Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Beatles in Paris

by Billy Shepherd

Paris fell! Collapsed! Capitulated! Waved the white flag of surrender after only a few blasts of opening fire--fire that sounded very much like "She Loves You". The fabulous, international Beatles had struck again and "infected" a whole country with Beatlemania.

They took little time to settle in. But I was there to watch the excitement grow and grow among the fanatical French fans, until the Beatles finally left Paris, after three weeks, to a riot of hysteria.

But it was pretty chaotic early on. In fact, they nearly didn't make it on time--Tuesday, January 14. Ringo Starr was unable to meet the others in London, having been fog-bound in Liverpool. "I'll make my own way...see you all in Paris," he wired.

And at London airport, thick mist swirled around the buildings and the planes. "We've had it, too", said Paul, looking anxiously at the sky. But the misty-fog lifted...lifted just enough to get planes in and out of the airport.

One plane, Comet 4B, was extra-special. It had three-quarters of the Beatles aboard. John, Paul, George, plus Brian Epstein, and Mal Evans, Press representative Brian Summerville, sundry others, me . . . and a load of photographers and reporters.

The Beatles posed for a few pictures, waved to the fans who yelled "Good Luck" and ran up the stairs into the front of the plane. A few minutes later Captain A. J. Holderness eased the massive aircraft off the strip.

The time: 5.15 p.m. Thirty-five minutes later, we coasted into Le Bourget airport, a few miles outside Paris. And coasted into a mad rush that threatened to engulf the Beatles. Yelling photographers, questioning reports . . . gabbing in French. Flashlights exploding all the way through the Customs with the Beatles trying to maintain a trio of resolute grins.

Fans scream. Quite a solid batch of them. Including eight-year-old Anne Maskell, of Tooting, South London, on her way through to Austria with her parents. "It IS the Beatles, it IS", she yelled excitedly. Paul flashed her a quick smile.

The boys were half frog-marched through Customs. Officials had time only to glance at the proffered passports. Then the Beatles were hidden in a mass of newspapermen. And me!

Into the car--the Beatles' Austin Princess, driven by chauffeur Bill. More flashlights pop. And off into the heart of Paris. To the fabulously lush George V Hotel, close to the Champs Elysees. A mass, a maze, of people waiting. The swing doors revolve fast, pushed by a head doorman wearing a "chain of office".

Inside--more pandemonium. Everybody craning to get a look at the Liverpool lads. Voices of English fans rise above the French fast-talk. More flash-bulbs erupt. The management of this dignified, super-fab hotel look disturbed.

Eventually, the Beatles get through to the comparative peace and quiet of their suites. John eyes the tapestries, the Louis Fourteenth furniture. Says: "Looks something like a museum". The others laugh. They laugh easily . . . for a moment the tension is over.

There should have been a rehearsal that evening. But without Ringo, there was no point. Said George: "It's odd without Ringo. We sort of feel we've lost a limb". The "limb" was in Liverpool, making final preparations to catch a plane to London and then straight across the following day.

John and Paul took that first night easily. Just relaxed in their suite, calling for "ciggies" and for Cokes. George wandered off with a newspaperman, ending up in the expensive Eve club, watching a high-charged (in both ways) cabaret. "It's a smart place", said George. "But the music was pretty standard . . . sort of swing. Nice as background to a chat, though."

And John and Paul thought back to the time they'd been in Paris before. Flat-broke, unable to afford a taxi, without funds for a decent meal. "Maybe we'll buy the Eiffel Tower this time", said John with a grin.

The boys made friends easily. Bruno Coquatrix, guv'nor of the Olympia, called round to see his latest signings. And a representative of Odeon Records, who release the boys' discs through France.

When the room was finally cleared--and with George still out on the Town--the McCartney-Lennon partnership talked songs. Recording manager George martin was coming to Paris and wanted to hear some brand-new material. John and Paul were committed to writing six songs for the upcoming film, one for Billy J. Kramer and one for Tommy Quickly. And they hoped to get the next single from that half-dozen for the movie. Time was against them.

"We'll get a piano moved into the suite", said Paul. "That'll help speed things up." Normally the boys work just with guitars.

Those suites were fantastic.

John and Paul shared because they had to cope with their song-writing chores. George and Ringo were together--though all four had communicating doors and were on the same landing. It was as though the Beatles' entourage had taken over the bulk of the hotel.

Top stars of all walks of life stay at the George V Hotel. For the first few days, film star Burt Lancaster was there. And, yes! he HAD heard of the Beatles--and he only wished there was more time available to meet them and get to know more about the British music scene.

On the Wednesday morning, the Beatles were late getting out of bed. Nothing unusual! In a sense, they are NIGHT people, rarely properly waking up during the day-time. "Brekkie" was arranged. Not the standard French one of rolls, butter and coffee. They went for orange juice, cornflakes, pot of tea, a little cooked-up mixture of scrambled egg and accessories. Said George: "I think we're gonna like Paris. I only hope the French people like us."

They did. But the boys delayed showing themselves. They'd said they'd be up at twelve noon. Instead it was around three o'clock in the afternoon when they finally made an appearance. Out along the Champs Elysees, with photographers following their every move. Cries of "It's the Beatles", in German, French, English, followed the boys. There were traffic jams. Scots teenager, Inez Uffington, was heard to say: "It's marvellous. I'd not seen the boys before. Now I feel weak at the knees . . . "

The crowds grew and grew. But before they got out of hand, the Beatles were driven back to the Hotel George V to wait for Ringo.

He arrived at Le Bourget at five o'clock, was picked up by a British car entered in the Monte Carlo Rally driven by Stuart Turner and rushed to join the rest at the hotel. Lucky he did too, because the Austin Princess broke down coming back from the Airport. Brian Summerville along with the Beatles Monthly Book photographer, transferred to a taxi and left the Princess to be repaired.

Many fans from Liverpool had heard that Ringo was driving all the way to Paris in one of the competition cars. And they flooded the switchboards, wondering about his route. . .

They also flooded the switchboard at the George V Hotel. "Please, please, let me talk to a Beatle" came the calls. "We want to wish them luck . . . "

All four Beatles eventually made their way to the Cyrano Theatre in Versailles, some ten miles from the centre of Paris. This was try-out night. The show started at nine o'clock and went on until well after midnight.

The boys went the proverbial bomb. Numbers like "Roll Over Beethoven", "This Boy", "She Loves You"--the last-named the audience knew well. The Beatles had a high-rated disc on this in France. A young audience. Gendarmes held them back as they tried to swarm backstage. Fans danced in the aisles and chanted "Les Beatles".

One aged about 17, dressed in a red sweater, shimmied his way to the front of the stalls. Rocking in time with the solid Beatle beat, he couldn't restrain himself any longer. He jumped up on the stage and started trying a dance routine with John Lennon. John went on blasting away at a set of lyrics but couldn't help a quick grin. And on came the massive Mal Evans, Road Manager Number Two, to clutch the "offender" in his mighty arms and cart him off into the wings.

But it was noticeable that the audience actually let the Beatles be heard. You could pick up the words of songs. And there were more boys than girls in the audience. But everybody joined in the clapping, during songs--one girl cried out in plaintive French "I just can't any more, my hands are hurting me."

A riot, in fact. Something not exactly expected in the rather staid centre of Versailles.

The boys made a hectic get-away . . . just in front of a mob of fans. And Ringo barely had time to observe: "The audience was so different to those in England. They don't seem to squeal . . . it's more that the boys set up a roar. Marvellous. And I think they liked us."

They did.

But the newspapers the following morning contented themselves with stories about how the Beatles had looked round Paris. They were surprised at John's garb. Dark glasses, a leather hat in a sombre black from Mary Quant, an alligator-type coat. Their every move was reported. This side of the trip was stressed at this time because the big testing-time was yet to come. The grand gala opening at the Olympia, Paris, on Thursday evening . . .

The Beatles had another huge surprise yet to come though! They made their way back by fast car to the George V Hotel and up to the suite. Two of the boys took a quick bath in the marble-walled bathrooms. Then they sat talking.

And the news arrived. Direct from London came the message: "The Beatles are top of the American Hit Parade." The boys went mad. Said Mal Evans, who happened to come into the suite immediately afterwards: "They always act this way when anything big happens--just like a bunch of kids. Jumping up and down with sheer delight. Paul climbed onto my back demanding a piggy-back. They felt that this was the biggest thing that had ever happened . . . and who could blame them? Gradually they quietened down, ordered some more drinks, specially Cokes, and sat down to appreciate fully what happened. It was a wonderful, marvellous night for all of them. I was knocked out . . . "

Celebrations went on until five o'clock in the morning. Somebody else rang through to say it was the fastest-rising disc ever by any British artiste in the States. That Capitol Records had never known anything like it--three weeks to hit the top spot. British OR American! The boys had plenty to talk about . . . about their own trip to America, about the thrill of audience reaction that night in Versailles.

And on to the next morning. Morning, for the Beatles, starts sometimes after two-o'clock in the afternoon!

Olympia. The top music-hall in France. Where every season starts with a "stuffed-shirt" audience on the opening evening; where minks and diamonds fill every other seat; and where dinner-jackets fill the rest.

A small-fronted theatre. It looks singularly unprepossessive from the front, but once inside it's beautifully decorated. Inside is a little bar, with pictures decorating it of old variety acts. Some of them were British. Modern, yes . . . but literally breathing atmosphere of the past show business idols who'd topped the Olympia bill.

The stage door is in a little side street. The Beatles arrived in the Princess, leapt out and hustled to the dressing-rooms. A tiny room for the four boys, with barely room to swing a guitar. At their hotel, they'd been used to a bigger bathroom EACH than the dressing-room they had to share.

On the bill: Trini Lopez. Also French songstress Sylvie Vartan, plus a full variety programme, including the inevitable juggler. Trini closed the first half. Sylvie preceded the bill-topping Beatles.

Prices were high--a 15 shilling minimum. In the afternoon, the fans were in. They loved the boys. Later, sophisticated Parisiennes filled the seats. Again the boys did well, despite three failures in amplification--with Mal Evans leaping on to repair the damage. An expensive theatre . . . yet the electricity went wrong!

No squealing, no screaming. But audiences which clapped in time, appreciating every number. "Merci beaucoup", said Paul, the only French they attempted.

The camera-men, who were everywhere, attempted slices of English. They mobbed the stage, firing off at every movement the boys made. But the real drama was going on backstage. Fists flew, in that confined space.

Malcolm Evans said the trouble started when a French photographer was not allowed in to take exclusive pictures. But there were other outbreaks of trouble. Paul called out for order. Nobody listened. George had to protect his guitar from swinging fists. The gendarmes arrived on the scene to try and sort things out. They only added to the chaos.

On later evenings, the back-stage area was declared "no-man's land". The police positively refused to let anybody through. But the initial damage was done. In the rush of Beatlemania, many people who held genuine tickets were kept out of the theatre. Some who did manage to get through found their seats had been taken . . . and they had to watch the show from standing at the back of the stalls.

Some of the audience left before the end, but this is standard practice in Paris--people want to avoid the crush. And outside stood crush barriers, manned by truncheon-carrying policemen, to curb the enthusiasm of the fans shouting "Beatles, Beatles, Beatles", outside.

Brian Epstein, guiding light of the Beatles, and George Martin were in the audience and heard the applause and the wave of enthusiasm. One felt sorry for Sylvie Vartan, blonde and shapely, who had her act interrupted by cries of "We want Les Beatles."

And an ironic note was struck when part of the interval music at the theatre was . . . a gramophone record of the Shadows!

The evening performance was an even bigger test for the boys. They did well. Though the French were not particularly kind, the audience liked them and so did the fans waiting outside the theatre.

French stars were there to cheer . . . like Francoise Hardy, Johnny Hallday, Richard Anthony. And Britain's Pet Clark.

The Beatles' exit was hectic. A few more punches among photographers were slung. But the exit WAS made. Back to the hotel for a few hours "kip" before the papers came out. The Press was frankly mixed. One (Parisien Libere) said it "was daddy's rock 'n' roll stuff. Nothing very new". Another (Aurore) suggested it was Trini Lopez who had triumphed. But one influential voice (France Soir) said the Beatles must have caused jealousy among the French pop idols, because never before had hands beaten in time so loudly at an Olympia opening.

But the fans are the ones who matter. And the Beatles were besieged at their hotel by French boys and girls who wanted an autograph, by English girls who just wanted to speak to them. The disc shops made big displays of Beatle records. The posters on huge hoardings proclaimed their presence in Paris.

Life for the Beatles went on from one rush to another. The first Sunday, had them doing three shows at the Olympia. They had to sleep. They had to keep dates with French photographers and journalists. Brian Summerville was the most harassed man in Paris.

A typical day settled into: sleep until mid-afternoon. Get up and meet important people. Go to theatre and do two shows. Pop off and eat somewhere. Get back to hotel and talk, about anything and everything, until around five o'clock, or even later.

The critics had been unkind, in the main. Some of the older folk had dismissed the Beatles with a curt "non". But the young fans were growing day by day. As the stay in Paris developed, the police had bigger and bigger crowds to deal with outside the theatre. The boys became BIG idols--and not merely on the strength of a hit record. They were part of the bustling French scene.

Whenever they could, they went out and viewed the sights. They took their £250 cameras with them and shot anything of interest. And still the fans from England took time out, and spared no expense in ringing the George V Hotel in the hope of getting a few words with the boys.

I watched the hysteria grow. And I felt proud for the boys.

World interest in the Beatles had gone a stage further forward. By the end of the run, they were undisputed guv'nors of Paris. They'd captured all sections of the community.

It was tough just watching them leading such hectic lives. I felt worn out.

But the year was only just starting for the Beatles. They had before them America and their first big film production. There were a million more photographs to pose for, a thousand interviews to give, more vitally important shows to perform.

They're great and wonderful ambassadors for Britain in any part of the world where pop music is important. Which is most of the world.

And yet it's only the beginning. It's a fantastic thought, isn't it!

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Songs of John Lennon: The Beatles Years

by John Stevens

Step Inside the Music of a Visionary Songwriter

When it came to writing a hit song, John Lennon had a gift. The Songs of John Lennon explores Lennon's songwriting genius with a guided tour through twenty-five of his greatest hits during the Beatles era. Author John Stevens explains Lennon's intuitive talent from a technical point of view, through the lens of songwriting's three basic elements: melody, harmony, and lyric.

Through an in-depth analysis of John Lennon's music, Stevens shows how Lennon fashioned songs that were at once politically and socially relevant during the 1960s, yet remain ageless and timeless today. There are many books on all aspects of John Lennon's life, but until now, there has never been a text that honors Lennon's most important contribution--his music. This guide is a necessary companion for all songwriters and fans of John Lennon.

Features musical analysis of Lennon's hits, including:

- A Hard Day's Night
- Ticket to Ride
- You've Got to Hide Your Love Away
- Norwegian Wood
- Strawberry Fields Forever
- Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
- I Am the Walrus
- Come Together
- And many more!

John Stevens, a songwriting professor at Berklee College of Music since 1976, is acclaimed for his insight into the life and music of John Lennon. For more than twenty years, he has taught "The Music of John Lennon," one of the most popular courses in the Berklee curriculum. Stevens is also a member of the Blue Meanies, an all-Beatles band in which he sings all the Lennon vocals and plays all the Lennon guitar work.

"You've got the Beatles' records and the John Lennon records; now with this book, you can have the owner's manual. This will tell you how the songs are built and how they work. Good stuff."
Marshall Crenshaw, singer/songwriter

"John Stevens splendidly organizes and clearly analyses a large selection of Lennon's Beatles songs regarding background setting, structure, phrasing, and prosody, or music-lyric interaction. The four-part structure helps the reader understand the mechanics and psychology of John Lennon's magic. Stevens illuminates the work of a legendary twentieth-century songwriter with great enthusiasm. I couldn't put this one down!"
Robert Squires, classical guitarist; lead guitarist with Beatle Juice

"In The Songs of John Lennon, John Stevens has provided a new and much needed perspective on the music of John Lennon. Rather than write yet another book about Lennon the rock star, Stevens focuses on Lennon the songwriter. Through comprehensive analysis of individual songs, we learn about the many devices and tendencies that make up Lennon's songcraft and characterize his musical style. Though I grew up listening to these songs, John Stevens' insight has made it all new again. This book is a must-read for all lovers of the music of John Lennon and the Beatles.
Jeff Friedman, Professor, Jazz Composition Department, Berklee College of Music

The Rough Guide to the Beatles: The Story: The Songs: The Solo Years

by Chris Ingham

More than thirty years after they split, the Beatles remain the ultimate pop band -- the most popular, the most respected, the most influential. This new Rough Guide covers the Fab Four from every angle, delving deep into their music and lyrics, their movies, their solo careers and much more. Features include:

- The Life and the Music: from Liverpool clubs to world domination, from Beatlemania to the break-up and beyond, here's the story of the recordings and the gigs, as well as the haircuts, girlfriends, scandals and psychedelia.

- The Canon: the inside track on the 50 essential Beatles songs.

- Beatles On Screen: the movies, the promos, the TV appearances.

- The Fifth Beatle: George Martin, Brian Epstein, Murray the K and others -- the people closest to the Beatles.

- Beatle Country: the landmarks of Beatle lore.

- Beatleology: the best books, the weirdest cover versions, the most obsessive websites, the obscurest trivia.

All you need is this!

Decline, Renewal and the City in Popular Music Culture: Beyond the Beatles

by Sara Cohen

How is popular music culture connected with the life, image, and identity of a city? How, for example, did the Beatles emerge in Liverpool, how did they come to be categorized as part of the Liverpool culture and identity and used to develop and promote the city, and how have connections between the Beatles and Liverpool been forged and contested?

This book explores the relationship between popular music and the city using Liverpool as a case study. Firstly, it examines the impact of social and economic change within that city on its popular music culture, focusing on de-industrialization and economic restructuring during the 1980s and 1990s. Secondly, and in turn, it considers the specificity of popular music culture and the many diverse ways in which it influences city life and informs the way that the city is thought about, valued and experienced.

Cohen highlights popular music's unique role and significance in the making of cities, and illustrates how de-industrialization encouraged efforts to connect popular music to the city, to categorize, claim and promote it as local culture, and harness and mobilize it as a local resource. In doing so she adopts an approach that recognizes music as a social and symbolic practice encompassing a diversity of roles and characteristics: music as a culture or way of life distinguished by social and ideological conventions; music as sound; speech and discourse about music; and music as a commodity and industry.

Sarah Cohen is a Senior Lecturer and Director of the Institute of Popular Music, University of Liverpool, UK.

Reading the Beatles: Cultural Studies, Literary Criticism, and the Fab Four

edited by Kenneth Womack and Todd F. Davis

Despite the enormous amount of writing devoted to the Beatles during the last few decades, the band's abiding intellectual and cultural significance has received scant attention. Using various modes of literary, musicological, and cultural criticism, the essays in Reading the Beatles firmly establish the Beatles as a locus of serious academic and cultural study. Exploring the group's resounding impact on how we think about gender, popular culture, and the formal and poetic qualities of music, the contributors trace not only the literary and musicological qualities of selected Beatles songs but also the development of the Beatles' artistry in their films and the ways in which the band has functioned as a cultural, historical, and economic product. In a poignant afterword, Jane Tompkins offers an autobiographical account of the ways in which the Beatles afforded her with the self-actualizing means to become less alienated from popular culture, gender expectations, and even herself during the early 1960s.

"This book addresses many of the most significant aspects of the Beatles--their music and their social and cultural influence and contexts. It finds a balance between specialist knowledge (i.e., musicology) and more general interest, and it covers the full breadth of the Beatles' output. The Beatles effected a significant and irreversible epoch in popular music, and for this reason deserve a sound academic study of the many aspects of their arrival, their dominance, their challenges, and their legacy. Such a study is provided here in a diverse and inventive collection of engaging essays."
-- Julian Wolfreys, author of Occasional Deconstructions

"The variety of approaches and issues in this book provides a useful survey of the possibilities of academic approaches to popular music in general, while remaining accessible to music fans. The book is not hagiography; there is an interesting trajectory, from positive appraisals of the Beatles' practices in their heyday to more negative assessments of recent efforts to construct their legacy."
-- Neil Nehring, author of Popular Music, Gender, and Postmodernism: Anger Is an Energy

At The Pennsylvania State University at Altoona, Kenneth Womack is Associate Professor of English and Todd F. Davis is Assistant Professor of English. Together they authored The Critical Response to John Irving and Formalist Criticism and Reader-Response Theory, and edited Mapping the Ethical Turn: A Reader in Ethics, Culture, and Literary Theory. Davis is also the author of Kurt Vonnegut's Crusade; or, How a Postmodern Harlequin Preached a New Kind of Humanism, also published by SUNY Press.

The Beatles: The True Beginnings

by Roag Best with Pete and Rory Best

Before Shea Stadium, the Ed Sullivan Show, and the Cavern, came the Casbah. The club that gave birth to the Beatles and started a music revolution.

The Casbah Coffee Club, which opened in Liverpool on August 29, 1959, was the brainchild of Mona Best, the mother of Pete Best. It is well known that Pete Best was the drummer for The Beatles in their early days in Liverpool and Hamburg. But less well known is that The Beatles' origins were in fact at Pete's mother's club--it was at the Casbah and with Mona Best's blessing that the greatest popular music phenomenon of the twentieth century began.

And now, the basement club where the Quarrymen, The Silver Beatles, and finally The Beatles played over 90 times before they hit the Cavern has been reopened and revealed by this remarkable new book. The Casbah's significance cannot be overestimated--it brought together some of the greatest names in rock music and became the catalyst for the Mersey Beat phenomenon that swept Liverpool in the early 1960s.

Seen here for the first time in forty years is the basement's interior as it was at the very beginning, juxtaposed with the rooms as they are today, where the ceilings painted by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Pete Best still rest. A wealth of rare material from the club and the Bests' own archives, together with newly-commissioned images by renowned photographer Sandro Sodano, documents the club's and The Beatles' intertwined stories.

The Beatles: The True Beginnings also features accounts from early fans hearing The Beatles for the first time. Stunning new color photography of the rooms and memorabilia of the Casbah Coffee Club. Gritty, never-before seen photos of the young Beatles playing for hundreds of their very first fans. And comments from The Beatles and their closest friends from the period.

Accompanied by a fascinating personal memoir of this extraordinary time, written by Roag Best with his brothers Pete and Rory, this is both a moving family tribute and a unique insight into a remarkable period of Beatles history. The glory of the Casbah has hidden for almost half a century in the Best family's basement rooms. This account of their earliest days promises to blow back its roof, and that of The Beatles' unbelievable history, forever.

Roag Best has worked in the music industry since he was fifteen. He has traveled all over the world as a musician, songwriter, promoter, and manager.

Pete Best is world-renowned as the 'fifth Beatle' who played drums alongside John, Paul, and George through 1962. Today he writes, records, and tours with his own group, The Pete Best Band.

Rory Best found the house at 8 Haymans Green, which was to become home to the Casbah Coffee Club, the birthplace of The Beatles and the catalyst for Mersey Beat.

Sandro Sodano (Art Photographer) graduated from St. Martin's College of Art and Design in 1989 and then established the design partnership Aboud-Sodano with Alan Aboud. He taught photography at St. Martin's for seven years. Over the last ten years, Sandro's clients have included Polydor, Gap, Calvin Klein, and Diet Coke, as well as publications including the Telegraph (UK), the Observer (UK), GQ, and Esquire.

International praise for The Beatles: The True Beginnings

"I think it's a good idea to let people know about the Casbah. They know about the Cavern, they know about some of those things, but the Casbah was the place where all that started. We helped decorate it and stuff. We looked upon it as our own personal club."
Sir Paul McCartney

"A wonderful book."
Mail on Sunday (UK)

"At last something new to experience about Beatles history."
Observer (UK)

"Popular Culture's Sistine Chapel."
BBC News (UK)

"The book helps illuminate a fascinating period. It is lavishly illustrated and the best-looking Beatles book published yet. Literally."
Standard London Newspaper (UK)

The Beatles: Day-by-Day, Song-by-Song, Record-by-Record

by Craig Cross

"The Beatles: Day-by-Day, Song-by-Song, Record-by-Record" contains all you need to know about the world's greatest band in a single volume. The day-by-day diary covers their entire career from the Quarrymen days in '57 right up to their eventual break-up in April 1970. Learn fascinating facts about the music industry and the Beatles' private lives. The song-by-song section tells you the story behind every song they ever made--with full recording history and session details. And the record-by-record section covers every single, EP, and album released in Britain and the United States--including their Christmas fan-club discs! The book also contains five useful appendices covering everything from chart records and awards to tour dates. With its meticulous research and easy-to-understand approach, this is the only Beatles book that you'll ever need.

The Beatles: A Diary

An intimate day by day history by Barry Miles

The world's most famous band existed officially for just ten years. Its extraordinary story has been the subject of countless books, films and articles. Now here at last is the definitive Beatles chronicle.

The Beatles: A Diary stands apart from all other Beatle books.

- Written by the legendary Miles, an intimate member of the Beatles' Sixties circle
- Containing an astonishingly detailed chronology of gigs, venues, quotes and memorable dates
- Exposing the unvarnished stories of the four band members, uncovering the quarrels, the sex and the drugs as well as the personal triumphs.

This is nothing less than a 30-year diary of The Beatles, beginning in wartime Liverpool and ending in the dying days of the swinging Sixties.

Few insiders know The Beatles' story like Miles. And no one has had access to anything like so much intimate detail. Far more than a simple chronology, The Beatles: A Diary is pop music's greatest success story told just as it happened -- with new insights and new authenticity.

For the world The Beatles were a gift -- the definitive Sixties group, reliable icons of their age to be pressed into service for whatever the fashionable agenda might be. Here, though, the high points and the daily routine of fame are presented just as life presented them to The Beatles -- day by day.

The result is the most revealing personal history of The Beatles ever written, fascinating for those who grew up with their music, and essential reading for anyone interested in rock's most influential phenomenon.

Fully illustrated with hundreds of colour and b&w pictures.

The Author
Paul McCartney acknowledges that it was Miles who introduced him to London's avant-garde scene. It was at Miles' London flat where McCartney first read William Burroughs and the beat poets, and heard experimental music. Miles' record collection of cutting edge jazz proved highly influential to The Beatles' development. When Miles opened Indica Books and Gallery and co-founded International Times, McCartney helped him support the ventures -- Indica was where John and Yoko would famously meet.

Miles is also the author of Many Years From Now, the best selling authorised biography of Paul McCartney.

The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

by Allan F. Moore

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) represents the highpoint of the recording career of the Beatles. This is the first detailed study to be made of this or any other such album, and it demonstrates how serious discussion of popular music can be undertaken without failing either the approach or the music. Dr Moore considers each song individually, tying his analysis to the recorded performance on disc, rather than the printed music. He focuses on the musical quality of the songs and the interpretations offered by a range of commentators. He also describes the context in which the album was written -- both within the career of the group itself and within the development of popular music globally, before and since.

The Songwriting Secrets Of The Beatles

by Dominic Pedler

"A breakthrough Beatles publication - first time in print"

Thirty years after The Beatles split up, the music of Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starkey lives on. What exactly were the magical ingredients of those legendary songs? Why are they still so influential for today's bands?

This ground-breaking book sets out to explore The Beatles' songwriting techniques in a clear and readable style. It is aimed not only at musicians but anyone who has ever enjoyed the work of one of the most productive and successful songwriting partnerships of the 20th Century.

Author Dominic Pedler explores the chord sequences, melodies, harmonies, rhythms and structures of The Beatles' self-penned songs, while challenging readers to enhance their appreciation of the lyrics themselves with reference to the musical context.

Throughout the book the printed music and lyrics of The Beatles' songs appear alongside the text, illustrating the author's explanations.

The Songwriting Secrets Of The Beatles is an essential addition to Beatles liteature - a new and perceptive analysis of both the music and the lyrics written and performed by what Paul McCartney still calls "a really good, tight little band".

Thursday, June 12, 2008

While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrison

by Simon Leng

Far from being "the quiet one," George Harrison was a writer and arranger of terrific power and beauty, and his guitar playing was fundamental to the Beatles' sound and success.

Now fully revised and expanded, this new edition of While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrison is the most comprehensive evaluation of George Harrison's musical career ever published. Treating each of Harrison's songs with unprecedented analysis, author Simon Leng reveals Harrison's eclectic approach--from teenage Nashville twang through Indian raga, psychedelia, gospel, soul, and pure pop--and thoroughly defines Harrison's role in the Beatles. First-hand accounts of the Concert for Bangla Desh and the making of All Things Must Pass take the reader deep into the most fertile and controversial periods of Harrison's long solo career that culminated with Brainwashed.

Enhanced with insights from key figures who worked closely with Harrison throughout his extraordinary career, While My Guitar Gently Weeps is a remarkably stirring study and portrait of a great artist whose musical and spiritual quest changed the lives of millions of people around the world while redefining popular music and rock 'n' roll.

Simon Leng is the respected biographer of Carlos Santana (Soul Sacrifice [Firefly]). A part interviewee on VH-1, Mr. Leng has been featured on BBC National Radio, as well as a number of other regional BBC shows and was the editor and publisher of a Latin-Jazz magazine. His books have been published worldwide with translations in German, Polish, Spanish, and Italian. Mr. Leng lives in Ireland with his wife and two young children.

"Simon Leng approaches George Harrison with affection and insight, which makes this book a great pleasure to read. His thorough analysis of Harrison's music is never dry, because Leng deeply understands the man who made the music and the times that made it all possible."
--Anthony DeCurtis, Rolling Stone

"[A] superb tribute to a man who is finally being recognized as an equal talent to his Beatle bandmates... Leng proves to be a careful and open-eared critic, able to see beyond the media cliches about Harrison's 'preaching' to find the beauty in his most-maligned work."
--Record Collector

"[N]o Beatle fan should be without this. Each entry details the track information, including accompanying musicians, and features scene-setting observations, anecdotes and trenchant reflections on Harrison's spiritual beliefs and their relationship with a secular music form... A rare case of a new Beatles-related title with function and purpose."
--Hi-Fi News

Here Comes the Sun: The Spiritual and Musical Journey of George Harrison

by Joshua M. Greene

"A fascinating read."
--Associated Press

"Many well-known artists have touched people's hearts with their music, but few have ever succeeded in touching people's souls. That was George's gift, and his story is described here with affection and taste. A wonderful book."
--Mia Farrow

"There is a palpable excitement to this book that made me feel I was there, with George, on his journey. . . . Extraordinary."
--Martin Rutte, coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Soul at Work

"The depth of insight into Harrison's inner life is great."
--Yoga Journal

Here Comes the Sun tells the story of George Harrison's musical and spiritual journey with more detail and immediacy than in any other book about Harrison or the Beatles. Like his fellow Beatles, Harrison escaped the streets of working-class Liverpool, survived a tough musical apprenticeship in underground clubs, and became one of the most famous and successful musical artists in history. Before long, though, disillusioned with both the price and rewards of celebrity, he began the journey that would transform his music and redefine the rest of his life. Joshua Greene, who studied meditation with the legendary Beatle, draws on personal remembrances, recorded conversations, and firsthand accounts to create a moving portrait of Harrison's spiritual life and his profound musical vision. This is a fresh and highly rewarding book for Beatles fans as well as for any reader interested in the spiritual path.

Joshua M. Greene teaches in the religion department of Hofstra University. He is the author of two acclaimed previous nonfiction books and the producer of numerous award-winning films. His articles have appeared in print internationally, and his books on the Holocaust were adapted for broadcast on PBS and the Discovery Channel.

Paul McCartney: Now & Then

written by Tony Barrow and Robin Bextor | edited by Julian Newby

A unique and intimate portrait of the world's most successful singer-songwriter and musician, this remarkable book draws principally on the experience of two people who have worked closely with Paul McCartney at opposite ends of his career - Now and Then.

Tony Barrow was The Beatles' press officer from 1962-68. He coined the phrase "the Fab Four" and wrote sleevenotes for early Beatles' albums that have themselves become part of Beatle history. Writing about this period for the first time, he recalls those six crazy years that took in Beatlemania, world tours, meeting Elvis Presley and the filming of Magical Mystery Tour.

Writer and film-maker Robin Bextor spent time with Sir Paul as the musician approached his sixtieth birthday, and just as his extraordinary life was taking another set of dramatic turns. About to embark on a record-breaking world tour that would spawn yet another worldwide best-selling album, McCartney was set to be newly married, inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and become a father once again.

Fully illustrated with rare, many previously unseen photographs, Paul McCartney: Now & Then also contains eyewitness accounts, observations and insights from other key figures in McCartney's life, including Steve Miller, Bob Wooler, Peter Asher, Donovan, Brian Wilson and Sir George Martin.

The result is a fascinating insiders' perspective on McCartney's whole career, which offers a revealing glimpse of the man behind the myth, and celebrates the work and life of an icon.

Award-winning film maker and writer ROBIN BEXTOR has made programmes on subjects ranging from heart transplants to the British Schindler, which won the Columbus Film Festival top prize. During the making of his "Discovery Special" documentary film Paul McCartney, he had unique access to Sir Paul and met all the major characters from the Beatles' past and present. He has also made hundreds of pop videos and written for many newspapers and magazines. He lives in London.

Writer and veteran show-business PR consultant TONY BARROW, who originally coined the phrase "the Fab Four" and whose memorable sleevenotes adorned some of The Beatles' biggest-selling albums, was the band's public relations manager for six years, 1962-1968, and travelled the world with them on their biggest concert tours as part of their inner circle. He lives in Lancashire.

"He's the charismatic Beatle whose life has become an enigma... A book by Robin Bextor and Ex-Beatles PR man Tony Barrow - including never-before-seen pictures from their personal albums - gives a unique insight into what he's really like" -- Daily Express

This book is not a biography of Paul McCartney, but something far more personal and out of the ordinary.

It is a series of snapshots that together form a picture of the man who, it could be argued, did more to change the face of popular culture than any other.

Bringing together a carefully selected series of eyewitness accounts - the authors' own plus others exclusively assembled for this project - and illustrated throughout with many rare photographs, Paul McCartney: Now and Then is an array of very real memories that create an intimate portrait of the man they call "Macca".

Lennon and McCartney: Together Alone - A Critical Discography of Their Solo Work

by John Blaney

TOGETHER ALONE tells the stories behind the songs and recordings of two of the biggest names in pop music.

When The Beatles split in 1970, John Lennon and Paul McCartney each struggled to make their mark in the wake of their world-beating group. Each began to create a new body of work as they gradually defined their individual musical signatures.

This book examines their growing confidence, their magnificent peaks, and their ill-considered lows. John Blaney does this through a careful and entertaining examination of every major record release by the two, from the 1960s to the present day (including posthumous releases since Lennon's death in 1980). The author brings to his aid many archive quotes from Lennon and McCartney to illustrate and underline the discographically-based history that unfolds.

There is a good deal of information for record collectors along the way, including release dates, catalogue numbers, composer credits, recording personnel, studios and production credits, and an index to help located the commentary and information on every song and album.

This book is the most detailed study yet of the solo work of these two giants of pop and deserves a place in the library of every student of modern music.

This is the definitive book on the solo work of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, two of popular music's greatest writers and performers. The story of their songs is told chronologically, record by record, starting with their first work outside The Beatles -- McCartney with his theme for The Family Way movie, Lennon his Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins with Yoko Ono.

The book then continues to detail Lennon's and McCartney's work since the 1960s, mapping the creative highs -- and the lows -- in an authoritative, complete, and often provocative fashion. Archive quotes along the way from both Lennon and McCartney help to illustrate the story.

Beside the narrative, information for collectors includes release dates, catalogue numbers, composer credits, recording personnel, studio locations, and producer credits, and there is an index to assist you in tracing every song. Author John Blaney's perceptive style makes this a fascinating read as well as a work of reference, covering everything from McCartney's hypnotic epics as The Fireman for Rushes to the self-assured excellence of his recent Chaos And Creation In The Back Yard, and from Lennon's sprawling, engaging Some Time In New York City to the ubiquitous 'Imagine'.

TOGETHER ALONE tells the stories behind the songs and recordings of two giants of modern music, and this absorbing book is a must for every serious Beatles fan and record collector.

John Blaney is a passionate fan of The Beatles who brings to his writing the expertise and rigour of a professional historian. Born in Devon, England, he trained as a graphic designer before starting a career in music retail. He subsequently studied History of Art at Camberwell College Of Arts and at Goldsmith College (both in London) before taking up his present post as curator of a museum of technology. He is author and publisher of previous books on both Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Northern Songs: The True Story Of The Beatles Song Publishing Empire

by Brian Southall with Rupert Perry

Brian Southall's Northern Songs - The True Story Of The Beatles Song Publishing Empire is the story of how Lennon and McCartney lost the most valuable song publishing catalogue in the world. This is a staggering saga of incompetence, duplicity and music industry politics.

How did major singer turned publisher Dick James get to handle Lennon and McCartney's songs? Why did Michael Jackson's stake in the legendary catalogue cause a rift with Paul McCartney? Why does Paul McCartney now own just two Beatles songs?

Also includes interviews with George Martin, Paul McCartney, the late Dick James' son Steven, Yoko Ono and those in the know from Apple Corp, DJM and EMI.

After 10 years as a journalist, including working for Melody Maker and Disc, Brian Southall joined A&M Records between 1973 and 2003 and worked for EMI records as a consultant to Warner Music International, HMV Group and the British Phonographic Industry. He has written books including the History of Abbey Road Studios, The A-Z of Record Labels and the Story of the Brit Awards.

The Beatles Off The Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

By Keith Badman
Foreword by Hunter Davies

A portrait of The Beatles as they really were. The Beatles own revealing comments are matched by quotes from a wide range of contemporaries...from stagehands and rival bands to professional pundits and close friends.

This is the authentic feel of the 60s when John, Paul, George and Ringo progressed from being brash newcomers to universal fame as the ultimate pop band.

Noted Beatles expert Keith Badman has captured the exact flavour of the times by using contemporary quotes and organising them to tell a truly fascinating story.

The book stands as an authentic and candid record of a unique time in pop history. These are not fond memoirs recalled at leisure, these are the fresh and often unwary comments made by or about the Beatles while the Beatlemania phenomenon was in full swing.

The result is a brilliant verite history of pop culture's most famous quartet: The Beatles Off The Record.

Keith Badman, a lifelong Beatles fan, is a regular contributor to The Beatles Book monthly magazine and Record Collector. He was a consultant on The Beatles Anthology documentary series, and he has presented video shows at Beatles fan conventions throughout Europe.

Widely regarded among aficionados as a world authority on film footage of The Beatles and pop in general, Keith has spent years searching the globe for films and videos of The Beatles, both as a group and as individuals. He acted as archive consultant on all three series of the Granada/Channel 4 pop profile series My Generation, the BBC music history series Dancing In The Street, and various other televised rock documentaries.

Keith is the author of The Beatles After The Break-Up, 1970-2000, the highly acclaimed chronology of The Beatles' solo years. After The Break-Up was deemed 1999 Rock Book Of The Year by Record Collector magazine, while Q magazine placed the book amongst the 10 essential Beatles books ever published. He is also the co-author of Good Times Bad Times, a definitive diary of The Rolling Stones during the 60s; Quite Naturally, a biography of The Small Faces; and Empire Made: A Guide To Everything Mod.

A revealing portrait of the Beatles--much nearer the truth.

In the Sixties, before the legend was fully formed, The Beatles were sometimes unguarded and often indiscreet in their comments. Members of their entourage would express frank opinions that in later years they sometimes softened or denied altogether.

Now these original raw remarks have been unearthed and reassembled in a vivid new verbal documentary shot through with the authentic flavour of The Beatles in their heyday and the Sixties musical scene they dominated.

"Compared with some of The Beatles' later selective and polished or faulty and fading memories, this is much nearer the truth..."
Hunter Davies, The Beatles official biography.

Contains 32 pages of specially selected photographs.

The Early Days

by Raymond McGhee

The early Beatles were wild. Really wild. During their frenzied act John might kiss the microphone or suddenly jump several feet into the air, splitting his old blue jeans in the process. It was just an occupational hazard.

The jokes came hard and fast, too. The group quickly built up a fervent following on Merseyside. They worked without a continuous barrage of screams--and so they could exploit their musical Goonery to the full.

Many of today's screaming fans fail to realise how much zany Beatle comedy they're missing by simply not giving the group a chance to speak between numbers.

Mainly For Kicks

But back to those formative years on Merseyside, when they played for a few shillings whenever work happened to turn up. Most of the people who knew them got the impression they liked to play and sing mainly for kicks.

It was fun. But they didn't really have a driving ambition to get to the top.

What they needed (and they admit it themselves now!) was a little discipline. Says John of himself: "I know I went a bit off the rails when I was about 14. I more or less drifted about, and when I was put in for nine GCE's at school I was a terrible failure.

"I was like that all the time I was at school. Art was the only thing I was interested in, and in the end my headmaster said that if I didn't go to art school I might as well become a labourer!"

Art Student John

Even though art was his strongest subject, John still confesses that he wasn't too happy at the idea of studying it for any length of time. He felt that he would be surrounded by a crowd of bearded, would-be Van Goghs with whom he would have little in common.

"It didn't turn out quite like that," he adds, "but I was so concerned with music that I hardly spent any time there. I suppose I was a bit of a contrast to Paul--he liked art, too, but he studied his other subjects and got through his exams."

The free-and-easy student life had a great effect on John.

For a time he used to rehearse with George and Paul, quite casually, in a room in Gambia Street across the road from the Liverpool College of Art. And for a while he had a flat that looked like something from the Left Bank in Paris when you stepped inside . . . rather untidy, with paintings hung all over the walls. Another artist lived next door.

Bob Wooler

Someone who's known the Beatles almost from the start of their musical career is Bob Wooler, a good friend and the genial host of the Cavern beat club in Liverpool. In fact, the group would be the first to admit that he helped them a lot in their early days by lining up bookings. Without the work he got them they might have drifted apart.

"My impression? Well, they were dishevelled and unkempt. They looked sort of beatnik-y, with leather jackets and faded jeans. People thought they were German.

"Their hair was long then, but not in the style they have it now. It just went anywhere, more or less!

"In spite of their scruffiness, though, they had a sound and a visual impact that left its mark. You might even say they were turning back the Rock-Clock at that time, but they didn't care. Their attitude was that they liked what they were doing, and you could take it or leave it."

Early Friend

Recalling his first booking for teh group, Bob says he asked the dance promoter for £8; the promoter offered £4; and they settled for £6.

Bob is as happy as anyone at the Beatles' fantastic success today. "They were always an electrifying act," he adds, "and they still are. I suppose I could have had the opportunity of managing them at one time, but I was content just to get bookings. And to be quite honest, I don't think I would have been temperamentally suited to managing.

"Brian Epstein has done a really tremendous job for them and I have nothing but praise for the way he has handled their career."

The Beatles looked on Bob as more than a friend in those days. They would call him in whenever there was a particularly big decision to be made.

As time went by, Beatlemania hit Merseyside. Hundreds, sometimes a couple of thousand, would turn up to see the group at local dances.

It had never happened before--it was like a fanatical devotion to some big national idol, but on a strictly-local scale. Quite often visiting national stars didn't stand a chance when the local pride and joy, the Beatles, were appearing in the area the same night.

The Unreleased Beatles: Music & Film

by Richie Unterberger

The music and film footage you haven't seen or heard, from the most popular band ever.

"Even hardcore Beatles fans will be amazed by this book, which fills in vital gaps in their story, solves long-standing mysteries, and makes you wish you'd heard all the music that the author has heard. This alternative history of the Fab Four is essential reading for anyone who loves their work."
--Peter Doggett, author of The Art and Music of John Lennon

The Unreleased Beatles details the incredible breadth of music the Beatles recorded but did not release, as well as film footage of the group that hasn't been made commercially available. Beatles expert Richie Unterberger examines a huge array of material, including unreleased studio outtakes, BBC radio recordings from 1962-1965, live concert performances, home demo recordings, fan club Christmas recordings, and other informal demos done outside of EMI studios. The staggering wealth of unreleased gems encompasses the Beatles' entire career, from a recording of the Quarrymen on July 6, 1957 (also known as "the day John met Paul"), right up to outtakes from the final sessions of Let It Be in 1970.

The book includes chronological entires for all of the Beatles' unreleased recordings of note, as well as all of the unreleased video footage from 1961-1970 and outtakes from 1990s interviews filmed for Anthology. There's also a general overview of Beatles bootlegs, Beatles songs recorded by other artists in the 1960s, never-recorded material, and more than 100 photos.

Richie Unterberger is the author of Unknown Legends of Rock 'n' Roll; Turn! Turn! Turn: The '60s Folk-Rock Revolution; and Eight Miles High (Backbeat Books). He has written numerous CD reissue liner notes, and he co-edited the All Music Guide to Rock.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Beatles Talk

In this special series FREDERICK JAMES lets his tape recorder listen in on informal conversations between John, Paul, George and Ringo

This month: Ringo and John

JOHN: Yes, ta, we had a very nice holiday, thank you, and we've come back looking all brown all over except in the parts where the sun didn't get like up the nose and down the throat. Everyone just sat around and watched Ringo's beard grow, which is a very marvellous thing.

RINGO: I gather we missed a good do down at George's place, John.

JOHN: Yes, bit of a party apparently while we were away. I think we'd better decide now to have Monthly Wedding Anniversaries instead of Annual ones. That means George owes us a First Anniversary party for the 24th of February.

RINGO: We saw all that in the papers about George having electric gates or electric walls all around his house. Well, he must have bought a lot of surplus stock from the James Bond studios while we were in the West Indies because it wasn't there at New Year.

JOHN: That was just the papers exaggerating and getting all excited again. I expect Neil or Alf just flashed a torch at them outside the gate and they made up the rest.

RINGO: The gate just looked ordinary last weekend.

JOHN: Of course it was. Still, I must look into the idea of having full gas-fired electric fencing put round my swimming pool. It'll stop all the wild beasts of Surrey having a crafty moonlight bathe and turning me water green!

RINGO: Enough of this madness! What are we going to talk about?

JOHN: Oooh sorry, I thought we'd already started. All that about the gas-fired fence wasn't just careless ad lib, you know, I always prepare my BEATLES TALK with great care.

RINGO: By the time this issue comes out the BBC will be showing the Shea Stadium film. Let's talk about that.

JOHN: Well, we think it's a fabulous film. In colour it's great because all our faces look blue and brown under the floodlighting. It starts with Paul doing "I'm Down" and we all look very sweaty because it's hot in New York in August and, in any case, "I'm Down" was at the very end of our act and we'd been on stage over half and hour by the time that bit was filmed.

RINGO: And there are also bits showing us running about, getting out of long cars and getting into a helicopter. Then you see us looking out of the helicopter at the New York skyscrapers on the way to Shea.

JOHN: The bits in the dressing room look like a prison. All little cells everywhere. Actually it wasn't an ordinary dressing room. It was where the baseball teams change.

RINGO: And so that everybody won't start writing a lot of letter asking about the badges you can see pinned onto us when we're on stage, let me give you the answer before you ask the question--they're genuine Wells Fargo Agent badges. They were given to us while we were riding in a Fargo van on the way to the concert. John stuck his in the back of his cap.

JOHN: Not at all. I was wearing my head back to front that particular day.

RINGO: Oh, yes. Shea Stadium was the first time we ever used an organ on stage. We'd used it on telly for "Blackpool Night Out" a fortnight earlier and "The Ed Sullivan Show" in New York the day before but not for a live concert.

JOHN: The thing I like about the Shea Stadium film is that everything we do looks larger than life. We were out in the middle of this big baseball pitch on a high platform. All the kids in the audience looked miles away. So if we wanted to wave or anything like that we had to do it very big so that they could see us. But the film cameras were much closer, and in any case they had these long-distance lenses for the close-ups. So the film shows us leaping up and down like maniacs instead of just waving.

RINGO: The whole thing is a bit special for us. We've seen ourselves on telly plenty of times and we've seen a few tapes of concerts but Shea Stadium was the biggest live show we've ever done--I don't see how we "could" do bigger--and all the camerawork and everything is great.

Magical Mystery Tours: My Life with the Beatles

by Tony Bramwell with Rosemary Kingsland

"If you want to know anything about the Beatles, ask Tony Bramwell. He remembers more than I do."
--Sir Paul McCartney to Donovan in a January 2002 interview

"Tony--he's my second pair of hands."
--Brian Epstein

Tony Bramwell's remarkable life began in a postwar Liverpool suburb, where he was childhood friends with three of the Beatles long before they were famous. And by the time he caught up with George Harrison on the top of a bus going to check out "The Beatles, Direct from Hamburg"--one of whom turned out to be George--Tony was well on his way to staying by them for every step of their meteoric rise.

If anything needed taking care of, Tony Bramwell was the man the Beatles called, the man they knew they could trust. His story has been sought after for years, and now, here it is, full of untold adventures, detailing with an insider's shrewd eye the Apple empire's incomparable rise, Brian Epstein's frolics, Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters, Phil Spector's eccentric behavior, and new stories about Yoko Ono, the Stones, and the life--his life.

From developing the first Beatle music videos to heading Apple Films, and from riding bikes and trading records with George Harrison to working and partying with everyone from the Beatles to Hendrix, Ray Charles, and The Who, Tony's life really did (and does) encompass a who's who of rock.

He offers fresh insights into the Beatles' childhoods and families, their early recordings and songwriting, the politics at Apple, and Yoko's pursuit of John and her growing influence over the Beatles' lives. And he reveals new information about the Shea Stadium concert footage, John Lennon's late-night "escapes," and more. From the Cavern Club to the rooftop concert, from the first number one to the last, and from scraps of song lyrics to the discovery of the famous Mr. Kite circus poster, Tony Bramwell really did see it all.

Conversational, direct, and honest, the ultimate Beatles insider finally shares his own version of the frantic and glorious ascent of four boys from Liverpool lads to rock-and-roll kings.

Tony Bramwell has known George, Paul, and John ever since they grew up together in Liverpool. After the Beatles split, he became the U.K.'s first independent record promoter, representing artists such as Bruce Springsteen and coordinating and promoting the music for many films, including Harry Saltzmann's James Bond movies (among them Paul McCartney's "Live and Let Die"), Chariots of Fire, Dirty Dancing, and Ghost.

Rosemary Kingsland is the author of The Secret Life of a Schoolgirl, her memoir, and Savage Seas, from which a PBS special was drawn. She also wrote the highly praised series Pirates and Treasure Islands for the Discovery Channel.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Songs, Pictures And Stories Of The Fabulous Beatles Records On Vee-Jay



First published April 27, 1998
498 Productions

Complete story of their records on Vee-Jay--

How creative marketing turned 16 Beatles songs into a comprehensive catalog of multiple 45, EP and album releases taken together, are worth more today than all other American Beatles records combined.

How the Beatles ended up on Vee-Jay, a Chicago-based independent label that specialized in R&B and Gospel recordings.

Court records and Vinyl records
Capitol Records, Inc. vs. Vee-Jay Records, Inc.
Beechwood Music, Inc. vs. Vee-Jay Records, Inc.
The Beatles vs. The Four Seasons

The stories behind the ad back and Jolly What!

The legal battle over Songs, Pictures and Stories.

When the records were pressed.
Where the records were pressed.
How many copies were sold, and
Why some records are so much rarer than others.

How to tell the difference between counterfeit Vee-Jay records and the real thing.

How Vee-Jay lost, reclaimed and lost the Beatles.

Hundreds of color pictures, including all known variations of album covers, picture sleeves and record labels, Billboard and Cash Box trade ads, royalty statements and checks issued to Capitol Records, promotional mailers, catalogs, posters and other cool stuff!

"Well researched and masterfully compiled, this colorful book is a must have for Beatles record collectors and historians, as well as anyone having any interest in the group. No matter how much you think you know about the Beatles and their records, you'll know so much more after reading this entertaining and informative book!"
-Perry Cox



The first record released in the United States to bear the Beatles name was VJ 498, which was released on or about February 20, 1963. The single contained the group's second British 45 RPM single, Please Please Me backed with Ask Me Why, and was released in England on January 11, 1963, as Parlophone 45-R 4983. Both songs were written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
The version of Please Please Me released on the single was recorded on November 26, 1962. As was the practice at that time, the song was recorded with all the band members simultaneously playing their instruments and singing. Only John's harmonica part was overdubbed. The group's producer, George Martin, was very satisfied with the feel of the song and predicted it would be a number one hit.
The group had previously attempted to record Please Please Me on September 11, 1962, at a session in which Ron Richards served as producer in place of George Martin. After P.S. I Love You and a remake of Love Me Do had been recorded with session drummer Andy White on drums, the group began recording Please Please Me when George Martin arrived at the session. According to Martin, the song was "a very dreary song," which "was like a Roy Orbison number, very slow, bluesy vocals." He told the group to speed up the tempo and work out tight vocal harmonies. Following Martin's advice, the group recorded the song at a quicker pace, but failed to nail it down. This early version is interesting, but suffers in comparison to the released single. Conspicuously absent from this version is John's distinctive harmonica and John and Paul's Everly Brothers style harmonies. It is presumed that Andy White also played drums on this run through of the song. This unsuccessful attempt at the song was uncovered in 1994 and made its debut on Apple's Anthology 1 in 1995.
After the single was released, the Beatles played the song a dozen times on various BBC radio programs, first as a performance before a live audience at the Playhouse Theatre in Manchester on January 16, 1963, which was broadcast on Here We Go eight days later. Unfortunately tapes of this performance, as well as six other performances of the song on the BBC, have yet to surface. Great Dane's excellent 9 CD bootleg box set. The Complete BBC Sessions, does contain four performances of the song; however, the song does not appear on Apple's 1994 Live At The BBC.
During their first visit to the United States, the group performed the song at their February 11, 1964, Washington Coliseum concert, which was filmed for release to theaters. The live version of Please Please Me on part three of The Beatles Anthology video is from this concert. The Beatles also taped a performance of the song on the afternoon of February 9, 1964, for broadcast on February 23 on The Ed Sullivan Show. This performance is included on The First U.S. Visit video.
The Beatles included a portion of the song in a medley of their first five British singles, which was recorded on April 19, 1964, at IBC Studios. The group lip-synced the medley on the television program Around The Beatles, which was broadcast nine days later. The musical portions of the show were released on the video Ready Steady Go! Special Edition/The Beatles Live.
The B side, Ask Me Why, was recorded at the same November 26, 1962, session as Please Please Me. The song had been part of the group's stage show for at least a half a year as evidenced by their recording of the song before a live audience at the Playhouse Theatre in Manchester on June 11, 1962. This performance was broadcast four days later on the BBC program Here We Go and appears on The Complete BBC Sessions. The arrangement is very similar to the later recorded single, but features Pete Best on drums since it was recorded prior to his being replaced by Ringo Starr. Of the three other BBC performances of the tune, only one is currently available and can be found on The Complete BBC Sessions. A live version of the song also appears on the Live At The Star Club album, which was recorded at the Star Club in Hamburg, Germany, in late December of 1962.
When the single was released in England on January 11, 1963, George Martin's prediction of the song becoming a number one came true, at least on some of the charts. While Please Please Me only reached the number two position in the Record Retailer listing published by Record Mirror, it hit the coveted number one spot in Melody Maker, New Musical Express and Disc.
In the United States, the record suffered an entirely different fate. For starters, Vee-Jay wasn't quite sure what it had with the Beatles. Was the group pop, R&B or country & western? A Vee-Jay ad in Cash Box, shown on the following page, covered all three chart possibilities. Interestingly enough, Vee-Jay did not even know how to spell the group's name. All initial issues of the record, as well as advertisements in the trade journals, added an extra "T" to the name. Thus, when VJ 498 was released in February of 1963, it was credited to THE BEATTLES. The songwriters were listed as "J. Lennon-P. McCartney."
Although the single received minimal attention and failed to chart in any of the major trade magazines, it was not a total stiff. Vee-Jay sold approximately 5,650 copies during the first half of 1963. By mid-year the record had run its course as evidenced by Vee-Jay's claim that only two copies were sold in the last six months of 1963. A limited pressing of the single in 1964 added sales of approximately 1,650 units, raising total sales to 7,310 copies.
There are six label variations to the stock (retail) copies of this historic and highly collectible single. In addition, there is a promotional copy and an oddball stock copy that pairs different label types for the A side and the B side. Although some of the variations are relatively minor, all variations have been given separate numeric listings as collectors have placed significance on each different pressing. The Disc Jockey Advance Sample copy of the record and three distinct variations of the stock copy have the word "BEATTLES" misspelled on the label.
Most Beatles historians and record collectors have long held the belief that the stock copy variation of VJ 498 with the "BEATTLES" misspelling and thin print was the first issue of the record because its label has the same typesetting as the promotional copy. A careful inspection of the trail off areas of the records and documents filed in Vee-Jay's New York lawsuit against Capitol reveals that this theory is wrong. To fully udnerstand VJ 498, one must examine both court records and vinyl records.
Vee-Jay entered into a written agreement with Transglobal Music Co., Inc. on January 10, 1963, in which Vee-Jay was given the exclusive right to manufacture and sell phonograph records made from two Beatles masters, namely Please Please Me and Ask Me Why. Shortly thereafter, Vee-Jay received a master tape from EMI containing the two songs. The tape was then sent to Universal Recording Corporation in Chicago for mastering, a process that involves the cutting of lacquer discs. The recording engineer who cut the lacquers hand etched his initials "RA" into the trail off area of the discs, along with each song's master number. Please Please Me was assigned number 63-2967 and Ask Me Why was assigned number 63-2968.
On January 18, 1963, the lacquers were sent to Audio Matrix, Inc., a company in the Bronx, New York, to prepare the metal parts necessary to manufacture the records. As discussed in greater detail on page 88, these metal parts included masters, mothers and the actual stampers used to press the records. The masters and mothers were prepared by Audio Matrix and the stampers were generated from the mothers by either Audio Matrix or the pressing plant. Metal parts produced by Audio Matrix have the company's logo machine stamped into their trail off areas, which transfers to the finished record. The sharpness of the logo varies among individual records. This is due to the image on the stamper wearing down from excessive use. On some discs the words "Audio Matrix" are clearly visible while on others all that remains is what appears to be a series of dots.
Fortunately for Beatles historians, a handful of Audio Matrix invoices were filed into the record of the New York court proceedings. Three separate Audio Matrix invoices dated January 29, 1963, indicate that the company prepared 45 RPM metal parts for master numbers 63-2967 and 63-2968 (Please Please Me and Ask Me Why) for Vee-Jay and shipped these parts to three different factories: "Am Records Press," "Monarch" and "Southern Plastics."
Vee-Jay, like most small, independent labels, did not press its own records. Instead, the company had the metal parts sent to regional factories for manufacture. Records were then sent directly from these pressing plants to distributors, who in turn sent records to retailers and other distributors. In 1963, three of the primary pressing plants used by Vee-Jay were The American Record Pressing Co. in Owosso, Michigan, Monarch Records in Los Angeles, California and Southern Plastics in Nashville, Tennessee.
Records pressed by The American Record Pressing Co. ("ARP") in 1963 and 1964 have a raised relief script "ARP" machine stamped logo in the trail off areas. They also have thin print throughout the label. All Vee-Jay records manufactured at this factory in 1963 have the song title and artist's name in capital letters below the center hole and all other words in upper and lower case letters. The master number and the word "Vocal" are to the left of the center hole and the publishing information and running time of the song are to the right. The records are pressed in vinyl and have a raised area for the label that drops off one-half inch from the center hole. As is the case with the Audio Matrix logo, the appearance of the script "ARP" logo varies among individual records. On some discs all letters are clearly visible while on others only a part of the logo is noticeable. The location of the logo in the trail off areas may also vary among copies of the same release, indicating that the records were pressed by different stampers created from the same mother.
The discs manufactured by Monarch Records are easily identified by a circled symbol machine stamped in the trail off areas, which also contain a hand etched job number preceded by a delta symbol. On Vee-Jay discs pressed by Monarch, the song title and artist's name are located below the center hole in capital letters and thick print. The remaining information is in small print with the master number and the word "Vocal" to the left of the center hole and the time and publishing information to the right. A raised rim separates the label from the end of the trail off space. Monarch singles are made of styrene, a plastic compound, rather than vinyl. Although the sharpness of the logo varies from record to record, it is normally the easiest of the machine stamped logos to detect.
By process of elimination, the third variation of the misspelled VJ 498 must have been pressed by Southern Plastics. These Vee-Jay records have thin print throughout the label, with the song title and artist's name in all capital letters below the center hole. The names of the songwriters are in upper and lower case "microprint." All other information is in capital letters. As is the case with the ARP and Monarch labels, the master number and the word "VOCAL" are to the left of the center hole and the time and publishing information are to the right. There is no factory logo in the trail off areas. The records are pressed in vinyl and have a raised area for the label that drops off about one-half inch from the center hole. Singles pressed by Southern Plastics up to and including VJ 498 have a "#" symbol preceding the record number. Starting with Vee-Jay 499, Frank Ifield's The Wayward Wind, the "#" symbol is replaced with the VJ prefix or no prefix at all.
All variations of Vee-Jay Beatles records pressed in 1963, as well as many pressed in 1964, have the initials "RA" and the master number hand etched and the Audio Matrix logo machine stamped in their trail off areas. The characteristics discussed above apply not only to 1963 Beatles records on Vee-Jay, but also to most of the records of other Vee-Jay artists released during the same time frame.
Because all three variations of the misspelled "BEATTLES" stock copies were manufactured with metal parts sent to the three different regional pressing plants on the same day, it makes little sense to claim that any one of these discs was released prior to the other two. All three misspelled variations are original issue records. Nonetheless, the thin type version of the record has been assigned number VJ 498.01 in deference to the long held belief that it alone is the original issue. Old myths die hard. This record has thin silver lettering on a black label with an oval logo and outer rim colorband. The initials "ARP" appear in script in the trail off areas, indicating that this record was pressed by The American Record Pressing Co. Although this is not the rarest of the VJ 498 singles, it has been the most sought after as collectors are attracted both to the novelty of the group's name being misspelled and to the record's purported status as the first Beatles record issued in the United States. While the single My Bonnie, Decca 31382, was released over ten months earlier in April of 1962, it is not a true Beatles record as the group only served as backing musicians for Tony Sheridan and was listed on the label as "The Beat Brothers."
The other two variations of the stock copy with the double T misspelling are similar to VJ 498.01, but are clearly distinguishable. VJ 498.02 also has silver print on a black label with the outer rim colorband featuring the oval logo, but the song titles and the group's name are in thicker print than on the other variations. The symbol machine stamped in the trail off areas indicate that this styrene disc was pressed by Monarch Records. The trail off areas also contain the job numbers 46527 hand etched on the A side and 46527-X on the B side.
Although VJ 498.03 has the same colorband oval logo label and thin print as VJ 498.01, there are noticeable differences. These include a "#" symbol preceding the record number, the words "VOCAL" and "TIME" and the publishing information entirely in capital letters, the songwriter credits in microprint and the lack of a pressing plant logo in the trail off areas. It has been determined that this variation was manufactured by Souther Plastics. Of all the misspelled label variations, this "#498" version is the rarest.
The promotional copy of the record, VJ 498.DJ1, is similar to VJ 498.01 as it was also manufactured by ARP. Its typesetting is identical to the ARP stock copy down to the misspelling of the group's name in thin print. The record's white label features an oval logo and an outer rim "colorband" with varying shades of gray. It has black print lettering, "Disc Jockey Advance Sample" to the left of the center hole and "NOT FOR SALE" to the right. Its trail off area markings are identical to those of VJ 498.01, indicating that the ARP stock and promotional discs were pressed from the same stampers.
Vee-Jay eventually realized its mistake of misspelling the group's name, so later issues of the record corrected the error. VJ 498.04 is a crude attempt to fix the misspelled name. The label is identical to the label of VJ 498.03, the "#498" variation, except that one "T" has been physically removed. The label takes on an amateurish appearance as "THE BEATLES" is not recentered and the "LES" part of the name does not line up properly with the first part of the name (see page 9). The trail off areas are identical to those of VJ 498.03, indicating that both records were pressed from the same stampers by Southern Plastics.
The corrected thick print oval variation, VJ 498.05, does have "THE BEATLES" properly centered below the title and above "VJ 498." The markings in the trail off areas are identical to those of VJ 498.02, indicating that both discs were pressed by Monarch with the same stampers. Vee-Jay distributor invoices document that Monarch shipped 1,565 copies of VJ 498 to Field Music Sales during March and April of 1963. It is not known how many of these had corrected labels.
VJ 498.06 has the same thick print and correct spelling as 498.05, but is printed on a label backdrop featuring Vee-Jay's brackets logo. These label backdrops were first printed by Ivy Hill Lithograph Corp. in Great Neck, New York, in January 1964. A review of invoice summary sheets for the first quarter of 1964 indicates that 1,650 copies of the record were pressed and solid in early March of 1964. These bracket label discs were manufactured by Monarch Records with the same stampers used for VJ 498.02 and 498.05.
Vee-Jay was never in a financial position to scrap labels or records that should have been replaced. Thus, existing labels were used until the inventory was fully depleted. This policy led to a strange variation of the single, VJ 498.07, which has the correctly spelled brackets label of VJ 498.06 on one side and the misspelled oval label of VJ 498.02 on the other. There are two variations of this oddball California pressing. VJ 498.07A pairs the correctly spelled brackets label on the Please Please Me side with the misspelled oval label on the Ask Me Why side. VJ 498.07B is a mirror image of the preceding disc, pairing the misspelled oval label on the Please Please Me side with the correctly spelled brackets label on the Ask Me Why side. These are certainly the rarest versions of the record as they are variations of the limited 1964 bracket pressing. They are also the only records to have the group's name spelled incorrectly on one side and correctly on the other.
Unlike many later offerings, no picture sleeve was issued for this early Beatles record. Instead, it was often distributed in center cut sleeves printed with Vee-Jay logos. Versions VJ 498.01 through 498.05 would have originally come in VJ RS.01 (the sleeve shown on page 3). Versions VJ 498.06 and 498.07, which have bracket logo labels, are normally found in VJ RS.02 sleeves. This 1964 sleeve (shown on page 103) features the brackets logo and the phrase "SINGLES OF SIGNIFICANCE."
As it is estimated that less than 7,500 copies of this record were pressed, it should come as no surprise that all version of VJ 498 are quite scarce. Accordingly, the value gap between what were once considered the more common variations and the so-called rare variations is closing.

The Beatles' Story On Capitol Records Part Two: The Albums


Foreword by Alan Livingston, President
of Capitol Records, 1962-1968


First published October 24, 2000
498 Productions


a narrative and pictorial discography of beatlemania

Thousands of words have been written about the records...
Hundreds on hundreds of color pictures have been printed...
...All in an effort to capture for fans and collectors the world over
the fascinating truth and substance about the Capitol singles and
albums by four wonderful guys
named John, George, Paul and Ringo.
Here, at least, IS the whole story and the real story about
the Beatles on Capitol Records, authoritatively researched,
written and compiled in two books by
Bruce Spizer, author of the critically acclaimed
The Beatles Records on Vee-Jay.


Compiled and written by Bruce Spizer. Special assistance from Perry Cox, Gary Hein, Gary Johnson, Jim Hansen, Mark Galloway, Mitch McGeary and countless others. Foreword by Alan Livingston, president (1962-1968) of Capitol Records, Hollywood, California. Pre-press by Diana Thornton.


Side 1
(John Lennon-Paul McCartney)
(John Lennon-Paul McCartney)
3. THIS BOY (John Lennon-Paul McCartney)
4. IT WON'T BE LONG (John Lennon-Paul McCartney)
5. ALL I'VE GOT TO DO (John Lennon-Paul McCartney)
6. ALL MY LOVING (John Lennon-Paul McCartney)

Side 2
1. DON'T BOTHER ME (George Harrison)
2. LITTLE CHILD (John Lennon-Paul McCartney)
3. TILL THERE WAS YOU (Meredith Willson)
4. HOLD ME TIGHT (John Lennon-Paul McCartney)
(John Lennon-Paul McCartney)
(John Lennon-Paul McCartney)

After deciding to issue I Want To Hold Your Hand b/w I Saw Her Standing There as its first Beatles single, Capitol was faced with the task of preparing an album to introduce the Beatles to the United States. Parlophone had released the group's second long player, With The Beatles (Parlophone mono PMC 1206; stereo PCS 3045), on November 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy was assassinated. The disc had advance sales of over 300,000 units and quickly shot to the top of the British charts. Capitol determined that this record would be the one to join I Want To Hold Your Hand in the Beatles Campaign, but, as discussed below, some alterations would be made.
While Capitol wisely decided to use the same striking front cover photo as the British album, the company thought the title With The Beatles lacked impact. As it had no way of knowing Vee-Jay's plans to resurrect and issue its Introducing The Beatles album, Capitol probably considered naming its album Introducing The Beatles. Imagine the confusion that would have caused. But, as fate would have it, Capitol chose Meet The Beatles!
The album was mastered on December 19, 1963. The labels to the acetate made that day (shown center) misspell the group's name as "THE BEATTLES." This is the same spelling error that appears on the group's first U.S. release, Vee-Jay 498 (see Part One, page 5).
Original plans called for the album to be released in mid-February, 1964, but, as was the case with its single, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Capitol moved the release date forward due to growing demand for Beatles product. Vee-Jay's release of its Introducing The Beatles LP on January 10, 1964, also influenced Capitol to get its album on the market as soon as possible. According to a January 13, 1964, Capitol press release, Meet The Beatles! had advance orders of 240,000 units.
Meet The Beatles! was released on January 20, 1964. It debuted in Billboard's February 1, 1964, Top LP's chart at number 92, making it the first Beatles album to chart in the U.S. The same issue also showed I Want To Hold Your Hand at the top of the singles chart, a position the Capitol 45 held for seven straight weeks. Billboard's February 8th issue tracked Meet The Beatles! at number three. By the February 15th issue, Capitol's debut Beatles LP had replaced The Singing Nun (Philips 203) as the top album, fending off Vee-Jay's Introducing The Beatles and remaining number one for 11 weeks before being replaced by The Beatles' Second Album on May 2, Billboard charted Meet The Beatles! for 71 weeks, including 17 weeks in the top five, 21 in the top ten and 24 in the top twenty. Cash Box and Record World also charted the album at number one.
Testimony to the phenomenal sales of Capitol's two Beatles records, I Want To Hold Your Hand and Meet The Beatles!, appeared in the March 5, 1964, affidavit of Capitol vice president Voyle Gilmore in the New YOrk litigation between Capitol and Vee-Jay Records. Gilmore claimed that Capitol was selling approximately 500,000 Beatles records a week and had already sold over 6,000,000 copies of their two Beatles releases. The March 28, 1964, Billboard reported sales of Meet The Beatles! at 3,650,000 units and I Want To Hold Your Hand at 3,400,000 units.
The fact that the Capitol LP was outselling the single caught everyone off guard. Prior to the Beatles, rock albums were normally not big sellers. Selling a few hundred thousand LPs was considered a tremendous success. A few of Elvis Presley's albums had sold in excess of a million units, but these were either Christmas, greatest hits, sacred or movie soundtrack LPs. Neither of the King's first two rock 'n' roll albums hit sales of a million. And none of Capitol's first three Beach Boys' albums sold a million. The phenomenal sales of Meet The Beatles!, which went on to sell over five million copies, taught the record industry that huge profits could be generated by well-crafted rock albums.
Although With The Beatles was a proven best-seller in England, Capitol decided to alter the British disc. Changes were made for marketing and financial reasons.
In America, the conventional wisdom was that hit singles made hit albums. As With The Beatles did not contain either I Want To Hold Your Hand or I Saw Her Standing There, some songs from the British LP would have to be deleted to make room for these songs.
Economics also entered into the formula. While British pop albums typically had fourteen tracks, American LPs normally had twelve songs. The disparity evolved from the different method of calculating song publishing royalties between the two countries. In the United States, publishers are paid a mechanical license fee for each song that appears on the record. Under this system, each song represents an additional cost. In England, song publishers receive a share of the total royalties paid on each album sold. For example, if an LP contains fourteen songs, the publishing royalty due from the sale of the album. Because the number of songs included on the disc has no direct cost effect, British record companies can afford to provide a more generous number of songs per album. Thus, for financial reasons, Capitol decided to limit its first Beatles album to the American standard of a dozen selections.
Although Capitol is often criticized for the way it tore apart the Beatles British albums and issued its own reconfigured records, such criticism is unfounded when aimed at Meet The Beatles! Capitol's selection of songs formed the perfect disc for Americans to meet the Beatles.
Recognizing that hit singles sell albums, Capitol placed both sides of its single I Want TO Hold Your Hand b/w I Saw Her Standing There as the album's opening tracks. The next song is This Boy, the B side to the British single I Want To Hold Your Hand. Following the opening rockers with This Boy was brilliant programming as the ballad effectively slows down the pace of the album and showcases the beautiful vocal harmonies of John, Paul and George. The last three songs on the first side are the first three songs from side one of With The Beatles, namely It Won't Be Long, All I've Got To Do and All My Loving. All songs on side one are Lennon-McCartney originals.
Side two opens with the next three songs from With The Beatles, namely George Harrison's Don't Bother Me, Lennon-McCartney's Little Child and the Broadway show tune Till There Was You. The final three songs on the Capitol album are the remaining Lennon-McCartney originals from the British LP: Hold Me Tight, I Wanna Be Your Man and Not A Second Time.
With the exception of Till There Was You, all of the album's songs were written by members of the group. This enabled Capitol to exploit the band's songwriting abilities.
The five selections from With The Beatles not included on Capitol's first Beatles album were cover versions of songs originally recorded by American artists. Capitol probably reasoned that American record buyers would not be interested in hearing a British band perform American tunes. After all, who needs the Beatles version of Chuck Berry's Roll Over Beethoven when Chuck Berry's version is available? This view changed when the Canadian single of the Beatles Roll Over Beethoven was imported from Canada and began receiving heavy airplay on U.S. radio stations and selling enough copies to chart. Capitol responded by giving serious consideration to issuing the Beatles version of the Chuck Berry rocker as its follow-up to I Want To Hold Your Hand. Although George Martin convinced the label to release Can't Buy Me Love instead, Roll Over Beethoven was prominently listed as a featured selection on the cover of The Beatles' Second Album, which also contained the other four cover versions from With The Beatles.
The recording history of I Want To Hold Your Hand and I Saw Her Standing There is covered in the chapter on that single in Part One. The beautiful ballad This Boy, with its striking three-part harmony, was recorded at the same October 17, 1963, session as I Want To Hold Your Hand. The song was perfected in 15 takes, with two more takes for overdubs. The Free As A Bird maxi-single from 1995 contains Takes 12 and 13, which break down prior to completion due to the boys flubbing the lyrics. The laughter at the end of each take shows how much fun the group had in the studio in the early days.
The Beatles recorded This Boy twice for the BBC. The December 17, 1963, performed aired on the December 21 Saturday Club and the February 28, 1964, recording aired on the March 30 From Us To You. Neither performance is on Apple's Live At The BBC.
On December 2, 1963, the Beatles performed This Boy for The Morecambe And Wise Show. The audio portion of the broadcast is on Anthology 1. Volume 2 of the Anthology video contains a segment of the group lip syncing the song.
This Boy was performed by the Beatles during their first visit to America, including their February 11, 1964, Washington Coliseum concert. CBS TV recorded the show in black and white video for closed-circuit broadcasts to American theaters on March 14 and 15, 1964.
The First U.S. Visit video contains the group's performance of This Boy from the February 16 Ed Sullivan Show, broadcast from the Deauville Hotel in Miami Beach. Paul, John and George are shown gathered around a single microphone to sing their three-part harmony. Ringo primarily restricted his drumming to his high hat for the ballad.
This Boy became a regular on the Beatles concert set list in late 1963 and reamined part of the show throughout the first half of 1964. By the time the group began their American tour, the song had been dropped from the lineup. Thus, the song was not performed at the Capitol-recorded Hollywood Bowl concert of August 23, 1964.
It Won't Be Long was the first Lennon-McCartney original recorded for With The Beatles. After ten takes during the morning session of July 30, 1963, the group returned to the song that evening. The released master is an edit of Takes 17 and 21. The rocker opens with an energetic chorus full of trademark "yeah"s before moving to a catchy guitar riff and passionate lead vocals by John on the verses and bridge. Paul and George supply backing vocals. George Martin thought the song was worthy of being the potboiler opener for the Beatles all-important second British album. Had the song been released as a single, it would have been a huge hit.
John takes the spotlight again on All I've Got To Do, which was recorded in 15 takes on September 11, 1963. The moderate-paced song opens with a strummed guitar setting the stage for John's lead vocal. Highlights include a catchy melody, great singing and Ringo's distinctive drumming with effective use of his high-hat.
All My Loving was recorded at the end of the same July 30 session as It Won't Be Long. The song opens with Paul's lead vocal and quickly adds its exciting, fast-paced instrumental backing, dominated by John's high-speed churning rhythm guitar. George plays a country & western-influenced guitar solo during the tune's instrumental break and sings along with Paul during the last verse. Another high-quality song that could have been a hit single.
The Beatles performed All My Loving three times for the BBC. The third performance, which was recorded at the Piccadilly Theatre in London on February 28, 1964, and aired on the March 30th From Us To You program, is included on Live At The BBC.
All My Loving holds the distinction of being the first song performed by the Beatles on their first Ed Sullivan Show appearance. This historic performance appears on Volume 3 of the Anthology video and on The First U.S. Visit. The audio portion of the broadcast is included on Anthology 1. The group's performance o fthe song on the second Sullivan Show appears on The First U.S. Visit video. Volume 3 of the Anthology video contains the first part of the June 17, 1964, Melbourne performance.
All My Loving was part of the Beatles stage show from late 1963 through all of 1964. Capitol's The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl includes the group's August 23, 1964, performance, which is also included in black and white film on Volume 4 of the Anthology video.
George's Don't Bother Me was his first solo composition recorded by the Beatles. The group first attempted the song on September 11, 1963, but was not satisfied with the result. Returning to the song the next day, the Beatles started from scratch, with the remake designated Take 10. A finished master was completed in ten takes, including overdubs. George's voice was double-tracked and other overdubs included John on tambourine, Paul on claves and Ringo on a loose-skinned Arabian bongo drum. The band's initial attempt at the remake, Take 10, is an excellent live-in-the-studio performance. Towards the end of the song George can be heard singing "Oh yeah, rock 'n' roll now."
John's Little Child was also started on September 11 and completed the following day. The infectious rocker has many of the ingredients of past hits, including "come on"s, "oh yeah"s and John's wailing harmonica. Paul contributed a piano part to overdub Take 15, which was edited with Take 18 to form the finished master.
The one non-original song included on the album was a deliberately safe selection sure to please even adult listeners. Till There Was You was a love song from the hit musical The Music Man and was the type of show tune Paul enjoyed singing. Its inclusion on the group's second British LP followed the precedent of A Taste Of Honey's appearance on the first British LP. The tunes's jazz guitar arrangement closely follows Peggy Lee's recording of Till There Was You, which appears on her album Latin ala Lee!
After three unsuccessful takes of Till There Was You on July 18, 1963, the Beatles returned to the song on July 30. For the remake, Ringo abandoned his drum kit for bongos. Paul's soaring vocal performance is noteworthy not only for its beauty, but also for his pronunciation of the word "saw" as "sar" in the line "But I never sar them winging, no I never sar them at all."