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Nicholas Schaffner
Born (1953-01-28)January 28, 1953
Manhattan, New York, New York, USA
Died August 28, 1991(1991-08-28) (aged 38)
New York City, New York, United States
Occupation Author
Nationality United States
Education The Choate School; New College of Florida
Period 1977–1991
Genre Music

Nicholas Schaffner (January 28, 1953 – August 28, 1991) was an American non-fiction author, journalist, and singer-songwriter.

Schaffner was born in Manhattan to John Schaffner, a literary agent, and the former Frances Perdita Aldington. He was the grandson of Imagist poet Hilda Doolittle, better known as "H.D." He attended the Choate School and the New College of Florida, graduating from both schools.[1]

Schaffner had been collecting Beatles memorabilia through much of the 1960s, which directly led to his first book, The Beatles Forever, published in 1977. With its critical acceptance, he was established as an authority on the Beatles.[1] Among initial reviews of the book, The New York Post described it as "honest, factual and highly entertaining", while Publishers Weekly said: "May well be the book for Beatlemaniacs … All-inclusive, responsible and informative …"[2] Schaffner subsequently appeared as a commentator in a 1982 documentary about the group, titled The Compleat Beatles.[1]

The Beatles Forever continues to be held in high regard by writers and commentators. While discussing the most recent generation of Beatles biographies in December 2013, Chicago Tribune critic Mark Caro recalled its publication and described the book as "the superior critical-minded history" on the band.[3] Ian Inglis, author of a 2010 biography on George Harrison, wrote of Schaffner's contribution: "Among the very best of the hundreds of books that examine the history of the Beatles. Intelligently written …"[4]

As an author, his other works include the Pink Floyd biography A Saucerful of Secrets: The Pink Floyd Odyssey as well as the children's book The Boys from Liverpool: John, Paul, George, Ringo. In 1981 he collaborated with his sister, Elizabeth, on 505 Rock-and-Roll Questions Your Friends Can't Answer. This was followed by The British Invasion (1982), a compendium of lengthy historical essays covering the Beatles and many of their contemporary UK groups, as well as shorter essays (mostly written by other writers of Schaffner's acquaintance) on other English music acts through the 1970s. Schaffner also wrote articles for Rolling Stone, Musician, The Village Voice, and Trouser Press.

Schaffner died on August 28, 1991 in New York City of an AIDS-related illness shortly after the release of Saucerful of Secrets: The Pink Floyd Odyssey.[1]

Schaffner's song cycle, Magical Kingdoms, was released in 1990. Music from the collection has been performed posthumously at tribute events at venues including New York's Lincoln Center.[5][6]

Published works[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Kozinn, Allan (August 29, 1991). "Nicholas Schaffner, 38, Author Of Books About Rock Groups". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 
  2. ^ Schaffner, Nicholas (1978). The Beatles Forever. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-055087-5.  (Critics' plaudits reproduced on back cover.)
  3. ^ Caro, Mark (December 17, 2013). "New Beatles books out". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 25 July 2014. 
  4. ^ Inglis, Ian (2010). The Words and Music of George Harrison. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger. p. 178. ISBN 978-0-313-37532-3. 
  5. ^ "New Yorker magazine June 19, 1995". The New Yorker magazine. Retrieved May 12, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Sudden Sunsets Recorded Live at Alice Tully Hall". Retrieved May 11, 2012. 

External links[edit]


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