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Behind Sad Eyes: The Life of George Harrison Paperback – January 2, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (January 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312309937
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312309930
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 1.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Books that capitalize on the grisly interest spawned by the death of a "star" are usually inferior. Not so this biography of Harrison, universally famed as the "quiet" Beatle. Biographer Shapiro (J.K. Rowling, Carlos Santana) creates a complex portrait that shies from melodrama. For instance, Shapiro does not wring heroic sentiment from Harrison's working-class roots, as others have been so inclined. Instead, Shapiro focuses on the unusual level of support Harrison received from his parents, who encouraged their imaginative young son to make a serious go at the seemingly dead-end vocation of rock guitarist. Roughly one-third of the biography is devoted to Harrison's career as a Beatle. Rather than analyze the group (territory covered countless times), Shapiro uses well-chosen anecdotes to describe Harrison's role in the band. The musician's frustrations as an underappreciated writing talent and his disappointment in both work and private life emerge as major contributors to the band's demise. Though Harrison appeared to be passive, Shapiro notes that this humble exterior was often more form than substance. When the Beatles made the unpopular decision to fire drummer Pete Best, Harrison played dumb, though he was the one who pushed to fire Best. Shapiro writes, "In what would become his typical response to uncomfortable situations, he denied any involvement in the firing of [drummer] Pete Best," when he in fact pushed for the unpopular decision. One of the first biographies fully devoted to Harrison, this volume brings keen perspective to both his great contributions and bland failures.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The best-selling biographer of J.K. Rowling and Carlos Santana hits the jackpot with this life of late Beatle George.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

The writing is poor and spotted with grammatical errors.
E. M. Laspiur
Shapiro does improve somewhat after the Beatles demise and George's solo career is not glossed over.
Candace Scott
It's never fun to read a biography where the author's feelings color the book so strongly.
TaraLarrabee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By E. M. Laspiur on May 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the worst Beatle books I've ever read.
The inaccuracies are shameless.
The writing is poor and spotted with grammatical errors.
The vision is superficial and doesn't ad one bit to the Beatles story.
It is incredible that there is not one good biography of George Harrison.
Unfortunately I bought this without waiting for the Beatlefan review of the book. I could have saved the money.
If you are a Hard Beatle fan looking for something new and fresh, I recommend buying Beatles Gear here...
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Candace Scott on July 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a mindlessly bad book, I'm only giving it a generous 2 stars because of the chapters on George's solo career. Amazingly, George has yet to attract a quality biographer or someone who will put in diligent research to capture his essence and character. Shapiro conducted one (you read it correctly) interview and has no understanding whatsoever of the Beatles or their incomparable history together. The errors are contiunous throughout, some of the minor, some of the them not, but their collective weight dooms this travesty.
Everything in the book up until 1970 is merely re-hashed from previous, superior, Harrison biographies. There's nothing new, no novel analysis, nothing. The same trite stories we've heard since 1963 are repeated, with the mistakes intact. Shapiro does improve somewhat after the Beatles demise and George's solo career is not glossed over. Still, there is an absence of any depth throughout. What did George think of Lennon's assassination, how did that tragic event unfold in George's mind? You'll get no answers here, except to say George was paranoid about his security after 1980. What about George's relationship with Clapton after Eric married Harrison's ex-wife, Pattie? Again, nothing.
George Harrison was one-fourth of the greatest musical group in the history of man. That alone makes him a compelling subject, but you'd never know it from reading this dismal book.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By David Bradley on July 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I wrote a review of this book a few weeks ago and it was never posted. I guess I was so harsh the censor trashed it. That in itself should indicate clearly how little I think of this book.
I'd give "Behind Sad Eyes" a negative 4 rating if it were allowed.
Beyond the odd title--everyone I've mentioned it too assumed it was a book about Pete Townshend--the book is just slapped together. It is filled with factual inaccuracies, it is poorly written and, frankly, it is boring.
'Nuff said.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A.C. Medina on September 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Where do I start... This book may be entertaining to someone with no more than a 2nd grade grasp of grammar and spelling or someone who knows nothing of the beatles and thier respective careers, but for people who dont fall into those categories, this biography is ridiculous! spelling errors aside, that is the copywriter's responsibility, but grammatical errors? come on man!!
1. His use of the word literal bugged the hell out of me, apperently George had a meeting with "a literal army of lawyers" hmmmm and he "literaly got his arm caught in a cookie jar" right.
2. Mr. Shapiro used the name "Primal Scream" for Lennon's debut "Plastic Ono Band" on more than 1 occasion.....c'mon man.
DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK FOR THE LOVE OF GOD
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By L. E. Jenkins on July 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
Thank heavens I checked this book out of our library before I wasted my money. I probably could have written a better book about George Harrison. Even though the author admitted that no interviews were conducted by any remaining Beatles, it is my belief that if you write a biography about someone, you'd better darn well check your "facts" (and I use the word losely) before committing it to print, or just save it for the gossip rags! Example: Shapiro's account of George finding out about John Lennon's death; I got the feeling Shapiro wanted to make this sad incident more dramatic or mystical or something. Every other account I've ever read has said that George's wife Olivia received a phone call and had to break the news to George. Shapiro's account states that Harrison had a strange foreboding or some other such nonsense. Another example of "poetic license" was Shapiro's recounting of George and Olivia's meeting: Shapiro says that George is so paranoid about people's intentions that he has Olivia "checked out," in other words, INVESTIGATED. This is nonsense. Having spoken on the phone with Olivia, he was having her checked out (what does she look like?) by a friend, much like a smitten teenager. Olivia Harrison herself has retold their meeting in an interview, saying, "He was flirting!"
Besides the factual errors, I found editing errors, which is pretty awful for a legitimately published book: as I was reading I double-checked to see if this was a "vanity press" book! Yiiikes!
All of this aside, it is obvious that Shapiro really didn't have a feeling at all for George Harrison's personality, only the preconceived NOTION of it. By all other accounts, Harrison was a witty, multi-faceted man who packed a whole lot of living into his short life.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. Davis on April 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Why is it that George Harrison has attracted such awful biographies? Marc Shapiro's attempt had me thinking, which is worse, his book or the book written by Elliot J.Huntley (Behind That Locked Door). After much rumination on this pointless topic I believe Shapiro's book is worse. Like Huntley, he has not undertaken any research (other than an interview with Delaney, who somewhat modestly appears to take the credit for writing My Sweet Lord and being the object for Patti Harrison's affections). Whereas Huntley is so overawed by his subject that he rates any of George's contemporaries as being "B list" musicians (see his description of the Concert For Bangladesh), Shapiro does not disguise his contempt for George and at many junctures criticizes George's work and says stupid things such as George work, unlike John's, was inconsistent. The book has nothing new to say, no incisive or imaginative criticism/review of George's work and is, if truth be told, merely a cash in on George's death.
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