Heartfelt, yet so threadbare of fresh material that it hardly merits even article-length treatment. (Photographs, 60-minute...



Radio newsman Kane may have been the only journalist to travel with the Beatles on all the stops of their 1964–65 tour, but this recounting offers little more than a chronology of screams and adulation.

Kane was 21 and a Florida radio reporter when he got the break to join the first Beatles tour of America, which he understands to have been “the greatest tour in rock-and-roll history . . . an event of great musical and social magnitude.” He writes that he approached the task with a degree of cynicism, as well as with anxiety and frustration, but he soon stands agog at the arena crowds—“rows and rows of hyperactivity”—and at the desperate acts fans would commit to get near the Fab Four: crawling through hotel air ducts, charging police officers, hoping one of the jellybeans they hurled at the musicians would hit home and thus achieve a form of contact. At times, Kane tries to put the Beatles within some sociological context—“a simmering youthful unrest and defiance against the establishment”—but mostly recounted here are the performers’ daring and absurd escapes from the concert hall, the sexual liaisons after the shows (“Getting women into the hotels required somebody with the power to do so. The Beatles couldn’t just wait around in the lobby for someone to show up!”), and Kane’s amazement that these were just four regular guys: “Their casual everyman’s view of life, coupled with their soulful music, endeared them to a whole generation.” What could have made all this hum—Kane’s unhindered access for interviews—instead provides much of its most inane material. “Kane: Hi, Ringo, how are you? Ringo: All right, Larry. How are you? Kane: Pretty good. A lot of magazines and portraits of you depict you as being very sad. You’re not a sad person, are you?”

Heartfelt, yet so threadbare of fresh material that it hardly merits even article-length treatment. (Photographs, 60-minute CD of interviews)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-7624-1592-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Running Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2003

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.


A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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