TTT: Books to Read if You Loved The Beatles "Get Back"


(Top Ten Tuesday is a link up at That Artsy Reader Girl

So has anyone else been watching Get Back on Disney plus? I wouldn't say that I was the biggest Beatles fan before, but I liked them well enough. Obviously well enough to sit and watch eight hours of fly on the wall footage, and to be honest, I'm obsessed with it. The best bits are where they're just playing together, and the whole creative process, but the group dynamics are so interesting too. Paul's my favourite, but after watching this I suddenly feel really fond of all of them. The arguments and tensions are kind of awkward - but you'd get that in any band. And they're just nice, aren't they? Not diva-ish at all. Although its amazing they get any work done...



Anyway, probably not the place to start if you're not already a Beatles convert, but if you have been watching, you might be feeling like some books to keep the mood going. Here are a few books either about music or bands, or creative collaboration, or the sixties. I tried to stick to stuff I've actually read, or heard a lot about, otherwise this might be a very different list: 


If you want some films instead, here's a list I made earlier... 

(Films/Shows about bands (to watch if you loved "Daisy Jones and the Six")


Daisy Jones and the Six 
by Taylor Jenkins-Reid


Laid out like an interview transcript, this is a really quick and engaging read, which tells the story of a fictional seventies band (kind of Fleetwood Mac-ish), their rise to fame and their break-up. It's fun and has all that band dynamics stuff that always fascinates me - plus song lyrics! They're making a TV series too, I can't wait to hear how the songs work out. 


The Commitments 
by Roddy Doyle


I think I prefer the film, but the book, by Roddy Doyle, is really readable. It's about some kids (well, late teens/early twenties?) in Dublin who start a soul band. I liked "The Deportees" too, which is a kind of sequel (just a short story) about manager Jimmy Rabitte looking for a new band. 


Funny Girl 
by Nick Hornby


This is my favourite Nick Hornby (although About a Boy comes a close second) It's about a girl from Blackpool who moves down to London in the sixties to be a comedienne, and ends up starring in a sitcom. I love it for the characters, and because it's about creative collaboration and comedy and people being artists together. I like the depiction of sixties London too. Everyone on Goodreads seems to think its boring, but it's reached comfort reading status for me. I think they're currently making a TV series. 


John 
by Cynthia Lennon 


I picked this up in work when a reader brought it back, and I enjoyed it. I think what makes it good is that Cynthia is so normal. She's not a music type, or a fan, or a critic, so the kind of stories she tells are different from the kind you'd get in regular Beatles biographies. She's not there for the big stuff we know about, but she gives you a good flavour of some of the people who were about in the early days - my favourite anecdote involves a fancy dress party, with Lulu dressed as Shirley Temple, yelling at John that he needs to treat Cynthia better. Nothing too deep like. But considering she's the wronged ex-wife, the author is surprisingly un-bitter. 


High Fidelity 
by Nick Hornby


Another Nick Hornby, and if you're a music-y person it's probably the one to read. It's just about a guy who works in a record shop, talking about music and his past relationships. I think I prefer the film, but the book is good too! 


How to Build a Girl and How to be Famous 
by Caitlin Moran 



This semi-autobiographical duology of novels follows a girl from Wolverhampton in the nineties, and her quest to become a music journalist. It's a quick read and has loads to say about class and feminism and music and bands and celebrity and writing. The second one has a gorgeous bit about 'teenage girl' fans and how they should be celebrated and not escaped from. Plus you don't get many books with fat, loud, bookish, sex-obsessed, working-class heroines. There's a film too, with Beanie Felstead - she butchers the accent, but other than that it's pretty good. 


Songwriters on Songwriting 
by Paul Zollo


So I've not read this, but I'm sure Get Back had a lot of people wanting to try their hand at songwriting. This book has lots of interviews from great song-writers in, feel like it would be an interesting read!


Knife Edge 
by Malorie Blackman 


I re-read this last year (or the year before?). It's the second of the Noughts and Crosses series and my abiding memory was of just how bleak it was. It is bleak - but I'd forgotten that whole bit where Sephy's in a band! Noughts and Crosses teaches the reader so much by a simple switch - the white characters, the Noughts, are the oppressed minority living in a primarily black, "Cross" culture. As a teen the first book left so many impressions - the colour of plasters (band-aids) slanted news reporting, the way history is taught - but the second book tackles music in a really interesting way too. Sephy, a Cross, joins a Nought rock band in her spare time. She's attacked for playing "Nought" music, which is seen as lesser in this society. They can't play certain "respectable" clubs, and some Nought clubs don't appreciate that the main singer is a Cross. Yet having a Cross as a lead singer is also a gateway to more commercial success, because Crosses won't listen to Nought music without a Cross singer to bridge the gap. Anyway, really makes you think.



The Final Revival of Opal and Nev 
by Dawnie Walton


Another one I've not read, but it's on my list - sounds a bit Daisy Jones-ish, but less frothy. It's about the rise of a fictional, interracial rock duo in the sixties and seventies, their break-up, and what happens when they reunite decades later, for one last tour... Sounds good!


The John Lennon Letters 


As I said, if you ask me who my favourite Beatle is, I will usually say Paul. But Get Back has definitely improved my opinion on John. I'm not really one for non-fiction either, but I've realised I like books of letters - they just give you a real sense of a person. So I want to try this.


Have you been watching Get Back? What are your favourite books about bands and music?


Comments

  1. I haven't heard of Get Back, but it sounds interesting. I like the Beatles. Probably not enough to watch a long documentary. Still, it would be super interesting to learn about their creative process. Glad you're enjoying that!

    Happy TTT!

    Susan
    www.blogginboutbooks.com

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    1. It was interesting! I wouldn't normally watch a long documentary either, but there were no talking heads or anything, just them sitting around jamming and writing songs. Weirdly fascinating. Thanks!

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  2. Knife Edge was my least favourite Noughts and Crosses book, for the very reason you mention, it is quite bleak, but yes it does have some quite interesting commentary on the music industry.
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2021/12/07/top-ten-tuesday-345/

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    1. It's soo bleak. But I enjoyed it a lot more this time around!

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  3. I've heard of the Beatles documentry but haven't watched it yet. I want to read: Funny Girl, High Fidelity, and The Final Revival of Opal and Nev from your list. Here is my post-https://paigesofbook.blogspot.com/2021/12/top-ten-tuesday-favorite-books-of-year.html.

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    1. It's worth a watch! Funny Girl's my favourite but I really want to read Opal and Nev

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  4. I loved Daisy Jones and The Six! One I read that might be able to make this list is The Songbook of Benny Lament by Amy Harmon.

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    1. Benny Lament sounds great! I need to look out for that one

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  5. I haven’t watched Get Back yet, but I can’t wait! I loved Daisy Jones so much, and I love Nick Hornby already, so I am adding Funny Girl to my list. Thanks for this—great list. :)

    My freebie is here: https://fiftytwo.blog/2021/12/07/ttt-ten-books-i-feel-like-everyone-has-read-but-me/

    Happy TTT!
    Lori

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    1. Thank you! Get Back was so good, hope you enjoy it!

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  6. I haven't watched Get Back! yet, as I've been busy either working or sleeping lately. But I hope to watch it soon.

    I read The Final Revival of Opal & Nev earlier this year, and loved it. The style was a first for me, but the way it was written, I kept forgetting they weren't real people. I wanted to Google them and search for their music.

    Pam @ Read! Bake! Create!
    https://readbakecreate.com/holiday-books-that-dont-mention-the-holidays-in-their-title/

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    1. It was great, well worth a watch! I really need to read Opal and Nev, it sounds so good

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  7. "its amazing they get any work done" haha I didn't even really know about this but man I want to watch it now! I'm kind of an indifferent Beatles fan but just watching that video you posted made want to see more!

    I need to read Daisy Jones too because I LOVE Fleetwood Mac. The song lyrics sound awesome too.

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    1. It was fun! I wasn't a huge fan either but I feel like I probably am now. Daisy Jones was good too, very quick read.

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  8. I probably should learn a bit about the Beatles, since when I informed my mom the reason I hadn't heard of Diana Ross and the Supremes was that I wasn't very musically literate, she asked me if I knew the Beatles. Ouch, yes of course I've heard of them, you had their vinyls in the basement growing up (not that we ever listened, hence my need to learn).

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    1. I thought I didn't know much about them either, but if you listen to the songs you'll probably realise you know loads of them. I should probably listen to all the albums through properly though.

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  9. I hadn't heard of this documentary, but "Get Back" is one of my favourite songs by The Beatles. I enjoyed reading Daisy Jones and the Six and How To Build A Girl. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby seems interesting.

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    1. If you like Get Back you'll hear it a lot in this! It gets written on camera, it's pretty amazing. I loved How to Build a Girl, and High Fidelity's worth a read, film's good too.

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  10. Superb list! I wonder if you've also seen That Thing You Do? I loved that movie, and I think it would be a great add-on here. :)
    ~Lex (lexlingua.co)

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    1. Thank you! I love "That Thing You Do" too, (put it on a list of movies a bit like this ages ago, here: http://basedonthebook.blogspot.com/2020/03/stuff-to-watch-if-you-loved-daisy-jones.html) such an underrated film!

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