It was Friday afternoon, Nov. 15, 1968, and Bruce Spizer was listening to the car radio on his ride home from Isidore Newman School in New Orleans. His interest peaked when the local radio station played a song from the soon to be released Beatles “White Album.”
That evening, he remembers listening to the radio station’s top 10 songs, which included several from the new album. Already a Beatles fan at 13 years old, Spizer liked what he heard.
The following Monday, he stopped by Studio A record store in Lakeview to find out the release date and reserve a copy. Spizer then informed his mother that she needed to be home by 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 22, the release day, to take him to Studio A to get his copy. He was thrilled to pick up the album and spent hours each day listening to the songs.
Fast forward to 2018 and the 50th anniversary of the release of the “White Album.” Beatles fans from around the world celebrated the “White Album” at the White Album International Symposium held earlier this month at Monmouth University in New Jersey. Speizer was there but not as an attendee. As an internationally recognized authority on the Beatles, Spizer was a featured speaker at the four-day event. In his presentations he discussed the significance of the “White Album,” including its design and its impact on Charles Manson. He turned a childhood interest into a lifelong avocation. Even though Spizer always enjoyed the Beatles’ music, he was a casual listener. In his earlier days, he played the guitar in several local bands and managed the new wave band, The Cold. He received undergraduate, master’s and law degrees from Tulane University and practiced law.
In 1997, Spizer settled a class action lawsuit resulting in a large legal fee and decided to replace his childhood collection of Beatles records that had been damaged by cockroaches. He wanted original records from the 1960s, not reproductions.In his search for the records, he did research on the Beatles and their record companies. He found litigation between several record labels and discovered that much that was written about the record companies was wrong. A record dealer suggested he write an article about his findings about Vee-Jay Records, the first company to release a Beatles album in the United States.
The 1998 article turned into Spizer’s first book, “Beatles Records on Vee-Jay,” which he wrote and published in full-color and hardback in nine months. This launched his journey through Beatles history.
Thus far, Spizer has written 10 books including his most recent, “The Beatles White Album and the Launch of Apple,” to coincide with the 50th anniversary.
One of the most memorable events regarding the writing of his books involved his 2014 book, “The Beatles Are Coming.” The book covers the Beatles first visit to the United States in 1964 and the Beatlemania evolution.
“I was able to interview three of my childhood heroes, Walter Cronkite, Mike Wallace and Edwin Newman for the book,” he said.
Spizer believes that the media reporting on the Beatles helped to create the Beatles craze in the United States. Cronkite wrote the forward for this book.
During his Beatles’ expert career, Spizer has had many notable accomplishments. He has served as a Beatles legacy consultant to EMI and Apple records on the re-releases of the American configuration of the Beatles catalog, was an official consultant to Capitol Records on “The Capitol Albums Volumes 1 and 2” and wrote an essay for the booklet included with “The Capitol Albums Volume 2.”
Although Spizer has never seen the Beatles perform as a group, he has attended concerts of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison. “I am attracted to the Beatles because of the quality of their songs, the production, songwriting, great singers and musicians. They had it all,” he said about the reason the Beatles have been so successful. … The reason people listen to them now is because it is really great music.”
Spizer will discuss the Beatles and the 50th anniversary of the “White Album” on Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. at the Jefferson Parish East Bank Regional Library, 4747 West Napoleon, Metairie. The event is free to the public. Registration isn’t required.