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Rob Sheffield’s book Dreaming the Beatles: The Love Story of One Band and the Whole World is a celebration of the band, from the longtime Rolling Stone columnist. It tells the weird saga of how four lads from Liverpool became the world’s biggest pop group, then broke up – yet somehow just kept getting bigger. Dreaming the Beatles, out in paperback on June 19th, follows the ballad of John, Paul, George and Ringo, from their Sixties peaks to their afterlife as a cultural obsession. In this section, Sheffield explores one of the Beatles’ unheard treasures – the May 1968 Esher demos they recorded at George Harrison’s pad, preparing for the White Album, not suspecting their friendship was about to turn upside down.

The end of May, 1968: the Beatles meet up at Kinfauns, George Harrison’s bungalow in Esher. Just back from India, gearing up to go hit Abbey Road and start their next album, the lads bang out some rough acoustic tunes into George’s newfangled Ampex reel-to-reel tape deck. The result is one of their weirdest and loveliest unreleased recordings: the Esher demos. There’s nothing else in their music quite like this. Most of the 27 songs ended up on the White Album, yet there’s none of that record’s tension and dread.

In an excerpt from his new book ‘Dreaming the Beatles,‘ the author looks back at the ups and downs of the former Fab Four adrift in the Seventies.

Fifty years later, the Esher demos remain one of the Beatles’ strangest artifacts. When the boys gathered at George’s pad in the last days of May – nobody’s sure of the exact date – they had excellent reason to feel cocky about their new material. They wrote these songs on retreat with the Maharishi in Rishikesh, India, a place where they had no electric instruments. As John Lennon said years later, “We sat in the mountains eating lousy vegetarian food and writing all these songs. We wrote tons of songs in India.” John, the most distractible Beatle, had the hot streak of his life during his three months in Rishikesh, which is why the White Album is their most John-intensive record.
When the Beatles regrouped in England, they decided to get together and tape home demos on their own turf before stepping into Abbey Road – an innovation they’d never tried before and would never revisit. So they met at George’s hippie bungalow in the Surrey countryside, decorated in the grooviest Indian style. John showed up with 15 tunes, more than Paul (7) or George (5)….



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The best books about the Beatles rank among the best pop culture writing—and criticism—ever. The following volumes provide the foundation of any Beatles library. These titles offer richly reported history, incisive critical analysis, detailed accounts of the quartet at work, and insider accounts that humanize a band who are still often seen as larger-than-life caricatures. Reading any one of these books will provide insight into a phenomenon that’s often thought of only in the broadest terms.


The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years by Mark Lewisohn

Granted unprecedented access to Abbey Road’s vaults and tape logs, Mark Lewisohn wrote The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions as a sequel to The Beatles Live!, a chronicle of all the concerts the Fabs played. That 1986 book splits the difference between fan service and scholarship, but The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions transcends such distinctions by providing a riveting day-by-day account of how the Beatles created their art. Alternate takes are examined in detail, along with overdubs and unreleased songs, many of which wouldn’t make it out of the Abbey Road vaults until the ’90s release of the multi-part Anthology, if ever. Lewisohn’s skills as a documentarian give this book an enthralling narrative: The songs take shape in print as he precisely details them.


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As Time Goes By by Derek Taylor

Derek Taylor was one of the great non-musical figures of ’60s rock’n’roll. He served as the Beatles press agent twice, once during Beatlemania and once after the 1967 death of the band’s manager, Brian Epstein—before returning to helm the press office of Apple Corps, the doomed multimedia conglomerate the band established in 1968. He also spent the middle of the Swinging Sixties in California, where he worked with the Byrds, organized the Monterey Pop Festival, and was unsuccessfully wooed by Hollywood icon Mae West. Taylor attracted these luminaries because he was there during the heat of Beatlemania, but the wondrous thing about his memoir, As Time Goes By, is how he’s as much an observer as he is a participant in the chaos. Already in his 30s when he discovered the Beatles, Taylor’s life was transformed by the Fabs. The book was written in 1973, when the group were all alive and all thorns in his side, but he was keen to capture just how wondrous their moment in time was.



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Dreaming the Beatles: The Love Story of One Band and the Whole World by Rob Sheffield (2017)

Nearly every book about the Beatles is a historical document of some sort, attempting to capture the group within the confines of the ’60s. Rob Sheffield turns this concept on its head with Dreaming the Beatles, choosing instead to interpret what they meant as an evolving cultural institution in the decades following their breakup.
This isn’t to say Sheffield dismisses history. As a music critic who grew up with the Beatles as a constant in his life, he’s absorbed countless books and articles about the band, which frees him to draw fresh, surprising insights about their music, including the stacks of records the Fab Four released as solo artists.
Dreaming the Beatles is the only book to acknowledge the interconnectivity (the music he made as a Beatle/solo) and it’s also filled with sharp criticism that challenges conventional wisdom. Once you know the history by heart, this is the place to understand what the Beatles mean now.


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Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years, Volume 1 by Mark Lewisohn

Tune In—the first (and, to date, only) installment in a planned three-part biography from eminent Beatles scholar Mark Lewisohn, he intentionally recreates the rise of the Beatles at a pace so unhurried, it gives the illusion that events are unfolding in real time. Perhaps such deliberateness is the inexorable result of a lifetime spent researching the Beatles, but the remarkable achievement of Tune In is how it makes the group’s first act, which runs from before the band’s formation until the end of 1962, seem like their most exciting era.

All of this is due to to Lewisohn’s decision to start his research from scratch. In doing so, he finds that printing the legend has obscured the truth: Such worn stories like Decca Records refusing to sign the Beatles, how George Martin received his assignment to produce the group, and John choosing which parent to live with simply didn’t happen the way scores of books say they did. These revelations, combined with Lewisohn’s knack at illustrating how the Beatles’ rise was not inevitable—time and time again, they hit limits on their respective circuits, and Lennon and McCartney went years without writing originals—gives Tune In a corrective punch. If Lewisohn never completes the other two volumes, at least he set the record straight for what is perhaps the murkiest period of the Beatles.


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The first thing that catches your attention in Across the Universe: The Beatles in India, written by Ajoy Bose is the bright cover with illustrations of the four members of the Beatles sharing cover space along with sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, Maharishi and all the others that were relevant to the Beatles story in India. However, the back cover art is a real classic that is inspired by Abbey Road and it shows the four band members on Lakshman Jhula. While there is hardly anyone that didn’t know of the long affair that the Beatles had with India, it was about time that an Indian should write about the Beatles episode in India. And, so it came from a veteran journalist, Ajoy Bose. He has authored two books before, one on the Emergency and the other on Mayawati, both extremely political in nature.
The author has done a commendable job, as the book is well- researched and has interviews that bring in fresh aspects especially, focussing on the personalities of the four members.

The book has anecdotes that provide a clear picture of how big the Beatles were in India and the major impact it had on upcoming rock bands, singers and songwriters in India because of their Rishikesh visit. Bose’s easy narrative style is sometimes laced with humour. For instance, the book says, “…Yet, despite the adulation and enthusiasm of the growing band of Beatles fans in India, their trip to Rishikesh was not without its controversies. There were many people in the country who were openly hostile to both the Maharishi and the arrival of the rock band and other celebrities from the West in his ashram. In the Lok Sabha, the opposition went up in arms alleging that the yogi was in cahoots with the CIA and that many of his guests from abroad were actually foreign spies.”

The book covers the relationship of the Beatles with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at the Rishikesh ashram and their eventual fallout with him in great detail. It talks at length of their experience with Transcendental Meditation in India and how they were instrumental in placing Indian music and spirituality on a global arena, with George Harrison remaining a lifelong devotee of Indian music and spirituality.

A very interesting observation by Bose makes one to even wonder if the Beatles started to have trouble with each other right after their ashram stint. Of course, there was already tension brewing between the band members because of Yoko Ono’s entry in John Lennon’s life, but apart from that, as the author points out, “…Less than a year after they returned from Rishikesh, it was all over but the shouting for the Beatles… in some strange and unfathomable way, their time at Rishikesh appeared to have snapped these personal bonds… Paradoxically enough, in the last throes of their existence coinciding with the closing rites of the momentous decade of the 1960s, the Beatles were individually at the height of their creative powers.”

Whatever might have been the reasons for the Beatles to break up, but this book definitely takes the reader on a nostalgic journey into the heydays of Beatles mania, and after reading this book by Bose, one might even decide to visit the Beatles Ashram in Rishiskesh.


Title: Across the Universe: The Beatles in India

Author: Ajoy Bose

Pages: 320



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Tom Murray’s day out with The Beatles has been documented in a new book which will be released in the UK and Japan in June.

A Bury St Edmunds photographer’s ‘Mad Day Out’ with The Beatles in 1968 has been documented in a new book which will hit the shelves in June. Tom Murray, 75, spent a day with the iconic band in 1968 while working at The Sunday Times and photographed them in various locations around London. “I had no idea who I was photographing so I only took one camera which I still have today,” said Tom, who is a Bury town councillor. “It was just the four of them and me. They were fantastic, we had a ball.” Tom discarded many photos from the day but kept the rest under wraps for 20 years, until, while working in LA, he was asked by Jack Nicholson and Angelica Houston to donate a print to a charity auction. The print fetched $12,000 and since then Tom’s work has raised over £1.4 million for charities worldwide. The book, titled The Beatles: Tom Murray’s Mad Day Out, includes 23 colour images as well as Tom’s own account of the day. “It took quite a while to put together but it’s really very pleasing to have my work go in a book. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and it looks fabulous,” he said.

The Mad Day Out series is being featured in an exhibition in New York next month, while his 1969 photograph of Princess Margaret, Lord Snowdon and their children will also feature in a London exhibition to mark the 50th anniversary of the Association of Photographers. It will be on display in the lobby of One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, and will be open daily until June 1. “I never thought I’d be in exhibitions or museums. It’s all in the past now but I was lucky. I just seemed to be in the right place at the right time and now I have all the memories. It’s amazing,” he said.




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“As designers, we wondered what it would look like to visualize The Beatles and chart their story–the evolution of their music, style and characters–through a series of graphics,” write John Pring and Rob Thomas, lifelong friends and authors of Visualizing The Beatles, coming May 1 in the U.S. from Dey Street Books. (The book was released in the U.K. in 2016 by Orphans Publishing.) And so they have, with their magical “history” tour of the Beatles career, arranged chronologically beginning with the band’s pre-Beatles days through to Abbey Road and Let It Be.

The book also takes welcome detours with pages devoted to such topics as “Press Conference Humor,” “Style Through the Years,” “Fab Four Memorabilia Sales,” “Hairstyles Over the Years,” and so on.
Simply put, with Visualizing The Beatles -UK Pre order here), authors Pring and Thomas use data and infographics to present a new way of looking at the Fab Four’s career. (In 2010, the pair started a U.K.-based content development agency, Designbysoap, Ltd., that specializes in this area.)

Subtitled A Complete Graphic History of the World’s Favorite Band, the stunning, colorful (obviously!), 276-page book allows the reader, as the announcement notes, “to spot, in an instant, the patterns, anomalies and changes in the band’s lyrics, instruments, songwriting and performances.” (USA Pre-order here.)
In the section, “Turn Me On, Dead Man,” the book playfully recounts the “Paul is Dead” conspiracy theory with the so-called “clues” in the group’s music and album covers.
A timeline appears throughout the book as a helpful guide to what was happening elsewhere around the world coinciding with each Beatles album. Did you know, for instance, that LSD was made illegal in the U.S. on Oct. 6, 1966, not long after Revolver was released? Or that the famous “Plato’s Stepchildren” episode of TV’s Star Trek aired the same month as The White Album‘s debut?
A two-page spread plots 13 locations in Los Angeles that the Beatles have visited or lived in since 1964, including the private home at 1567 Blue Jay Way that George Harrison rented (and was famously inspired to write a song about) and 7655 Curson Terrace, where the band stayed during their 1966 tour.
As the authors note, Visualizing The Beatles is “an attempt to present the facts in a way you haven’t seen them before, so you can spot… the patterns, anomalies and changes.”




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Maximum Volume offers a glimpse into the mind, the music, and the man behind the sound of the Beatles. George Martin’s working-class childhood and musical influences
profoundly shaped his early career in the BBC’s Classical Music department and as head of the EMI Group’s Parlophone Records. Out of them flowed the genius behind his seven years producing the Beatles’ incredible body of work, including such albums as Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and Abbey Road.

The first book of two, Maximum Volume traces Martin’s early years as a scratch pianist, his life in the Fleet Air Arm during the Second World War, and his groundbreaking work as the head of Parlophone Records, when Martin saved the company from ruin after making his name as a producer of comedy recordings. In its most dramatic moments, Maximum Volume narrates the story of Martin’s unlikely discovery of the Beatles and his painstaking efforts to prepare their newfangled sound for the British music marketplace. As the story unfolds, Martin and the band craft numerous number-one hits, progressing toward the landmark album Rubber Soul—all of which bear Martin’s unmistakable musical signature.