Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Some Fun Tonight! Volume 2: The Backstage Story of How the Beatles Rocked America: the Historic Tours of 1964 1966 by Chuck Gunderson

The Beatles made music-entertainment history with their North American tours from 1964 to 1966. Some Fun Tonight! The Backstage Story of How the Beatles Rocked America: The Historic Tours of 1964 1966 is a comprehensive two-volume set which gives you a city-by-city synopsis of the group s activities as they travelled the United States and Canada for their ground-breaking series of concerts. From San Francisco s Cow Palace show on August 19, 1964, through their last-ever live performances at that city s famed Candlestick Park on August 29, 1966, these books cover the music and the madness that characterized the Beatles three North American tours. 

With hundreds of photographs and images of rare memorabilia, it is truly the definitive reference for what is arguably the most important period in the Beatles long and winding career. You ll read about the behind-the-scenes negotiations, the mayhem at the airports and hotels, and the cheeky quotes delivered at the press conferences. You ll also read about the opening acts, the concerts, and the stories behind the shows through the eyes of the Beatles, their entourage, the promoters, the emcees, and the fans. Never before have the Beatles North American concerts been covered in such depth. If you witnessed the mania first-hand, you ll relive the excitement in the pages of these books.

Some Fun Tonight!: The Backstage Story of How the Beatles Rocked America: The Historic Tours of 1964-1966 Volume 1: 1964 by Chuck Gunderson

These volumes provide the definitive account of The Beatles' three seismic North American tours. The depth of research done for these books is comparable to the detail on display in the tomes of venerable Beatles' experts Mark Lewisohn, Bruce Spizer, and John C. Winn. Author Chuck Gunderson has provided Beatles' aficionados with a well written, lavishly illustrated chronology of these historic tours. The books trace The Fabs visits through each tour stop, detailing the concerts planning, and often including copies of the promoters' contracts with the band along with any other relevant information. The vast majority of the photos in these volumes have never been published which reflects the author's attention to detail.

In a recent interview, Gunderson stated that he was waiting for years for someone to publish definitive books on The Beatles' North American tours, but when no one did, he decided to write them himself. It was worth the wait - superb and essential.

(See also Volume 2): Some Fun Tonight! Volume 2: The Backstage Story of How the Beatles Rocked America: the Historic Tours of 1964 1966: Volume 2: 1965-1966 by Chuck Gunderson

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Love Me Do!: "Beatles" Progress by Michael Braun

"That was a true book," Lennon told Wenner in his 1970 Lennon Remembers interview. "He wrote about how we were, which was bastards … You have to be a bastard to make it, man. That's a fact, and the Beatles were the biggest bastards on earth." 

The year is 1963 and "Love Me Do" is the Beatles' first number one hit, closely followed by "Please Please Me". John, Paul, George and Ringo celebrate their new found success with a hectic six-week tour, briefly interrupted by an historic live appearance at the "Royal Variety Performance" at the London Palladium. This is the beginning of "Beatlemania" and American writer, Mike Braun, is there to chronicle events and watch as the drama unfolds. A year later, The Beatles are the world's biggest pop group. This book details what really happened in those first magic weeks.

Braun was a former assistant to Stanley Kubrick, and a writer whose work appeared in the Observer and the Sunday Times (he died in 1997; one of his obituaries described him as "a penniless flâneur", drawn to people whose "personal mythology was not limited by prosaic biographical fact"). Contrary to Lennon's picture, his book – a tour diary, essentially, which follows them around provincial England, on to Paris and New York – largely offers a close-up of the Beatles as you might expect it: witty, blunt, quickly breaking out of the drab conventions of British showbiz. 

He evokes ordinary places witnessing quite extraordinary scenes, in incisively simple terms: in the north-east of England, for example, he keeps the Beatles company in yet another hotel, watching them do a phone interview with a DJ in far-away Melbourne, while a gaggle of fans looks up at the window. "When the call was finished," Braun wrote, "they turned the lights out and spent a few minutes looking at the girls through a slit in the curtains before going to bed. The next morning as the Beatles left Sunderland several girls were still gathered in front of the hotel, huddling against the winds blowing from the North Sea." This is what is so compelling about those early treks around provincial theatres and ballrooms: moments of quiet, when the band seemed to marvel at what was happening to them; and the sense of an extended goodbye (by the autumn of 1966, they had stopped touring altogether).

This book was also published in 1964 in the U.S under another title: "The Real True Beatles - Number One"

The 1995 edition has a 1970 Lennon quote on the cover: "A true book. He wrote about how we were, which was bastards"

The original 1964 edition has "4/6" price on the cover and no Lennon quote which distinguishes it from the 1995 re-issue

1964 edition Back cover

A Secret History by Alistair Taylor

When we went to the Palace to get The Beatles their OBEs John Lennon had some acid with him. 'I'm gonna slip it into the Queen's tea,' he told me. 'I want to open her mind and try to get her to declare war on somewhere nice and warm so we can all go and fight on the beaches.' After Jane Asher dumped Paul McCartney he literally used to cry on my shoulder. We hit the bottle together. Hard. 'I had everything and I threw it all away,' he would say. 

Alistair Taylor was with The Beatles from the moment they signed with Brian Epstein. In fact, apart from the signatures of each of the Fab Four, his is the only other name on the contract. From the very beginning he travelled, ate, partied, and even holidayed with them, right up until the beginning of the group's spectacular break up. As the group's 'Mr Fixit' he settled paternity cases, bought islands, houses and estates, and took care of John, Paul, George and Ringo when their lifestyles became a little too lively.

                                                     2001                                         2011

This book may well be an amalgamation of two other books by Alistair Taylor (but more info needed):

Yesterday: The Beatles Remembered (1988)


Hello Goodbye (2014?)

Magical Mystery Tours: My Life with the Beatles by Tony Bramwell

Growing up in a postwar Liverpool suburb, Tony Bramwell was boyhood friends with three of the Beatles long before they were famous. And by the time he caught up with George Harrison on the top of a bus to check out "The Beatles, direct from Hamburg"---one of which George turned out to be---Tony was well into a life story absolutely unlike any other.
Tony carried George's guitar that night, and he stayed with the band from the first Number 1 to the last. From overseeing the tours of Brian Epstein's Merseybeat stars to producing shows for Jimi Hendrix, the Who, Cream, and Pink Floyd at Epstein's Savile Theatre; and from producing and directing Beatles videos to heading Apple Films, Tony's life really did encompass a who's who of rock.

With an insider's shrewd eye, Tony describes the rise and fall of the Apple empire, Brian Epstein's frolics, Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters, Phil Spector's eccentric behavior, and stories never before told about Yoko Ono. He uncovers new information about the Shea Stadium concert footage, John Lennon's late-night "escapes," and more. From the Cavern Club to the rooftop concert, and from scraps of song lyrics to the discovery of the famous Mr. Kite circus poster, Tony Bramwell really did see it all. It's a story in which every character is one of the musical 1960s most colorful. Conversational, direct, and honest, the ultimate Beatles insider finally shares his own version of the frantic and glorious ascent of four boys from Liverpool lads to rock and roll kings.


The Best of the Beatles Book by Johnny Dean

"The Beatles Book" was the only magazine which was officially authorised by John, Paul, George and Ringo. This compilation title contains all the best photos, features, cartoons and letters taken from its 40 year run.

Friday, 24 June 2016

The Beatles from Cavern to Star-Club: The Illustrated Chronicle, Discography and Price Guide 1957-62 by Hans Olaf Gottfridsson

A carefully compiled chronicle and discography of The Beatles 'recordings between the years 1957 and 1962. Hans Olof Gottfridsson has mapped the legendary period of The Beatles' early career, with the help of many unreleased tapes, various documents and interviews with key individuals. The journey starts with the day when John and Paul met in 1957 at a party at the Woolton Garden, and concludes with the final Star-Club in Hamburg recording, in December 1962. The book also contains the first complete facsimile reproductions of Polydor recording documents, contracts and much more. The book includes more than 400 illustrations, including many photos showing acetates.

Contributions by Tony Sheridan, John Duff Lowe (The Quarrymen) and Bill Harry. Interviews with among others the original Quarry Men members Rod Davis, Len Garry, Colin Hanton and John Duff Lowe, plus Johnny "Guitar 'Byrne (Rory Storm and The Hurricanes) and Roy Young (who played piano on some of the recordings that the Beatles did with Tony Sheridan in Hamburg), as well as with Karl Hinze and Günther Sörensen, two of Polydors contemporary sound engineer, who assisted the Beatles in recording in Hamburg. The book comes with a vinyl exclusive EP. The album contains four songs by The Beatles and Tony Sheridan. For the first time ever, given 1962's original version of "Sweet Georgia Brown" in stereo!

Monday, 20 June 2016

John, Paul, George Ringo & Me by Tony Barrow

This is not merely a biography of The Beatles but a unique and vividly personal, first-hand account by a Liverpool-born author who knew John, Paul, George and Ringo as friends throughout the height of their fame. As The Beatles' Press Officer, he worked within the group's closest circle for six breakneck years during the Beatlemania era of the Sixties. Few were closer to The Beatles than Tony Barrow, and here, for the first time, he holds a mirror up to the Fab Four and offers his own insider's perspective on that four-way dynamic that spawned the greatest pop group the world has ever seen. Tony Barrow, who coined the phrase the Fab Four and whose sleeve notes adorned some of The Beatles' biggest-selling albums, was the band's press officer from 1962-68. He is the only surviving professional writer who witnessed Beatlemania from the inside.

One highlight is the visit to Elvis's house in '65. Tony was one of the invited guests along with Neil, Mal and Brian. You get an eyewitness account of the entire evening and it was more revealing than the Fab's version on Anthology. This book is recommended because Tony was there and he tells it plainly the way he remembers it. Barrow's recollections of John are the most seering. John's caustic and often cruel humour was directed against Barrow for several years. The press chief relates a story where John deliberately embarrassed Brian Epstein by grabbing him in the crotch during a business meeting. Poor Brian stood there, gasping in emotional and physical pain, while John plopped down in his chair, laughing.

Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust: Off the Record with the Beatles, Bowie, Elton & So Much More, by Ken Scott, Bobby Owsinski

Turn on any classic rock station and you ll soon hear a song that Ken Scott worked on. As one of the preeminent recording engineers and producers of the 20th century, Ken has garnered Gold, Platinum, and Diamond record sales awards; multiple Grammy nominations; and even a Clio Award (for his recording of the classic Coke ad I d Like to Teach the World to Sing ). Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust shares Ken Scott s intimate memories of working with some of the most important artists of the 20th century, while crafting a sound that influenced generations of music makers. Ken's work has left an indelible mark on hundreds of millions of fans with his skilled contributions to Magical Mystery Tour and The White Album. 

As producer and/or engineer of six David Bowie albums (including the groundbreaking Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars) as well as other timeless classics, the sound Ken crafted has influenced several generations of music makers that continues to this day. Ken captured the sonic signatures of a who's-who of classic rock and jazz acts, including Elton John, Pink Floyd, Jeff Beck, Duran Duran, The Rolling Stones, Lou Reed, America, Devo, Kansas, The Tubes, Missing Persons, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Billy Cobham, Dixie Dregs, and Stanley Clarke. This is his story, complete with funny, provocative, and oh-so-honest tales of the studio, stage, and even an infamous swimming pool incident. Plus, there are never-before-seen photographs and technical details, making Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust a must for every music fan.

A Day in the Life of The Beatles by Don McCullin

One day in 1968 Don McCullin, then regarded as the world's most accomplished war photographer, received a commission from the Apple Corporation to spend a day photographing the Beatles. McCullin had just returned from covering the bitter fighting during the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, and was the most hardened photojournalist in the field. He was astonished by the invitation. On Sunday 28 September he met the Beatles at theSunday Times studio and began to photograph them in colour for a Life magazine cover. The day that followed has become known in Beatles lore as 'The Mad Day Out'. McCullin shot twenty rolls of black-and-white film in various locations across London, from the banks of the Thames to Paul McCartney's garden. Apart from the cover photograph and two pictures in McCullin's recent book In England, we believe the work to be otherwise unpublished.

The timing of this day was significant. At the height of their international fame following the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Beatles were in the middle of recording the White Album. The war was raging in Vietnam and riots had spread through capital cities worldwide. It was the very moment of a generational divide, and the Beatles were the iconic figureheads of the youth movement. One of the most poignant photographs taken that day was of John Lennon posing as dead, surrounded by the other three, in an image that he himself had carefully choreographed. What was an intentional pose in protest is now seen as tragic and prophetic. These pictures are of four inspired musicians on the cusp of the change. They mark the passing of an era in which we can glimpse our own lost youth.

John Lennon Called Me Normal by Norman 'Hurricane' Smith

Norman "Hurricane" Smith was an English musician, record producer and engineer. He was the engineer on all of the EMI studio recordings by The Beatles until 1965, when EMI promoted him from engineer to producer. The last Beatles album he recorded was Rubber Soul, and Smith engineered the sound for almost 100 Beatles songs in total. John Lennon first bestowed upon Smith the nickname of "Normal," and it was quickly picked up by the other Beatles. 

Lennon did so as a humorous reference to Smith`s very unhurried and unflappable nature. In early 1967, he began working with a new group, Pink Floyd, producing their first, second, and fourth studio albums The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, A Saucerful of Secrets, and Ummagumma. The book contains never before published pictures, newly revealed historical facts about the Beatles and Pink Floyd at Abbey Road Studios, as well as details of Smith`s life as an RAF glider pilot.


A Cellarful of Noise by Brian Epstein

From his first encounter with the sturggling group in 1961, through their meteoric rise, to his tragic, untimely death in 1967, Brian Epstein was in many ways the heart and soul of the Beatles. Much more than simply their manager, confidant, and group guru, Epstein helped create a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon. "A Cellarful of Noise," Epstein's long out-of-print autobiography, gives readers the inside story of his discovery and management of the world's most famous rock 'n' roll band. 

From their initial struggles to their wild rocket ride to the pinnacle of success, this true story includes: How a request for a record led to the discovery of the Beatles; Why Ringo Starr replaced the original Beatle drummer; How Paul McCartney was nearly blinded by a fan; and hundreds of other fascinating little-known facts of Epstein's life with the Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers, and other top stars.This new edition of "A Cellarful of Noise" features an introduction by world-renowned Beatles expert Martin Lewis, which, along with Epstein's own words, creates a compelling insightful exploration of the life and times of a gifted man who had an ear for genius.
                                               1965                                             1964


The Beatles and Me On Tour by Ivor Davis

In the summer of 1964, the Beatles took America by storm and changed rock ’n’ roll forever. In this first-ever chronicling of that revolutionary tour from the inside, author Ivor Davis serves up the stories behind the stories as only an insider can. In the rowdy and riotous recollections of The Beatles and Me On Tour, Ivor Davis, then a reporter for the London Daily Express, shares his unrestricted access to the Liverpool lads as a member of the Beatles entourage. 

From inside the band’s hotel suites to the concert arenas to the private jets, the madness and magic plays out through Davis’ personal accounts of hanging with the Beatles for thirty-four jam-packed days. Go behind the scenes for all-night Monopoly games with John Lennon, witness the Beatles’ legendary living-room jam with Elvis, and be there the night Bob Dylan introduces the band to pot. Roll up for this definitive account of the legendary band at a critical moment in the history.

The Rocking City: The Explosive Birth of The Beatles by Sam Leach

If you ever wondered about the origins of Merseybeat and just how the Beatles exploded onto the Liverpool scene before Brian Epstein cleaned them up to conquer the world, then THE ROCKING CITY (the Explosive Birth of The Beatles) has the answers for you! Sam Leach tells it like it really was and succeeds in encapsulating all the energy, humour, generosity, and unconventional ways which are so characteristic of Liverpool. He not only puts his finger on the exact moment when Merseybeat was born, he lived and breathed it as one of its leading promoters. Sam's barn-storming bills not only featured The Beatles, whose sheer power and energy in their early days rocked the city to its foundations, but also groups such as Gerry and the Pacemakers, The Searchers, Rory Storm and the Hurricanes and Kingsize Taylor and the Dominoes. 

And Sam was almost directly responsible for Brian Epstein's fateful visit to The Cavern one Friday lunchtime to watch a performance by the group he was to make the biggest ever... John Lennon once said "Sam Leach was the pulse of Merseybeat. What he did the rest copied". Paul Mccartney on BBC Radio Merseyside in 1984 called those early days "The Sam Leach Era".

The Beatles: Messages from John, Paul, George and Ringo by Chris Hutchins

THE postcard on the cover of this book says it all. The card was written by John Lennon and sent to his friend Chris Hutchins. On the card’s photograph of the Beatles, John had drawn a fifth member – the founder of the group Stuart Sutcliffe who John went on to describe as the best friend he ever had. This is the kind of confidence John, Paul George and Ringo shared with writer Hutchins who they befriended in their days as ‘unknowns’ in Hamburg. He shared their adventures during the heady days of Beatlemania; he was with them during their American tours in the 60s, sharing their euphoria and their sad moments. 

It was, for example, at Hutchins’ Chelsea apartment that Paul met the actress Jane Asher, who he later became engaged to. And it was Hutchins who arranged a party with Elvis Presley, the man they had always wanted to meet – alas, a meeting which was to cause a cataclysmic feud between Presley and Lennon which the author explains in detail along with how President Nixon and J Edgar Hoover got involved. This is the Beatles story from the inside . . .

Friday, 17 June 2016

"Beatles" Live by Mark Lewisohn

There are Beatles books and Beatles books. This one is indispensable. Mark Lewisohn has made an enormous contribution to the history of British popular music with this volume. In compiling an accurate, detailed and entertaining record of every live Beatles and embryo Beatles performance, from the Quarry Men's audition for Carroll Levis on 9 June 1957 to the final concert in San Francisco just over nine years later, he has produced a document that illustrates the extraordinary pace, excitement and exhaustion of those years better than any ordinary biography or discography has yet done. 

The Beatles on record, film, television and videotape will always be with us-the Beatles as a live act can never be experienced again. And it is good news indeed that somebody of Lewisohn's integrity and intelligence has written a book like this before the facts, figures and first-hand memories of the world's greatest group of popular musicians on stage fade away.

Although some of the information in this book was later included in an updated version of "The Complete Beatles Chronicle", it still has many merits as a separate work. (originally came with free disc)

Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles by Geoff Emerick and Howard Massey

This is a fascinating memoir featuring never-before-told stories from the Beatles' recording engineer. The first biography from industry legend Geoff Emerick tells the story of his life as the Beatles' recording engineer. As a man who helped make history by working on the group's groundbreaking sound, including such albums as Sgt Pepper, Revolver and Abbey Road, this a story that all music fans have been waiting for. Joining forces with the Beatles for the recording of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, hailed by Rolling Stone as the greatest album ever made, Geoff Emerick has been at the creation of music history for much of his career. In conjunction with the Beatles' constant quest for experimentation and new sounds, Emerick developed a slew of innovative recording techniques, many of which are still in use today. In "Here, There and Everywhere", Emerick tells his story for the first time, taking the reader through the hallowed corridors of Abbey Road Studios to give rare insights into the Beatles' unique creative processes and personalities and provides a behind-the-scenes look at how the greatest band of all time made their greatest records.
Emerick provides a startling picture of the Fab Four. Fascinating and moving, "Here, There and Everywhere" also illuminates the creative tensions within the band that fuelled their early success, but would ultimately lead them to record in separate studios while the partnership was disintegrating.

"Beatles" Gear: All the Fab Four's Instruments from Stage to Studio by Andy Babiuk

This landmark book details exactly which guitars, drums, amplifiers and keyboards The Beatles used at the key points of their relatively brief but entirely revolutionary career - from the formation of the Quarry Men in the 1950s to the dissolution of The Beatles in 1970. It provides a fascinating fresh insight into Beatles history from an entirely new viewpoint, and many myths are exploded along the way and dozens of stories told for the first time.

Lewisohn's 'Sessions' gave us a great insight into the Beatles recording history, but too much was left unanswered. Not any longer because Andy Babiuk's book does much to fill in the gaps. Here is the definitive guide to how the Beatles got their sound. All the instruments used, some dating back to the mid fifties, have been tracked down & photographed with relevant details given. The photographs are perfect eye candy for anyone who loves old music gear and the text is well written with attention to detail. This is a superb book and essential reading for anyone who takes the Beatles music seriously.

Highly recommended is the updated 2016 Ultimate edition which is double the size at 512 pages!