This is my first book review, but since it is a music book, I do feel qualified. Especially since it is a Beatles-related book. The first serious, music related book I read back in the ‘70s was Hunter Davies ‘official’ biography of the Beatles. For me it set the standard for all rock books that followed. Now, as I voraciously devour rock-related books, my garage and attic is filled with the overflow of read books.
When I was first asked to review “The Quarrymen” by Hunter Davies I was skeptical. I thought the best account of this time period of the group that became the Beatles came out in 1983, “John Lennon-In My Life” by Pete Shotton and Nicholas Shaffner. What more could be said about the subject? Well, “The Quarrymen” was entertaining after all. It was great to get impressions from ALL the ex-members of the Quarry Men during the various times covered in the book. There are even a few contradictions of the standard Beatles myth. The beginnings of the group is covered, what the members did during the Beatle-years and finally the groups unexpected reunion and tour!
I was a little put off by two (what I would call) “errors” in this book. Davies insists on spelling the groups name “Quarrymen” throughout the book. This despite the spelling “Quarry Men” on the band’s business cards (as well as their old painted drumhead)! And in the very first sentence of the book, Davis quotes the oft-retold legend of how John was born during a bombing raid in Liverpool. This has since been disproved.
However, despite these “errors”, I would only recommend this book to the hardcore Beatles fan (like myself!). If your main obsession is say, the Beach Boys or the Kinks, you probably won’t be interested. But, if you are the least bit a Beatles fanatic, you will enjoy “The Quarrymen”.
The Quarrymen, by Hunter Davies
Published by OMNIBUS PRESS