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THE BEATLES, THE MUSIC AND THE MYTH — “Strawberry Fields Forever”

December 17, 2010

The Beatles, The Music And The Myth

by Peter Doggett & Patrick Humphries

Omnibus Press

$14.95, 194 pages

If you watched the PBS special on John Lennon, this book is everything that production was sorely missing. The TV show reached for some simple psychological melodrama, but The Beatles were anything but simple. Doggett and Humphries document the complexity of every song, every album, every concert, every recording session in a way that is enjoyably profound.

Did you know: 1) In 1962 The Beatles auditioned for Decca records and were turned down, 2) One of their first albums, Please Please Me, was recorded in one day, but that was the way the pop business operated in 1963, 3) Classical students claim there’s a tune of Tchaikovsky’s buried in “All My Loving”. 4) A Hard Day’s Night, The Beatles first movie, was inadvertently christened that name by Ringo Starr recalling some wordplay of John Lennon. The unforgettable opening of the song—George Harrison striking a G suspended 4th chord on his 12 Rickenbacker—made this record one of the few that can be recognized by its opening two seconds alone.

5) John Lennon said, “‘Help’ and ‘Strawberry Fields’ were the only true songs I ever wrote. They were ones I wrote form experience and not projecting myself into a situation and writing a nice story about it, which I always found phony.” 6) Paul McCartney thought “Yesterday” was his strongest composition. He awoke one morning with the melody in his head. 7) During the recording of The White Album Ringo Starr actually quit the group for more than a week. He came ambling back when he realized the others were continuing the album without him.

And, 8) “Strawberry Fields” which some consider the greatest pop record ever made, was inspired by a Liverpool children’s home John Lennon remembered. The story behind the finished record is familiar: two different renditions of the song, in entirely different moods and keys, were cleverly edited together by George Martin. 9) The most famous guitar solo on any Beatles record, was played by Eric Clapton, a close friend of Harrison’s invited to recording of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. 10) “Hey Jude.” McCartney wrote the lyrics as a message of encouragement to young Julian Lennon while his parents were in the throes of a very public separation. It was groundbreaking in its length.

John once said, “We reckoned we could make it because there were four of us. None of us would have made it alone because Paul wasn’t quite strong enough, I didn’t have enough girl appeal, George was too quiet and Ringo was the drummer. But we thought that everyone would be able to dig at least one of us, and that’s how it turned out.”

Any kind of an index to this book would have helped, but the multitude of pictures (black and white and color) are memorable. The Beatles’ sales figures are being outclassed by entertainers with a fraction of their talent, but their achievement wouldn’t have been possible without The Beatles, who rescued a brand of popular music and turned it into a medium that produced million-dollar returns—and art. They never ceased to stretch and broaden pop and rock. They provided the soundtrack for the West’s most intriguing decade. And now their music lives forever.


Order directly from amazon for $10.44. Click: Beatles The Music And The Myth

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One comment

  1. because Ma played, but not live. The musicians had to sync with a recording of themselves, because it was way too cold for them to be playing on their good (read: extremely expensive and sensitive) instruments in the blistering cold.



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