“The Beatles” – An Interesting Book

Another Beatles book has recently come into the collection. Again, it’s from a discount book store that is just near where I work. They specialise in selling remaindered stock at greatly reduced prices and I’ve picked up some interesting titles from there over the years. This one is simply called “The Beatles“:

There’s a great photo of the band on the front cover – it’s highly colourised but quite striking in its effect. The title words “The Beatles” are printed in silver and so don’t show up too well in this scanned image. Interestingly, nowhere on the front or rear covers, or even the spine, is there mention of the author. You have to go to the publishers details page inside where in the fine print it says “Written by Mike Evans”. I’m not sure why Mike doesn’t get a mention anywhere on the outside of the book. A quick Google search reveals Evans is actually quite prolific having written or edited, amongst many other titles, “The Beatles: Paperback Writer: 40 Years of Classic Writing“, “The Art of British Rock: 50 Years of Rock Posters, Flyers and Handbills“,  and “The Beatles: On Camera, Off Guard 1963 – 1969“, so the guy has form.

The Beatles” is chronological in nature and, over 21 chpaters and 224 pages  traces the evolution of the band from the early years through to the final chapter called “The Beatles’ Legacy” which brings the story up to 2009 and the release of the newly remastered CD sets – so I’d say it came out in late 2009, although again the book itself does not have a publication date on it. Strange.

In a lot of ways its a pretty standard Beatles book – but a nicely produced one – one that has at least been done with some care. Its a hardback with lots and lots of photographs (some of them unusual and interesting), and quite detailed text covering each important Beatle release, from “Please Please Me” (1963) through to “Let It Be” (1970). Mike Evans deals with the tours as well – including the troubled 1966 tour to Japan and Philippines where the Beatles were lucky to escape with their lives. In this news photo in the book they, along with manager Brian Epstein, look pretty happy to be back in London in one piece, their smiles belying the danger they faced after a perceived offense to the President of the Philippines and his wife:

As well as terrific photos there are lots of other worthwhile visual additions scattered throughout, like colour reproductions of Beatles memorabilia like movie posters, concert tickets, Beatles stamps, and this US concert poster from August, 1966 for the concert at Candlestick Park, San Francisco:

The photos inside are often unusual, like this one of Paul in the studio in January, 1968 with Cilla Black, taking her through the song he’d written for her called “Step Inside Love“. It became the theme for Black’s successful TV show of the same name:

Author Mike Evans deals with both the up-side of the Beatles’ success, and the down-side, including the ill-fated Beatles foray into selling fashion. Described by Evans as “..the biggest disaster for Apple….The idea was to sell trendy items; Paul McCartney described it as “a beautiful place where beautiful people can buy beautiful things.” In reality, though, it was a clothes store, and became known as the “Apple Boutique”. By the middle of 1968, the shop had made a loss of nearly US$500,000/£250,000, a fortune in those days and on July 30 it closed.” In this photo crowds gather outside to grab a bargain and to witness the Apple Boutique’s last day of business:

The Beatles” is published in Australia by Hinkler Books.

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