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"The Beatles as Musicians" .........the Walter Everett books
12 January 2010
1.36pm
mjb
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I know a few of you on here have read or are reading these books.  I thought I'd share a few comments as I read through them.

I'm currently on the first book and although, as already pointed out, a lot of the analysis goes over the head on non-musical folk who cannot read or undestand musical quotation (like me), I am enjoying his breakdown on who played what and how the songs were mixed etc.

So far I'm only up to the end of 1964 and was beginning to think this man has really done his research and then I came across a gaping error he made! He has been very particular on the assignement of what was placed on each track during the recording process but he has either overlooked or missed an overdub on Things We Said Today. There is no mention of the acoustic guitar intro beats that also reappear throughout the song.  We know these were added separately as they appear on the Love album isolated.

He also doesn't seem to point out the mistakes that were made on certain recordings, which I find a bit odd given the intricate detail he goes in to. i.e. John's missed guitar strums on She's A Woman.

So am I being too picky here or do other share my wonder?

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
28 January 2010
12.37pm
Joe
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I messed up trying to move this thread over to this new books forum; instead of moving the entire thread it only moved the first post. I don't know if whole threads can be shifted.

Anyway, I'll leave it as is, with apologies to MJB. The original thread had moved somewhat off-topic anyway, so let's carry on using this for a discussion of Walter Everett's incredible books. And feel free to start a new thread about any other books you may have read, or are thinking of getting hold of.

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

29 January 2010
4.51am
8tracktgdesk
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I'm currently on the first book and although, as already pointed out, a lot of the analysis goes over the head on non-musical folk who cannot read or undestand musical quotation (like me), I am enjoying his breakdown on who played what and how the songs were mixed etc.



All that musical quotation to me is pointless. Unless you are going to recreate the songs live, then to me it's all  lines and musical notes that are useless information. I mean come on, why even put them in the book anyway. My point  here which continues to be lost, is  that a note on a musical score is just that.  You can not show that same note the same way if it's been altered by studio  technology. Okay , you people are more then likely saying "there he goes again, that crazy guy from America, going on and on about how great Abbey Road  Studios is , and how it should be a shrine to the music gods" Well maybe , not the last part.


But my  point is if a guitar note is played by a instrument and  something else ( like a  recording console or a sound compressor) changes it on the way to the  tape machine it won't be the same thing. You can not recreate that same note the same way, since you would have to get into  your Yellow Submarine  time machine or go back on some   "garden party"  LCD trip.

I agree a note is a note , but it can be changed either by a piece  of equipment or by  way of a tape machine. This is something  that the book more then  likely doesn't point out.


Anyone care to get into  a deep discussion since I am bringing up information about the book in question


John Senchak  Beatlogist  john@antihotmail.com 

http://www.antihotmail.com

"Yoko brought her Walus, their was Magic in the air"

29 January 2010
10.23am
Joe
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Walter Everett's focus is on developments in The Beatles as musicians (as the title suggests): how their songwriting developed, how other musicians influenced them, the songwriting structure, and themes and motifs that recurred (or not) throughout their career. It's not a book about recording technology, though that is touched upon.

The musical notation is valuable in explaining how much of this occurred - none of it is 'pointless' or 'useless information'. It's fascinating.

Here's a layman's example: Ian Macdonald wrote about how Lennon's melodies tended to be horizontal, whereas McCartney's were vertical - ie went up and down the scales, rather than repeating notes. In his questionable Lennon biog, Albert Goldman wrote about how many of Lennon's melodies (All You Need Is Love, Instant Karma, My Mummy's Dead) were based on the melody of Three Blind Mice. Everett takes this to the next level and beyond, giving some astonishing breakdowns of their evolving techniques as songwriters and musicians. It's true that melodies and notes can be manipulated in the studio, but - and I must stress this - that isn't the point here.

You're welcome to start a thread elsewhere about Abbey Road technology, but let's try to keep this a discussion about Walter Everett's books.

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

30 January 2010
8.47am
mjb
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As you know (well those of you who have been following) I'm working my way through these books chronologically. I've now got to the start of Magical Mystery Tour.

I must admit that it took until Revolver for it to get really interesting in terms of the recording proccess becoming more challenging and inventive, but so far I've really enjoyed it.  I do have to skip a lot of the musical notation stuff, but there you go!

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
30 January 2010
8.19pm
8tracktgdesk
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mjb said:

As you know (well those of you who have been following) I'm working my way through these books chronologically. I've now got to the start of Magical Mystery Tour.

I must admit that it took until Revolver for it to get really interesting in terms of the recording proccess becoming more challenging and inventive, but so far I've really enjoyed it.  I do have to skip a lot of the musical notation stuff, but there you go!


You need to study the  evolution of  Recording  technology  at EMI Hayes and  the development of the  recording process at Abbey Road Studios and other EMI studios  ( EMI France " Can't buy me Love"   EMI India  "The Inner Light"  EMI Nigeria, Band on the Run album)


John Senchak Beatlogist john@antihotmail.com

"/....an though she feels if she's in a play, she is anyway/"

11 February 2010
2.05pm
mjb
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Just finished the White Album Cool

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
11 February 2010
3.54pm
PeterWeatherby
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This sounds fascinating, mjb, thanks for pointing out a book that I would probably really enjoy.  I've been a songwriter/guitarist/pianist for almost 20 years now, so this kind of musical notation detail that you're talking about would most likely be a gold mine for me.  How many books are in this set?

Not a bit like Cagney.
11 February 2010
4.58pm
mjb
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PeterWeatherby said:This sounds fascinating, mjb, thanks for pointing out a book that I would probably really enjoy.  I've been a songwriter/guitarist/pianist for almost 20 years now, so this kind of musical notation detail that you're talking about would most likely be a gold mine for me.  How many books are in this set?


There are two Peter. Are you UK based? If so, visit Amazon.  Thery're not cheap (from anywhere). The pair cost me just of £50 Surprised

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
11 February 2010
8.26pm
Joe
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I absolutely recommend both volumes. I've got copies of both, though I've not got very far reading them yet (I'm still on the early years, though I've dipped into both).

Google Books has them, though there's no substitute for a proper paper copy.

http://books.google.co.uk/book.....38;f=false
http://books.google.co.uk/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

11 February 2010
8.35pm
mjb
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Joe said:

I absolutely recommend both volumes. I've got copies of both, though I've not got very far reading them yet (I'm still on the early years, though I've dipped into both).

Google Books has them, though there's no substitute for a proper paper copy.

http://books.google.co.uk/book.....mp;f=false
http://books.google.co.uk/book...... 


Joe - just put it in the bathroom and open it up every time you pay a visit.  That's how I've read it. Thing is, my wife keeps saying "what have you been doing up there all this time?" Laugh

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
11 February 2010
8.48pm
PeterWeatherby
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mjb said:

Joe - just put it in the bathroom and open it up every time you pay a visit.  That's how I've read it. Thing is, my wife keeps saying "what have you been doing up there all this time?" Laugh


Ha!  I don't suppose it would do to answer, "studying the usage of borrowed chords and contrapuntal bass lines in the latter half of the Beatles' compositional career."

She'd just say you were full of ... well, you know.

Not a bit like Cagney.
11 February 2010
9.36pm
mjb
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PeterWeatherby said:

mjb said:

Joe - just put it in the bathroom and open it up every time you pay a visit.  That's how I've read it. Thing is, my wife keeps saying "what have you been doing up there all this time?" Laugh


Ha!  I don't suppose it would do to answer, "studying the usage of borrowed chords and contrapuntal bass lines in the latter half of the Beatles' compositional career."

She'd just say you were full of ... well, you know.


Cheers Mr Weatherby Laugh

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
11 February 2010
10.42pm
skye
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Then he's in the right place to fix that problem.

Ad hoc, ad loc, and quid pro quo! So little time! So much to know!
12 February 2010
8.17am
mjb
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I apologise to all for having my bathroom habits discussed in such detail Surprised

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
20 February 2010
6.16pm
mjb
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I've finished them both Laugh

What can I say......well as previously stated, they are VERY musically written, so much so that I probably skipped 50%+ of the text purely because I didn't understand it!

In essence Everett breaks down each song recorded with an in depth summary of it's musical value and then he attempts to go into very precise detail about who played what, which instrument was used, how each track was panned in the stereo mix etc. This is the part that interested me.  We know he wasn't there and a good part of it was guesswork (i.e. he assumes George used his Telecaster, or John played the tambourine when in fact it could have been his Fender or Ringo was playing the tambourine), but he does display a good knowledge  and I would imagine that maybe his training allows him to identify the sound of the guitars so that is why he makes the assumption in the first place?

I found it particularly interesting that he spotted things being played that I hadn't heard before, or that he was able to say how a particular sound had been produced.

Yes I spotted errors. i.e. he states Paul sang backing vocal on Come Together when Paul has admitted he was too frightened to ask John if he could, so John sang both vocals. But does that really matter? I think not.

If you can understand music notation then you will get much more out of these than I did, but they are reference books and I now plan to sit down with the books and play an album and follow his text.  That will most definitely enlighten my enjoyment (and knowledge) orf each song as I hear it and I know these books will be referred to time and time again.

"If we feel our heads starting to swell.....we just look at Ringo!"
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