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By Posted on 0 , 20

Jude Southerland Kessler has released her fourth entry in her exquisite biographical works entitled, ‘The John Lennon Series’ (On the Rock Books, 2018). This volume covers 1964, and is dubbed, ‘Should Have Known Better’.

We find Lennon somewhat as complex and multifaceted as a diamond, exuding a potpourri of emotions including bravado, insecurity, genius, anger, humor, and ennui.  The anecdotes have the feel of sitting and listening to anecdotes of the inner circle, which is what most fans desire.  This is as close as most can get to that experience.
By 1964, the Beatles lives were compartmentalized, and stifling.  It feels claustrophobic simply to read the day in-day madness of frantic crowds who basically had the Beatles existing in a fishbowl.  The lads would often go from plane to limos, from limos to hotels.  Then they would have to brave wild throngs to get to and from shows.  In between, they would perform.  The pace and output in the studio were also daunting, and relied heavily on the dazzling songwriting output of Lennon and McCartney that defy belief in quality and number.

Author Kessler depicts the relationships of Lennon to his loving wife Cynthia, the other ‘Lads’, his son Julian, mother Julia, Aunt Mimi, Manager Epstein, and we still are scratching the surface of those in her purview.  Kessler uses facts to flesh out depictions in the fashion akin to historical narrative.  The result is readable, entertaining, thorough, and deeply insightful.  Perhaps only the subject himself could have given us more of a porthole-view into his life, had he been willing.  This is done across some 785 pages, before indispensable illustrations by artist Susan Derbacher, and other notes. Do not be dissuaded by the length of the tome, as each chapter is a strawberry cultivated for the pleasure of a king.  We can ‘rattle our jewelry’ in appreciation (the entire project times out at 984 pages).

The coverage of the touring prior to the release of the group’s first film, ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ is perhaps unmatched.  As we watch Lennon evolve, we have the gift of hindsight knowing what is to come in his life.  Kessler fills in gaps in our understanding, and the results are never anything close to rote, or pedestrian.  It is fascinating to view the road leading to a cessation of touring, and living as a band from the studio off the travails of the road. The pressure that the band lived under to that point cost them their nervous systems, and practically required a diving bell.
Beatle fans thrive on minutiae, and in the best possible sense there is plenty to feast on here.  Previous volumes have become highly collectible, so Beatlemaniacs will want to get ‘em while they’re hot.  It is a feather in the author’s cap to produce such thorough coverage of Lennon, and she has taken place a high place among all Lennon biographers.
With a little help from friends such as Bill Harry, Jim Berkenstadt (‘The Beatle Who Vanished, 2013), and others, Jude has merged the minds of some of the cream of the crop of other writers.  Jude remains humble, while producing an authoritative work irreplaceable in the Lennon cannon.  Roll up, and that’s an invitation for a magical tour of the life of Beatle Lennon.

Jude Southerland Kessler, author of The John Lennon Series will be addressing the White Album Conference at Monmouth University in Long Branch, New Jersey this weekend. Kessler will examine #9 factors that shaded John Lennon’s life in 1968 and made his songs on The White Album rather serious and at times, grim. On Saturday morning, 10 November, at 10:30 a.m., Kessler will share over 50 rare photos of Lennon and will play clips of his music in her discussion of “Lennon’s White: A Darker Shade of Pale.” Those who would like to “sample” the White Album Conference are invited to attend this one presentation, free of charge. It will last an hour and then be followed by a question and answer session. Kessler’s latest book in The John Lennon Series, Should Have Known Better (detailing Lennon’s life in 1964 with The Beatles) will be available to order at the conference. Attendees will enjoy free shipping. Kessler will also participate in a panel with authors Al Sussman and Bruce Spizer on Friday, 9 November, at 1:30 p.m. They will be discussing “1968: You Say You Want a Revolution.”

(Review by our Collaborator Robert Wilson)


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Competition:27 October-3 November//Results: 4 November,2018. OPEN WORLDWIDE!
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In The Complete Beatles Songs, Steve Turner shatters many well-worn myths and adds a new dimension to the Fab Four’s rich legacy.This beautifully packaged book examines every Beatles-penned song and the inspiration behind them all; with fresh research and packed with new information, there are revelations aplenty. The book covers the Fab Four’s entire output chapter by chapter and includes a complete set of printed lyrics to accompany each song,used with exclusive permission from the band’s music publishers.


By Posted on 0 , 15

Last Day to Enter! #WIN IN BEATLES MAGAZINE!..THE NEW BOOK “THE WHITE ALBUM,THE ALBUM,#THEBEATLES AND THE WORLD IN 1968″ By BRIAN SOUTHALL, Carlton Books ltd, Enter for a chance to WIN 1 of the 2 BOOKS SIGNED by the author. COMPETITION:Sat 13 October-Sat 20
RESULTS: Sunday 21 October,2018.
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Packed full of musical and historical analysis centred on the Beatles at the peak of their popularity, The White Album: A-side/B-side takes a look at one of the greatest albums ever created, and the tumultuous time period it was born into.The ultimate guide to the eclectic styles, techniques and stories behind the universally renowned “The White Album”.Including an indepth guide to the album and an exploration of the political and social influences,this captures revolutiony moment in musical history.
Brian Southall worked as a journalist with Music Business Weekly, Melody Maker and Disc before joining A&M Records. He moved to EMI Records and EMI Music, where, during a 15 year career, he served in press, promotion, marketing, artist development and corporate communications. From 1989 he was a consultant to Warner Music International, HMV Group and both the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and the International Federation of the phonographic Industry (IFPI). Among other books, he has written are the official history of Abbey Road Studios and the Story of Northern Songs, both published by Omnibus Press.


By Posted on 0 , 6

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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