A close confederate of the Beatles chronicles the band’s rise and fall in an easygoing memoir—about everything except Yoko Ono.
Bramwell grew up with John, Paul, and George in Liverpool, and lat became an important fixture at Apple Records. He was the all-purpose guy who filmed their recording sessions, promoted their material, and, perhaps most importantly, was someone they could relax with at a pub. Told in real time, Bramwell’s account captures the taste and feel of the moment yet also evolves along with the band’s intellectual, artistic, and personal changes. Though Bramwell can’t climb into the Beatles’ heads, he does re-create the serendipitous atmosphere that surrounded their songwriting. And his steel-trap memory carries the big picture along with a mob of details, many of them personal. Rather than focusing entirely on the Beatles, the narrative encompasses the whole scene: the Rolling Stones, the Animals, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and numerous others come and go throughout. Bramwell appears to be such a sweet character that his portrait of Yoko Ono comes across like a bite on the kneecap. He loathes this “she-wolf garbed in black,” the “fraud” who talked macrobiotic while shooting heroin, who destroyed all that was once so good in the process of feeding her insecurities. Bramwell doesn’t paint a pretty picture of the last few years of the band’s partnership. He’s more than happy to blame the breakup on Ono and on Allen Klein, who would “cook the books and milk the company dry.” He also has some pointed things to say about the Merry Pranksters and Hare Krishnas.
Even the most Beatle-weary reader will be charmed and engaged by this intimate account. (Three 8-page b&w photo inserts, not seen)