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The Day John Met Paul: An Hour-By-Hour Account of How the Beatles Began Paperback – October 1, 1995

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Since the '60s, the Beatlemaniac has proven to be a different breed of rock fanatic, but even the most passionate of the Fab Four's cult eventually grew up to realize that the world didn't revolve around John, Paul, George and Ringo. O'Donnell (Wonderful Tonight) would do well to add that to his many notes. His eight years of intensive research among all variety of resources provide the reader with an overwhelming panorama of what turns out to be a split-second glance into a pretty average summer day. And while O'Donnell's fictionalized portraits of the young Lennon and McCartney circa that fateful July 6 are charming enough, his book is never just about the young Beatles. O'Donnell has penned an eloquent if slow-going ode to 1957 and everything the least bit relevant-especially the weather. No matter how great their legacy, the Beatles have suffered enough secondhand speculation: they set out to write songs, not history. Their various personas are secure in a handful of movies and books better than this one (listed in O'Donnell's helpful bibliography). Meanwhile, their music continues to arrest the attention of new listeners, just as it did in the band's heyday. This attempt to glimpse the origin of that mystery presumes too much.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (January 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140253017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140253016
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,600,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By W. C HALL VINE VOICE on January 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
In the all-time gallery of Beatles photographs, there are several that have achieved iconic status. The one on the cover of this book is probably the earliest. It was taken on July 6th, 1957, and shows John Lennon and his original group, the Quarrymen, performing at the St. Peter's Parish Church Garden Fete. Among those watching the performance was a young man who would be introduced to Lennon later that day. It was one of those meetings that changed history, because that young man was Paul McCartney.
For all that's been written about the Beatles, it's amazing how much of their history has been obscured. The year of the Lennon-McCartney meeting has been variously published as 1955 and 1956, in addition to the correct 1957. In this volume, O'Donnell gets the year right--and a lot more. "The Day John Met Paul" is a vivid, hour-by-hour recreation of that momentous day in music history. O'Donnell's exhaustive research also allows the reader to understand the city of Liverpool, the skiffle music craze, and all the other elements of the world of 1957 that came together to create the Beatles. O'Donnell pulls this all together with a spellbinding storytelling technique. "The Day John Met Paul" is a must for anyone who wants a better understanding of the birth of the Beatles.--William C. Hall
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Example: Mark Twain on July 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
I own too many books about the Beatles for my own good, and this book is in my top 5 favorites. Why? It is a very unusual Beatle-related book. This book took years to research and it pays off. I felt like I had relived the day that they actually met. It is just fascinating to read as the hours count down to the very moment that the two meet at the fete.
Please remember: This book is just about one small slice of Beatle lore.
If you have all the essential Beatle books, then this will be a nice variation for you.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By B. T. Larkin on March 16, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm so disappointed in this book. Overall, it's like a bad teenage research paper. There's about 5 pages of content stretched into 138 pages of fluff. Admittedly, it has a narrow focus, but the author spends endlesss paragraphs talking about the weather and 'Rock-N-Roll lightning' striking instead of actually giving us insight into the people involved.

The author claims to have interviewed dozens of persons there that day but confines his narrative primarily to imagining how Paul and John felt. It would have been much better to just relate different persons observations about what they saw and remembered that day with a bit of narrative in between.

A representative example of the fluff throughout this book from page 102, "Like a dexterous pickpocket, a passing cloud steals the sun from the long gray vest of the sky. The cloud edge is black frosted. The shadows of the Liverpool field become more ill defined. It's a summer evening of deepening dampness. The humidity hangs in a dim blue haze. A sudden breeze whispers a warning of whimsical weather."

If you want to read a book of such poetry with a wee bit of Beatles info, then buy this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
How did such a normal day lead to such a phenomenen? Was it destiny? Did John Lennon and Paul McCartney have any idea as teenagers as to what lay ahead of them? These are questions that can never be answered, but eight years of painstaking research and a little artistic license has produced a book which plants many a romantic thought in the mind about how the Beatles started. "The Day John Met Paul" is a book about the 6th of July 1957, focusing primarily on events in Woolton, a leafy suburb of Liverpool, where a local village fete leads to the first meeting of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, later to become the driving forces behind the band that became the Beatles. Author JimO'Donnell describes these events as a present-tense review of the day, and it is this approach as well as the remarkable factual detail which makes his book unique and compelling. His introduction to the book is mesmerising in itself, as he explains how his research sought to capture the atmosphere of that place at that time. He also describes world events which were happening simultaneously, taking into account time differences, meaning that these events were literally happening at the precise moments. This gives emphasis on the physical normality of what happened that day but as it is written now, it is an experience to read the book while obviously knowing what happened subsequently. This is where O'Donnell engrosses the reader, forcing us to imagine the scenes taking place, and the book, although really an acquired taste, actually works on a historical level as well. For those who never saw 1957, images are conjured of life at that time on a Saturday in the middle of summer.Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Steven Springer on December 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
Jim O'Donnell has taken the oft-told tale of how John Lennon and Paul McCartney first met and made it into an entertaining look at the world at large and the world in Liverpool on that fateful day. Filled with background information and facts galore, O'Donnell sets a scene that takes the reader into the sights and sounds of the city and the Woolton fete. I recommend this book for any Beatles fan, and to anyone who enjoys a good story told well.
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