Friday, July 11, 2008

The Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story Of The Abbey Road Years 1962-1970

by Mark Lewisohn

Introductory Interview with Paul McCartney

One of the most important documentaries on rock music ever published, this is EMI Records' official diary-format history of every Beatles recording session.

"A definitive account of the Fab Four at work from 1962 to 1970." - Musician

"With this wealth of detail, Mr Lewisohn vividly conveys a sense of the atmosphere at the sessions and shows how the band evolved during its brief but productive recording career." - New York Times

"It's the next best thing to a new Beatles album." - Boston Globe

"It is an absolute must for hardcore Beatles fans, surely the best book on the Fab Four in well over a decade." - Gainsville Sun

The Beatles: Recording Sessions is EMI Records' official diary-format history of every Beatles recording session, from the first in 1962, when the group was auditioned, to the last recordings in 1970, shortly before the Beatles split up.

Introduced by a rare and exclusive interview with Paul McCartney.

Researched from hundreds of unreleased Abbey Road archive tapes, thousands of previously unpublished studio documents, and interviews with scores of key recording personnel.

More than 350 full-color and black-and-white photographs and illustrations, including rare photos by Linda McCartney and the first facsimile reproductions of Abbey Road recording sheets, tape boxes, album-sleeve roughs, memos, contracts, press releases, and much more.

Author Mark Lewisohn has long been recognized as the leading authority on the Beatles, his books on the Fab Four include the definitive Complete Beatles Chronicle. Based in Hertfordshire, England, he also writes for a number of magazine publications.

"An oustanding reference book. The volume reveals scores of previously undocumented private moments." ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE

"Excellent... recounts all the available data from the Fabs' shirt-sleeved days and chain-smoking nights inside the celebrated EMI Studios. The facts are embellished with much photographic material and an informed narrative that casts a fascinating light upon the sessions." Q MAGAZINE

"A staggeringly detailed document of the Beatles at work." CREATIVE REVIEW

"Superb photographs." DAILY TELEGRAPH

"Definitely a book no Beatles fans will want to be without." SUNDAY POST

"A superbly presented book. A Beatles fan's dream, filled with information which can be found nowhere else." INTERNATIONAL MUSICIAN

"The ultimate word on the subject... one of the most important rock books of all time. Absolutely essential purchase for everyone interested in the Beatles." RECORD COLLECTOR


Picture yourself as a motorist driving down Abbey Road, a quiet northwest London suburb when suddenly in the pouring rain you are confronted by a strange sight. In front you standing on a zebra crossing are four tourists, one minus shoes and socks, being photographed by some poor bowler-hatted city gent holding an umbrella looking for all the world as though he has been hijacked especially for the occasion.

This is no rare event. Come rain, hail or shine, never a day goes by when one does not rush to the window following the screech of brakes to witness a similar sight. Why you ask yourself, some twenty years on from the time the Beatles used this same zebra crossing for their album cover, should there still be so much interest? Why also should our mail at Abbey Road Studios contain so many letters asking for information about the Beatles, and why should we have to paint over all the Beatles-related graffiti on our front wall every six months?

It was back in 1931 that the studios officially opened, having been built in the back garden of an old property in St John's Wood. The list of artists, conductors and orchestras who have used the facility reads like a who's who of recording but none has ever captured the imagination of the entire world so much as the Fab Four.

This book really began in the early 1980s when one of our highly talented young balance engineers, John Barrett, became seriously ill. During the time he was undergoing chemotherapy, John asked if there was anything he could do to keep his mind occupied. My suggestion was that he listened through every Beatles tape and logged all relevant details; a job which he did to perfection. He produced a wonderful catalogue with all information colour coded with an attention to detail which was quite incredible.

The story continued in 1982 when Brian Southall, author of the book Abbey Road, and myself were asked to give a talk at the annual Beatles' convention in Liverpool. We took John along to sit on the platform and used his new catalogue to respond to any tricky questions. The audience were so enthralled at some of the information given that they asked if a book could be published.

Tragically, in 1984, John Barrett died. But Abbey Road's Kathryn Varley was determined that John's work should be published, and eventually Mark Lewisohn was commissioned to write the book. He has worked tirelessly in his quest for information, interviewing virtually everybody who had any association with the Beatles' recording schedules. Apart from his own extensive research, he has had to filter very carefully all he has been told, for it is amazing how quickly memories get tarnished with age. He has listened to hours and hours of playbacks, and the contents of this book are a tribute to his diligence. Finally it is thanks to Norman Bates, a key figure in EMI Records' Strategic Marketing, that a publishing deal was eventually concluded.

This is not just another Beatles' book It is the first and only one to tell the story of their recording career. It will, I feel sure, become the definitive reference book for Beatles' fans everywhere. We at Abbey Road sincerely hope you enjoy it.

Ken Townsend
General Manager, Abbey Road Studios

No comments: