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Author Craig Brown will step back in time to discuss his award-winning book marking 50 years of the breakup of The Beatles during an online event hosted by Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) for Essex Book Festival.

Brown will talk to the BBC’s Tony Fisher about his work, 1 2 3 4: The Beatles In Time, an odyssey of the band’s days from The Cavern Club to the Port of Harwich where they set sail for Hamburg to play ninety-two days consecutively without a break, to 1o April 1970 – the day Paul McCartney issued a press statement stating he was to go his own way.

“1-2-3-4 The Beatles in Time”, a kaleidoscopic mix of party lists, diaries, autobiography, anecdotes, diaries and fan letters, 1 2 3 4 not only captures the inner world of The Beatles, but also the wider world of the era: The Swinging Sixties, the Women’s Lib Movement, Mary Quant’s mini-skirts and Audrey Hepburn’s iconic beehive, plus the explosion of new writers, artists, musicians, including the likes of Andy Warhol, Alan Sillitoe and The Kinks.

It also provides tantalising insights into others who played a pivotal part in The Beatles story, such as John Lennon’s Aunt Mimi, his father Fred Lennon, The Maharishi, Yoko Ono, Brian Epstein, Phil Spector, and Mohammad Ali.

The book “1-2-3-4 The Beatles in Time” won the Baillie Gifford Award 2020, and was named a book of the year by The Spectator, the Sunday Times and the Telegraph.

Laura Scarle, Public Engagement Officer at ARU, said:
“We’re delighted to be teaming up once again with the Essex Book Festival this year and this event promises to be a real treat for those of us for whom The Beatles represents something special in our lives.”



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Adventures of a Teenage Beatles Fan in the ’60s and Beyond. Forewords by authors Richard Buskin and Lesley-Ann Jones.
David Stark is a London-based music industry veteran, a lifelong drummer, who has been a big Beatles fan since first
hearing “Please Please Me” at the age of ten in 1963. He was lucky enough to meet all members of the group during the 1960s and beyond, which this highly accessible new book relates in great detail, thanks to its author’s vivid recollection of every encounter related in it.
David’s most famous exploit happened inJuly 1968 when, thanks to a mixture of sheer luck and “chutzpah”, he managed to gatecrash the premiere of the “Yellow Submarine” film and sit directly behind Paul McCartney and the entire group, while throughout the late ’60s, and well into the ’70s and beyond, he continued to bump into all members of the Fab Four on various memorable occasions.
“IT’S ALL TOO MUCH” makes for totally fascinating reading for Beatles and pop music fans of all ages. It features many untold stories about David’s amazing exploits with the Fab Four, which started in early 1965 when he saw them playing live at Hammersmith Odeon. One year later, at the age of 13 in April 1966, he was outside EMI Studios on Abbey Road when he was suddenly accosted by John Lennon, who was being chauffeur-driven in his Rolls Royce at the time. Being told off by the chief Beatle without even saying a word to him was a bizarre moment David has never forgotten!
However, 1968 was the year in which David’s Beatles encounters really got into gear. Apart from sitting behind the
group at the Yellow Submarine premiere – with a little help from Keith Richards – he was also photographed behind Lennon when he and Yoko arrived at Marylebone Magistrates Court for their infamous drug bust in October. A couple of months later,David was present at the Rolling Stones’ legendary “Rock & Roll Circus” film shoot at which John Lennon was one of the star performers, playing his first-ever show without the Beatles.

David also won a pair of tickets to the Beatles’ planned TV concert in late 1968, which never happened as they eventually decided to play their famous finale show on Apple’s rooftop in January 1969 instead. As a result of this, David (still a schoolboy) was officially invited to the “Let It Be” premiere in 1970, although the group had broken up by then so didn’t attend. 1970 was also the year in which David and a pal decided to go to Ringo’s then-home in Hampstead, north-west London, to ask him out for a drink. As well as Ringo, this hilarious encounter also involves Lulu, Maurice Gibb and Eric Clapton in an unbelievable tale which just couldn’t be made up.
Some of David’s other remarkable encounters recounted in the book include:

  • David’s other career as a drummer, who played with The Quarrymen on once occasion; toured Europe with John Lennon Experience; and still plays with the Trembling Wilburys tribute band.
  • How David organised a Blue Plaque for the late Brian Epstein at his old offices next to the London Palladium in 2014, and how he was part of the small team which successfully erected a Blue Plaque for the Beatles at 3 Savile Row in 2019 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the rooftop concert.
  • How David has a long-standing involvement with LIPA, the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, of which Sir Paul
    McCartney is the Lead Patron. In 2006 David was inducted as a “Companion of LIPA” for his work with songwriting students.
  • Meeting John, Paul, George and Ringo on many other occasions at some very special events.
  • Meeting John’s legendary Aunt Mimi in Dorset just months after her famous nephew was murdered, and how she told him that John had visited her in secret.
  • A chapter dedicated to Sir George Martin whom David knew well, and how he was invited to take a photograph at the legendary Beatles’ producer’s final recording session at AIR Studios in 2000.
  • David’s career in the music business which started at Premier Drums, Dick James Music and Decca Records, before he eventually moved into the press side of the industry and ended up launching SongLink International, the acclaimed resource used by songwriters, composers and music publishers worldwide.
    As David says, “I was a total Beatles nut from the time I first heard “Please Please Me” on the BBC’s “Pick of the Pops” chart show at the age of 10 in 1963. Following this I soon started my many Beatles scrapbooks which I kept going right through the ’60s and still have. I only saw the group playing live on one occasion but was lucky enough to meet them at various times thanks to my perseverance, sheer cheek and “chutzpah”,i.e. making my own luck.
    The book has been getting many rave reviews on Amazon along with a four-star review in Record Collector magazine (May 2021). This is a Beatles book unlike any other, which follows their remarkable journey through the eyes of a fan who was lucky enough to meet them on many occasions.
    What they are saying about “It’s All Too Much”:”Of all the Beatles books I have read this year, this one is the best” (British Beatles Fan Club review)”David was there and tells his stories in a most readable way”,”One of the best Beatles fan books you will ever read”,”Essential reading for all Beatles fans”,”Thank you David Stark for a truly amazing book!”,”Simply the best Beatles book to have come out in years.” In addition, the book features over 100 photographs from David’s personal collection and other sources, including some of his prized memorabilia items. Signed copies still available for £14.99 / $19.99 + P&P. Also available on Amazon (Kindle)and as an Audiobook. ISBN: 978-1-8380708-16.Published by This Day In Music Books


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One-Two-Three-Four: The Beatles in Time by award-winning author Craig Brown.
ONE-two-three-four is such a clever title from a very clever writer.
The musical ‘count in’ is used by musicians the world over and the Beatles were no exception from Hamburg’s seedy clubs to The Cavern … and from the Liverpool Empire to the Hollywood Bowl to the final goodbye on the Apple rooftop.
It also sums up the four unique individuals who loved each other and together became the greatest band the world has known.
This Beatle book with a difference by Craig Brown was released in hardback to mark 50 years since the group split in April, 1970.

Now Craig’s a paperback writer as the book is receiving favourable reviews all over again.It’s been the ideal ‘must read’ during lockdown and is a Sunday times best seller .
He is on a Beatle pilgrimage of sorts allowing us to thumb a lift with them on the long and winding road of anecdotes
Craig is the master of re-telling a tale: author of 18 books; a critic for national newspapers and broadcaster he has also been a columnist for Private Eye magazine for 32 years.
For his latest tome he has already won one major literary prize – The Baillie Gifford Award for his multi-layered account of the Fabs in all their glory.
It is certainly a refreshing take on the Beatles story peppered with humour, poignancy and some never-heard-before revelations.
In a recent interview Craig, 62, said the whole Beatle story is “endlessly fascinating”.
He added: ”There’s a sociological backdrop, the curious phenomenon of fandom – the array of intesrting weirdos in their orbit. ”The book is 600 pages but could have been ten times the length.”Craig regards exhaustive chronological biographies as “boring.”
So he does not offer day-by-day account but skips in and out of the magical history story with brief chapters here, there and everywhere sitting alongside more in-depth analysis.
There are 150 chapters in all and more than 50 illustrations.
Beatles fans are used to new films and book biographies emerging every year but this one stands out for originality.
Craig uses a vast amount of source material as shown in the seven pages of acknowledgements.

One Two Thee Four: The Beatles in Time (Paperback)
Get your copy Here. and Here.



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Everyone knows that The Beatles changed the world of music. But Fab Fools, the new book from renowned “comedy archaeologist” Jem Roberts, chronicles for the first time their seminal impact on quite another form of entertainment: comedy.

Some of The Beatles’ comedy work remains familiar: for example, the critical and box office gold of A Hard Day’s Night, or the sub-aquatic psychedelia of Yellow Submarine.

But less well known is the sheer scope of the Fab Four’s comedy output. And when exploring this work, Jem Roberts unearthed a fascinating new perspective on The Beatles.

As the official chronicler of I’m Sorry, I Haven’t a Clue and Blackadder, and authorised biographer of Douglas Adams, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, Jem Roberts has spent over a decade writing about comedy.

An avowed Beatlemaniac, when carrying out his research, he always made note of any reference to his favourite band. But it was only when reviewing his research for an earlier project that he realised something: The Beatles didn’t just pop up once or twice – they were everywhere.

In Jem’s words:

“It was a great honour to be the official historian of huge comedy successes like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Blackadder, and when writing these books, it suddenly struck me – The Beatles were comedians too! No matter where you look, all these links between The Beatles and comedy history just spring out. Of course, there’s masterpieces like A Hard Day’s Night and Yellow Submarine, but then there’s also Sir George Martin’s work with the Goons on Parlophone, the boys’ famous sketch with Eric & Ernie, the endless Monty Python comparisons and affiliations, George’s Handmade Films, spoofs like Spitting Image… The Beatles even did panto! I’m not sure Jimi Hendrix ever did.”

“This idea of Beatlemania as a predominantly musical phenomenon is inaccurate. Of course, their music was an utterly central part of their appeal, but to truly understand The Beatles, you have to look at the splash they made in every form of entertainment. And then you’ve got to follow the ripples – ripples that are still expanding and influencing comedy to this day.”

In a glowing review, Steven Fry praises Jem’s “flawless” research, which brings to life the breathless frenzy surrounding The Beatles when they first appeared on British screens and airwaves. From this research, Jem weaves together a chorus of scripts, interviews, coverage and quotes, telling the story of a group whose quick wits soon put them at the centre of showbiz.

The narrative takes us right to the present day, and features a staggering array of comedy greats: George Formby, Ken Dodd, Morecambe & Wise, Cook & Moore, the Goons, Monty Python, the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Harry & Paul, the Simpsons, Peter Serafinowicz, Tenacious D, Jimmy Fallon, all the way to Richard Curtis and his recent hit film Yesterday.

Additionally to Steven Fry’s write up, Fab Fools has also been commended by Barry Cryer (I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue) and boasts an exclusive foreword by Kevin Eldon (Big Train, Brass Eye, I’m Alan Partridge).

As the first celebration of Beatles comedy, this is also the story of Eric Idle and Neil Innes’ legendary spoof The Rutles, another story never told before. Roberts adds, “The support and friendship of Neil Innes, who was practically the 8th or 9th Beatle, a complete hero, was essential in telling this story, from the mouths of those who were really there. When Neil died, suddenly and heartbreakingly, during the writing of the book, Fab Fools had to become a tribute to this legendary comedy/musical genius.”

Hilariously told after eons of dogged research, with the exclusive involvement and warm support of many key figures, Fab Fools is perhaps the last untold story of The Beatles. It will change how readers look at the Fab Four forever. They weren’t just the world’s biggest band – theymight just have been the world’s biggest comedy group too.  

Fab Fools will be released on April 29th 2021, and is available from www/

Get your copy on Amazon : HERE


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If you like to unravel the secret of the Beatles. If you are intrigued by their unprecedented fame, by the fact that so many books were written about them, going into the smallest details of their supremacy. If you wonder, why their music has remained fresh after all these years. If you are intrigued by the secret of their music. Then this book is a book for you. Because this book is not about what happened, but about why it happened. Peter Eijgenhuijsen (1958) is a life-long Beatles fan. He attended the Academy of Writing in Antwerp and the Writers School in Amsterdam. He published short stories in literary magazines. Professionally he is a scientific director at a multinational pharmaceutical company, overseeing a group of scientific technical writers.

Another Beatles Book, or a new beginning?

To date more than two thousand books have been published about the Beatles and the steady stream of new books continues. All these books describe the story of the Beatles.

Some superficially others in more detail.
Until now, there has been no book trying to discover the secret of the Beatles. A book trying to explain their off-the scale fame, trying to explain why they were so influential, and why their music, after all these years, still sounds crisp and fresh.

With a historic phenomenon like the Beatles, it is important to describe what happened, in order to document it for future generations.

But when you have done that, and with more than two thousand books we have done more than a thorough job, it is time to start explaining the phenomenon.

The book The Beatles Era, a Quest for the Secret of the Beatles, by the Dutch author Peter Eijgenhuijsen does just that.

If you are ready for a new beginning, just check it out Here and Here.


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The Beatles are not only a rock n’ roll group, but a social and cultural phenomenon that have captivated music fans for decades. For many, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr changed everything.

This guide distils their amazing story into 101 informative and entertaining chapters, taking you from their rough and ready early Liverpool days through their world-shattering success in sound, stage and screen, to an afterlife that could never have been predicted when they first started out. Here, you’ll find facts and figures about their chartbusting songs, albums and films, meet the people that helped them along the way, and visit milestones and controversies such as their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show, meeting Elvis Presley, John Lennon’s ‘Bigger than Jesus’ comments, experimenting with drugs and the avant-garde, and starting up Apple.

The Beatles 101 is a perfect introduction for new fans, a refresher for superfans, and ideal reading for quizmasters everywhere.

The author conducted a massive amount of research to really get under the skin of each member of The Beatles.

Throughout her journey looking into the lives of the band she came to the conclusion that, after combing through old interviews “they were just so honest about who they were”.

Newcomers to The Beatles will of course be inundated with glorious facts – such as George Martin’s first number one being with novelty act The Temperance Seven, rather than the fab four. Or, perhaps, that The Beatles only appeared on iconic British culture show Top of the Pops once in their entire careers.
As well as this, dedicated Beatlemaniacs will find a huge amount of new content in this tome of knowledge that ought to be experienced first hand.

THE BEATLES 101 is a brand new glimpse into the lives of the fab four featured in an exciting new way of learning all about the band’s exploits, songwriting habits, and indeed how they behaved off stage as well.

The Beatles 101 is available from Thursday, October 1st.  HERE  and  HERE.