Four Second-hand Beatle Books

There’s nothing like poking around second-hand book and record fairs for an hour or two looking for Beatle treasure – especially if the monies raised are for a good cause.

Every year the Lifeline organisation holds a huge used book sale at Knox Grammar, a posh private school on Sydney’s upper north shore. It is BIG. A very large hall in the school grounds is filled to bursting with books – and usually a wide selection of CD’s too.

This year we were lucky enough to get there late on Day One of the sale before everything had been picked over too much. Here’s what we found:Winding Road frontWinding Road rearNeville Stannard’s The Long and Winding Road – A History of the Beatles on Record was first published in 1982. Back then (and you have to remember this was pre-Internet!) it gathered together for the first time knowledge about every Beatle record and song – for both the UK and US markets: who wrote each song, why, how and when; how, when and where each was recorded; how many copies sold; chart positions; cover images and other artwork. That sort of info was available – but never gathered together in the one place. In this sense Stannard’s book was a trail-blazer and remains a valuable reference work. The book we have here is the second edition (published a year later in 1983) and as such has many corrections and revisions to the original. Really good to have in the collection.

Next find was A Day in the Life – The Music and Artistry of the Beatles by Mark Hertsgaard.Day in the Life frontDay in the Life rear

Got to admit we don’t know much about this hardback. Mark Hertsgaard is a journalist and author better known for his writing on climate change and so this work on the Beatles looks to be born from a personal love and knowledge of the band and its music. It was published in 1995 and reviews posted online look good. Looking forward to reading it and learning more!

Mark Hayward, the author of The Beatles – On Camera, Off Guard (2009) is also responsible for this earlier Beatles work:Beatles Unseen

Hayward is an avid collector of Beatle images and over thirty years has built up one of the largest collections of Beatle photographs in private hands. The Beatles Unseen (2005) is a large, hardback book where the best and most interesting private photographs are curated and presented. Mostly informal, un-posed images, they shine an insiders light on the band – a “behind-the-scenes” look at their home and work life. It is a book you can flip through and dip into at random – sort of like a family album. Typical is this sequence. It shows the 1968 wedding of Paul McCartney’s brother Michael McCartney (a.k.a. Mike McGear) to Angela Fishwick in the village of Carrog in North Wales. Paul is with then girlfriend Jane Asher:Beatles Unseen1Beatles Unseen2Beatles Unseen3Beatles Unseen4“Unseen” family photographs are also the theme of the final book we walked out of the Lifeline second-hand book fair with:Lennon Family Album fronyLennon Family Album rear

Nishi Saimaru began working with the Lennon family in 1976 and served as their personal assistant and photographer until 1979. As a companion to the Lennons during their travels both in the US and in Asia he was able to capture family members in private moments while on the move – on holiday and at play. This sequence, taken in 1978, shows John, Yoko and son Sean with friends and neighbours at a birthday party held in Central Park, New York for both John and Sean (they share the same birth date). John was thirty-eight and Sean was three:Lennon Family Album1Lennon Family Album2Lennon Family Album3Lennon Family Album4Lennon Family Album5The John Lennon Family Album is a soft back book published in Australia in 1990. It was originally published in 1982 in Japan, and again in Japan in 1990. We believe there were also US and UK editions of this book.

 

Imagine – The Story of a Song

Charles J. Shields is a respected biographer and author. His literary studies of Kurt Vonnegut (And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut, A Life – 2011) and Harper Lee (Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee – 2006) have been widely recognised as significant works on these two authors.

Now he’s turned his attention to one song. And a significant song at that: John Lennon’s “Imagine”.imaginecover

“Twenty-two lines of graceful, plain-spoken faith in the power of a world to repair and change itself,” said Rolling Stone. Only 183 seconds long, the simple melody and poetry captured the wounded hopefulness of its moment–and transcended its time to inspire generations that followed.”

In Imagine: The Story of a Song Shields traces the song’s origins. Interestingly, he begins with the fire-bombing of Tokyo during Yoko Ono’s youth, and the violent death of Lennon’s mother during his adolescence. From there he moves through Lennon’s post-Ed Sullivan skepticism to John and Yoko’s “Bed-In” events of 1969 and unearths the secrets of this one song’s lasting import. If music can change the world, “Imagine” came as close as any song might. This short Kindle book (37 pages) is its story.

Imagine: The Story of a Song is available as an Amazon Kindle for US$4.99. You can even have a brief “look inside” before you buy.

Shields is also the author of this brief thought piece on John Lennon entitled “5 Surprising Ways John Lennon Changed the World“.  Worth a look.

Beatles Australian 50th Anniversary Celebrations Are Hotting Up – Part Four

This is interesting and well worth a listen. During the the Beatles 1964 tour, radio journalist Ian Nicholls interviewed John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Jimmie Nicol when they visited Melbourne:Beatles and Ian Nicholls

See also The Beatles Australian 50th Anniversary Celebrations Are Hotting Up – Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.

Three New Beatle Books

A couple of new Beatles book titles have come into the collection. Two were from a visit to the very well-known Berkelouw Book Barn in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales (in Australia). Berkelouw’s offer a huge selection and sell both new, second-hand and rare books. The two titles we found there recently are both “pre-loved”. First up was John, Paul, George, Ringo & Me – The Real Beatles Story by Tony Barrow:Tony Barrow front

This book is the paperback version and was released in 2006 by Andre Deutsch publishers. Barrow of course was a Beatle insider who served as their Press Officer throughout the height of their fame. As such he brings a unique view of the band, from the birth of Bealtemania through to the establishment of the Apple Records company. As with many others, Apple meant that Barrow and the Beatles parted ways. Google has one of those look inside pages if you would like to see more on this book.Tony Barrow rear

If the name Tony Barrow sounds familiar it’s probably because you know it from the back covers of many of the Beatles British releases. He wrote the sleeve notes (popular in the day) for the LP’s Please Please Me; With the Beatles; and A Hard Day’s Night, as well as for the EP’s The Beatles’ Hits; Twist and Shout; The Beatles (No.1); All My Loving; A Hard Day’s Night (Extracts from the Film); (Extracts from the Album) A Hard Day’s Night; and Beatles For Sale: The+Beatles+-+A+Hard+Day's+Night+No.+1+EP+-+1st+-+7%22+RECORD-500878500878b  Next book up was a biography of Paul McCartney which we hadn’t seen before:

McCartney frontLike the Barrow book this hard back also came out in 2006. It is published by Century Press (a division of Random House) and this is the Australian edition. Christopher Sandford is a prolific music writer and biographer, having also penned books on The Rolling Stones, Bowie, Clapton, Jagger, Sting, Springsteen and Kurt Cobain. I haven’t delved into the book yet, but some initial research using the web on this book doesn’t auger well. It is clearly not that well-liked by the fans….

FYI here’s another of those Google links so you can have a look inside Sandford’s McCartney if you wish to check it out more for yourself.

We also recently ordered online a copy of Jude Southerland Kessler’s latest instalment in her ongoing John Lennon project and it arrived safely in the post a couple of weeks back. She Loves You is Volume 3 in Jude’s ambitious nine-volume series on the life of John Lennon. It has only just been released and the timing is perfect because this book takes us right up to the Beatles US invasion – now being celebrated across this 50th anniversary year:She Loves You frontShe Loves You rear

Southerland researches exhaustively and writes biography in the style of a novel, telling Lennon’s life story like an unfolding drama. She tries to get beyond merely what happened when and into the complexity of his character, relationships and career. Like the previous two volumes, She Loves You is a very thick and weighty paperback. It is published by On The Rock Books. When you put the three volumes produced so far side-by-side they are impressive:She Loves You group

Each book has taken two to three years to complete. By the time we get to Volume 9 in the series we’ll need a very sturdy bookshelf to display them! Jude’s Facebook page is here.

Beatles With Records – Part Twenty Two

It has been a while since we’ve had a Beatles with records post. This is where we look for photographs of the Beatles actually holding those things they sold so many of – LP records, 45′s and CDs. And we try to do the detective work to identify the records they holding. Some are easier than others….

Our friend Lammert in France just sent through a set of John Lennon photos that were taken the same day as this photograph, which we published last time in The Beatles With Records Part 21lennon-epic-records

John seems to be holding either a big reel-to-reel tape box, or some sort of record box from the Epic Records company. You can clearly see the company logo on the front. In the 1960s EMI, the Beatles’ record company, had a distribution deal with Epic to release their titles in the UK – so maybe it was a box of sample records from them for him to listen to? Lammert has turned up a few more taken the same day which provide a few more clues:awardtumblr_m0uevr0B8s1qdvsg8o1_500

John has the same Epic box – and a Gold Record award award – in his lap in the photos above. Notice the photo of the band in the newspaper that is on the coffee table, just near his right boot! There is also a bag from Columbia Records on the lounge:tumblr_m54iagwPK51qdvsg8o1_500

We still can’t really see what’s in that Epic Records box, nor in the package from Columbia either. Here, Ringo lights up a cigarette while John takes a peak inside:tumblr_mg1742ccAA1qdvsg8o1_500

Lammert points out that these black and white photographs were taken the same day as this colour shot of John and Paul with LPs (which was included in our very first Beatles with Records post):

john-and-paul-with-lps

The photo above definitely confirms that the Epic box was in fact full of records. You can still see a couple still inside, and John and Paul are holding more. And this photograph below of George, counting his money and wearing a Beatles cap (from the Beatles with Records – Part Eighteen), was also taken that same day in the same room. Is that also the Epic Records box opened up in front of him?:

georgewithbenekingrecord

By the way, the framed gold record John has was for the US Capitol pressing of “I Want to Hold You Hand”. This is an original presentation white matte gold award. The single had sold over a million copies and was certified gold on February 3, 1964, just days before the band was to appear in New York at the start of their 1964 US tour. By March 28th Capitol Records reported sales in excess of 3.4 million copies. This and the following two singles are the extremely rare variety with the RIAA logo attached to the presentation plaque with glue. Only awards prepared before approximately September of 1964 use this format. Beginning in late 1964 the RIAA logo was etched into the presentation plaque. The plaque reads: Presented To The Beatles To Commemorate The Sale Of More Than One Million Copies Of The Capitol Records Pop Single Record “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. (Thanks to the whocollection site for the information):

IWantToHoldYourHand

Here they are in the same suits they are wearing in the hotel room in the photos above accepting the gold record from Allen Livingston, President of Capital Records at the Hotel Plaza:Allen Livingston, President of Capital Records presents the

Thanks to Lammert for sending through those additional photos.

You can see more in the Beatles With Records series here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16,17,18,19, 20 and 21.

 

Yoko Ono Albums To Be Reissued

Flipping through a recent copy of Mojo magazine we noticed this small article:mojo

Being interested in anything Beatles and Apple Records related we decided to do a bit more research.

Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band site has this small promo tile (complete with a grapefruit) – but no links when you click on it:reissue_yopob

Same for her Imagine Peace site. Again, there’s the same promo tile on the page but no other information or links, although there is a tiny bit more info as the tile at least lists two record company names:Reissue_Imaginepeace

Chimera Music is Ono’s (and son Sean Lennon’s) record label. A search revealed no further information on their site though. Not sure what Secretly Canadian has to do with the releases (it’s an American independent record label based in Bloomington, Indiana) because there’s no reference to Yoko Ono or Plastic Ono Band on their site either….

Of course these titles have been released previously. The details of that 1997 reissue project are in this MTV article:

“….beginning on May 20th, the label (Rykodisc) will present 11 different Yoko Ono and Plastic Ono Band albums, all of which are being remixed and remastered as needed by Ono herself…..The first wave of releases will be unleashed on May 20 with the four titles, Unfinished Music #1: Two Virgins, an album or tape manipulation and random noises reportedly made the night before Ono and John Lennon made love for the first time; its sequel, Unfinished Music #2: Life With the Lions, which deals with Ono’s subsequent miscarriage and also contains a “song” called “Radio Play,” 12 minutes of random radio dial-turning; the collaborative The Wedding Album, whose second song is a 22 minute drone consisting of the couple calling each other’s name and, finally, the first Plastic Ono Band album, Yoko Ono with the Plastic Ono Band.

The next set of four releases (June 10) contains what many considered to be the first post-punk record (ironic, since it pre-dated punk), the noisy, experimental Fly, credited to Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band. Also released on that day are two other Plastic Ono Band Yoko titles, Approximately Infinite Universe and Feeling the Space. Also included will be Ono’s cathartic, personal album, Season of Glass. July 1st will bring the last set of three releases,It’s Alright (I See Rainbows)Star Peace and A Story, a previously unreleased album that was included in the box set. Ono is currently searching for some appropriate bonus tracks for the releases…”

Rykodisc were also involved with this 1992 6-CD set, Onobox:Ono BoxYoko Ono herself writes about the contents of this box set extensively here. Onobox is a kind of a “best of” compilation, with tracks from across her own (and John Lennon’s) output from 1968 to 1985.

It’ll be interesting to see what the 2014 project brings….

The Beatles Arrive in New York, 7 February, 1964

It begins….

The Beatles U.S. Albums

Time Magazine      Life Magazine

Rolling Stone       Mojo Magazine

The Beatles in the United States

And not one, but two articles from the lovely and very knowledgable Beatles expert, Jude Southerland Kessler, author of the John Lennon series. Jude is writing an ambitious nine-volume expanded biography of John Lennon and she has just published volume three. Here’s an excerpt from the new book, She Loves You:

February 1964: The Beatles Arrive in America!

The Love You Give: Ten Life Lessons from The Beatles

Beatles With Records – Part Twenty One

When we started way back with Part One of the Beatles With Records series it was based on the premise that (quote): “Despite selling multi, multi-millions of the things, it’s kind of strange that you hardly ever see photographs of the Beatles themselves with, or listening to, records”.

Well, through lots of help from Beatles Blog readers we’ve actually amassed quite a lot of photographs to disprove that theory.

And here are some more….

Back in that first post we showed this great photo of John Lennon surrounded by guitars, amplifiers, speakers and 45 singles, listening intently to music:john-with-singles

Here is another angle from that same day:Aug 2013 15248

John is a bit of a running theme throughout this post. In this next photograph he seems to be holding either a big reel-to-reel tape box, or some sort of record box from the classic Epic Records company:Lennon Epic Records

You can clearly see the company’s old logo on the front. In the 1960s EMI, the Beatles’ record company, had a distribution deal with Epic to release their titles in the UK – so maybe it was a box of sample records from them for him to listen to?epic-records-older-logoEpic is still going strong of course. Here’s another of John seeking out a track to play on a great-looking jukebox. It’d be interesting to know which song he chose to listen to….
Aug 2013 853389

There are no recognisable discs in this next one of John and Yoko rehearsing, but there’s a shelf full of records behind them none-the-less:Aug 2013 1989920

This next photograph shows the couple on the promotion trail for Imagine:Aug 2013 2041046imagine

Not sure which LP John is listening to here:Aug 2013 1784786

Back in Part 5 we showed this photo of Beatle manager Brian Epstein holding a UK copy of Help!:

epstein-help

Another photo has come in which gives the close-up shot above a great deal more context. Brian was actually studying the cover of Help! amidst the hubbub of the Beatles getting ready to make some sort of an appearance, or about to go on stage:  Aug 2013 970032beatles-helpThis next one is associated with the same Beatle film-related project. It’s pretty easy to guess that the band is at a press conference in the United States, only this time associated with the US version of the LP from the film Help!  It came with a different cover:Aug 2013 - 1965 29 Aug 1786515-3help_us_version_capitol_records_semaphore_NVUJ

Here’s another photograph of Brian Epstein, this time with a much earlier album, Please Please Me:Uncut Beatles 2aThe Beatles - Please Please Me

Meanwhile, back to John Lennon, and two photograph taken around the time of the release of Double Fantasy. Check what looks to be a sample image of the cover stuck on the noticeboard:Aug 2013 2035709And, in the same office, signing the back covers of promotional copies of Double Fantasy to go out to reviewers at radio stations, magazines and newspapers:Aug 2013 1971789double-fantasyDouble fantasy rear

We’ve previously featured Paul McCartney besieged by fans when trying to move between a building and his car. The fans are thrusting out albums to be signed. You can see a couple of good examples in the Beatles With Records Part Twenty, and also in Part Fourteen. Sometimes, from the look on his face, you get the feeling that Paul must be thinking “Will this ever stop?”Aug 2013 2023012Aug 2013 2061267Most times though he seems very willing to smile and help fans out where he can:Aug 2013 2057180Aug 2013 2057183And to finish, a couple of earlier Paul photos with records from his Beatle days:Aug 2013 909287

And from the Wings days:Aug 2013 2062430You can see the entire Beatles With Records series here: 12345678910111213141516,17,18,19 and 20.

John Lennon: The Bermuda Tapes

Yoko Ono has launched a WhyHunger fund-raising iPhone/iPad app called John Lennon: The Bermuda Tapes.Lennon Bermuda Tapes 5

The app documents the 1980 sailing trip undertaken by Lennon to the island of Bermuda – a journey which re-ignited his creative spark and led to the writing of the songs that formed the albums Double Fantasy and Milk and Honey. Integrating excerpts of demo tapes recorded in Bermuda alongside game play and documentary storytelling, John Lennon: The Bermuda Tapes takes users down two paths:LEnnon Bermuda Tapes

One is called “Play” which immerses users into the eventful boat journey itself; and one is called “Listen” which contains intimate demo tapes of several Lennon songs written while he was in Bermuda including “Woman”, “I’m Losing You”, “(Just Like) Starting Over”, “Nobody Told Me”, “Dear Yoko” and a previously unreleased demo version of “Stepping Out.”Lennon Bermuda Tapes2Lennon Bermuda Tapes 3Lennon Bermuda Tapes 4

To find out more you can read the full press release here and there’s also an official online site dedicated to the app. We’ve downloaded the app and it is very detailed and interactive. The graphics and they way they tell the story are creative. It’s very involving and you certainly learn a lot of things about John Lennon that maybe you didn’t know before. Well worth the money – and it goes to a good cause as well.

Net proceeds from the sale of the app go to benefit the not-for-profit WhyHunger organisation and its global Imagine There’s No Hunger campaign, in partnership with Hard Rock International and Yoko Ono.

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery – Part 3

A couple of posts ago we featured some of the album covers which blatantly copied or where perhaps inspired by the Beatles Let It Be. That followed this fairly similar copy from back in 2010 of the cover for their compilation The Beatles Number 1. 

Now it’s time for the White Album.

Released in 1968, its cover was a simple and stark contrast to the visual complexity of the Sgt Pepper LP which (at least in Britain) immediately preceded it:TheBeatles68LP

Since that austere, one-colour look with absolutely minimal text there has been more than a few followers to have worked the same theme. Here, in no particular order, are just some of the many:

Brian Eno - Music For Films -Talking HeadsLive at Leeds

Of course, good old plain black has been very popular over the years:Metallica_-_Metallica_coverSpinal+Tap+-+This+Is+Spinal+Tap+-+LP+RECORD-441227The_Roots_-_OrganixDire Straights making_moviesarctic_monkeys_suck_it_and_see_2011_retail_cd-front1gangof4The+Undertones+-+Positive+Touch+-+LP+RECORD-129174The FieldBeggarsBanquetLPOf course, John Lennon’s own Live Peace in Toronto probably qualifies too: john-lennon-live-peace-in-toronto

So too does McCartney’s side project The Fireman with his 1993 release Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest:Fireman_Strawberries_Oceans_Ships_ForestKnow of any more? Let us know.

See also Part 1 and Part 2.