Monday, July 29, 2013

Miss O'Dell: Hard Days and Long Nights with The Beatles, The Stones, Bob Dylan, and Eric Clapton by Chris O'Dell with Katherine Ketcham

This is a fun book. O'Dell is introduced to Derek Taylor in Los Angeles by a friend and moves to London to work for Apple.* This leads to a minor career in rock and roll, mostly performing administrative tasks and managing tours (one website ranks her among groupies, which I think is a mischaracterization—she actually worked for/with rock stars, didn't just throw herself at them). She has led a life far more exciting than she could ever have imagined, and that's part of what makes this an enjoyable read. Even the inevitable (given the industry) addiction and recovery storyline isn't overdone.

I don't think Clapton should be in the subtitle, though. O'Dell only spent time around him because of his relationship with her friend Patti Boyd (aka Layla, George Harrison's ex-wife), and they seemed to have a mutual dislike or suspicion of each other. Clapton comes across as a huge dickhead, perhaps due to his drinking. In any case, he plays a relatively minor role and putting him in the subtitle is shameless name-dropping—as if The Beatles, The Stones, and Dylan weren't enough!

Any fan of late 1960s-early 1970s rock music who likes reading about the musicians and their personal lives (the music is beyond the book's scope) should like Miss O'Dell.

* Kids, that's the original Apple, the company formed by the Beatles. It included not just Apple Records but also a film company and lots of other money-losing ventures.

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