Just another Beatles book? Not quite.

Everytime I even think about putting my pen to paper and writing that “great Beatles'” that I know is inside of me I think of titles like this.  There are book about The Beatles’, and then there are things that are much greater.  Jonathan Gould’s awesome tome definitely falls in the latter category.

It’s about so much more than the Fab Four.  It’s bigger than a dissection of songs and chords.  It’s all encompasing of an era.  It encapsulates so much, and really takes you back in time.  If you haven’t read this one yet then you absolutely should NOT miss this title.  It’s one of those essential titles that all music fans should read.

Here’s what we’ve read.

Finally, what the world has been crying out for: a book about the Beatles. This is forgivable sarcasm when you consider that there are more than 500 of them already. I must have about a dozen of them myself, and have read a dozen more. These range from the indispensable – Ian MacDonald’s Revolution in the Head, Bob Spitz’s The Beatles, the Hunter Davies and Philip Norman works and, for my money the most fascinating of them all, Devin McKinney’s inspirational, insanely ambitious Magic Circles – to some of the shoddiest and most opportunistic verbiage you will encounter in the course of a reading life. Anyone with any sense of professional pride now writing about the group must feel like a treasure hunter going over ground that has been thoroughly ransacked by hundreds of people, some armed with pretty sophisticated detection equipment.

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New Lennon book collects John interviews.

So sorry folks for the lack of regular updates since the New Year, but things have been busy around here.  We have been playing with redesigning the blog and making some changes to things around here.  Please bear with me as I make some changes, and bring in some really new and exciting content!

We are looking at more ways of making the blog even more active for 2009 , and should unveil a great redesign in the coming week(s).  For now, though updates will be a bit spotty.

For now though it looks like a new John Lennon title is collecting some interviews from the late-great legend. We look forward to hearing more details about it in the near future. It looks promising.  Any new Lennon titles is always promising.


Here’s what we’ve read.

New Book Collects John Lennon’s Essential Interviews

JOHN LENNON: The Essential Interviews collects the pop music legend’s most candid and inspirational interactions with the media. Available for advanced order and immediate delivery from Rock Reader Books here: (http://www.lulu.com/content/5363419), this exciting new book – which is also now available for download – will be formally released March 3, 2009 through traditional and online book retailers.

Beginning in the sensational heyday of the Beatles, The Essential Interviews traces Lennon’s personal and creative evolution over the span of the next fifteen years up until his tragic murder in December 1980. Allowing the iconic musician to tell his own story, JOHN LENNON: The Essential Interviews finds the genius behind most of the Beatles best songs, delivering the memorable, newsworthy sentiments that captivated the media and record buying public alike.

Compiled by pop music journalist John D. Luerssen specifically for Rock Reader Books,

this project offers direct perspective from Lennon on how the following legendary sentiments took shape:

“Part of me suspects that I’m a loser, and the other part of me thinks I’m God Almighty.”

“Music is everybody’s possession. It’s only publishers who think that people own it.”

“Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.”

“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”

Thanks for John

HarperCollins signs McCartney bio.

I cannot think of the last time I read a really earth shaking biography of Paul McCartney.  There aren’t just that many high-quality titles out there about our dear boy Paul.  I mean, some of the history has yet to be written.  If he keeps putting music out that’s been as good as his last few albums, and the few tracks from his upcoming LP. 

I must say though, that one of the best music books period that I have ever read was about McCartney and his avant garde side,  The Unknown McCartney by Ian Peel.  If you have never seen it before, it’s well worth hunting down. You will learn of things that you haven’t heard or seen before.  This book will need an update though once the new Fireman album comes out.

Here’s what we’ve read.

HarperCollins has acquired a new biography of Sir Paul McCartney by Bob Dylan biographer Howard Sounes.

The book, as yet untitled, will be published in autumn 2010. Natalie Jerome, editorial director for Harper Non-Fiction, bought UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Gordon Wise at Curtis Brown for an undisclosed sum. The book will be published simultaneously in the USA by Da Capo Press, and in Canada by Doubleday, with translation rights sold in Germany, Denmark, Finland and Holland.

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BOOK: “Hey Jude” and the Death of Sixties British Pop

We have read those books about the songwriting of The Beatles.   We have read about the history of the 1960’s.  Heck, we’ve read about The Beatles as businessmen.  Lots of these topics have been approached and regurgitated many many times. Most of us probably know it by heart.

There are, however, few books that delve into the history of the music business in a readable, entertaining, way.  Something that moves beyond simple businessmen and promoters recalling what it was like to scrape together concerts.  Something more than just listening to producers and engineers reminisce about how challenging it was to get by on 4-Track tape machines and how it was magical, and forced them to get creative.  Readers want more than just recalled mamories, business ledgers, and cultural impact pieces.  If that sounds like something you are looking for then read on dear friends.

Book Cover

Here’s what we’ve read.

Gordon Thompson is Professor of Music at Skidmore College. His book, Please Please Me: Sixties British Pop, Inside Out, offers an insider’s view of the British pop-music recording industry.  In the post below he looks at the end of 60’s Brit-Pop.

Tucked into a tight lane off busy Wardour Street in London’s Soho district, the Beatles gathered on 31 July 1968 to begin something they had done only a few times previously: record outside the safe confines of EMI’s Recording Studios in Abbey Road. They had grown increasingly dissatisfied with EMI’s reluctance to invest in competitive equipment, while bands like the Rolling Stones and the Who had been recording in American studios for years. These bands flocked to Los Angeles both because of the recording culture and because of technology that EMI had postponed installing: eight-track recording decks instead of the four-track decks common in British studios. When the Beatles arrived at Soho’s Trident Studios for “Hey Jude,” they intended to add vocals to their EMI four-track recording of the musical backing. However, when they heard playback on the eight-track Ampex decks through Trident’s sound system, they immediately relegated the first tape as rehearsal and began working anew.

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Paul McCartney and Yoko furious over John Lennon’s ‘gay lust’ book.

OK ladies and gentleman I’ve have begun reading this book, and I must not have gotten this far yet.  Boy oh boy does this little bit of news make the book that much more interesting.  The news sounds like something out of the tabloids to me.

This is not the first time that we’ve heard grumblings about John Lennon lusting after another man. We all know that allegedly John Lennon and Brian Epstein supposedly did or did not have some kind of tryst on a trip to Spain together in 1963.  It did happen, it did not happen, we really do not know for sure.

In this new book Phillip Norman accuses Lennon of further lust with his bandmate Paul McCartney and his own mother.   Now, that’s just taking things a bit too far.  I personally don’t believe it. 

Here’s a description of the book, John Lennon: The Life, by Philip Norman.

For more than a quarter century, Philip Norman’s internationally bestselling Shout! has been unchallenged as the definitive biography of the Beatles. Now, at last, Norman turns his formidable talent to the Beatle for whom belonging to the world’s most beloved pop group was never enough. Drawing on previously untapped sources, and with unprecedented access to all the major characters, here is the comprehensive and most revealing portrait of John Lennon that is ever likely to be published.

This masterly biography takes a fresh and penetrating look at every aspect of Lennon’s much-chronicled life, including the songs that have turned him, posthumously, into a near-secular saint. In three years of research, Norman has turned up an extraordinary amount of new information about even the best-known episodes of Lennon folklore—his upbringing by his strict Aunt Mimi; his allegedly wasted school and student days; the evolution of his peerless creative partnership with Paul McCartney; his Beatle-busting love affair with a Japanese performance artist; his forays into painting and literature; his experiments with Transcendental Meditation, primal scream therapy, and drugs. The book’s numerous key informants and interviewees include Sir Paul McCartney, Sir George Martin, Sean Lennon—whose moving reminiscence reveals his father as never before—and Yoko Ono, who speaks with sometimes shocking candor about the inner workings of her marriage to John.

Honest and unflinching, as John himself would wish, Norman gives us the whole man in all his endless contradictions—tough and cynical, hilariously funny but also naive, vulnerable and insecure—and reveals how the mother who gave him away as a toddler haunted his mind and his music for the rest of his days.

I’ll give you my own thoughts on this once I finish the book for myself in a future review.  For now, this news leaves more than a few people (Yoko and Paul) steaming mad.

Here’s what we’ve read.

Sir Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono are furious after a new book they helped with accuses John Lennon of wanting a gay relationship with Macca.

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New John Lennon biography to hit shelves.

Our bookstores are overwhelmed with books about john Lennon.  We all know this.  There are tons of them out there.  Moreso than any other member of The Beatles, there are more books about John Lennon than any given person can deal with.  I know, I own most of them.  Most of these books are unremarkable.  Most books are simple retellings of an familiar story.  It is a rarity, at this point, to get any real insight into the figure of Lennon.

When I read the initial announcement about this new title, though, I got excited.  This upcoming book about John Lennon looks to be different.  This title, John Lennon: The Life, is penned by one the world’s foremost Beatle scholars, Philip Norman.  If anyone is not familiar with his book, Shout!, then you probably shouldn’t be reading this blog.  You should be headed to your library to check it out immediately.  It is an indispensible title in anyone’s Beatles’ library.

This book, undoubtedly, will be no different.  Look for our own review in the near future.


 Here’s what we’ve read.

Phillip Norman wrote one of the first and still one of the best Beatles histories (“Shout!,” 1981), and though he claims to have corrected many “inaccuracies and misjudgments” from that earlier work, there just isn’t much new to say about the group’s historic, hysterical popularity or John Lennon’s role in it.

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Mike Douglas producer to write Lennon book, and wants your help.

It appears that fans of John and Yoko will have a new book to look forward to in the near future.  In this title we get a first-hand account of John and Yoko’s time on The Mike Douglas Show.  Again, I love the little peaks into these moments in history.  It really makes history come alive, and once again we get this small portrait, a window in time. We get to see the great energy that John and Yoko had on the show.  It truly was entertaining.

This book project is a little different, however.  We, the fans, may have some input into the project itself.  The author, Michael Krauss, was the producer of the Mike Douglas show.  He is asking for a fan’s perspective of the book, and wants your input.  If anyone live close to Connecticut, or would like to email Michael Krauss and his team, it looks like they would like to talk about the project.

Here’s the scoop that I got from Michael Krauss’s people in an email:

My boss is Michael Krauss who may be familiar to you as the producer of the Mike Douglas show at the time when John and Yoko co-hosted. He was telling me stories of the good old days when the topic of the beatles came up and he mentioned his pivotal role in the Mike Douglas show as the producer and the guy who had the idea to contact John and Yoko. He’s decided to create a scrapbook-coffee table book type thing out of pictures, files, old interviews, and other doodads.

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