|Paul and Leslie look over the newspaper before boarding the Magical Mystery Tour bus|
Every year there are a few new Beatle books that stand out to me as being better than the rest. I am happy to say that The Cutting Edge by Leslie Cavendish is one of those books. When you first hear that the man who was the "hairdresser for the Beatles" wrote a book, most people roll their eyes and say something like "wow--anyone that ever knew the Beatles are coming out of the woodwork and writing tell all books. Now it is the barber-- who next??" Push those thoughts straight out of your mind because while Leslie was the Beatles hairdresser during their recording years, he was also a contemporary of the Beatles that spent quite a bit of time with them. He was invited into Paul's home, spent time at Apple, EMI studios and participated in the Magical Mystery Tour among other Beatles adventures. He was there and experienced things with the Beatles as someone not quite in the Beatles inner circle, but close enough to have an interesting perspective and tells new and different Beatles stories.
|The party for Apple Tailoring. That is Leslie in the hat on the very end.|
Leslie was a Beatles fan, just like most every other young person in the UK in 1963. He listened to their music and loved it. He even saw the Beatles in concert on April 21, 1963 at the "Jew-do" dance and was in awe of them. Never in his wildest dreams did he think when he began working at Vidal Sasoon in London that it would lead to him becoming the Beatles official hairdresser. However, through pure luck, that is exactly what happened.
In 1966, Leslie found himself at 7 Cavendish Avenue (with his last name being Cavendish -- it must have been fate!) cutting Paul McCartney's hair in his bedroom. Soon after that he was cutting George and John's hair as well as many of the people that worked for the Beatles. (He didn't cut Ringo's hair because Ringo's wife was a hairdresser and took care of Ringo's locks.) When Apple came along, he got the amazing opportunity to open up a shop in the basement of Apple Tailoring. Things ended for him, as they did for many people, when the Beatles broke up.
What I liked about this book was that it was written in a very casual way. It felt like Leslie was telling you these stories over a cup of coffee at a cafe -- although maybe I felt that way because I was fortunately to hear a few of these stories in person with Leslie at the place that was once his shop in London on a tour this summer. Regardless, I think anyone that read The Cutting Edge will be able to relate to Leslie and find his writing to be very personable. I also did not find any mistakes in this book. He obviously had his research down because all of the dates and locations were correct and if there were any errors, they weren't obvious on my first reading unlike so many other books that have been published recently.
|Me and Leslie on a tour in England (we are standing outside of the building that was once Apple Tailoring. It is now an art studio and had Beatles art in the window)|
|My mom and Leslie standing where he once washed George Harrison's hair|
As we see time and time again with those that remained employed by the Beatles for long periods of time, Leslie has a lot of integrity. He never sold locks of the Beatles hair, even though he easily could have. He never asked them for autographs (with one special exception) and he always treated them with total professionalism and respect. It couldn't have been easy for him at times since he was a big Beatles fan before he met them However, because he chose to treat them this way and not go blab their secrets to every newspaper in town, the Beatles rewarded him with not only their businesses but with other special treats that you read about in this book.
As far as I am concerned, The Cutting Edge by Leslie Cavendish is a "must read" Beatles book of 2017.