One Two Three Four: Ripping into the nostalgia mill around the Beatles

Book review: Craig Brown’s irreverent wit and unpretentiousness makes this sprawling mosaic of a book highly entertaining

The Beatles: behind the cheeky-chappy anecdotes in Brown’s book there are some very dark materials. Photograph: BIPs/Getty Images

The Beatles: behind the cheeky-chappy anecdotes in Brown’s book there are some very dark materials. Photograph: BIPs/Getty Images

Do we really need another Beatles book? After epic works like Ian MacDonald’s Revolution in the Head and Philip Norman’s Shout!, aren’t further studies a bit superfluous?

Were The Beatles even that good? Compared to Dylan’s innovation, the Stones’ swagger, the Doors’ menace, Bowie’s imagination, The Clash’s urgency or Nirvana’s intensity, did they produce anything other than tunes for the postman to whistle?

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