19 September 2010
14 October 2009
19 September 2010
I think Volume 2 will come out in 2014/2015. But if this book is as big as we think it will be, If might take us till the second book is out to finish it.
Word from the UK publisher this morning:
This book has now been pushed back to next year – the latter half of 2012. It would probably be best for you to keep an eye on our catalogue, but it won’t be available for at least a year I’m afraid:
1 May 2010
10 May 2011
*slow mo* NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
14 April 2010
4 December 2010
19 September 2010
Thanks for the update Joe.
I promise not to shoot the messenger!
Damn it. Now I have to admit Zig was right. And nothing sucks more then Zig being right. Well, other then a Red Sox World Series.
Mark Lewisohn, the world's pre-eminent Beatles historian and author, speaks about the status of his long-awaited definitive biography of The Beatles exclusively with former "Lost Lennon Tapes" producer Stephen K. Peeples for Peeples Place and Peeples Place on KHTS in Santa Clarita, California. Lewisohn has done zero media interviews about the three-volume project since he signed a major book/multimedia deal in 2003 with publishers in the U.K., the U.S. and Japan, and will do no other interviews until Volume 1 is released. What new pieces to the puzzle has he found in his years of research for "The Beatles: The Complete Story" (working title)? Play this clip, a world exclusive. Visit http://www.peeplesplace.com and the Aug. 12, 2011 post of "Peeples Place at KHTS" for transcript.
Here's the transcript:
In an interview this week with yours truly exclusively for Peeples Place, Mark Lewisohn, the world’s best-known Beatles historian and author, broke an eight-year silence to update me and Fab Four fans on the progress of the definitive three-volume Beatles biography he’s been working on since 2003.
As I mentioned at the top, he’s done ZERO press on this until now, preferring to just get on with it.
Beatles fans know Lewisohn’s creds are impeccable. He’s written several essential books about the band including “The Beatles Live,” “The Beatles: Recording Sessions,” “The Complete Beatles Chronicle” and “25 Years in the Life.”
Lewisohn wrote liner notes for several Beatles collections including the two “Past Masters” CDs and the three “Anthology” CDs. Google him for more.
Mark was also my research consultant when I wrote and produced “The Lost Lennon Tapes” radio series, heard on a few hundred stations in the U.S. and worldwide via Westwood One from early 1988 to mid-1990. I’m forever grateful to him for fact-checking my scripts and keeping me out of trouble.
Lewisohn and I have stayed in touch over the years. Because of our relationship, and because he recognizes it’s time to let people know how he’s doing with it, he chose to give Peeples Place at KHTS this exclusive.
When the deal was inked in 2003 it called for three volumes to be published over a 12-year period, with Volume 1 appearing sometime in 2008 and the last two a few years apart after that.
In fall 2007, when Mark was last in Los Angeles on a research trip, we had a delightful dinner, and he was very excited about the fresh info he was finding, but he hadn’t actually started writing yet. I kept my word to him and wrote nothing about it at the time. Not easy, trust me.
The 2008 publication date came and went, as did another in 2009. As recently as December 2010, Volume 1 was slated for release this fall. But that’s not going to happen, either.
When we spoke via Skype Tuesday morning West Coast time, it was suppertime in London.
I started out by asking him to recap a quick history of the project and why it's taking so long to get the first volume done. (Click here to play the video.)
"OK, gladly.Well, Volume 1 ought to be out in 2012 — that's what we're aiming for. So, it's nearly there. I've been working on it for about eight years now. The working title is 'The Beatles: The Complete Story' — I don't know if it's going to stay that way, but that's what it is at the moment. And everything is on track, except that we're running a little bit behind on time.
"But the idea of the book is still exactly as it was back in 2003 when I first came up with it, which is, it's really an attempt to tell The Beatles story like it's never been told before. It's a well-told story, but I always considered that it was not a well-told story. (laughs) I mean, it's been told a lot, but never very well, and I've always felt that it could be told better, and that's what the aim is, really—to absolutely get this right.
"I mean, The Beatles are the biggest band of the 20th century and they changed so much, and they're still huge in the 21st century. And yes, there isn't really one book that absolutely explained how it all happened, and also properly, accurately, comprehensively and with a kind of proper understanding. So, that's the idea. It's a vast job, it's probably about a 20-year project full-time, but I'm very happy about that because it needs to be done, and I'm very happy to be the one who's actually doing it. So, 2012 is the date we're shooting for, and I'm just about on track for that."
I asked about his very patient publishers.
"Well, I've been very, very happy to say that my publishers have been really patient with me. They expected the first volume out in 2008, and here I am in 2011, still writing it. So, I'm enormously grateful for them, for their patience. That's Little Brown in the U.K., Crown in America and Kawade Shobo Shincho in Japan. They've all been incredibly tolerant of this, but they've read the material, and they've read what I've written so far, and for that reason alone, I think they're staying right on track because this is going to be something very special, and it's taking longer than we thought, but it is going to be worth the wait."
I had to ask Mark, friendship aside, out of all the major media outlets in the world he could have spoken to, why did Lewisohn choose to speak with me for Peeples Place at KHTS, which is brand-new and as yet unknown?
“Well, I don’t normally talk to the media, certainly not while I’m writing — there will be plenty of opportunities to talk about the book when it’s out,” he said. “But I did feel that since people have been waiting for this book very patiently, it was really high time I reassured them that it is actually still on the agenda, that it is happening and will be out before too long.
“And really, with the Web, somewhere is everywhere now. One could go with a major network or one could stick with anybody who can put a video on YouTube or whatever.
“But it’s actually really nice to do this with you, Stephen, and Peeples Place because I’ve known you a very long time and I know that you’re always doing very good work, and I know that you understand what I’m trying to put across.
“So it’s nice to be here on Peeples Place, and I couldn’t think of a better place to actually do this.”
“I’m telling the story in three volumes, so there has to be a division between each one, and I thought very, very long and hard about that,” Lewisohn said.
“The first volume ends New Year's Eve 1962, with The Beatles on the very cusp of their breakthrough. But with everything falling right into place — all the people, the personalities, the situation, the arrangements — the question was, always, when does [the story] actually begin?
“The Beatles were born during the second World War, and they formed a band in 1957, but the story actually is a deeper and broader one from that, so I'm writing it [as] a contextual history, in which I really do try to explain every single element of The Beatles,” he said. “And that includes the family background. So, that answers your short question. [Volume 1] actually begins about 1845. [laughs.] It doesn't linger there for very long, but there is a very good reason why it does begin there.
“Pretty soon, however, we're in the 20th century and through the Second World War, and then we're into The Beatles' childhoods, and their families and the circumstances of their education, their influences. Of course it very quickly gets to the point where [music from] America is having a huge impact on them, and from about the mid-1950s, the book is very solid in there.”
Lewisohn went on to provide a preview of Volumes 2 and 3 as well.
“Volume 2 begins at the very start of 1963, and that goes on until — I'm not exactly certain yet — 1966 or '67,” he said. “Volume 3 will pick up from there and go to probably the early 1970s, I would think.
“The plans were changed since the book was first proposed, but I've actually been doing a fair bit of research for Volumes 2 and 3 while writing the first one, and so they won't take as long to write,” he said. “And I'm pretty optimistic that they are going to be fairly [close] behind the first volume at regular intervals. But the first volume…I'm glad to say, we're shooting for August 2012.”
Lewisohn has no doubt dug up — and is still digging up — lots of fresh information and discovering many pieces to the puzzle. I asked him what has surprised him most along the way.
“I'm not going to answer that one, not yet — we're a little too ahead of publication for that," he said. "But, believe me, I've found so much. I've been surprised literally every day about just how many things I didn't [know], and I've been researching this story since the 1970s...very few [biographers] have spent that long writing their books or dedicating particular amounts of long time to them.
“And the moment you start digging, the more that you start finding gold, and you keep finding gold," Lewisohn said. "The Beatles' story is remarkable, because no matter how deep you dig, you still find gold. And even since I started writing and I kind of shut down the research element, I'm still finding people who are telling me amazing things. A couple of girls, for example, that I tracked down — they managed them for a while. That was quiet a nice discovery. And all sorts of things.
“A few people have read the manuscript, people who know the subject well, and they tell me on every single page, bar none, they are finding things that make them go 'wow,'" Lewisohn continued. "And I genuinely can't believe that, because I can see it myself when I'm writing. And I'm not adding things. There's no embroidery in it...The Beatles' story is so rich, you don't need to add anything to it. It'll already be the best story it'll ever be. And, you know, my contention that it had never been told properly is so true, because really when you spend proper time on it and you dig deeper and deeper and deeper and you find gold. It's fantastic. So there's something on every page.
“And it's going to be told in a way that really makes sense," he added. "[It's] a combination of thousands of new discoveries that are really interesting, a couple with a fresh way of looking at what we do already know. So even...'The Ed Sullivan Show' — OK, that's not going to be a surprise to anybody. But how 'The Ed Sullivan Show' happened and really what went on on that stage, for example, is going to be completely fresh to the reader...So imagine that all the way through, and you've got it.”
14 April 2010
Volume 1 actually begins about 1845. It doesn't linger there for very long, but there is a very good reason why it does begin there.
OK…can he make me want this any more than I already do?
EDIT: Had to Google 1845. Quoting from Wikipedia…"In Ireland, the Great Famine was a period of mass starvation, disease
and emigration between 1845 and 1852. It is also known, mostly outside Ireland, as the Irish Potato Famine…"
So which Beatle or member of their circle had a distant relative who fled Ireland for England during this dark time?
1 May 2010
19 September 2010
14 April 2010
George did as well (at least on his mother's side). I wouldn't be surprised if they all did.
My specific question was which one had someone emmigrate during this particular time. Hell, I don't even know if this is what 1845 signifies in Lewisohn's comment. It is just pure speculation on my part.
19 September 2010
Zig, assuming your speculation is right, there isn't any actual proof I can find that the Lennons, McCartneys, Harrison or Starkeys moved during the famine. The closest I was able to find was a passing mention by Lennon of the famine, and the rush of Irish immigrants to Liverpool, in Anthology. Although Paul McCartney: A Life, by Peter Ames Carlin makes it seem like Paul's family came over in 1896. Hope it helps.
23 January 2011
Okay...truth time. I've never read a whole Beatles biography before, other than the controversial Lennon biography by Fred Seaman and half of another whose name I can't remember.
Truthfully, I'm waiting for this one! According to the Little Brown publishing site (http://www.littlebrown.co.uk/T.....0349118598), it's due out the 1st of September. I don't know if that is news or if all of you knew it already. Anyways, I'm excited about it.
1 May 2011
14 April 2010
Thanks for the update - looks like it's time to update my X-mas wish list. Maybe I can add it to my 50th birthday wish list for next year!
He must be arguing with his publisher over who sang the ah's in "A Day In The Life".
1 December 2009
8 August 2012
I'm gutted about the further delay to this work, but I know it will be more than worth it. It's interesting to note that Lewisohn states that volume 1 is now done. I'm sure many authors have brought forward release dates to mixed public reaction - delight that what seems like years of waiting are at an end, but also suspicion that corners may have been cut - but it would appear that the baton has now been passed on to the publishers, Little Brown. I understand the need for fact-checking, binding and proofreading (though I fear the Proofreader is extinct!), but will that really take a whole year? I would have taken the New Year or maybe springtime, but that's just me! Our gutter press could have a field day if they managed to get hold of transcripts prior to publication!
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