Another Addition to McCartney’s ‘Flowers’ Deluxe Box Set

In the lead up to the release the Paul McCartney Flowers In The Dirt deluxe box set, Paul Sinclair from Super Deluxe Edition was one of the people leading the charge to have a physical CD included instead of the proposed “Download Only” selection of B-sides, Remixes, Single Edits and Cassette Demos.

His role in the protest led to a call from Scott Rodger, McCartney’s manager, who laid out the reasons behind the download only decision.

It also led Paul Sinclair to publish on his site a series of interviews with the producers who, back in 1989, collaborated with McCartney on the original recordings for Flowers In The Dirt. They each gave a unique insight not only into what it was like to work on the project, but also what it was like to work with Paul McCartney.

The reaction to those interviews was such that Sinclair subsequently produced a limited edition printed booklet called In Their Own Words: The Producer’s on Paul McCartney’s Flowers in the Dirt:Here’s a typical page (as usual, click on the images to see larger versions):

In a nice touch the booklet is designed to slip in alongside the other four books that come with the deluxe box set:

The booklet is a professionally designed and printed, 16-page document containing the original 9000-word interview feature (as published on SDE) along with 1200 extra words exclusive to the printed edition. Only 500 copies were initially produced and made available for sale through the Super Deluxe Edition site. Each was numbered and signed by Paul Sinclair. Ours is number 347/500:

The initial print run of numbered and signed copies sold out in less than 48 hours. In response to demand, there has been a second print run of this booklet. These are unsigned and not numbered, but otherwise identical. So if you’d like one, get in fast.

See also our solution to the “Download Only” issue.

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A Couple of Op Shop Beatle Books

Browsing my local “Vinnies” (St. Vincent de Paul Society) op shop recently turned up a couple of nice Beatle books. Both are very interesting, and both are in excellent condition.

The first is a large and heavy hard back edition of Barry Miles’ The Beatles Diary – An Intimate Day by Day History:

This particular edition dates back to 1998 and is published by Omnibus Press. It has appeared in numerous other forms and has been reprinted many times. It is still available on Amazon.

Barry Miles goes back a long way with the Beatles having first met them in 1965. They became involved in a number of his artistic and literary pursuits (the Indica Gallery and The International Times are just two examples), and he eventually ended up working for them as label manager for their experimental Zapple Records (see one of his other books: The Zapple Diaries: The Rise and Fall of the Last Beatles Label for a complete history of what happened there).

Miles is also author of the 1997 authorised Paul McCartney biography Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, so he’s something of an insider.

In this book, an extensive day-by-day account of the group, he begins his story in wartime Liverpool and ends it in the dying days of the 1960s. The Beatles Diary – An Intimate Day by Day History is chock full of interesting information, facts and photographs – all coming together to form a revealing personal history of the Beatles. I mention the photographs specifically because this book is lavishly illustrated: 

Here’s and example of a typical text page:

And here’s the rear cover:

The second book we found on the Vinnies shelves was an equally thick and heavy hard back called The Beatles – 10 Years That Shook the World

As you can see by the logo top right on the cover, this was published (in 2004) in association with Mojo, the highly respected music magazine people. At first blush the book looks like a compendium of a wide range of articles taken directly from the magazine and simply re-printed in the one place. That in itself would be a fantastic repository of writing on the Beatles, and it is true to a point – but there’s much more to this book as well.

It has a Foreword by Brian Wilson, and appears to have a wide range of specially commissioned additional articles and reviews from the likes of Bill Harry, Keith Badman, Mark Lewisohn, Ian MacDonald, David Fricke and Hunter Davies, to name just a few. Alongside these is a running chronological diary of key events, breakout boxes with a fascinating variety of additional information and facts, and (again) a wide variety of great pictures, labels, record covers, and memorabilia:

The Beatles: 10 Years That Shook The World is published by Dorling Kindersley and Mojo. For an Amazon “Look Inside” click here. In short, this is an astonishing resource and very welcome in the beatlesblogger.com library. 

Rare, Vintage and Signed Beatle Photo Book on Offer

Following our article about the new David Magnus exhibition which has just opened in London, we received an email from his wife Janice with some further interesting news:

Hallo,

You will have all seen in the press over the last week the very exciting news that photographer David Magnus has opened his first exclusive Beatles Unseen Exhibition at Proud Galleries in The Kings Road Chelsea in London. To view the photographs go to www.proudonline.co.uk.

The exhibition by David celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the live recording of The Beatles song ‘All You Need Is Love’. This was recorded at the Abbey Road Studios in London over the weekend of the 24th and 25th June 1967. This unique recording was the UK’s contribution to a special worldwide satellite broadcast put together by the BBC called Our World and included 14 other countries, the programme was seen by over 400 million people worldwide. More information on this can be found on Davids Website davidmagnus.com

In 1997 a book called All You Need Is Love The Beatles Dress Rehearsal was published by Tracks Ltd with some of the photographs taken by David at Abbey Road Studios over that weekend. David has a number of limited editions of this very rare and unique book for sale at a cost of £195 which includes postage within the UK or for overseas sales it is plus postage. Your book will be personalised for you or your readers with their name and the date, and can also include a personalised notation specially for you.  
 
If you would like any further information about David’s book and photographs please see his website at davidmagnus.com  

Any queries please do contact me at david@davidmagnus.com

Warmest good wishes

Janice Magnus

Also, here’s an article from a British photography magazine about the exhibition’s official opening, including a photo of David and his wife Janice.

And if you’d like to see a few more of the amazing David Magnus images from the Beatles Unseen Exhibition then click here.

The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four – A Review

One of the most impressive compendiums of concise Beatle information comes in the form of a book called The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four, by Kenneth Womack.

Womack’s book has been out for a number of years now as a comprehensive, two-volume set. That set is very desirable, but prohibitively expensive for some.

Now comes a brand new, 2017 edition which is completely up to date – but in a condensed, single-volume version that is far more easy on the wallet. This latest edition is designed more for the general reader (and for the many students who now study the Beatles as part of their curriculum at secondary, post-secondary, and more advanced study levels). However, it’s a book that will more than satisfy the avid Beatlemaniac too:

beatles-encyclopedia-frontbeatles-encyclopedia-rear

The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four is just that. It focusses entirely on the band and its output across the ten or so years in the 1960s when musically and creatively they were at their absolute peak. It features a host of biographical information about each band member, as well as their immediate family and the key personal relationships they had – for example there’s biographical material associated with the many creative and business partners among the Beatles’ circle. Womack goes into real detail on every every album and key songs. In order to provide an expansive portrait of the group’s life and times, attention is also devoted to the numerous locations associated with the band’s career, as well as to important concerts, venues and events pertinent to their amazing story.

This condensed version of The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four offers some other helpful additional features, including an alphabetic list of all the entries included in the book; a timeline chronology of the Beatles, detailing the milestones in their lives, performances, and recordings; a thorough discography of the band’s official UK and US singles and album releases from the early 1960s through the present; and a bibliography of recommended resources with both print and online resources. There is also included something I always appreciate greatly in books of this nature: a comprehensive general index. This makes locating specific information on a topic or subject so much easier.

Across its 650-odd pages Womack covers off some 360 topics, ranging from Abbey Road to Zapple Records – and these are all arranged alphabetically by entry.

Entries on songs and albums have a specific structure designed to give as much detail as possible. For example, each song entry will include: authorship and background; inspiration; recording dates and places; who played what – including specific reference to the instrument makes and models used. There are track listings for each album; details on the cover artwork; chart performance for both the United States and the UK; and comments and observations around the legacy and influence of each as a work of art.

This a key reference book to have at your side. It is a comprehensive work containing a wealth of information – all at your fingertips. I’d say it’s a must for students of the Beatles and for die-hard fans alike.

Now for a little on the author, Kenneth Womack. This is worth mentioning as he is so very well-credentialed not only as a Beatle scholar, but also as an author and literary critic:

womack-bw1

Kenneth Womack is Dean of the Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Monmouth University, where he also serves as Professor of English. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry of the Beatles (2007), the Cambridge Companion to the Beatles (2009), and The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four (2014). He’s also the author of three award-winning novels, and serves as an academic editor and critic for a number of literary institutions.

If you are curious and/or would like to order this new, condensed 2017 edition of Everything Fab Four you can have a “look inside” at Amazon.

Or, you may like to go the whole hog and get the expanded, 2014 edition in two volumes, also available at Amazon.

On Valentines Day – A Beatles “Love” Find

What more could you want on Valentines Day than to find a bit of Beatle Love treasure?

Rummaging through some old theatre programs at our local St Vincent de Paul Society thrift shop (the equivalent of Goodwill stores in the US), what should we come across than a thick, lavishly illustrated program from the Beatles/Cirque du Soleil production Love, which is still showing at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.

This is a beautifully produced book, about the same size and shape as an LP record, and it’s filled with photographs, drawings, cast details and information about this long-running success story – which last year celebrated its tenth year in production. love-cover

Inside there are fantastic drawings, illustrations, and photographs from the stage show – like these:

love-1 love-2 love-3

Impressively laid out, with some four page fold-out sections included, this particular theatre program seems to date from around February, 2008 as inside on the credits page in small print it says “Love.02.08”. The photograph of co-Music Director, Giles Martin is a decidedly youthful one:

love-4

Right in the very centre of the book there are two pages of Beatle Love stickers. In the copy we found the previous owners have only removed two – the rest are perfectly intact:love-stickers

Here’s that full credit page in more detail:love-creditsAnd the rear cover:love-rearA nice Valentines Day find……(click on the images to see larger versions).

The Beatles: Fab Finds of the Fab Four

If you are looking for a Christmas gift for the Beatle fan who has everything, then look no further. This fabulous book just out is sure to fit the bill:beatles-fab-finds

If your Beatle fan truly DOES have everything, then The Beatles: Fab Finds of the Fab Four will confirm it. And if they don’t, this book will provide an abundance of tempting new objects of desire to be on the lookout for.

Either way, for old hands with large collections, or those just new to collecting, this is a book to dip into, browse and enjoy.

Author Noah Fleisher had a front row seat to the amazing growth and skyrocketing value of all things associated with The Beatles. As the former Public Relations Director for the respected Heritage Auctions in the United States, and through his friendships with dealers and colleagues at other auction houses, Fleisher witnessed the emergence a new era of Beatlemania. He’s written numerous other books about collecting (on topics like Modern Furniture and Children’s Books), but his position within one of the top auction houses put him in the box seat to see and research first-hand thousands of collectable Beatle items over the years.

Not only is his book filled with a huge number of facts, background and information on the band and the many collectable items they have generated as a result of their ongoing success, it is also richly illustrated. Every page is in colour and carries a wealth of photographed examples to illustrate the text. To prove it, here are just a couple of pages, chosen pretty much at random:fab-four-inside-3 fab-four-inside-4 fab-four-inside-1 fab-four-inside-2

(for larger versions click on the images)

There are sections dealing with objects from the band’s early years, their instruments, their movies, photo shoots, merchandise, autographs, hand-written lyrics, and of course – the records, especially the rare ones. When you get the combination of records and autographs (see above for a couple of examples), then you’re talking about some very high-value auction items. Incidentally, the prices fetched for the various items in the book are mentioned throughout.

As it says on the rear cover (see below), The Beatles: Fab Finds of the Fab Four is filled with delights and insight. “Readers will discover John Lennon’s lost Gibson guitar now worth millions; the most expensive vinyl record in the world; the sculpted bust featured on the album Hey Jude – along with a fascinating and fun cache of rarities, oddities and never-before-seen items that tell anew the story of The Beatles”.

The section on Lennon’s Gibson J-160E steel string is expertly told by Andy Babiuk, author of the book Beatles Gear. There’s also a lengthy interview with Babiuk included, and lots of photographs of other guitars and drum kits that the Beatles used.

“The story of the Beatles has been told many times though never directly through their collectibles” said Fleisher. “The fact is that the market in Beatles collectibles is as hot as it’s ever been and the respective value of collectibles from each period of the band’s existence tells the story of John, Paul, George and Ringo in a fascinating and fresh way.”

Showcasing more than 600 images from the top music auction houses in the world, and interviews with a wide array of experts and authors, The Beatles: Fab Finds of the Fab Four is not only a fun and wonderfully visual read but it’s a great reference and resource for fans and collectors alike.

Highly recommended. (And if you’d like to have a further “look inside”, visit Amazon).fab-four-rear-cover

Days In The Life – A Father and Son on a Beatles Tour

days-in-the-life_origAt first glance this Beatle book looks to be an unlikely coupling of two broad and un-related concepts: the places visited and lectures delivered across seven US states by professional Beatles music scholar Aaron Krerowitcz, all wrapped up as a road-trip journal by a father and son duo (the son being the aforementioned full-time Beatle expert, and his dad John, a retired journalist and keen bird-watcher).

While the overall approach is a touch quirky (birding and Beatles?), as a whole Days in the Life – A Father and Son Beatle Tour hangs together. Not only is it a charming tale of two blokes out on the road, it’s also a vehicle to deliver lots of interesting Beatle facts, observations, history and, importantly, the context of the band’s music and its continuing success – especially around the American experience of the Beatles.

It’s clear that as a former journalist, Aaron Krerowicz’s father John can write. The sections of the book he pens are engaging and relate not only his sometimes humorous bird-watching exploits across the course of their journey, but his ability to put some history into the book. John relates his generation’s first-hand experience of this group from Liverpool which formed such a lasting bond with US teenagers back then. It’s a bond that endures today.

Son Aaron meanwhile has youth and some solid graduate and post-graduate musical scholarship on his side. The fact that he is so young initially confounds some of the folks who come to listen to his library lectures. How could someone who was born fifteen years after the Beatles broke up be so knowledgable? They generally leave impressed.

Of course when you do book reviews it’s good to try to find out more about the author – and a popular chat forum turned up the following un-solicited recommendation from an avid  Beatle fan who attended one of Aaron’s library presentations (this time on the Sgt Pepper album):  “I came home last Thursday, picked up the paper and saw my local library was having a presentation on The Beatles Sgt. Pepper. I figured I would go – it’s close, it’s free, it’ll be fun. I have to admit, I didn’t expect to learn anything. I’ve been listening to, and reading about the Fabs for over 35 years at this point and this is a free program at the local library – how good is it really going to be? Probably some fan like me, who’s going to just tell you about the sound effects, John’s Mr. Kite poster, A Day In The Life being based on newspaper articles, and the run-out groove.

I was wrong, and very, very impressed. Aaron Krerowicz is a composer and music educator in his late 20s pursuing on-going Beatles study. In November 2011, Aaron won a research grant through the University of Hartford to explore connections between mid-Twentieth Century avant-garde art and the Beatles. His presentation covered most of the obvious stuff any Beatles nut would expect (which was extremely well researched and presented), but he also spoke to the music theory and composition behind the songs, which I found really enlightening. He presented clearly, and never spoke over people’s heads when discussing some of the more esoteric stuff, which is a real gift. He highlighted multi-tracks to isolate certain parts of the songs he was referring to, which was also really illuminating.

You’ve got to admit, that’s high praise.

Best bits from the book Days in the Life? Aaron’s writing on how he, a classical music aficionado, came to get so deeply into the Beatles in the first place. Anyone who can list The Beatles 1 album as a favourite alongside Igor Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring’ and J.S.Bach’s violin concerti is OK with me. Also, his insights into particular songs – for example the genesis and recording of ‘Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite’, one of John Lennon’s best from Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – make for interesting reading.

As far as the sections written by John Krerowicz, his recollections of witnessing that first, black and white, US TV performance by The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show bring a personal, family-level insight into what the broadcast meant cross-generationally in the United States. That, and his highly descriptive writing about the simple joy of travel and being out on the open highway, were highlights for me.

What didn’t work? The three pages of photographs of (admittedly) over-priced Dallas Cowboy merchandise in the club’s AT&T Stadium gift shop, the three pages of drawings from a family game of Telestrations, and an unnecessary joke about Michael Jackson. Otherwise, this is a great little book.

For more details about Aaron, his lecture schedule and other activities check out his website. Details about his other Beatle books can be found here, and for examples of Aaron’s Beatle scholarship, have a look at his video series  Beatles Minute – One Analytical Nugget in One Minute.