't right because neither one of them can speak of themselves.  

Peter Brown says the same thing in the Bill King interview, "there are complaints from the principles about the book, but they certainly don't argue with the accuracy of the book. "   Peter claims that he and Steve were always honest with Paul about the nature of the book, stating, "When you sit down and talk to Paul about his illegitimate children and if you talk about drug addiction and homosexual relations and wife-swapping --and we talked to George and Pattie and Maureen and Ringo about that -- what did they think we were going to do with the information?   Anything that was even remotely sensitive we have on tape.  Everyone was taped.   I mean, the reason we talked to them about it was we wanted to make sure that one such sensitive subjects that we did in fact get all the four principals' versions of it. "

It will be interesting to see how this book holds up to another reading in 2016.   Most of what was scandalous gossip in 1983 is common knowledge today and I might not even think much of it.    What do you remember about this book??


  1. I remember being upset with the tone of the book. Not just gossip but the most negative spin you could put on any situation; nothing was really put in context. Peter Brown made a lot of money on the backs of the people whose talent is the reason he got out of Liverpool in the first place. In the process, he destroyed his relationship with them. I don't believe they sat down and discussed all this stuff with the knowledge it might find it's way into a book or maybe at all, for that matter. I don't believe Peter Brown had anything to do with the actual writing of this book; he cashed a check. Also I seem to remember him not being forthright about himself at the same time.

    1. I agree it was the tone of the book, not what was said. The tone especially regarding Paul was scornful and judgemental. You got the feeling the author didn't really like the Beatles much and felt they were beneath him. While reading, I felt that he was making fun of them. Even worse I don't remember getting that feeling when I read about John, only the other three. That tells me that the author was either biased in John's favor, or he was cashing in on the Saint Lennon sentiment of the early 1980s. To me it's not whether or not the information is "true" or not true. It's the way the information is presented. I think Steven Gaines is to blame for this, not Peter Brown. After all Steven Gaines is the author. If he was smart Brown should have distanced himself from the book after it came out and he had his money. It's an absolutely appalling book for the reasons I stated above. Shameless cash in. If Gaines had more integrity he could have written a better book. Instead he chose a tabloid style cash in.

  2. the gossip stuff was already common knowledge for years among most fans but I didn't care to read it all again

  3. wanted it as always for a book on the lads but expected more from Brown

  4. I remember being at a Beatlefest and everyone was grilling Brown (and co-writer Steven Gaines). It might have been well-reviewed by non-Beatlefan book reviewers (how many times do they recommend sub-par books), but it was not well-received by Beatlefans.

    But I re-read it recently, I didn't think it was a big deal at all. I mean, compared to Albert Goldman's, or lots of other books that have come out since then....Stu's sister....others I won't name....I didn't think this was a big deal, it was his memoirs, it wasn't supposed to be an accurate Beatles reference book.

    If it came out today, no one would bat an eye, we'd all be welcoming it. As far as not being kind to Paul, most memoirs are partial to some more than others. Geoff Emerick had not very many nice things about Ringo, for instance.

  5. PS: He lives in NYC, or at least he did, for many years. His partner is Bob Balaban, the actor. My old bandmate once worked a party at his apartment as a caterer and told me a great story I can't tell here!!!! So sorry! Dying to tell it, though!

    Obviously he thought the most of John, and when John died, he cashed in. Maybe he owed them more, maybe he didn't. I'm sure handling the logistics for those four guys during the Apple years must have been about a thousand headaches per day, perhaps he's entitled to cash in, who knows.....