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Ten years in the making, Tune In takes the Beatles from before their childhoods through the final hour of 1962 - when, with breakthrough success just days away, they stand on the cusp of a whole new kind of fame and celebrity. They've one hit record ("Love Me Do") behind them and the next ("Please Please Me") primed for release, their first album session is booked, and America is clear on the horizon. This is the lesser-known Beatles story - the pre-Fab years of Liverpool and Hamburg - and in many respects the most absorbing and incredible period of them all. Here is the complete and true account of their family lives, childhoods, teenage years, and their infatuation with American music; here is the riveting narrative of their unforgettable days and nights in the Cavern Club, their laughs, larks, and adventures when they could move about freely, before fame closed in.
For those who've never read a Beatles book before, this is the place to discover the young men behind the icons. For those who think they know John, Paul, George, and Ringo, it's time to press the reset button and tune into the real story, the lasting word.
"I can think of no greater praise for Tune In than to say that it gives The Beatles the beginnings of the biography they deserve….gripping." ( Financial Times)
"Unlikely to be surpassed as factual record…. Once anointed 'Beatle Brain of Britain' while working in accounts at BBC Radio, Lewisohn amasses and investigates facts without sacrificing an iota of the excitement." ( Telegraph UK)
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Tad Davis on 12-17-13
Wow. Just wow. A pure delight from beginning to end: one of the most enjoyable audiobooks I've ever listened to. I'm a Beatles fanatic, and that probably helps; but I'd venture to say that this book has the potential to grab even people who don't know or don't care much about them. Mark Lewisohn writes with great insight and narrative skill about the struggles of the Beatles to gain recognition and professional success at a time when no one else - NO one - was doing the kind of music they were doing, in the way they were doing it. They're poster children for the "10,000 hours" take on career development. They paid their dues.
Lewisohn gives particularly full attention to Pete Best, Brian Epstein, and George Martin. I've read several books on the Beatles and biographies of individual band members, and I still heard surprising new information about these people, and everybody else connected with the band, on practically every "page."
It's not hagiography. John Lennon, as much as I love him, is clearly a world-class jerk, and the others all have less positive aspects. Their terrible treatment of Pete Best and their wild life on the Reeperbahn are presented in unsparing detail. But running through the book is a strong sense of their devotion to music, the clarity of their vision, and their genius: genius being defined as an infinite capacity for taking pains.
Clive Mantle does a terrific job with the narration. He does the "voices" as if it were a work of fiction. I know that's not to everyone's taste, but to me, the key is whether it's done well or not. Mantle nails the Liverpool accent and even captures the unique cadence of each Beatle; and he nails the posh "standard" accents of Epstein and Martin as well.
Lewisohn spent 10 years writing this. I hope that includes the research for the other two volumes. This one stops at the end of 1962, just before "Please Please Me" was released. I don't want to wait another 10 years for the next part. I'm not ready to let these guys go yet.
58 of 58 people found this review helpful
By DaWoolf on 01-07-14
PhD. in Beatleology
Any additional comments?
The author of “Tune In”, Mark Lewisohn, is one of the world’s “Toppermost of the Poppermost” Beatle aficionados. In the event that my 1st sentence makes sense and causes you to laugh, you should immediately purchase. Lewisohn is the author of “The Beatles Live” (1986), where he painstakingly details every Beatles’ concert performance. For Lewisohn, every Beatle related detail or rumor, regardless of size, warrants scholarly follow-up. Lewisohn approaches Tune In as a social scientist grinding out data based historical facts that must have taken him decades to accumulate and analyze. For these reasons, the book weighs in at about 900 pages and clocks in at over 43 hours for your audio book listening pleasure. However, for the diehard Beatles fans (or nuts) Lewisohn has created a Nirvana.
I was completely fascinated and locked in to the entire 43 hour audio book. Tune In provides so much history and insight into the factors that resulted in Beatlemania. However, the book goes far deeper than the Fab 4. Tune In is ultimately about the personal and cultural conditions that culminated in Liverpool in the late 1950s to forever change society. Lewisohn’s main task is to capture and described all of the elements that caused a social paradigm shift fully manifested in the mid to late 1960s. Four impoverished lads from Liverpool are ground zero for the beginnings of this shift.
I caution readers not to judge the youthful Beatles too harshly. You will learn things about John Lennon and Paul McCartney that will taint many of your idealized images. John Lennon exhibited despicable behaviors which would never be tolerated in our modern society. Paul often comes off as obstinate and jealous towards others competing for John Lennon’s attention. Given that these young men grew up in very aggressive/violent neighborhoods and received questionable formal education, these challenging behaviors seem shaped by their environments.
Tune In starts with detailing the family histories of the Fab 4 and then follows the Beatles development in a linear fashion through elementary school, middle school, and art school. All of the musical influences, family interactions, and prevalent environmental conditions are analyzed. The story ends in 1962, where the Beatles are on the launching pointed towards stardom. The strengths of this book are as follows:
1) The life and influence of Stu Sutcliffe
2) The early songwriting interactions of Lennon and McCartney: starts and stops
3) The development of George Harrison: dedicated and hard-working
4) Description of how Pete Best entered and controversially exited the band: the whole story
5) Brian Epstein the good and decent. The true 5th Beatle without whose efforts there may not be a Beatles
6) George Martin the cynical and late to recognize
7) John Lennon’s ability to put the band first.
8) The Liverpool Beatles’ fans! Their support is as critical as Brian Epstein.
9) The Hamburg years: The good, bad, & ugly
10) The Beatles group behaviors that made them a success: open to all types of music, listening to B-sides, no repeating songs in the same act, and always trying to be different from typical bands…..
I am hopeful that you derive the same level of joy and excitement I’ve encountered by reading Tune In. This book should appeal to people who are just a little more fanatical than a casual Beatles fan. This is only the 1st volume in a series of 3. Reportedly, the author intends to publish volume 2 in roughly 5 years. For many, this may give you just enough time to finish the 1st volume.
22 of 23 people found this review helpful