Ringo’s “Octopus’s Garden” Children’s Book

Seems to be a steadily rising number of Beatle children’s books about. If you have young ones or you just appreciate the child-like qualities of kids books, they’re nice to have.

The latest is a picture book illustrating Ringo Starr’s song ‘Octopus’s Garden’:

Octopus's Garden Book

Octopus’s Garden is published by Simon and Schuster and beautifully illustrated by British children’s book illustrator Ben Cort. It’s a large-format, hardback book with really nice pictures to accompany the printed lyrics to the song:octopus-garden-interior-1024x593

There’s also a CD included with four tracks. Track 1 is a short spoken endorsement from Ringo; Track 2 is a new recording of ‘Octopus’s Garden’ (with Ringo providing the vocal); Track 3 has Ringo reading the story (without music); and finally an instrumental version for you or your child to sing along with:octopus's garden 2Here’s a little promo video with more of a taste of what you get:

See also Real Love: The Drawings for Sean from 1999.

A Big Pile of Beatle Sheet Music Rediscovered

We were digging around in a cupboard the other day and came across a long-forgotten stash of Beatle sheet music collected from a variety of places over the years. Thought you might like to see the front covers. Most are printed and published for the Australia/New Zealand market. Some are books with numerous songs, others are single titles. As you’ll see, they’re in far from pristine condition, but interesting none-the-less.

Here they are in (roughly) chronological order:  Hard Days NightMMTApple Song BookBallad of J&YCome TogetherMy Sweet LordIsn't It A PityIt Don't Come EasyAnother DayImagineMull of KintyreColourful Beatles20 Greatest1967-19701962-1966 (1)1967-1970 (1)Past Masters

Beatle Books, Books and More Books….

Quite a few new Beatle or Beatle-related books have just been announced or recently released, and so we thought we’d mention a few worthies. Here’s a round-up:

The Beatles Lyrics by Hunter Davies was released as a hardback book last year. It’s now slated for a paperback release this October:Beatles Lyrics

The book features analysis of the Beatles song catalog and images of the Beatles’ hand-written song lyrics. If that is actually the new cover (above) we reckon it looks cool. For any record collector or Beatle fan it definitely says”Pick me up and look inside”. If you, do we can assure you that you won’t be disappointed. We got the hardback edition last Christmas and have been dipping in and out of it all year.

Here’s one we stumbled across on the web. We haven’t read it yet but there’s a great review on The Daily Beast about a new book called Allen Klein – The Man Who Bailed Out the Beatles, Made the Stones, and Transformed Rock & Roll. Yes, it’s a very long title, but also a fascinating re-think by author Fred Goodman of the impact and influence of one of the music industry’s bad boys of management – the late Allen Klein. Klein was brought in to run the Beatles’ Apple company and very soon became the lightening rod that split the band, with Paul McCartney on one side and John, George and Ringo siding with Klein on the other. This is very much a business book with lots of financial details, but Goodman makes the nuts and bolts really interesting, linking them to the seismic shift in music-industry economics that Klein instigated. This book is out now and there’s a “Look Inside” on Amazon if you are interested to read more:Alan_Klein

Klein and Harrison Klein Lennon and OnoHere’s another that we don’t own and haven’t read yet. We were just walking through a large bookshop the other day and accidentally spotted this one on the shelf:

See Hear Yoko

The inside cover says See Hear Yoko was conceived expressly for Yoko Ono as a gift between friends on the occasion of her eightieth birthday. It’s a visual portrait of her as an artist, activist, wife and mother, from her days with John Lennon through to the present. Legendary rock and roll photographer Bob Gruen was welcomed into the lives of John and Yoko during their years in New York City, when Gruen served as their personal photographer. He continues to document Yoko today. Approached by his friend Jody Denberg, who had logged twenty-five years of interviews with Yoko, Gruen collaborated with him to create an extraordinary birthday gift. Gruen selected more than three hundred classic color and black-and-white photographs—accompanied by text by Denberg—to illuminate the story of Yoko Ono. Again, Amazon has a “Look Inside“. There are some truly great images here.

The Zapple Diaries: The Rise and Fall of the Last Beatles Label. This one should be very interesting. Due for release on September 28 in the UK (but not until March 1, 2016 in the US) this book is written by Beatle insider Barry Miles and, as the publishing blurb says, it’s the first full-length illustrated examination of the Zapple label—an Apple Records off-shoot and Beatle experimental label:Zapple DiariesOn Zapple the Beatles hoped to release a range of spoken word and avant garde recordings – all part of their “…ambition to be leading members of the counterculture movement”. As it turned out Zapple was short-lived, surviving for just six months or so in 1969, and only had two official releases (Lennon and Ono’s Unfinished Music No.2: Life With the Lions, and George Harrison’s Electronic Sound). Author Barry Miles ran Zapple, so this should be an interesting insight – especially on the closing down of the label by one Allen Klein (see above). The Amazon UK and Amazon US sites both have a bit more info, and you can pre-order the book there too.

Finally, a new children’s picture book from Macmillan that introduces the next generation of fans to the story of John, Paul, George and Ringo. Focusing on the early years, Fab Four Friends: The Boys Who Became the Beatles shows how four boys from Liverpool became the bestselling band in history:Fab Four Friends

Written by award-winning children’s author Susanna Reich with fantastic illustrations by Adam Gustavson, this book traces the Beatles’ roots through each boy’s childhood and teen years. Evocative language and richly-detailed paintings tell the story of the band from its earliest days as a skiffle group to its explosion onto the world stage. Amazon has a “Look Inside” for more. This is out now. We think you (and your kids!) will love it.Fab Four Friends Rear

Looking Through You – A New and Very Special Beatle Book

An exciting new Beatles book Looking Through You (just out through Omnibus Press in the UK, and soon to be published in the US) has hit our desk – and it is a treat:LOOKING THROUGH YOU BOOK COVER

Looking Through You – Rare & Unseen Photographs From The Beatles Monthly Archive presents a selection of over 300 images taken from the pages of the precious The Beatles Book Monthly magazine photo archive. The Beatles Book Monthly was, as it’s name suggests, a monthly instalment detailing what the Beatles were up to. It started in August, 1663 and continued for six years:johnbbm66 paul.bb.Nov1966a George Harrison 001 ringo.bb.Dec1966a

The magazine, through the lens of photographer, Leslie Bryce, had unrivalled access to the group throughout the 1960s. Bryce captured the band at work and at play in public but also behind the scenes in un-rehearsed situations resulting in what are unique and candid images.

With a selection of photos from the magazine (all taken between 1963 and 1968), many of the photos gathered for the book are previously unpublished or unseen, often un-cropped and in their original form. The quality of the images is great too because they all are printed from the original negatives:

Beatles in the Mirror

One thing which strikes you as you flip through each of the carefully chosen and captioned images is that this new book will be a treasure trove for those interested in the band’s instruments and equipment. Take this photograph below of George Harrison for example. How many shots have we seen of the group using their customary Vox amplifiers – but here, in this rear view (taken at the Hammersmith Odeon Theatre in December, 1964), you can pick up some great additional details. You can almost read the amps actual model and serial numbers:

George and his Vox Amps

There are numerous shots like this – close-ups of the band’s instruments while on stage as well as a huge number of them at work in the studio, like this one taken at Abbey Road in November, 1965:

Beatles at Abbey Road

Looking Through You has only just come out in the UK and will see a US release soon. The UK edition comes as a cased and numbered 208-page limited edition of 3,000, designed by Lora Findlay with text by Andy Neill. Also in the package is a replica of a rare Beatles artefact associated with the magazine: the 1964 Beatles Book calendar, containing a further 12 photographs from the Beatles Monthly archive.

John and his Gretch Guitar

The book’s Facebook site is here.

FYI there is also a Beatles Book Photo Library available online with low-res, watermarked photographs available to view. There is a process for approaching the Archive about accessing high quality images.

Beatles Stuff We Found on a Visit to France – Part Three

Just back from a holiday in Europe where we picked up some nice Beatle treasure for the collection. This is the fourth and final instalment…

Ever since it was released way back in 2011 we’ve been on the lookout for a reasonably priced copy of the book Linda McCartney: Life in Photographs, published by the creative and interesting Taschen book company.

This book actually came out in four versions: a standard edition; a larger-format standard edition; a collectors edition (limited to 750 copies); and two art editions (of 125 copies each with a photographic print provided). The collector and art editions were always going to be way out of our price range (at £1,750 for the collectors edition, and £3,500 for an art edition!). But because we’ve always liked Linda McCartney’s photography a standard edition presenting some of her best images would be nice….

Turns out in Paris there’s a dedicated Taschen store. It’s in the trendy St Germain des Prez area, at 2 rue de Buci:

Taschen Store ParisOn the day we accidentally stumbled across this very groovy-looking bookshop they just happened to be having a big clearance. All stock was drastically reduced, and on the shelf was a sample copy of the of Linda McCartney: Life in Photographs (the standard edition). True, it’d been in the store a while and was a little shop-soiled – but not badly. It was on sale for €14.99 (that’s about $22.00 Australian, or US$16.00): Linda McCartney Photographs front

The striking cover image of Paul McCartney was taken in Los Angeles by Linda McCartney in 1968.

Inside the book traces Linda’s photographic career, beginning around 1966 and up to 1997, with images selected from her archive of over 200,000 photographs. It is edited by Alison Castle and produced in close collaboration with Paul McCartney and their children. Included are forewords by Paul, Stella, and Mary McCartney. There are also two appreciations of Linda’s work, one by the celebrated photographer Annie Leibovitz, and the other by art historian Martin Harrison.

Linda McCartney was one of the leading artists documenting the mid-to-late 1960s music scene:Linda McCartney Photographs HendrixThe book contains great photos of the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Hendrix, B.B. King, Neil Young and Pete Townsend – to name just a few. There are of course some great Beatle shots, still-life, movie stars and landscapes. But the bulk are of Paul McCartney and the couple’s family – all beautifully composed and interesting in their own right:Linda McCartney Photographs Paul & Mary

Really like this one below of Paul working with John in 1968  one of the happier times during the recording of the White Album no doubt:Linda McCartney Photographs John & Paul

For some reason this shot from 1970 of Paul writing amidst a domestically crowded table in Scotland reminds us of something:Linda McCartney Photographs Table

Could it have been at least part inspiration for Linda’s work three years later for the rear cover of Band on the Run?


And we also like this one of Paul, with artist Willem de Kooning, taken in East Hampton, New York in 1983:Linda McCartney Photograhs Paul and Willem Here’s the rear cover – the sticker says €29.99, but we got it for less than that….Linda McCartney Photographs rear

See also: Beatles Stuff We Found on a Visit to France – Part One and Part Two, plus Some Local Beatle Pressings From a Visit to Holland

Warman’s “Beatles Field Guide” Book

We found a cute little Beatle book the other day. It’s called Warman’s Beatles Field Guide. Published in 2005 it is a small (but thick at 512 pages), pocket-sized book listing prices and descriptions for a wide range of Beatle collectables.  Beatle Guide 1

Inside you’ll find articles on “Why the Beatles Still Matter” and “Ranking the Beatles” as well as commentary and information on their post-break-up and solo careers.

But the biggest and most interesting chapters are the sections on “Memorabilia” – which is a comprehensively illustrated price guide (in 2005 US$ of course!):Beatle Guide 3

The “Singles” (again lavishly illustrated and with indicative prices):Beatle Guide 5

And then a lengthy section detailing each of the “Albums”: Beatle Guide 4

These sections are all based around the US releases only – but it’s a great ‘ready-reference’ style book with a huge number of photos, background information and examples for each of the entries. A really worthwhile little book to have.Beatle Guide 2

Fab Gear – The Beatles and Fashion


Earlier this week we scored a pristine copy of this Beatle book from one of our favourite discount bookstores – Basement Books in central Sydney. In fact it was still sealed in heat-shrink and so it is absolutely a mint copy.

The title of this large, coffee-table style book says exactly what its content is all about: Fab Gear – The Beatles and Fashion, and author Paolo Hewitt (his blog is here) focusses on that topic exclusively. DSC03487

This book contains a wealth of photographs, like the one above, which are included because they show the variety of fashion over the years, the fine cut, or the design details of what the group were wearing at particular times. Look at those jackets John and Paul are wearing. This photo was taken at the London Palladium in February, 1965. John’s is a particularly stylish, four-button cut, while with Paul it’s the detail of the doubled-up buttons and cuffs, and the buttoned down shirt with no tie which are interesting.

As you browse through Fab Gear Hewitt gives information about where the Beatles purchased their clothing (or where they had it made), and who they knew and followed in the industry. It becomes clear that the Beatles indeed were style gurus very interested in clothing, fashion, and the design of what they wore – both as a group and as individuals. In the photos below Ringo is dressed very much in a Mod style, with his three button suit and button-down polka-dot shirt. John sports a look that Van Morrison would appropriate years later. The pair’s stylish but casual look is in contrast to the smaller, earlier picture where the band is dressed far more formally:DSC03486From the earliest stages of being a band the Beatles had a keen sense of themselves as being more than just musicians. They were a force for change and what they wore was another way of pushing the boundaries. Hewitt’s book is divided up into five main themes to examine this thesis: the early years and influences from the late1950s in Liverpool and Hamburg; the early 1960s in London and Brian Epstein’s influence on their look and style; the mid-to-late1960s and Swinging London; the Beatles and their affect on hairstyles; and a chapter dedicated to the Beatles’ venture into creating and selling their own fashion designs at the Apple clothing boutique:


In fact this book has one of the best chapters we’ve seen on the ill-fated Apple shop set up to sell Apple clothing and which the Beatles opened on December 7, 1967 at 94 Baker Street in London. It closed its doors just seven months later. Not only do we get the back-story to it’s inception and speedy downfall, we get images of hand-drawn designs, fabric samples and prices:DSC03483

This clip, from the movie Hot Millions, provides one of the few filmed glimpses inside the Apple shop:

There was also a separate Apple Tailoring shop (at 161 King’s Road) which included an Apple Hair salon in the basement! It is at Apple Tailoring we discover an Australian connection in the form one John Crittle. Crittle was a fashion innovator whose designs the Beatles had been taken with since the Sgt Pepper days. When they wanted to start their own tailoring company they turned to him. He’s pictured below – and if you don’t think you know his work, think again. Crittle designed the suits worn by three of the band (John, Ringo and Paul) as they walked across that famous pedestrian crossing outside the EMI studios on Abbey Road:DSC03481We are very much enjoying dipping into Fab Gear. There are so many interesting stories and you’ll never look at a Beatle album cover, publicity shot, promotional film, or magazine/newspaper image the same way again. For a quick spin through the history and influence the band had on fashion (and that fashion had on them) it’s an indispensable book. We guarantee you’ll learn something you didn’t know about the Beatles:DSC03485DSC03490DSC03488DSC03491DSC03480