Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?

A very suitable picture for today's post!

A very suitable picture for today’s post!

For pretty much my entire life, I’ve loved books. There is nothing quite like getting engrossed in a good read, in my opinion. And considering I write this blog, I (obviously!) love The Beatles! And one of my favourite Beatley things to do has always been to read Beatley books…

When I first got into The Beatles and knew nothing about their history, it never occurred to me to Google them for some reason. Instead, I collected (and borrowed) a mini-library of Beatley books. And that is how — along with a few documentaries and the internet (once it did finally cross my mind) — I learnt the story of The Beatles.

My Beatley library is relatively large, and grows almost every month! It includes everything from some of the best books I’ve ever read (the books below, plus a few more), and some of the worst (*cough*GeofferyGuiliano*cough*), and everything in between. So today, I thought I’d write a bit about four of my favourites — so here goes…

The John Lennon Letters (ed. Hunter Davies)

$_35

The John Lennon Letters is a must-have title. Released in 2012, the book collects nearly 300 of John’s letters/notes/drawings/cards/etc; the earliest a thank-you card from when he was ten, the latest an autograph from the 8th of December. These writings provide an invaluable insight into John’s life. Ranging from a few of the infamous Melody Maker letters from him and Paul’s 1971 feud, to a beautiful Christmas card he made Cyn in 1958, some song lyrics which he never finished on the back of a postcard, to witty replies to hate mail, the letters are anything from hilarious to heartbreaking to angry to informative and just about anything in between. They portray John as a very intelligent guy, and show what he was like behind the spotlight. Davies adds notes to put them into context and also transcribes them. This was one of the first Beatles books I read, and was how I first learnt about John!

LIFE With The Beatles: Inside Beatlemania (photos by Robert Whitaker, compiled by LIFE magazine)

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This book is somewhat large and awkwardly shaped, but it is beautiful. Robert Whitaker was The Beatles’ official photographer from 1964-1966, and among other things took the infamous Butcher Cover. LIFE compiled pretty much all of his Beatles photos and sorted them into years. And my, was Whitaker a talented photographer! Wherever they were from 1964-1966, Whitaker was there, too, and the results that ensued were amazing. As demonstrated with the Butcher cover, he clearly had a penchant for the experimental, and his photos add a fresh new photographic voice to Beatles lore. With images ranging from John staring into his own reflection at Kenwood, to John, Paul and George’s guitars sitting in Customs in 1966, from Paul + George playing with a birdcage, to The Beatles hanging out with Mick Jagger backstage at one of their Christmas pantomimes, there are some truly special shots in here. Many of the photos have anecdotes from Whitaker next to them. In short, this is a beautiful, beautiful book!

All The Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release (Phillipe Margotine + Jean-Michael Guesdon)

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This book is my Beatley bible. Think of it as all a more informal Mark Lewishon-style book, with prettier formatting, more information on the songwriting side of things + lots of cool photos! Right from the engaging introduction written by Patti Smith (who I’m also a fan of!), the book goes into the genesis, recording, production, technical details and (for some of the songs) related facts for each of the 213 titles in the Beatles’ discography! From this book, you’ll learn who wrote what, who played what, where each song was recorded, how many takes it took, who produced it… You’ll also read on its impressive 671 pages about what each song was written about, or who recorded it first if it was a cover, and often little anecdotes about the song, too! A photo also accompanies each song, and most of them are quite rare. The formatting is beautiful, too, and the book comes with three posters. I learnt so much from this book, and is probably one of the most informative titles in my collection!

The Beatles’ Anthology (The Beatles)

anthology

This is the mother of all Beatles books; their “autobiography”. Part of the Anthology project from the ’90s (which saw an eight-part documentary and three double albums of unreleased material released too), this book is chock full of practically everything a Beatles fan could want! Detailed interviews with Paul, George and Ringo were conducted for the project and it is through their words that the story of The Beatles is told here. John’s perspective is not neglected, either, as the researchers have found hundreds of quotes from the many interviews he gave over the years. George Martin and Neil Aspinall were also interviewed, and many other important figures in Beatles lore (such as Brian Epstein, Mal Evans and Stu Sutcliffe) also have quotes included. The book covers practically everything! Whether you want to know about Hamburg or Pepper, Shea Stadium or the rooftop concert, you’ll find it here. Not to mention that the story comes from the people who were actually involved, making it all the more valuable. Other highlights include pictures from the personal archives of each Beatle, unseen writings, and other things that add to this highly-illustrated book. A most invaluable addition to anyone’s Beatley library!

What books on The Beatles have you read? Have you got a favourite? Be sure to send me a postcard, drop me a line below…

Oh, and happy birthday to Pete Townshend for May 19th! As a huge fan of The Who, he is one of my favourite guitarists, and not to even mention a really awesome songwriter! Happy birthday, Pete.

Hope you have a great day, wherever you are, and good day sunshine until next post! 🙂

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Things We Polled Today…

A lovely picture of John and Paul!

A lovely picture of John and Paul! Don’t they look sweet? 🙂

Well – I haven’t done a poll in a while, have I? I also have some other things to write about today (i.e. Ron Howard’s upcoming Beatles doco – for which I cannot wait!), but to start off with – here’s a poll! It’s titled ‘Which Beatles’ period is your favourite’ (as you will see further down), and Option One will be ‘the early years’ – the Hamburg/Cavern Club Era (1960) ’till the A Hard Day’s Night sessions (1964), which includes Pete Best/Stu Sutcliffe, the ‘Love Me Do’/’P.S. I Love You’ sessions, the marathon 12-hour Please Please Me session and the With The Beatles sessions, plus the filming of A Hard Day’s Night and their Australian tour. Option Two will be the ‘middle years’ – the Beatles For Sale (late 1964) sessions ’till the Magical Mystery Tour/Yellow Submarine sessions (1968 – there’s a slight overlap, here, ‘cos both the film and album Yellow Submarine fit in with the psychedelia of Sgt. Pepper/ Magical Mystery Tour, but were recorded around the time of ‘Lady Madonna’, which is considered as a part of their back-to-basics-rock-and-roll late material. I consider Yellow to be middle-period, but that’s only my opinion), which includes ‘Ticket To Ride’/’Yes It Is’, the album/film/single Help! (which includes classics such as the title track, ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’ and – of course – ‘Yesterday’), Shea Stadium, Rubber Soul, ‘Paperback Writer’/’Rain’, the groundbreaking Revolver, the Sgt. Pepper sessions, plus (not-so-positive bits) the introduction of pot/LSD, the decision to stop touring (not that was necessarily a bad thing…) and the ‘Jesus remark’ (which was taken completely out of context). And then, the final option will be the ‘late years’, spanning from the ‘Lady Madonna’ sessions ’till the break-up – this involves India, introduction of Yoko and Linda, the White Album sessions, ‘Hey Jude’/’Revolution’, the Get Back/Let It Be sessions and Abbey Road, plus the mounds of arguments and the split ( 😦 ). If I had to choose, I would vote for the ‘middle years’ – my favourite albums (Revolver, Help!, Beatles For Sale and Rubber Soul) were all recorded in that period – plus the songs I favour – and (not that it matters) I think they looked the best around that period (not that they were bad-looking at any period – except for maybe Paul’s Let It Be beard…)! Oh, and one word: PSYCHEDELIA! But this isn’t a place for me to vote, ‘cos I’m putting it to you. So please choose, and I’d love to see which period is the most popular amongst the people who’ve seen past this large block of text and voted!

 

(And now for some more…)

As most Beatlemaniacs will have heard by now, acclaimed director and actor Ron Howard is both directing and producing a documentary on The Beatles’ touring years (1960 – 1966), which is scheduled for release in late-2015! Ron Howard (who – amongst other things – starred as Richie in Happy Days, plus is the creator behind Parenthood) is a self-proclaimed Beatlemaniac himself, and is being joined by Nigel Sinclair (who produced George Harrison: Living In The Material World); the two (according to Rolling Stone) have been granted access to the Apple Corps archives (I can only dream!), and are sourcing footage/photos/material from fans. For more information, here is the link to the article on The Beatles’ official website, which involves information on how to submit your material for the doco (anyone here got any??). You can find Rolling Stone‘s article (the most informative yet) on the upcoming feature here. And Sky News Australia’s two-bobs’-worth is here – whilst short, it contains a cool news-clip about the event! I cannot wait for this to be released, and I’ll be making sure I’m at the pre-viewing if it makes it to cinemas.

As for some other Beatle-y news, The Grammys’ Beatles tribute has been nominated for six Emmy awards! Let’s hope it wins some, ‘cos (in my opinion) watching Paul and Ringo re-unite is much more interesting than binge-watching Game Of Thrones (not that I’ve ever watched it)… And A Hard Day’s Night has been released on Australian iTunes stores (as of the 9th of this month), but it’s rated M. Why M?? I get that John snorts a bottle of coke (the cola kind…) in the train (‘But they hadn’t even done pot at this point, let alone cocaine,’ I protest), there are a few jokes of a sexual nature (Paul’s comment to the effect of, ‘He [Grandfather] could be in an orgy by now!’, John’s ‘Please can I have one to surge with?’ comment, what John and the girl are hinting at in the ‘she looks more like me than I do’ scene, and the stamp collection), and of course, the smoking – but M? Really?? I also read that the Australian BluRay isn’t particularly good, so I’m glad I got my UK export! Talking of my UK export…IT’S BEING SHIPPED ON MONDAY! I absolutely cannot wait for it to come!

Oh, and a big thank you to my good friend (you know who you are) for recommending an interesting book to me, earlier this year – I just finished it yesterday! But what book am I referring to, you ask? When We Wake, a dystopian novel written by New Zealander-come-Australian Karen Healey! The story is about a sixteen-year-old girl living in 2027 Melbourne named Tegan, who’s about to go on a climate-change-action protest with her best friend Alex and her boyfriend-as-of-the-night-before Dalmar. However, a sniper intervenes, and Tegan is shot dead. Tegan had donated her body to science some time before she died, though. She wakes up (as the first successful cryonics – the process of freezing someone who is dead, and then proceeding to try and revive them – patient) in 2128, and soon enough, she finds herself in the middle of the paparazzi, a medicinal-drug-smuggling plot, a secret – and possibly corrupt – government operation and a devout Christian cult, who want her dead. And of course, Tegan is a hardcore Beatlemaniac – her favourite is Ringo, but the majority of Beatles references are somewhat related to John 🙂 ; yay for Johnny! Sadly, though, George isn’t mentioned… However, I really enjoyed this read, and you can buy your own copy here. Again, thank you, my friend, and hope you’re enjoying the holidays!

And one more thing… if you haven’t already noticed, I’ve changed my sidebar widgets slightly! Please check out my profile, and see if you can guess what songs I’m punning on. Good day sunshine 🙂

Thank You Mr. Postman! Pt. 2

 

The latest edition to my Beatle-y merchandise collection!

The latest edition to my Beatle-y merchandise collection!

 

Rubber Soul – John, Paul, George and Ringo’s sixth album, released in Britain on the 3rd of December, 1965; what does it mean to you? To me, it means a few things – a) it was the first Beatles studio album I purchased, b) I remember listening to it on a plane flight from Melbourne to Adelaide (where it snowed, yesterday – not in my part (where it stayed just about 8 degrees all day), but it still snowed!) just under a year ago, and c) to me, it marks when the later years of The Beatles’ career start. But now, it means something more – ‘cos look what came in the mail at about 11 o’clock (AM – obviously…) today! The above book is a Rubber Soul ‘song album’ – a magazine that contains eight ‘already standard songs’ off the album, plus three pages of ‘fabulous photos’! I ordered it off Ebay on Monday (Ringo’s birthday!), and (since it only had to come down from Queensland – the state at the very top of Australia, if you’re not familiar with the geography of my country) it has arrived surprisingly quickly! I had a flip through the pages, and it looks as though most of the songs are in the correct key signature, so I shouldn’t have to do too much transposing to bring them up/down to the way The Fab Four played them! The songs noted in the book are – in case you can’t read the listing on the picture (it would appear quite small on, say, an iPhone) – ‘Michelle’, ‘Norwegian Wood’, ‘Nowhere Man’, ‘Girl’, ‘Wait’, ‘If I Needed Someone’, ‘Drive My Car’ and ‘Think For Yourself’, and are printed in that order. In the middle of the booklet is a double-page spread of pictures of The Beatles taken at various points in 1965, and just over 3/4ths of the way through, there is a image-page dedicated to the Shea Stadium gig. So as you can see, I’m quite pleased with my latest purchase!

Just one more thing before I show you some pictures of the book – the mystery of when the book was published, as this is not apparent at first view. When I purchased the book, I was under the impression that it was printed in 1965, but as I will show a little further down, the book was being sold at a price of 80 cents. In Australia in 1965, our currency was the Australian pound/penny – it continued to be so until the 14th of February, 1966 (when it was all decimalised, and we ended up with the Australian dollar/cent). Interestingly, until the release of Revolver, Australian Beatles releases were always a couple of months behind the UK. Because of this, Rubber Soul (the last record to have a delayed release date here) was put on shelves on the 17th of February, 1966 – only three days after decimalisation. I’d assume that my book was released around the same time as the album, so my guess is that it was released some time between February (the date of both decimalisation – hence the price of 80 cents – and the Australian release of Rubber Soul) and August (the world release-date of Revolver – involving Australia for the first time…), 1966. I don’t think it could have been any later, ‘cos – as far as I can see – these ‘song albums’ were released with every LP (making the previous one out-of-print), the price would be too little for something even released in 1970s, and the pages look too old to be something much later. But now, I’ll stop writing, and show you my pictures; enjoy!

The '80 cents' thing I was talking about (off the back cover - it was scribbled off the front, as you may have noted from my image at the top of the post).

The ’80 cents’ thing I was talking about (off the back cover – the price was scribbled off the front, as you may have noted from my image at the top of the post).

The publishing information - interesting from the point of view of an Australian Beatlemaniac...

The publishing information – interesting from the point of view of an Australian Beatlemaniac, but worth a look…

A page of music - 'Nowhere Man', to be exact. This image might be illegal (I don't know), so please look at my 'Disclaimers' post if you are thinking of suing me (though I doubt some Apple Corps. official would bother to read such blogs)...

A page of music – ‘Nowhere Man’, to be exact. This image might be illegal (I don’t know), so please look at my ‘Disclaimers’ post if you are thinking of suing me (though I doubt some Apple Corps. official would bother to read this)…

A double-spread of pictures (yay!)! Oh, and just look at that picture of John in the right corner of the left-hand page - oh my, was he attractive :-) !

A double-spread of pictures (yay!)! Oh, and just look at that picture of John in the right corner of the left-hand page – oh my, was he attractive 🙂 !

Another page of music - 'Girl', this time. I love this song - it will definitely make my next 'Favourite Beatles Songs' post, and I can't believe it didn't feature on the first one!

Another page of music – ‘Girl’, this time. I love this song – it will definitely make my next ‘Favourite Beatles Songs’ post, and I can’t believe it didn’t feature on the first one!

The Shea Stadium pictures I was talking about, plus the last page of 'Drive My Car'.

The Shea Stadium pictures I was talking about, plus the last page of ‘Drive My Car’.

The last page - 'Think For Yourself', the song that turned me on to how good a songwriter George was! Note the different title font - it appears to have been used on both the first and last pages of music.

The last pages – ‘Think For Yourself’, the song that turned me on to how good a songwriter George was! Note the different title font – it appears to have been used on both the first and last pages of music.

So there you have it – an insider’s view of my latest Beatle-y thing! And now for a couple of other things…

A Hard Day’s Night might just make its way onto Australian big screens! I was giving The Beatles’ official website one of my weekly looks the other day, and I came across a page titled ‘A Hard Day’s Night Screenings Info’. I clicked on it – for no apparent reason (a glimmer of hope, perhaps?!) – and proceeded to read it. And, guess what? The article said (quote), “In celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of its world premiere in London, The Beatles’ epoch-making music movie will have an extended run of screenings across the USA and the UK from 4 July 2014, with more global dates to be announced soon.” So this means that it might – just might – make its way Down Under, and, good gracious, would I be the happiest girl on Earth if it did! If you (like me) have an account on the website, make sure you ‘Favourite’ the page and keep your eyes peeled. If you don’t, however, I’ve posted the link here. But if you’re reading this in the US/UK, I’d assume you’ve already seen it – I’d love to hear what it was like!

(And finally…)

Today is a special day for me, because it marks exactly one year since I purchased my first Beatles album! About six months earlier (after becoming a casual fan three years before – this being revived again in 2012), my then-best-friend turned me on to The Beatles’ music (after a playing of ‘All You Need Is Love’ one school assembly), and we spent our lunch-breaks singing tunes such as ‘Eleanor Rigby’ (her favourite Beatles song) and ‘Hello Goodbye’ (my then-fave – it’s the first Beatles song I have exact memory of listening to, so it’s a little special to me), and talking about our favourite Beatles (hers was Paul, and – as you will have gathered – mine is John). There was only one problem, though – I thought my parents didn’t like The Fab Four (I was very, very wrong), so I was too afraid to tell them about my new-found passion. So – about six months later – I found myself making up elaborate plots that would allow me to purchase a Beatles album without my mother and father cluing on too much. I remember scouring iTunes – which, at the time, was selling 1 and Help! at discounted prices – to try and find an album that I could start out with. I decided up on 1 – at this time, of course, I had no knowledge of their studio albums (would you believe it – I though Abbey Road was a Rolling Stones album!), so I unwittingly ended up with their best-selling, 2000-released compilation (not that I care!). But anyway, I plotted for about two weeks, and finally, my ‘B-day’ had rolled along. I’d purchased an iTunes card a few days earlier (as part of my plot), and bought a few other songs to make myself appear a little less ‘suspicious’ (as I thought myself at the time). But my plan fell apart (thankfully!), when Mum ended up going through a newly-purchased flute music book to try and find some music to recommend (all a part of my plot), she also ended up discovering I was a rookie Beatlemaniac – and I discovered that she also liked their music! Since then, my love has only blossomed, so I reckon the decision I made that day was one of the best (if not the best) decision I have made in my life! It’s funny to think that, a year ago, I didn’t even know what The Beatles really looked like (that was unfortunate for me 🙂 ) or that George sang (I soon discovered he wrote, as ‘Something’ is on 1) some Beatles songs, but now (a year later), I can recite their entire discography off in a matter of seconds, and I could tell you really obscure facts, such as the month and year that John got his drivers’ licence in, and how old he was (he got it in February 1965, and he was 24-turning-25)! I reckon I’ll love The Beatles for the rest of my life – and to think it’s all down to an album I bought exactly one year ago, today! So (to conclude this last paragraph), I’ve posted 1 – that life-changing album, for me – below. If you’re already a Beatlemaniac (like I assume most people reading this are), have a listen – who would pass up an opportunity to listen to a certain band that changed the course of the world?!?! But if you’re a casual fan, or haven’t discovered The Fabs all that much, yet, why don’t you listen to this album, too? Once you have, I guarantee you that your life will never be the same – all down to four talented musicians/singers/songwriters that changed so many other lives, too. I salute you, John, Paul, George and Ringo! So here is that album that changed my life, and I’d like to think that it’ll help change many others, too:

 

So now, on this sunny afternoon (to quote The Kinks) that is also an extremely valid candidate for the coldest day in our long-cold-lonely Winter (to quote The Beatles), good day sunshine! 🙂

 

 

 

Thank You Mr. Postman!

Look what came in the mail, yesterday!

Look what came in the mail, yesterday!

 

Well hello, all,

School’s out, now, and I have three glorious weeks of mid-term holidays ahead of me 🙂 ! I’m listening to my favourite Beatles album (Revolver) this session, and ‘Love You To’ is currently playing. Well, I’ll get on with what I should write about – let’s see if I can get off this particular tangent before ‘Here, There and Everywhere’ finishes!

(Above mission accomplished – be proud, John!)

A few weeks ago (whilst I was in Melbourne, in fact!) I was browsing Beatles-ville on Ebay, and I came across this little baby – a first-edition Canadian printing of The Beatles In Help!, as written by Al Hine. If you don’t already know, both A Hard Day’s Night and Help! were turned into short novels back when the films were released (oh, how I wish I could have been there!), and I imagine many a teenage girl would have purchased them. I already own an Australian printing of the A Hard Day’s Night edition – by chance, my mother purchased it, and then she discovered I was a Beatlemaniac; thus, I read it about two months until I actually saw the film – so I thought I would get the Help! version, too! My printing is Canadian, as well, which makes it extra-special here in Australia. I posted some pictures of it, below (excuse the fact that my hand is in the majority of them!):

The blurb

The blurb

The title page

The title page

The story thus far...

The story thus far…

A page of text - it's the bit where Ahme is behind Ringo's vending machine, and bites his finger (if you're interested)

A page of text – it’s the bit where Ahme is behind Ringo’s vending machine, and bites his finger (if you’re interested)

A couple of pictures from the eight-page spread of images in the middle of the book

A couple of pictures from the eight-page spread of images in the middle of the book

HELP! (another of the pictures in the middle of the book - excuse my bad photography, on this one...)

HELP! (another of the pictures in the middle of the book – excuse my bad photography, on this one…)

Well, there you go – my latest Beatles collectable in a nutshell! Hope you enjoy – might post a little excerpt from the text when I’ve finished reading it (I’m halfway through Chapter 5). I’m going to enjoy my first night of school holls, now – if you’re reading this in Adelaide, keep warm and beware of the storm that is supposedly coming! Regardless of where you’re from, though – have a good night (cue massive string orchestra) and good day sunshine! 🙂