MISS O’DELL by Chris O’Dell


My Life with the Beatles, the Stones, Bob Dylan, and the Women Who Loved Them
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An irresistible memoir of one of the lesser lights of a major constellation of rock stars and their satellites.

Assisted by veteran co-author Ketcham (co-author, with William Cope Moyers: Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption, 2006, etc.), O’Dell discusses how her friends and lovers, as the subtitle of her book makes clear, included some of the most famous people of her generation. How did this girl from Oklahoma, by way of Tucson and Los Angeles, become a member of rock’s innermost circle, a singer on the chorus of “Hey, Jude,” the inspiration for songs by Leon Russell, George Harrison and Joni Mitchell and the sometime nemesis of Eric Clapton, lover of Russell, Mick Jagger, Ringo Starr and Bob Dylan? Her ascent was due partly to her being in the right place at the right time, an intrepidness that led her to fly, at age 20, to London to look for a job at the Beatles’ Apple Records, and a talent for knowing how to give people exactly what they wanted without getting in their way. “I was adept at dealing with famous people with complicated egos,” she writes. “I wasn’t afraid of them or overawed by their stardom. I could see the person behind the cloak of fame, but—and this was key—I never, ever forgot that the cloak was there.” A fixture on the Rolling Stones’ notorious 1972 tour in support of Exile on Main Street, after a few years she was managing major tours herself—she was probably the first woman to do so—including Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue of 1975. O’Dell provides valuable inside information about the landscape of ’70s rock, but she also looks at the complicated relationships at the center of Pattie Boyd’s Wonderful Tonight (2007), a collaboration between Boyd, Harrison, Clapton and Starr and his wife. Though the chronology takes bigger jumps over the years in the later chapters, the book also chronicles the author’s triumphs over addictions to alcohol and cocaine and her safe landing as a mother and hypnotherapist/drug counselor in Tucson.

A rock ’n’ roll fairy tale with a sunny, but gritty, heroine.

Pub Date: Oct. 6th, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4165-9093-4
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2009


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