it was only a question of time when i'd be tired of being informed solely by wikipedia and its confusing articles, so i had no real choice but to get to the real hardcore stuff instead. up to now, reading the beatles biography is truly more interesting and revealing than i had thought; it's actually opening whole new levels of knowledge on the best band of the world and how it was born. considering that i already knew more about its ending and the aftermath, it is especially pleasing to see how it all developed, got better, worse and good again; how, against all odds, they became what they eventually were.
one particularly fascinating fact for me at this point is the developing friendship between john lennon and paul mccartney. as a true and deeply convinced supporter of the latter and his amazingly positive world view, i know it must have been a revelation to john to see paul rocking on the guitar for him without a hint of insecurity or fear when they first met back in 1957. john, with his arrogant and (despite his constant lack of money) almost posh attitude and overwhelming narcissism, had never known a better guitarist or singer than himself, and still this two years younger boy managed to kick and impress his drunk arse big time. or, as author bob spitz beautifully puts it into words:
"for all the circling, posturing, and checking out that went on, what it all came down to was love at first sight."
which made him especially cool in john's eyes was the fact that, in addition to his already fully developed kick-ass talent, paul pulled off all the chords (as a left-hander, he even played them upside down on a right-handed guitar) and lyrics to eddie cochran's "twenty flight rock".
to get a more vivid view of this meeting, i watched the brilliant movie "nowhere boy" again. starring the amazing aaron johnson as john and cute thomas sangster as paul, this film may lack of the right chronology (and, occasionally and more severe, accuracy), but it is really worth being seen anyway. one scene at the end especially caught my attention: their first recording session. in the spring or summer of 1958 (no one properly recalls), still known as "the quarry men", john, paul, george, drummer colin and a bloke named duff went to the only local record studio and covered buddy holly's "that'll be the day". as a b-side, they recorded one of the first original beatles songs, and the only song ever to be credited to paul and george alone, "in spite of all the danger" without any proper rehearsal in the studio whatsoever. due to the recording's fairly poor quality, i prefer the heartbreaking version the actors covered for the movie.
paul later said about their first record: "the idea was that we'd keep it, each of us, for a week. so i had it for a week, john had it for a week, george had it for a week, and duff had it for twenty-three years." it was first published for a larger audience in 1995, on the first anthology album.
regarding the book, after almost 200 pages so far (and 700 to go!), i merely just got to the point where, in 1959, "long john and the silver beetles" (splendid name!) aren't as successful as the boys would like to be. it's still gonna be a long way for me, but this much i know: it's gonna be worth it.
oh boy, how i love this band.