Some Christmas Treasure for the Collection

We here at beatlesblogger received some nice gifts over the holiday season.

First up is Ringo Starr’s new book Photograph. It is a beautiful hardback book, in a larger format, coffee-table style:Ringo1Initially released by Genesis Books in a lavish, strictly limited edition, the book has now been released as a more attainable “open edition” for us mere mortals.

That photo you can see of a young Ringo on the cover image above is actually him looking out of a neat cut-out hole around the camera lens on the book’s dust cover. It is a nice little extra production touch:Ringo3

Inside are some fantastic photos taken by Ringo himself over many years:

Ringo4

When you see images of the early Beatles you sometimes see them carrying their own cameras – and there are lots of pictures out there of the band taking photographs of each other and documenting for themselves what was happening around them. Each Beatle therefore would have hundreds of their own great informal shots tucked away – just like we all do – in albums, in storage boxes, or in closets.

Ringo’s personal photos were thought to be lost forever – until one day he re-discovered them. “We finally found them in a basement in storage” he told Rolling Stone magazine. “I was shocked…..we even found two books of negatives.” So now he’s compiled them in this book, along with over 15,000 words of commentary on where and why each photo was taken. Many of the images have never before been published:Ringo5Ringo6Ringo7Ringo8

Ringo2It is fantastic to flip through. Each page has a new surprise.

We also got a copy of the Barry Miles book The Zapple Diaries – The Rise and Fall of the Last Beatles Label:Zapple1

Miles is a frequent Beatle biographer and author, and he’s something of an insider – having been the manager of Zapple Records when it was first (and only very briefly) established back in 1969. Zapple was one of the many subsidiaries of the original Beatles’ Apple Corps Ltd. It was a label responsible for releasing the more avant-garde and experimental bands, poets and performers that the Beatles hoped to champion. As label manager, Miles had a ringside seat observing the ructions of the company, and the Beatles themselves in the process of self-destructing. We read of the big plans he had for the label, and how they were bitterly thwarted.

The book is richly illustrated. It tells the story from the perspective of someone very close to the action:Zapple4Zapple5Zapple3

This is probably more one for aficionados of the Apple Records label, its establishment, aims and objectives, and some of the more obscure of its releases, but I’m looking forward to reading this book, cover-to-cover:  Zapple2

Lastly, a great new book of interviews with Paul McCartney by journalist, author and long-time Beatle expert, Paul Du Noyer:Paul 1

As the title suggests, this is a new collection of Conversations with McCartney, over the period 1979 to the present. Du Noyer has spoken with him numerous times over that period – mostly for independently commissioned pieces for some of the best UK music magazines. It should be said however that Du Noyer has also been employed by McCartney’s MPL Communications company to produce content for them (tour magazines, album sleevenotes, etc.), and the book was done with the company’s assistance. Nevertheless, this looks to be a unique insight into what it means to be Paul McCartney and a very interesting work. Paul 2

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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