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Miss O'Dell: My Hard Days and Long Nights With the Beatles, the Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and the Women They Loved

Chris O'Dell

Reviewed by Margaret Moser, Fri., Dec. 4, 2009

Miss O'Dell: My Hard Days and Long Nights with the Beatles, the Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and the Women They Loved

by Chris O'Dell with Katherine Ketcham
Touchstone, 403 pp., $26

"I wasn't even almost famous," writes Chris O'Dell. "But I was there." How "there" was she really? That's her on film, one of a handful watching the Beatles during their famous rooftop concert – the Fab Four's last live performance. On the back cover of the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main St., that's her, too. Who else had songs written about them by both Leon Russell ("Pisces Apple Lady") and George Harrison ("Miss O'Dell")? An indispensable part of the rock machinery, from office assistant at Apple Records to a Rolling Thunder Revue road manager, who slept with compadres including Russell, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, and Sam Shepard, O'Dell wastes no time on setup, no chapters on preteen crushes or girlish obsessions. She's just a bored and unencumbered young woman with a sense of adventure in L.A. at the right time. Thankfully, she doesn't get preachy about her recovery in 1989 nor does she spend much time on ensuing years. Her frankness is refreshing and unpretentious, and she's unapologetic about her life in other people's spotlights, as she should be: Her presence opened the door for countless young women, most of whom will never know how much they owe to Miss O'Dell.

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