Customer Review

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable and unique book transcending music biography, March 22, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Day John Met Paul: An Hour-By-Hour Account of How the Beatles Began (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. What O'Donnell also acheives is as mentioned the romanticism of the Beatles story and myth and the idea that the real reason for their success and incredible longevity as a part of people's lives was the personal relationships between them and the higher spiritual plane that they seemed to stumble on together. As Paul watches John play at the fete, and later vice versa, there is a "meeting of minds" and a sharp vision. Whether the true story was anything like this is always open to speculation, but the telling phrases used by O'Donnell in his book lead us to believe that was a union so important that it must have been written in the stars. O'Donnell starts off from the early hours of the morning as the teenagers and most of Liverpool sleeps, and he describes the surrounding scene before the main protagonists have had a chance to contribute to events of the day. We see the build-up to the event which, while not big in itself, began something special, and as the event unfolds, his vivid imagination is given full rein as he describes what might have been going through their minds, and how they were spurred on not just by the sound of the music but what it really meant to them on a personal level, creating the collective vision that would eventually be shared with the world. This is of course primarily a book for Beatlemaniacs and positively demands multiple readings and musings.
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