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One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time

Brown, Craig
Format: Hardback
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (Fourth Estate Ltd)
Published: April 2, 2020
ISBN: 9780008340001
656 pages

£20.00

John Updike compared them to ‘the sun coming out on an Easter morning’. Bob Dylan introduced them to drugs.

The Duchess of Windsor adored them. Noel Coward despised them. JRR Tolkien snubbed them.

The Rolling Stones copied them. Loenard Bernstein admired them. Muhammad Ali called them ‘little sissies’.

Successive Prime Ministers sucked up to them. No one has remained unaffected by the music of The Beatles. As Queen Elizabeth II observed on her golden wedding anniversary, ‘Think what we would have missed if we had never heard The Beatles.’ One Two Three Four traces the chance fusion of the four key elements that made up The Beatles: fire (John), water (Paul), air (George) and earth (Ringo).

It also tells the bizarre and often unfortunate tales of the disparate and colourful people within their orbit, among them Fred Lennon, Yoko Ono, the Maharishi, Aunt Mimi, Helen Shapiro, the con artist Magic Alex, Phil Spector, their psychedelic dentist John Riley and their failed nemesis, Det Sgt Norman Pilcher. From the bestselling author of Ma’am Darling comes a kaleidoscopic mixture of history, etymology, diaries, autobiography, fan letters, essays, parallel lives, party lists, charts, interviews, announcements and stories. One Two Three Four joyfully echoes the frenetic hurly-burly of an era.

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