Globe writer Peter Grant reviews One-Two-Three-Four: The Beatles in Time by award-winning author Craig Brown.

ONE-two-three-four is such a clever title from a very clever writer.

The musical 'count in' is used by musicians the world over and the Beatles were no exception from Hamburg's seedy clubs to The Cavern ... and from the Liverpool Empire to the Hollywood Bowl to the final goodbye on the Apple rooftop.

You could always hear it above the screams ... you still can.

It also sums up the four unique individuals who loved each other and together became the greatest band the world has known.

This Beatle book with a difference by Craig Brown was released in hardback to mark 50 years since the group split in April, 1970.

Now Craig's a paperback writer as the book is receiving favourable reviews all over again.

It's been the ideal 'must read' during lockdown and is a Sunday times best seller ..

As a Beatle historian myself and author of a slimmer volume called The Fab Four, I read every new publication about John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Like millions across the world I can't enough. Beatlemania never died - it's still growing with each generation.

Many biographies tend to repeat well-established tales, facts and figures as well as interviews from the usual suspects to the obscure while other writers add their own distinctive style and stamp to the story.

Satirist Craig does just that.

He is on a Beatle pilgrimage of sorts allowing us to thumb a lift with them on the long and winding road of anecdotes

And Craig is the master of re-telling a tale: author of 18 books; a critic for national newspapers and broadcaster he has also been a columnist for Private Eye magazine for 32 years.

For his latest tome he has already won one major literary prize - The Baillie Gifford Award for his multi-layered account of the Fabs in all their glory and (at times) gory.

It is certainly a refreshing take on the Beatles story peppered with humour, poignancy and some never-heard-before revelations.

In a recent interview Craig, 62, said the whole Beatle story is "endlessly fascinating".

He added: ''There's a sociological backdrop, the curious phenomenon of fandom - the array of intesrting weirdos in their orbit.

''The book is 600 pages but could have been ten times the length.''

Craig regards exhaustive chronological biographies as "boring."

He clearly has no time for recounting incidents of little or no interest.

So he does not offer day-by-day account but skips in and out of the magical history story with brief chapters here, there and everywhere sitting alongside more in-depth analysis.

There are 150 chapters in all and more than 50 illustrations.

It is a book you can dip into and out of ... like playing a favourite CD..

Beatles fans are used to new films and book biographies emerging every year but this one stands out for originality.

Craig uses a vast amount of source material as shown in the seven pages of acknowledgements.

He has done his research.

George Harrison once said "The Beatles saved the world from boredom."

Craig Brown would certainly agree with that sentiment.

Meanwhile back, as the Beatles sang in Penny Lane, I look forward to the next Moptop book.

For accuracy, I will continue to check out anything by well-respected archivist Mark Lewisohn and there is always The Beatles Anthology on my shelves for reference.

Craig's book will now sit alongside them.

I hereby give Craig's sparkling book four stars ...

Four stars - now that's a good title for a fab follow up..

One Two Thee Four: The Beatles in Time (Paperback)

£9.99 Harper Collins (Fourth Estate).