Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
Tune In: The Beatles - All These Years, Vol. 1 Hardcover – October 29, 2013
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Q&A with Mark Lewisohn
Q. So much has been written about the Beatles, why is this book different to all other books?
A. 'We know everything there is to know about the Beatles, so what else can possibly be written?' People say that all the time – and I don't agree with it for a second. I wouldn't argue the Beatles' story has been told often, but I would argue that it can't be told again and differently. It's been related the same old way for so very long and it's also dying under the suffocating blanket of 'celebrity'. I want to start again, I want to press the Refresh button.
This is a comprehensive biography, three volumes, a sequential history in which I set out to relate everything that happened, and do so with integrity, attention to detail, accuracy and, I believe, a fair understanding of where the story needs to be told and how to tell it. I'm writing so it unfolds as if in real time – there's no hindsight cleverness, so you get a vivid sense of the forward movement. The Beatles' story always had tremendous energy, speed, vitality – and this must be tangible to the reader.
It all boils down to this. They were four war babies from Liverpool who really did change the world, and whose music and impact still lives on in so many ways, after all these years. I say, let's scrub what we know, or think we know, and start over: Who really were these people, and how did it all happen?
Q. What period of the story does Tune In cover?
A. It ends on 31 December 1962, with the Beatles on the cusp of their phenomenal breakthrough, but with everything having fallen well into place – all the people, places, personalities, situations, organisation. So I'm writing about the Liverpool and Hamburg years, the formative years, the teenage years and the childhood years, and all the family backgrounds in a Who Do They Think They Are?-style history – and these families were almost as fascinating as their famous offspring. The three volumes aren't only about 'who these people were' but 'what made them what they were?' I begin this history in 1845; there's a fair deal of Irish blood in the Beatles and I start with the potato famine, which forces the Lennons into Liverpool. Then it moves swiftish through the next hundred years and becomes very solid from the Second World War and the arrival of all the main players.
I'm sure it won't surprise anyone to learn that the Beatles didn't suddenly grow personalities when they had a hit record – that their talent, originality and relentless desire to move on fast, to try new things, was already well in place in their early years. I'm sure no one would be amazed to find the Beatles didn't become instantly remarkable when they conquered Britain, America and much of the world, or funny when they filmed A Hard Day's Night, or inventive when recording Revolver or Sgt Pepper. It was always who they were, a continuation of what was going in all these earlier years, except more visible. The richness of the stories to come in books two and three is also in volume one all the way through. Really, everything was revved up and running in these formative years, in the halls, houses and streets of Liverpool, the only place these people and those events could have happened.
Q. You have a long professional association with the Beatles, and some of them individually. Are they involved in Tune In and is this book authorized?
A. No. I received the odd tiny bit of help which I specifically asked for and they didn't have to give – but substantially no, they're not involved. That's fine, because it's what I expected and what I wanted. This has to be an independent and impartial book. But are the all main players appearing and speaking at the book's core? Yes, constantly. Paul McCartney decided not to talk to me for this particular project, and I completely respect and understand his reasons – but I've interviewed him maybe fifteen times in the past and I've also sourced other quotes of great strength and immediacy for all the players.
One of many reasons the Beatles' achievements and reputation sustain with such integrity is because they were true. They stood for truth, projected truth and lived truthfully as best they could. It's entirely right that their history is written as true as possible, with no embroidery, nothing faked or glossed, nothing stupidly interpreted, everything transparent, everything attributed. Of course my attachment to this subject is deep and lifelong, but I'm not the least bit interested in writing a book simply to say how great they were. They certainly don't need that, and I certainly wouldn't do it. It'd be a waste of my time. My passion is for learning everything I can about this subject, understanding it, and doing my best to set it down clearly so it can be understood relative to what happened.
“An epic unprecedented in rock ’n’ roll biography, and a great read . . . there’s a surprise on every page.” —Mojo
“Beyond essential . . . a wildly evocative portrait . . . The saga is clearer and richer here than it’s ever been. Lewisohn writes in novelistic detail and with the obvious conviction that none of the previous Beatles biographies have ever been good enough.”—Entertainment Weekly
“A radical event and a joy to read . . . Lewisohn’s work stands as a monumental triumph, a challenge not merely to other Beatles biographers but to the discipline of biography itself. If only all important subjects had their Lewisohn.” —Washington Post
“The biggest, deepest Beatles book ever.”—Rolling Stone
“The widest possible angle on an extensive and engrossing group biography built on a well-raked mountain of exacting new research . . . expertly controlled and propelling.”—New York Times
“Lewisohn manages to fill in blanks that no one knew were empty.”—The New Yorker
“A triumph. Not only an enthralling account of the Beatles group’s origins, far superior to anything that has gone before, but also an essential piece of social history . . . Lewisohn has set out to do the Beatles justice and write the definitive history. I think he is succeeding.” —The Times (UK)
“A book with a difference, one that ensures all previous rock tomes will gather dust on high cobwebbed shelves . . . Lewisohn has set the benchmark in popular music history that he alone can match.” —Huffington Post
“Every single page brings the Beatles back into focus and moves them away from legend. Common myths fall apart under Mr. Lewisohn’s research.” —New York Journal of Books
“In its close focus and historical ambition, the trilogy may be compared to Robert Caro’s biography of Lyndon Johnson or John Richardson’s A Life of Picasso; it is unlikely to be surpassed.” —Daily Telegraph (UK)
“A game-changing study which raises the bar in a genre characterized by pap or pretension. A meticulous piece of work – I can’t wait for volume two.” —The Independent (UK)
“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. It is hard to imagine the subsequent volumes, covering more familiar ground, matching the gripping quality of this constantly surprising work.” —Financial Times
“This is the story told in Proustian detail, told so definitively that, after this, that really should be it.” —The Guardian (UK)
“With imagination, energy and a gripping plotline, Lewisohn manages to put flesh and blood on the story as never before.” —The Sunday Times (UK)
“Packed with revelations and demystifications.” —The Economist
“A major event in music publishing . . . the definitive account of the Beatles.” —GQ
“Lewisohn treats his subjects seriously, as historical, if ultimately remarkable, figures, and eschews the myriad myths that have grown up around the band in favor of the sorts of details and minutiae, wrapped in a serious but breezy narrative, that give us the fullest picture of who John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and, eventually, Ringo Starr were.” —Esquire
“A fast-moving page-turner overflowing with warm humor, passion, and (of course) music. Likely to become a principle text in 20th-century studies, a sort of Complete Shakespeare with a much better soundtrack.” —VH1.com
“As a Beatles scholar, Mark Lewisohn has no serious rivals. [This is] nothing less than a lifetime’s work embracing the cultural and personal history of the Fab Four, a multi-volume epic written on a scale unprecedented in its genre.” —Irish Times
“Tune In is brilliant in describing the addictive power of rock and roll when there was no imaginable alternative in a doomed town. [Tune In] turns up the colors in a world that has faded to grey.” —Herald Scotland
“Unearths searing new facts that change our historical perspective of what we’ve always been told, setting history on its ear.”—Examiner.com
“A definitive history of the band.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Written with passion, authority and vitality, this is an absorbing book.”—Edinburgh Evening News
“Epic in its scope, forensic in its detail, Tune In is like reading the Beatles’ story for the very first time.”—R2/Rock ‘n’ Reel
“Lewisohn has a knack for underscoring the moment, the precise moment, when things change.”—Slate.com
“A clear-eyed appraisal of rock’s most beloved band.”—CNN.com
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
Like a play, characters enter and leave, but not without adding to the storytelling. Many misconceptions are definitively cleared up, and some legends are broken down into the various acts.
Some questions however are not completely answered. Just like the eternal debate as to who started the tape machine when Elvis first walked into Sun Records to record a song for his mama, Lewisohn lays facts out and lets the reader connect the dots.
It is better understood why Paul, George and John distanced themselves from Pete Best, while modern myth makes it sound like it was a rash decision to sack their drummer.
Lewisohn does not attempt the analyze his subjects, but instead paints a verbal picture of their surroundings and influences and leaves out the psychological nuances that attempt to tell why and how the individual Bealtes were molded as they were.
I recommend this book to every Beatles fan and to those who teach courses on the their history and the history of rock and roll. For the first time fan of the Fabs this is more of an intermediate book, and may not be the best choice of first readings. I look forward to part two.
Two more books are in the pipeline. According to Wikipedia, "In an interview published on 28 December 2013, Lewisohn estimated that the second volume would be published in 2020 and the final volume in 2028 ('about the time he turns 70')." YIKES! Since all the old fans will be that age or older -- how big will the next ones be, when they're printed in LARGE TYPE for old eyes? :D
If you're a Beatles fan, this is a must-read.
The only caveat to mention is that it's definitely a book for people like me... Who've read everything, and WANT to read everything. Not for the casually curious. But for those of us who care, this will certainly go down as the definitive work on the band.
The answer to the "is this a 'John' book or 'Paul' book" question is: if the book revises the way you think about anyone it is George Harrison. Your opinions about John and Paul will just be better informed and reinforced. That said, John is a more compelling figure to read and, no doubt, to write about.
Lewisohn credits Paul with getting the jump start on writing and John with making all the important decisions that proved to be pivotal - including the ultimatum to Paul when the Beatles were offered the steady gig at the Cavern's lunchtime concerts.
The thing that this book impressed upon me, who has read several biographies of the Beatles, was how how young they were. George and Paul were living with their parents when "Love Me Do" got its first airplay on Radio Luxembourg. George ran in and woke up his parents when he heard it.
The other thing it gave me was a better appreciation of was how economically depressed post-war England was. Paul and George's families lived in houses with no indoor plumbing. In a city!!!!
Lewisohn also explains John better than most writers.
This is a terrific read and I recommend it to those with even a peripheral interest in the Beatles if they're interested in post-war England in addition to being a fan of music.
Other books I have read have always quickly skimmed over the years that are the focus here -- childhood through 1962 -- but this one reveals so much more than just the basic story we have all heard before. I especially enjoyed learning more about Stuart Sutcliffe -- often in his own words through letters he wrote to friends and family. You may develop a new appreciation for George and Ringo, too (Compared to John and Paul, their younger days are often ignored by other authors).
If you are looking for a little "dirt", you'll find some: If anyone's image is a little tarnished by the story told here, it is Paul. His jealously and resentment towards anyone else getting close to John was at times shocking (Poor Stu !). And John and Paul's "secret" royalties contract -- and their decision to keep George out of it -- may change the way you look at Lennon-McCartney from here on.
Overall, this was a very fair, unbiased book that I will always think of as the ultimate Beatles bio......Now we just have to wait for Volume 2 :)