A New Beatle Book – ‘The Beatles’ Liverpool’

Now that international travel is slowly becoming more feasible for many of us again, a visit to Liverpool – the city where it all began for The Beatles – might just be back on your travel “must do” list.

If so, it’d be nice to have a guide to point you in the right direction when you get there.

Liverpool, on the banks of the River Mersey always looms large in any discussion about the formation of the band and their influences. Many of the physical places they lived or frequented have become key parts of the Beatle story. It is of course the city where John, Paul, Ringo and George were born, grew up in, and knew well.

Now a new guide book The Beatles’ Liverpool – just released – takes you there by gathering more than fifty Liverpudlian localities. The fully illustrated guide then explains why those particular places played such a key role in the band’s development and success.

Of course there are the obligatory entries for the childhood homes (Menlove Avenue for John, Arnold Grove for George, Forthlin Road for Paul, and Admiral Grove for Ringo); there’s the background to Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields; The Cavern Club; and the well-known St Peter’s Church, Woolton where John first met Paul.

But there are many more obscure listings too. Like Hulme Hall in Port Sunlight; the Neston Institute in Wirral; and 4 Rodney Street, birthplace of Beatle manager Brian Epstein.

There’s also a handy two-page guide map pinpointing the location of all the places mentioned in the guide.

If you’re planning a Liverpool visit, this book would be an essential to take with you – and it won’t cost you any excess luggage fees. At just over 44 pages The Beatles’ Liverpool is compact and light enough to easily slip into a travel bag or backpack to have with you as you walk the streets of the historic city.

Even if you’re still a way off physically getting to Liverpool, you can dive into The Beatles’ Liverpool and pay a visit vicariously. It’s the perfect armchair alternative to actually being there.

Author Mike Haskins was himself born and raised in Merseyside – and he still lives there! He’s worked as a scriptwriter and researcher for TV, radio and the stage, and has published over fifty books.

WIN A COPY OF THE BEATLES’ LIVERPOOL (NOW CLOSED)

Courtesy of Pitkin Publishing and Batsford Books in the UK, we’ve have two copies of The Beatles’ Liverpool to give away to two lucky readers.

All you need to do is provide your name, email address and have a go at answering two easy Beatle Liverpool-related questions. Just click on the link below to enter:

https://beatlesblogger.survey.fm/the-beatles-liverpool-giveaway

Good luck!

UPDATE:
Thank you to everyone who entered. And congratulations to the two readers who were first in with the correct answers!

They are Fred, from Ontario, Canada; and Diane from New York, USA. They will receive a copy of The Beatles’ Liverpool book, courtesy of Pitkin Publishing and Batsford Books.

The correct answers to our questions were:

  1. In their early career band members purchased many of their instruments from which famous Liverpool music store? Hessy’s Music Centre
  2. Ringo’s family hails from Liverpool’s Dingle area. His Mum worked at pub called The Empress there. In what way did Ringo put that building on the map? It’s on the front cover of his Sentimental Journey LP

Beatles Box of Vision – Revisited

There’s no doubt there are some very generous souls in the Beatle collecting community and we’ve recently been the recipient of such generosity. In a tidy-up and down-sizing of his collection one beatlesblog reader found he had two copies of the 2009 release Beatles Box of Vision and, very kindly, decided to pass one of them along to us. And a welcome addition it is as we didn’t have this treasure in the collection.

The Beatles Box of Vision was the brainchild of former Capitol Records Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer and Beatle fanatic, Jonathan Polk.

Timed to coincide with the 2009 release of the Beatles stereo CD remasters, Box of Vision was a sumptuous way to store all that officially reissued CD catalogue – and more. Its storage section could contain every release from Please Please Me right up to the then-current Love, including Past Masters 1 & 2; the ‘best of’ albums 1962-1966 and 1967-1970; Live at the BBC; Anthology 1, 2 and 3; the Yellow Submarine Songtrack; the 1 compilation; and even Let It Be…Naked.

Box of Vision is large and impressively constructed. It comes shipped in a protective white cardboard outer (that is really worth keeping):

On the rear of this protective box is printed information about the contents:

When you open this white outer box the first thing you see inside is the large, well-protected, very good quality Box of Vision box. This initially looks like it might be designed to hold LPs instead of CDs because it is of LP-like proportions:

Taking it out reveals this still striking Robert Freeman image on the front cover of of what is a black linen covered storage box:

The box is deep and has the core collection LP spines printed along its edges :

As mentioned, the box is beautifully made. It is hinged on the left, opens like a large clam shell. It is designed to store, organise and display your Beatle CD collection. It contains two high quality books plus a set of plastic sleeves. The first thing you see when you open it up is a slim, soft cover book called The Beatles Catalography.

Then comes a series of 4 plastic storage sleeves – each of which can hold 8 CDs plus their booklets (4 on the front, 4 on the back of each sleeve). These have black and white images at each slot to show which CD goes where:

Then at the back of the box is an impressive cloth-bound hard back book containing all the full-sized artwork for every release. This is embossed on the front in shiny black lettering that simply says The Beatles:

Each box is numbered. This one is #1369:

Even the rear of the box has a nice detail:

Let’s look first at The Beatles Catalography book:

This is a guidebook to the unique history of Beatle releases. It details their UK and US catalogue in a side-by-side presentation so that you can immediately see the differences between the two countries, both in the artwork and the track listings:

Then comes the hefty, cloth-bound book The Beatles with high quality images of all the artwork associated with every official Beatle release in the UK to 2009.

Where that artwork extends to posters, special inserts or booklets these too are reproduced. For example, the story picture book stapled inside the Magical Mystery Tour LP is reproduced in full:

When you get to the 1 album an image of the poster is reproduced:

Likewise the booklet that came with the Let It Be…Naked LP:

The rear covers of each album are also faithfully reproduced:

Where did the name ‘Box of Vision’ come from?

At the time Jonathan Polk told The Houston Chronicle that title is from a song by Tom Russell. “The gist of the song is a father wishing he could give his child a box with all the things he would like her to experience in her life. I thought it was a good fit as I had envisioned this as a way to give a young fan the context to appreciate the history and chronology of the Beatles catalog, and what they were able to accomplish, in a much deeper way than as simply a bunch of hit songs.”

At the time you could order Box of Vision through the official Beatles site, or through a dedicated Box of Vision site – but that sadly is now long gone.

The Beatle/Apple connection – and the incredible quality of the images reproduced in both the books accompanying the storage box – very clearly hints at the close involvement the Beatles camp must have had with this project. They obviously supported the initiative fully, and it shows.

Here’s a YouTube ‘unboxing’ video from the time:

There was also a John Lennon Box of Vision released a year later in 2010, as well as a Bob Dylan Archive in 2011 – both done in a similar style to the The Beatles Box of Vision.

Thank you so much to reader Michael who very generously gifted us the Beatles Box of Vision.

Thanks also to Marc who read our article about The Beatles Box Of Vision and writes: “After it was released the Box Of Vision website had a PDF download containing corrections for three pages in Catalography book: one for the Let It Be/Let It Be…Naked page, and two of the Song/Album Reference pages.” Marc has made that PDF available. He hopes this is useful for others who may have missed it at the time. You can download those pages here:

Russian Fans Celebrated in Major New Book About Beatlemania in the Soviet Union

The people of Russia and the former Soviet Union have long had their access to Western art, culture and information suppressed and curated by the State. Just look at what’s going on in the country right now.

Consequently it’s always been hard to be a Beatle fan, especially when bans on Western popular music were actively policed and the consequences for flouting the laws could be devastating. Just take a look at this post from earlier this year. As we said then: there was a time when you had to be tough and take risks as an individual to be a fan in public. The KGB (a.k.a. the Soviet secret service and other authorities) came down very hard on anyone who dared to say they “….loved Lennon more than Lenin”.

Witness also the lengths that Beatle fans went to in order to listen to their favourite band’s music, right down to covertly cutting tracks onto old x-ray film. This became known as “music on bones” and you can check out our article on that here.

Subsequent to the fall of the Soviet Union things have become a little easier but it’s still been a relatively rocky road for Russian fans compared to those of us in the West.

Now comes a book that tries to sum up what it was like to be a Beatle fan across those years and into the solo Beatle years as well. It’s not about the Beatles themselves, but about how they were loved in the USSR. The English translation of the book’s title says it all really: How We Loved the Beatles: The History of Beatlemania in the USSR.

By the way, the author Dmitry Karasyuk is a totally blind man.

You should know that How We Loved the Beatles: The History of Beatlemania in the USSR is in Russian, and at 760 pages it is quite some undertaking. It contains many memoirs (funny and tragic) of both famous and very ordinary people. There are also many personal memories, and many, many photographs from fan archives. Almost every page has images or memorabilia related to the times. Here are just two random samples:

At the end of the book there is a short description in English. This is worth reading as its an excellent overview of the sort of information this book contains and what it is trying to achieve (click on image to see a larger version):

We mentioned how tough it was being a Beatle fan in the USSR. Here’s just one story from the book to help illustrate that – a story with a real twist in the tail:

In the early 1970s a young man buying Beatle records was detained at a flea market and taken to the local police station. There one of the police officers (police in the USSR were called militsiya) had an “educational conversation” with him (i.e. he gave him a slap on the wrist) saying that it was not good for a young builder of communism to listen to such enemy capitalist music. Later the young man happened to meet that same militsiya on the street. And the policeman asked: “If I give you a tape could you please record some Beatles music on it for me?”

Another very interesting section of How We Loved the Beatles: The History of Beatlemania in the USSR contains chapters about the Melodiya and Antrop companies which eventually released Beatle and solo records in the USSR – both officially, and not so officially.

The author spoke with former employees of Melodiya. They talk about how Beatle tracks finally came to appear on records in the 1970s, how Beatle and solo records were officially released in the 1980s, and where the sources for these releases came from.

The author also found Andrey Tropillo, the founder of Antrop Records, and in a long interview with him Tropillo tells how he created/launched the company, how and where he pressed vinyl, how they made alternative sleeves, and much more. And how, in the end, Antrop turned into Santa.

It’s not known whether the publisher will eventually translate the entire book into English. This, we’re told, is quite a challenge because there’s a lot of original Soviet youth slang which can’t be translated into other languages “in all its beauty”.

This love of all things Beatles endures. This young woman (whose name is Jane Enenko) is in the book. She hails from remote Siberia, and was invited on stage during a 2015 Paul McCartney tour:

We realise How We Loved the Beatles: The History of Beatlemania in the USSR is aimed at a very special market. The fact that it is written in Russian dictates that. But it is such a labour of love, and so comprehensive in it’s scope, we thought it very worthy of a mention here.

Russian-speaking fans of The Beatles living outside of Russia can buy the book from the German online store Esterum: Russian books worldwide, which is located in Frankfurt. It is also available from this online book store in the EU – in Riga, Latvia.

FYI here’s the rear cover. (Click on the link to see a larger version and to read the text – if you understand Russian!)

McCartney’s ‘The Lyrics’ Wins British Book Award

Paul McCartney, no stranger to the odd prestigious award, has just won another.

His book The Lyrics:1956 to the Present has taken out the award for Best Non-Fiction Lifestyle book in the 2022 British Book Awards (otherwise known as The Nibbies):

Strangely Sir Paul’s acceptance speech (pre-recorded and played to the audience at the awards ceremony) could not be included in the YouTube clip.

Here’s some more info on the other books that were on the shortlist.

The judges wrote that The Lyrics was: “A work of art”; “a unique piece of publishing”; and a book that “belongs in a museum, not just our bookshelves.” They praised the two-volume set as a “fantastic visual diary”, singling out the original hand-written lyrics.

The book was supported by a free exhibition at the British Library and McCartney in Conversation at the Southbank Royal Festival Hall.

Publishers Allen Lane coordinated a global launch, simultaneously in 11 languages, attaining extensive broadsheet and radio coverage. Plus the book was released in multiple translations.

Ringo’s New Book – ‘Lifted’

Ringo Starr has a new book out. It is called Lifted – Fab Images and Memories From My Life and Across the Universe.

Speaking about the book Ringo said: “I am not writing this book as a Beatle historian. I’m writing this book as a Beatle — and there’s only a couple of us who can do that.”

Asked about it’s origins, Starr explains: “I didn’t keep all these photos. These fantastic images came back to me in recent years from here, there and everywhere — online and off — and have somehow helped me get back to seeing my life with The Fab Four through fresh eyes. A lot of the photos in this book I spotted on my phone and on my computer and “lifted” them because they brought back so many fabulous memories.”

“So this a book full of Beatle images that many people haven’t seen and stories that I’m sharing with a little help from my longtime writer friend David Wild. We’ve all been through a pretty tough time for a lot of people who’ve been locked down, and this book has really lifted my spirits and took me back to where I once belonged in a whole new way. And in the end, that’s why this new book is called Lifted. The Beatles changed my life forever. So it’s about getting back and giving back.”

Lifted is only available online from the Julien’s Auction House site, and there are two editions to choose from.

The standard ‘Collectors Edition’ costs US$59.00. It is a handsome-looking coffee table style hardback. It seems to have a been popular seller as it’s already in a 2nd Edition print run on the Julien’s site.

There is also a ‘Signature Edition’ that costs US$495.00 and is limited to 1000 copies. The same ‘Collectors Edition’ book comes presented in a velvet outer bag and the book – each one signed and numbered by Ringo – is contained in a custom box.

Proceeds from the sale of Lifted will go to the charity The Lotus Foundation, which does good work across a range of worthy causes.

Ringo has been out and about promoting the book, especially on social media. Here’s a photo we lifted from Instagram:

If the name Julien’s Auctions sounds familiar, it is the company that managed the 2015 once-in-a-lifetime auction, curated by Ringo and his wife Barbara Bach, featuring thousands of items from their London estate, and their Beverly Hills and Monaco residences.

There were artworks, clothing and jewelry, furniture, memorabilia, musical instruments (including seven drum kits owned and played by Ringo), gold records, cars, and much, much more. There was even Ringo’s personal UK 1st mono pressing of The Beatles White Album, No: 0000001. It sold for US$790,000!

You can get an overview of what was on offer here. And the full list of all lots is here. They are fun to look through. Interestingly, a portion of the proceeds from this auction also went to The Lotus Foundation.

Reader Unboxing Video of McCartney ‘The Lyrics’ Limited Edition

We’re guessing that many of you had Paul MCCartney’s The Lyrics book under the Christmas tree this year.

Not so many though would have been unwrapping the Limited Edition.

That’s the one actually signed by Sir Paul, and there have reportedly been just 175 copies made available worldwide. However, that most likely means 175 for the US market, and 175 for the UK.

Either way, it’s the one that comes in a unique and quite distinctive bright orange box with blue lettering. The design inside is different to the standard as well – as one lucky reader in New Zealand has just shared with us when he received his unique boxed set.

His name is Simon and somehow he managed to get a copy of the Limited Edition sent to him from a UK book store. It is number 105/175. Simon’s done this unboxing video for us of him opening his treasure:

See also Paul McCartney The Lyrics – How Many Translations?

The Beatles, Get Back and London: On the Trail of a Timeless Story

In the lead-up to the release next week of the Peter Jackson film The Beatles: Get Back, John Harris, editor of the new book of the same name, takes us on a fascinating journey to the three key locations in the making of the Let It Be album. It is delightful:

McCartney ‘The Lyrics’ – How Many Translations?

While looking around the web shopping for Paul McCartney’s fabulous new book The Lyrics, we stumbled across a couple of different translations, and it got us wondering how many countries were getting versions of the book in their own language?

There are of course two main English editions. The two most common of these are the US edition in the green outer box:

And there’s the UK edition – which has exactly the same content as the US, but externally is quite different in design:

Also worthy of mention is a third English language version of the book: the Limited Edition. This one is actually signed by Sir Paul. There have reportedly been just 175 copies made available worldwide, though as one reader points out there have been two different signed books with the number #95 sold on eBay. Each had a different publishing logo, raising doubt on the accuracy of “175 worldwide”. Maybe it is 175 in the US, and 175 in the UK. Either way, it comes in a distinctive bright orange box with blue lettering. The design inside is quite unique too – including the two volumes inside which are also in that distinctive orange binding:

Then we get onto the translations, and those we’ve been able to uncover (to date) all seem to have the same outer box and book binding as the US green version above.

Here is the German:

And the Dutch language edition:

Next up is the Spanish:

And close by (in terms of geography) there is the Portuguese:

There is a French language edition too, and it seems to come with an outer box re-design as well:

The Italian translation has only just been released (9 November). There aren’t any great images of how it is packaged yet – but we’ve asked one of the translators and can confirm that this is the cover:

As you can see, like the French edition, the Italians have gone for a white outer box. The translation has been done by Franco Zanetti and Luca Parasi, who is author of the highly regarded Paul McCartney reference book Recording Sessions (1969-2013).

A further confirmation that this is the way the Italian edition is presented are the images in this advertisement that the publishers, Rizzoli Libri, was running on Amazon:

And finally, two unexpected translations – one in Finnish:

And the other in Swedish (thanks to reader Ole for sending this one in). Interesting that the front covers of the two books inside appear to have the images and super-imposed lyrics used for the rear covers of the books in the rest of the world:

Is that all? Do you know of any others?

Let us know using the ‘Leave a Reply’ link below if you have any updates and we’ll publish them here.

Listen to McCartney Read from “The Lyrics”

If you’re keen on hearing Paul McCartney actually reading from his new book The Lyrics, then you’ll be interested to learn that BBC Sounds in the UK has produced a short audio series called Paul McCartney: Inside the Songs.

The series features ten audio extracts from The Lyrics book, with the author himself reading aloud 10 of the entries.

Check out the Introduction here:

Then, follow the links here to listen to all ten episodes. They include songs like ‘All My Loving’, ‘Eleanor Rigby’, ‘Got to Get You into My Life’, right up to ‘Pretty Boys’ from last year’s McCartney III album.

The Lyrics spans McCartney’s career writing popular music from 1956 to the present. In it he talks about his life and song-writing through the prism of 154 key lyrics.

Host of Inside the Songs, John Wilson, also interviewed Paul McCartney extensively for an episode of the BBC series This Cultural Life. You can hear that interview in full here (or just click on the image below):

Paul McCartney – ‘Grandude’s Green Submarine’ Book and Audio Book

Two new McCartney items to add to the collection today.

Paul McCartney has written another children’s book. It follows on from his Hey Grandude!, kids story released in 2019.

This one is Grandude’s Green Submarine and once again the story has been illustrated by the talentented Canadian artist, Kathryn Durst.

And, as with the previous title, there’s also a separate audio book on CD – with McCartney not only reading his story but also providing the original music. This is along similar lines to the Hey Grandude! audio book, but the music is different and its played by him and band member, Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens.

Firstly, here’s the book cover, front and rear. It’s a large-format hardback with a protective dust jacket:

Just like the Hey Grandude! book, if you take the dust jacket off, there’s a completely different cover design underneath, front and rear:

The design of the book is stylishly done and has lots of nice touches. Here are two pages from inside to give you a feel for the contents:

And this is the audio book CD, which has Paul himself reading the book. Penguin Books has once again packaged this up nicely in a gatefold cover with a decent booklet. The CD takes all the elements from the book and carries them through the whole design. Here’s the front cover:

And the rear:

They’ve gone to some trouble, making it a gatefold:

And here’s the booklet containing the credits (and two biographies):

(As usual, click on the images to see larger versions)