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The Beatles: All These Years by Mark Lewisohn. Tune In - What do you think? (Spoilers alert!)
22 September 2013
3.20pm
Linde
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omygod thanks for that.

It's great to be able to read an extract. It looks so amazing.

23 September 2013
3.46am
parlance
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Another excerpt – this one about Paul and John.

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

23 September 2013
1.17pm
parlance
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Another excerpt:

As part of our exclusive coverage of Mark Lewisohn's new Beatles biography, the author shares an extract about how the Beatles, the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan kicked off the Sixties on the same day, 5 October 1962.

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

25 September 2013
6.47am
parlance
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I don't know if photos count as a spoiler, but better safe than sorry.  The Mirror posted a photo from the book of John and Paul together in 1961.

Hopefully this will put an end the "OMG, Paul never wore glasses!" debate.

Edit: I think it originally came from The Mail, as their article comes with a comment from Lewisohn.

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

25 September 2013
1.53pm
Joe
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TBH when I saw the Telegraph extracts, and saw the comments below, I could see why people might be underwhelmed. The story is so familiar it's not surprising that some people feel jaded about the prospect of yet another Beatles biog, and the scale and detail don't really come across in the extracts.

Mja asked:

I have one question, the one that most have had since Lewisohn's first comment about it, and would ask you to post your reply in the "spoilers" thread if you respond, could you give a precis of how they got signed to EMI?

OK. Big caveat here. I haven't read that far, but have flicked ahead. I may have missed some important facts. Here's a briefish version of what I understand (and bear in mind it's spread out over 50+ pages). I'm not sure if spoiler tags are really needed here, but…

After the Decca audition Brian Epstein took the recordings to various people to try to drum up interest. Among the people who heard it was Sid Colman, who ran EMI's publishers Ardmore & Beechwood. They wanted to get their hands on Like Dreamers Do as they thought it had hit potential.

For whatever reason the most convenient/efficient way was to put The Beatles under a standard EMI contract, with terrible terms, then the label would own the song(s), have options on future compositions, and could release The Beatles' records if anything took off (frankly, nobody had high hopes for them).

Meanwhile, George Martin had fallen out of favour with EMI's top brass. He'd tried to renegotiate his contract with better terms, had his bluff called and was forced to back down and sign a three-year contract on the old terms. He would have been sacked for his chutzpah if his records hadn't been so commercially successful. Martin was also conducting an extra-martital affair with his assistant (later wife) Judy, which definitely wasn't approved of. So EMI made him sign and produce The Beatles. He was actually handed them as punishment.

 

Now, that may not be the definitive story, but it's a rough precis based on a first flick-through.

Please don't spoil my day; I'm miles away

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25 September 2013
2.53pm
guitarman
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Thanks Joe – that is truly fascinating. 

Somebody spoke and I went into a dream

25 September 2013
4.59pm
guitarman
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There is a sense of the facts finally being arranged in the right way. As Mark says, it really has been known all along.

I don't know if the book disproves it but the story goes that when Larry Parnes offered to sign them on condition that they drop Stu, Lennon refused outright. That says something, about Lennon's status as leader and the fact that Paul and George went along with it (given that Paul and Stu didn't get on, and Paul wanted to be a star so badly). Larry Parnes was probably the most influential British pop manager of the time. They were walking away from what would have been regarded as a golden opportunity.

But I'm fully prepared for Joe to say that, actually, it didn't happen like that! (I know some versions of the story have Parnes saying he liked the boys at the front, it was Tommy Moore who was the problem).

The George Martin/recording contract revelation is fascinating. All these years (see what I did there?), he's maintained that he heard them, thought they sounded interesting, and that their charm won the day. But I suppose it's easier than saying, "I'd nearly been fired for asking for a raise, I was sleeping with my secretary, and only became their producer under sufferance as a punishment by my bosses"! If McCartney didn't know any of this, I wonder what he'll say now!

Somebody spoke and I went into a dream

25 September 2013
5.40pm
acmac
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The info about their signing is just fascinating, Joe! Thanks! This is really whetting my appetite for the book. :) And just because EMI saw the Beatles as a punishment, doesn't make Martin's version untrue; he still could have genuinely liked them and seen some potential. And there's no doubt he worked hard for them from the get-go. The EMI execs thought they were teaming up two wasters; instead they were each other's lucky break. Lovely. :)

25 September 2013
5.51pm
guitarman
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acmac said
The info about their signing is just fascinating, Joe! Thanks! This is really whetting my appetite for the book. :) And just because EMI saw the Beatles as a punishment, doesn't make Martin's version untrue; he still could have genuinely liked them and seen some potential. And there's no doubt he worked hard for them from the get-go. The EMI execs thought they were teaming up two wasters; instead they were each other's lucky break. Lovely. :)

Actually, that's highly possible – I hadn't thought of it quite like that.

Somebody spoke and I went into a dream

26 September 2013
6.36am
trcanberra
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OK – I just don't get that signing-on story.

Who in EMI actually wanted to sign them so badly then?  Someone must have wanted to, you don't just do something like that to annoy one of your staff.  Is the author suggesting that someone in the publishing division forced this just to get rights to a song?  As they publish lots of songs from people who are not performers, you would think that just buying a song would be easier than what is suggested in this book.

So, I'm just curious what evidence there is to suggest that George Martin's version is inaccurate?

26 September 2013
2.01pm
walrusgumboot
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acmac said

The info about their signing is just fascinating, Joe! Thanks! This is really whetting my appetite for the book. :) And just because EMI saw the Beatles as a punishment, doesn't make Martin's version untrue; he still could have genuinely liked them and seen some potential. And there's no doubt he worked hard for them from the get-go. The EMI execs thought they were teaming up two wasters; instead they were each other's lucky break. Lovely. :)

Not to mention EMI's lucky break!! cha-CHING!!!!!

....ya won't be interferin' wit the basic rugged concept o' me personality would ya madam?
26 September 2013
2.53pm
Joe
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No more spoilers, sorry, as requested by the publishers. No exceptions. I went too far (sorry Mark, if you're reading).

I'm allowed to leave up what's already been posted (though I took down the Pete Best sacking thing as nobody had really followed it up). I can talk about the book in general terms, but I'm not going into details.

This thread may as well stay up, as some people will want to discuss parts of the story after the book is out, whereas others will want to avoid knowing the details.

Please don't spoil my day; I'm miles away

Can buy me love! Please consider using these links to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes

26 September 2013
3.18pm
parlance
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^^ That's too bad, considering the spoilers are actually making people more excited about buying it.

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

26 September 2013
3.24pm
Joe
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That was my thinking too, but really it wasn't my call to make. I didn't set out to ruin things for anyone, I just wanted to help drum up support for what I think is a brilliant book.

Please don't spoil my day; I'm miles away

Can buy me love! Please consider using these links to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes

26 September 2013
3.27pm
Father McCartney
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Yes, that's a shame, as most of the people asking have the Deluxe version on pre-order and just want a few crumbs in advance. But, yes, we should respect the author's/publisher's wishes.

On another note, is there any suggestion that Mr Lewisohn will be making appearances to promote the book? More specifically, signings? I have the Deluxe ordered and would really love to have it signed and meet the author. Here's hoping he comes near Glasgow…

26 September 2013
3.33pm
Joe
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He's doing a few public appearances (I don't have details) but I'm not aware of any signings. As far as I know people normally buy the book at the signings, rather than bring their own copies, but I don't know how strictly that sort of thing is enforced.

David Hepworth is also posting about the book on his blog, so if you want more details (including another precis of the EMI signing) go to http://whatsheonaboutnow.blogspot.co.uk/. At the end of one of his posts he mentions an in-conversation event with ML.

Please don't spoil my day; I'm miles away

Can buy me love! Please consider using these links to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes

26 September 2013
3.43pm
Father McCartney
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Thanks.

I've taken my own copies of books to signings before and got on ok (David Attenbrough, Iain Banks etc). The author is generally pleased (as they should be, I suppose) that you bought their book, regardless of where. If there is a problem it'd more likely to be the store itself. I've found there is often an unwritten rule that you can have one of your own items and one you've just bought signed.

26 September 2013
4.06pm
Joe
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Here's something I probably can share. It's from the press release that came with the book, a Q&A with ML.

Volume two will pick up in January 1963, though I haven't yet decided where it will end – some point in 1966 or 1967 probably. The first volume took ten full years to research and write but I don't envisage the same stretch being necessary for books two and three: the periods covered are more enclosed, and I've already done a fair bit of the research.

That's good to hear, although there's a voice in the back of my mind saying "But the books were originally to have been published in 2008, 2012 and 2016!". Fingers crossed for an early release.

Please don't spoil my day; I'm miles away

Can buy me love! Please consider using these links to support the Beatles Bible: Amazon | iTunes

26 September 2013
9.15pm
Ron Nasty
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Sorry, Joe.

I feel kind of guilty since it was my question you were answering. You would have have thought if the embargo is off, that means freedom to talk. When is the end of an embargo not the end of an embargo?

I would have commented sooner but my internet has been playing up. I'm on a PAYG dongle. Topped up yesterday. Every time I tried logging-in it just sent me to the Vodafone top-up page. Took nearly an hour on the phone this evening (most of it on hold) to get the credit connected, which they had to do at their end.

Anyway, fascinating stuff on their signing, and thanks for posting it. It does look very interesting. Of course, the irony is that EMI quickly lost the publishing because of how little effort they put into the promotion Love Me Do.

Glad to see you using this thread, and recognising it's somewhere where the book can be discussed after publication, and avoided by those who don't want to know. I don't think there's any need for spoiler tabs here personally. People are warned in the name of the thread.

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty
27 September 2013
12.17pm
Joe
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Since he's being retweeted by the official All These Years account, it looks like David Hepworth's spoilers are seen as OK. Might be worth keeping an eye on his blog if you're so inclined. He's covered a few things that I'd mentioned before (Pete Best, EMI contract etc) and is further along than me.


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