Friday, May 8, 2009

Beatles biographer Hunter Davies discusses his year with the Fabs

Hunter Davies penned the only authorized biographies of the group and it's been reprinted in a number of editions over the years. In fact, a 40th anniversary edition is on the way. It's a great book, which traces the band's beginnings up through mid 1968 or so, with lots of great first-hand recollections from John, Paul, George and Ringo. Naturally, there was some material the Fabs forbade Davies from using at the time, and some topics that were kept off limits. But in the later editions, Davies has remedied this somewhat by addressing them in in introductions. The book captures the band at the height of their fame and is penned by a writer who had unprecedented access. It's a must-read for anyone interested in the history of the band.

Here's a new interview with Davies:

“It was exciting to meet them,” he recalls. “But I worried that I’d be asking them the same boring questions they’d been asked a million times. So I decided to spend the first six months interviewing their friends and relations, building up background before seeing The Beatles again.”

He hoped that bringing them news and gossip from back home in Liverpool would increase their interest.

“Unless, of course, they were now so fame-drunk and success-sodden that they had ceased to have any interest in where they had come from.”

They still cared, or so they said, about those they left behind. Davies detailed the families who had to abandon their homes, such as Ringo Starr’s mother and stepfather who moved out when they could no longer live with fans turning up at all hours, stealing their letterbox and chipping bits off their front door. John Lennon’s Aunt Mimi moved away as well, and sent buttons from John’s old clothes to fans all over the world.

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