To my mind, there are two main categories of Beatle fans. There are the certified fanatics; those fans who can tell you exactly when and where John and Paul first met, Ringo’s mother’s maiden name, and can recite every lyric on every album verbatim. Then there are the more casual fans; people who regularly listen to Abbey Road, and who may have even seen Paul in concert, but have neither the time nor the inclination to join the ranks of the obsessed fanatics with an appetite for the most obscure of Beatles trivia.
Rock journalist Gillian Gaar’s most recent effort, 100 Things Beatles Fans Should Know & Do Before they Die, is intended to appeal to Beatle fanatics, though it offers little in the way of new insights, facts, and stories, and instead offers a tired, oft-rehashed version of Beatles History 101. There’s little new information in these pages; a Beatles fanatic myself, I found there was little to maintain my interest after the first few pages (yes, I know all about the Quarrymen and the Cavern Club and Brian Epstein and…). Furthermore, the author’s tone is often dry and uninspired, with a confusing and often seemingly illogical organization of chapters and subheadings.
100 Things advertises itself as “the ultimate resource guide for true Beatle fans” though it might be better suited toward those with a nascent interest in the history of the band, or perhaps the children of Beatle fanatics struggling to understand their parents’ obsession. The book is filled with interesting and important trivia surrounding the band, and would serve, I would imagine, as a decent introduction to the history of the Fab Four.
The simple fact is that there just isn’t that much to appeal to longtime fans. Alas, reading this book is not necessary for Beatles fanatics to do before they die.