A Secret History (of The Beatles)A Secret History
by Alistair Taylor
John Blake Publishing Ltd, hardback 2001, $27.50
Distributed by Trafalgar Square Publishing
Buy it through Absolute Elsewhere now!

The name Alistair Taylor is certainly a familiar one to Beatle fans. He was there almost from the beginning and remained devoted to the boys until the bitter end...when he was unceremoniously fired at the time that Allen Klein came aboard as the group’s manager. Despite how things turned out--and that the title of this book might lead one to believe there is something unsavory to be revealed--this is no sleazy tell-all exposé; the stories are told with a tremendous amount of love and affection for the four Liverpool lads who conquered the world.

Alistair Taylor experienced one of those amazing twists of fate that put him in the right place at the right time: he just happened to be working for Brian Epstein on November 9, 1961, and he accompanied his graceful employer on that first historic trip to the Cavern club to see The Beatles. He was present at the signing of the group’s first contract (his signature, not Brian’s, appears on the document along with those of the boys), and because of this coveted position, he became a part of the small inner circle that surrounded The Beatles throughout the heady years of Beatlemania and beyond.

Although Taylor says he gradually established his closest relationship with Paul McCartney, he leaves no doubt of the love and respect he felt for John Lennon. He describes John as “gentle,” saying: “John Lennon was a special guy and I suppose I always felt the most protective of him. Somehow he was more vulnerable than the others because he did wear his heart on his sleeve sometimes. He needed looking after.”

Yet, by no means is this book merely a collection of sentimental ramblings of days gone by. Instead, it has some rather juicy stories told from an insider’s perspective. It’s an enjoyable read, with little surprises popping out at you in unexpected places.

What I find quite intriguing, is that, according to the book, Alistair Taylor is not even mentioned in the massive The Beatles Anthology tome. Taylor says that when he was fired, he put in calls to all four of the Beatles to inform them of Klein’s action, and none of them would come to the phone. It wasn’t the first time that someone on the inside was back stabbed by the group. It’s no wonder John Lennon once said, “The Beatles are the biggest bastards on Earth.” He, of all people, knew what was really going on.

The Beatles were put into a position of power, fame and glory that very few will ever experience. Considering all that, they did a pretty good job of it, it seems: if after 30 years someone close to them, like Alistair Taylor, can forgive them their shortcomings and talk about his personal experiences with candor and a clear lack of bitterness. This memoir is highly recommended for your Beatle-bookshelf.

Copyright 2002-2008 AbsoluteElsewhere.net / ladyjean

Archives Index
Book Review: A Secret History