Books by Geoffrey Giuliano

Released: Nov. 15, 2006

"Nothing new for an overflowing table."
A wholly unnecessary retelling of the Fab Four's story, from an author who fails to add anything that seasoned Beatles fanatics don't already know. Read full book review >
BEHIND BLUE EYES by Geoffrey Giuliano
Released: Nov. 1, 1996

Riddled with inconsistencies, this overlong and occasionally self-serving biography of the Mod rock satyr offers little about its subject that fans don't already know. Founding member and driving force behind the Who, rock 'n' roll Boswell of his ``G-G-G-Generation,'' creator of Tommy (and of a new form of musical excess, the ``rock opera''), and possessor of one of the most prolific appetites (even by rocker standards) for booze, drugs, and the high life, Pete Townshend has long since cemented his legend as one of the giants of contemporary rock. Beginning with the Who's 1965 anthemic ``My Generation'' (remembered for its defiant refrain, ``Hope I die before I get old''), Townshend's career is perhaps best characterized by an uncompromising (some would say self-destructive) approach to both music and life. Giuliano (Blackbird: The Life and Times of Paul McCartney, 1991, etc.) has collected an extraordinary number of details about Townshend's profoundly dysfunctional childhood; his long-standing rivalry with fellow Who member, vocalist Roger Daltrey; his addiction to heroin; his search for religious meaning and his (occasionally bizarre) devotion to the silent Indian mystic Meher Baba; his erratic career after the Who stopped touring; his charitable work; his hearing loss; and the relatively recent revelation of his bisexuality. Less conspicuous, however, is the narrative focus that might make sense of all the facts. Giuliano seems at times flummoxed by his mercurial subject, who offers contradictory interpretations of his own work, including several different explanations for the ``Hope I die'' line. The author variously describes Townshend as an effete, middle-class artist and, seemingly without any recognition of the contradiction, as a gritty ``working-class rocker from West London.'' The book seems equally incapable of suggesting what influence Townshend's sexuality has had on his music or what it tells us about the pattern of his life. A confused, contradictory, and unrevealing work. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen) Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 1, 1994

``Tedious'' is a better adjective than ``lost'' for the various documents Fab Four biographer Giuliano (Blackbird: The Life and Times of Paul McCartney, 1991, etc.) has gathered here. Interviews of the group by British reporters get the book off to a slow, repetitive start as the Beatles slough off questions about the their growing fame and their music with wisecracks (Question: ``Do you go to the barber at all?'' Paul: ``It's really only our eyebrows that are growing upwards''). From there, the pieces—which include press releases and news accounts along with actual interviews—require a fairly complete knowledge of the group's history for full comprehension. In the interviews, George, Ringo, John, and Paul come across as who they were: megacelebrities who cherished their privacy, masterfully avoiding unguarded moments during dreaded but necessary promotional gigs. By the end, most of the other major, recognizable players who are interviewed (George Martin, spouses, Ravi Shankar, various gurus) give way to studio technicians and obscure relatives, like Paul's half-sister, whom he barely knew. And what enlightenment is supposed to ensue from a transcript of a press conference in which movie producer George and actress Madonna promote the disastrous Shanghai Surprise is difficult to tell. To be sure, there are some nice moments (fairly complete documentation of John's controversial remark that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus Christ, a long interview with Yoko Ono after John's death), but they are hardly worth waiting for. Giuliano obviously has a mountain of material and, as evidenced by his earlier biographies, the knowledge to write a book that would separate the wheat from the chaff for his readers. In this case, he should have done so. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 15, 1991

Prince Paul conquers the world as a Beatle, then daringly starts his own group (Wings) and lives forever after in tight- fisted happiness with his Lady Linda—in this vapid gusher from Giuliano (Dark Horse: The Secret Life of George Harrison, 1990). Giuliano begins with a 90-page rehearsal of the Fab Four's career—nothing new here, it's all from familiar and secondary sources. He then turns to the marriage of Linda Eastman and McCartney. Potentially of interest, this union of a son of a cotton factor and a daughter of a Cleveland heiress—but after a run through old fan magazines and previously published interviews, enlivened only by Giuliano's fillips (``Linda today a mature, creative, socially concerned woman with no illusions about either her complicated place in pop history or her role as a responsible, caring citizen of Spaceship Earth''), we know no more than we began with. Giuliano's chief informant, Denny Laine—who played guitar in Wings for several years—does provide some interesting insights. Money: ``McCartney was always making excuses for not paying us properly by saying his money was all tied up in the Beatles' company, Apple...I was kept in the dark all the time about money, just given a check now and again.'' Recording: ``He and Linda did smoke a fantastic amount of stuff by anybody's much of it makes you very indecisive and takes away your self-confidence. That's why Paul's albums take him ages and ages to make. He just cannot be decisive about anything.'' Laine left the band when McCartney was arrested for drug-possession in Tokyo. In subsequent years, McCartney forbade the band to carry any drugs across the border. This prohibition, says Giuliano, did not apply to McCartney himself; he used the hood on his daughter's coat and his son's diaper as stash bags. For True Believers only. (Thirty-two pages of b&w photographs—not seen.) Read full book review >