Â This is a guest article by John Cherry author of Better Than Lennon. – Simon Barrett
When I ordered this book, I had the feeling it would be a good read. The author has been â€œaroundâ€ The Beatles for many years, and has multiple contacts in the music world. The resources used for the book are impressive and substantial. I applaud Doggett for his efforts to provide as much information as possible, and believe that he offers both new information and added depth to other stories about the greatest musical group of all time.
However, I sense a lack of objectivity in his writing, and, offer a bit of conjecture as to why I have this opinion. As you read throughout the book about the sources for various stories, it is apparent that the author was somewhat unable to solicit significant information about Paul McCartney. Family members and Paulâ€™s associates appeared to be reluctant to offer the author any detailed information about the financial matters involving the Fab Four, or much of any other material that might have been relevant to the book. This lack of information from the McCartney side seems to have created the sense that if affected Doggettâ€™s writing about Paulâ€™s role in the Beatles and his post-Beatles history.
To highlight the opinion that I feel Doggett slights Paul, here are a few examples:
- He calls â€œMy Loveâ€ a â€œsicklyâ€ song, while at the same time noting that it was a number one song that year. He also minimizesÂ the overall massive success of Paulâ€™s solo career.
- Labels the 1973 â€œJames Paul McCartneyâ€ television special as â€œinsipid.â€
- Considers him a penitent while discussing the aftermath of John Lennonâ€™s death, noting Paulâ€™s attempts to â€œassuage some obscure sense of guilt.â€
- Calls the movie â€œGive My Regards to Broad Street,â€ that starred Paul, â€œone of the most disastrous episodes in British film history.â€
While I consider Doggettâ€™s slights to be strongest against Paul, he also appears to want to define the other Beatles in a negative light. He constantly alludes to Ringoâ€™s alcohol problems, while also noting Georgeâ€™s ongoing bitterness, dependence on religion and even his cocaine use.
Lastly, and, perhaps, most importantly, the author considers the music of Yoko Ono on Johnâ€™s â€œDouble Fantasyâ€ album to be superior to that of the songs provided by Lennon. â€œAnd most critics agreed,â€ according to the book, considering Yokoâ€™s â€œcontributions more contemporary (and hence relevant) than her husbandâ€™s.â€ Is it possible that being allowed an interview with Yoko has affected the authorâ€™s objectivity?
I admit a bias against Yoko, for a number of reasons, and just find it impossible to stomach that any of Yokoâ€™s music is superior to Lennons. It will be interesting to see how others react to Doggettâ€™s opinion here.
Let me restate that I am glad that I bought this book, despite my conviction that the authorâ€™s objectivity is in question. If nothing else, I was interested to read that Yoko was rumored to be considering divorcing John prior to the making of â€œDouble Fantasy,â€ and that she indeed did block a phone call from Paul to John during the albumâ€™s sessions, presumably about them getting together to write some songs.