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Extended Audio Sample The Beatles: The Biography Audiobook, by Bob Spitz Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (4,025 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Bob Spitz Narrator: Alfred Molina Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2005 ISBN: 9780743552455
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The year was 1964 -- Sunday evening, February 9, 8-9 p.m. to be precise. Over 73 million people tuned in to watch the Ed Sullivan Show, creating one of the largest television audiences ever in the United States. Four teen-aged mop-topped boys from Liverpool invaded the American scene, and the world was never again the same.

Ask any person coming of age in the 1960s, and you'll get immediate answers to two questions: "Where were you when JFK was assassinated?" and, "Where were you when you first saw The Beatles?" Thousands of young girls fell in love that night, their tear-flooded eyes matching their screams, as Paul McCartney crooned, "'Til There Was You." Hundreds of young men started growing their hair while taking their first guitar lessons.

Even Elvis Presley realized there were new boys in town and called the group to wish them luck.

All was not as it seemed, however, and this audiobook reveals facts about American audiences not previously brought to light.

This biography is the result of extensive research and offers never-before-told stories of the Beatles past and present, in a way that brings to life each of these boys from Liverpool. Author Bob Spitz tells their stories in a way no biographer has yet captured. Little is left out.

Their relatively obscure lives before they ran head-long into fame, the obsessiveness of the fans and of people around them, their parts in the drug scene of the era, the loves and exploits, and all the rivalries -- for better or worse -- are covered.

There is also the music. The stories behind the songs, how they came to be, the struggles and interaction among the composers and their teams -- provide a backdrop after which listeners will turn to much-beloved Beatles' songs with a renewed understanding from this day forward.

American journalist and writer Bob Spitz has written a number of biographies. His work has appeared in Conde Nast Travel, Men's Journal, Esquire, The New York Times Magazine and The Washington Post.

Even before the Beatles hit the big time, a myth was created. This version of the Beatles legend smoothed the rough edges and filled in the fault lines, and for more than forty years this manicured version of the Beatles story has sustained as truth -- until now.

The product of almost a decade of research, hundreds of unprecedented interviews, and the discovery of scores of never-before-revealed documents, Bob Spitz's The Beatles is the biography fans have been waiting for.

Never before has a biography of musicians been so immersive and textured. We are there in the McCartney living room when Paul and John learn to write songs together; backstage the night Ringo takes over on drums; in seedy German strip clubs where George lies about his age so the band can perform; and at the Ed Sullivan Show as America discovers the joy and the madness. From Shea to San Francisco, through the London night, on to India, through marmalade skies, across the universe—all the way to a rooftop concert and one last moment of laughter and music.

It is all here, the highs and the lows, the love and the rivalry, the drugs, the tears, the thrill, the magic never again to be repeated. Bob Spitz's masterpiece is, at long last, the biography the Beatles deserve.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A consolidating and newly illuminating work.... It chooses perception over presumption in ways that set it off from the pack.”

    New York Times

  • “Edited down from a staggering 2,700 pages, The Beatles took eight years of research and writing. But with some 500 books chronicling their lives, loves, and legacy, one would think The Beatles’ story had been adequately told. Adequate isn’t authoritative, however, and most critics believe that Spitz, a former manager for Bruce Springsteen and author of Dylan: The Biography, has synthesized his subject masterfully. Though some would prefer hagiography (Charles Taylor of Newsday seems particularly aggrieved the biography doesn’t live up to the Beatles’ artistic standard—but what has?), the general consensus is that if it’s pop-culture history you desire, The Beatles tops the charts.”

    Bookmarks Magazine

  • “With this massive opus, veteran music journalist Spitz tells the definitive story of the band that sparked a cultural revolution…As with all great history writing, Spitz both captures a moment in time and humanizes his subjects. While some will blanch at the unsettling dark sides of the Beatles, most will come to appreciate the band even more for knowing the incredible personal odysseys they endured.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “With an appropriate British accent, Alfred Molina tells of the Liverpool upbringing, the coming together (not an immediate success), the creative process ("Hey, Jude" was written for John’s son Julian), the tours and recording sessions, the genesis of the record covers, the drugs and girlfriends, and the ultimate breakup. The text is so interesting that all Molina has to do is read it capably and clearly—which he does.”

    AudioFile

  • “A fresh, terrifically entertaining perspective on the world’s most famous rock group. The book is packed with details and anecdotes that bring the Fab Four to life…Spitz’ group portrait should now be considered the definitive Beatles biography, especially for new generations of Beatles enthusiasts.”

    Booklist

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Winner of the 2007 Audie Award
  • A 2005 New York Times Book Review Notable Book

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bookendsused Pefferly | 2/6/2014

    " Possibly the best (next to the Beatle's Anthology) biography written on the Beatles. Spitz's research is incredibly detailed and richly reported. You get not only the sights but the smells and feels of being there. I do wish he had spent just a little more focus on the music but that is ground that has been well covered. A great read for beginning Beatlemaniacs and old pros. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chandra | 1/12/2014

    " This book is THE book to read on the Beatles! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ebony Haywood | 10/8/2013

    " Amazing and incredibly informative biography. Bob Spitz is very detailed in his account of the Beatles. I learned that in the beginning the Bealtes really sucked but they had incredible charisma that landed them a manager and a record deal. I also learned that their long time manager, Brian Epstein was CRAZY and RECKLESS within his personal life. And I learned that for the most part John Lennon was on an acid trip when he wrote "I Am the Walrus," although he did loosely base his text on a Lews Carroll poem entitled, "The Walrus and the Carpenter." There's so much more great information I got from this book. This a must for the die hard Beatles fan. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eryn Paull | 10/8/2013

    " I cried at the ending ... Did you know that the Beatles BROKE UP??!?? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Niks | 10/6/2013

    " Very entertaining. The Lennon-McCartney dynamic, the Manila Marcos-snubbing incident, the Epstein-Lennon one-night stand (!?)... Detailed, meticulous, but never boring. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt | 10/4/2013

    " Completely absorbing, thoroughly researched, and vividly written. The perfect companion to the remastered albums.... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lindsy | 9/2/2013

    " Those who know me know I love the Beatles. This biography is detailed and thorough, and you've got to be a fan to enjoy it. For example, I'm reading a chapter about John Lennon's parents and how John came to be born, and only the die-hard fans will probably appreciate the trivia. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ben | 8/6/2013

    " A lot of time is spent on the Quarrymen, which gets a little tiresome. But it takes off after that. It's bittersweet to learn the details of how egotistical all of them- except for Ringo- were. A great read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Writer | 8/4/2013

    " Fascinating, in-depth tale of the lads from Liverpool. Really brought their world to life for me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brian123 | 5/6/2013

    " Good book, very detailed and very informative!!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cicely | 3/27/2013

    " There are some interesting tid-bits about the Beatles that I did not know about. Some if the information is a bit gossipy though. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sara | 1/31/2013

    " This was actually an eyeopener for me. I had always thought the John and Yoko thing was blown out of proportion but the anecdotes in the book changed my mind completely. The only member of the band that comes out looking good is Ringo... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angela | 10/17/2012

    " This is the comprehensive guide to all things Beatles. A fascinating story of how it all began and where it went from there. A great reference and in depth look at 4 of the greatest culture icons ever. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeremy Wade | 7/20/2012

    " Skim through Anthology and then read the real Story in this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cindy | 4/24/2012

    " I learned a lot about the group and the dynamics of the Beatles. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chad | 3/26/2012

    " Its very in depth....maybe a little to much for the average reader. But man it was informative! Start the journey if ya have a few months of time to kill' "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dr.dipika Vasava | 2/21/2012

    " In the 35 yrs of following break up of the Beatles,,there are plenty of definite version of their story but spits claims a strong claim over each,,,with a vivid prose,,latest interviews & level of factual rigor it will educate many hard-core BEATLEOloGists!!!!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jared | 12/7/2011

    " Like millions of others, I'm a huge Beatles fan. So they weren't always the greatest of role models; even so, this book is provides a thorough history of the Fab Four and their march through culture and history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 PM | 11/28/2011

    " First rate biography of the Fab Four. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff | 6/29/2011

    " Great book. The definitive bio on the Beatles. Loved it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joe | 6/24/2011

    " Exhaustively researched biography of John, Paul, George and Ringo that begins at the beginning and ends with the breakup. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 PM | 6/7/2011

    " First rate biography of the Fab Four. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Fahim =D | 5/14/2011

    " I love this book because it tells you about the Beatles and how they became a band and i like there songs. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom | 1/20/2011

    " A great biography that doesn't paint the Beatles as perfect. Everything you ever wanted to know, and then some about these masterful, creative lads luckily joined together for our lifetime. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Szetong | 1/12/2011

    " This book is huge! I never knew tge beatles were this wild or how pervasive they were into society. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Missy | 12/9/2010

    " if you love the beatles.... get into this "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joe | 12/4/2010

    " Great book about a great band. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jordan | 11/28/2010

    " A very Good and Very Indepth book in my opinion. Spitz covers the history as if he was playing along side them. Very Dense too (I'm only 300 odd pages in and Ringo Starr finally joins the band) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Megan | 11/16/2010

    " Great biography....no shocker that Yoko sucks and helped ruined everything "

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About the Author
Author Bob SpitzBOB SPITZ is the award-winning author of The Beatles, a New York Times bestseller, as well as seven other nonfiction books and a screenplay. He has represented the careers of Bruce Springsteen and Elton John in several capacities. His articles appear regularly in magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, and O, The Oprah Magazine, among others.
About the Narrator

Alfred Molina is a three-time Tony nominee. His many films include An Education, Abduction, Spider-Man 2, Frida, Magnolia, Chocolat, Boogie Nights, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Prick Up Your Ears, Enchanted April, and Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes. On television he portrayed Deputy D. A. Ricardo Morales on Law & Order: LA and Eric Sanders on Harry’s Law.