by David Browne
The story of the year 1970 in the lives of four top acts – the Beatles, who achieved supremacy with Let It Be, and broke up; Simon & Garfunkel, who achieved supremacy with Bridge Over Troubled Water, and broke up; CSNY, who achieved supremacy with Deja Vu, and broke up; and James Taylor, who did a lot of drugs and hooked up with Joni Mitchell.
Browne’s writing leaves a little to be desired sometimes. Example, referring to the “Canadian high-lonesome spookiness” in Neil Young’s voice. “High-lonesome spookiness” is fine, I guess, but what makes it Canadian? Browne is also unabashedly in love with these acts, which makes him too uncritical, IMHO, particularly around Simon & Garfunkel. His nonstop accolades and admiration, however, notably stop short when the topic of Ringo Starr’s solo work arises. Poor Ringo. But it’s good for fandom to have some limits.
I’m just coming off of And in the End by Ken McNab, about this very same final year in the life of the Beatles; so there were many details I had already freshly ingested. But it was still nice to get a different telling of the tale. For example, when manager Alan Klein was wooing John & Yoko, he was sure that for their lunch he had ordered “their favorite macrobiotic food.” (In And in the End, it was “macrobiotic rice,” and it was something Yoko particularly favored.)
New detail that wasn’t in the other book: when McCartney was floating the idea of leaving EMI in order to put his solo album out on another label, Harrison shot back, “You’ll stay on the fucking label. Hare Krishna.” Harrison could really make “Hare Krishna” sound like “fuck you” when angry.
I enjoyed spending time with the formerly fab four, with my BFF Neil Young, and with Paul Simon. I really should get some CSNY albums. I enjoyed learning a bit about them – though I can’t keep them straight in my head; I need to learn more. I enjoyed learning more about James Taylor, though I have no desire to own any of his albums. ( )
Did you stay home today? Bottle dropoff & takeout pickup were strictly outside
What local business or charity did you support? Boy Scout bottle drive & Hatchet
What’s for dinner? Hatchet. “Baked Potato Ravioli.” Pierogies really.