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The Beatles recording sessions and homerecording: books to read.
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24 June 2014
7.57am
Oudis
Apple rooftop
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15 May 2014
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Hello everybody,

I have posted a few comments here but this is the first time I need “a little help from my forum friends”. After many years of struggling I finally have the time and the equipment (not analog like The Beatles, but digital of course), and I am about to begin homerecording and if I’m lucky record not by myself but with other musicians. I am a songwriter and rhythmic guitar player. What I would like to know is which books to buy –books that might give me some ideas and useful information about The Beatles’ recording process. I don’t care if the author liked Paul but wasn’t fond of George, I don’t need a book of facts about who played which instrument and the date of the recording, but an insider’s view, the story and analysis of their songs, and the process of recording them. So far, reading this forum and browsing Amazon, I have the following list:

  • Revolver: How The Beatles Reimagined Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Robert Rodriguez
  • Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties” by Ian MacDonald.
  •  “Here, There And Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles” by Geoff Emericks
  • “All you need is ears” by George Martin
  • “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions” by Mark Lewisohn

As I said I’ve read the Amazon reviews and it seems to me that “All you need is ears” by George Martin isn’t a book about The Beatles but a book about himself –but gives an immense insight into the recording techniques and their evolution. Is that so? Would I be able to learn something from it? That is what I would like: an inspirational book, something I can steal (yeap, steal!) ideas from, something to learn a few tricks from, and make more interesting recordings.

I’d appreciate any input you can give me; which ones to choose, or maybe somebody can tell me about other books I don’t know about.

Thanks a lot to all my fellow Beatles’ Fans

Oudis.

Forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabit” (“Perhaps one day it will be a pleasure to look back on even this”; Virgil, The Aeneid, Book 1, line 203, where Aeneas says this to his men after the shipwreck that put them on the shores of Africa)

24 June 2014
11.28am
Joe
Pepperland
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This is what you want: http://recordingthebeatles.com/

It's expensive, but well worth it.

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 June 2014
2.32am
Oudis
Apple rooftop
Forum Posts: 1387
Member Since:
15 May 2014
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Hello Joe,

Thanks for you answer. You’re right, the price is high –you can buy a very good microphone with that money. I’ll have to think about it. But isn’t any of the books in my list what I need? Not even partially? They’re U$10, ten times cheaper.

Thanks for your advice,

Forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabit” (“Perhaps one day it will be a pleasure to look back on even this”; Virgil, The Aeneid, Book 1, line 203, where Aeneas says this to his men after the shipwreck that put them on the shores of Africa)

28 June 2014
10.19pm
IveJustSeenAFaceo
Arrived Somewhere (But Not Here)
Apple rooftop
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31 October 2013
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Geoff Emerick's book is excellent, as is the Lewisohn book. However, Emerick's is a biography, so it's actually just telling his story, and his personal relationships with the Beatles, and Lewisohn's is more about how songs were structured and who played what, rather than exact recording techniques. For what you described, the book Joe recommended is the only one to get. 

(This signature brought to you by Spaghetti Tuesdays. Occurring on Wednesdays since 2013.)

2 July 2014
5.45pm
Joe
Pepperland
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Oudis said
Hello Joe,

Thanks for you answer. You’re right, the price is high –you can buy a very good microphone with that money. I’ll have to think about it. But isn’t any of the books in my list what I need? Not even partially? They’re U$10, ten times cheaper.

Thanks for your advice,

  • Revolver: How The Beatles Reimagined Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Robert Rodriguez - it's good, particularly on the cultural history of 1966 and all that, but is relatively light on studio info.
  • Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties” by Ian MacDonald. - fabulous critiques of each song, but opinionated and, again, light on recording info. Good on the stories-behind and analysis of the songs, so you should get it if that would help you.
  •  “Here, There And Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles” by Geoff Emerick - Confession time: I haven't read this. I've always been put off by Ken Scott's takedown. However, Geoff was one of the few people who was there in the studio, so although it's ghost written I'm sure there's some stuff worth knowing.
  • “All you need is ears” by George Martin - Not really a classic Beatles book. IIRC it was written before Lewisohn's Sessions, so there are a few half-remembered anecdotes that were later corrected by Mark. A nice book but inessential.
  • “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions” by Mark Lewisohn - I'd assumed you had this already. Yes, get this.

I can also recommend Walter Everett's two-volume The Beatles As Musicians. He's not always 100% correct on how the songs were recorded, but the musicological approach is fascinating. If you can read music or understand theory at all it's hugely illuminating. If you can't it's probably incredibly dull. YMMV.

You might also appreciate The Beatles' Gear by Andy Babiuk, which tells you precisely which instruments (guitars mainly, but also amps, drums etc) they used from the Quarrymen era to 1970.

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

3 July 2014
3.52am
IveJustSeenAFaceo
Arrived Somewhere (But Not Here)
Apple rooftop
Forum Posts: 2829
Member Since:
31 October 2013
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Joe said

Oudis said
Hello Joe,

Thanks for you answer. You’re right, the price is high –you can buy a very good microphone with that money. I’ll have to think about it. But isn’t any of the books in my list what I need? Not even partially? They’re U$10, ten times cheaper.

Thanks for your advice,

  • Revolver: How The Beatles Reimagined Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Robert Rodriguez - it's good, particularly on the cultural history of 1966 and all that, but is relatively light on studio info.
  • Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties” by Ian MacDonald. - fabulous critiques of each song, but opinionated and, again, light on recording info. Good on the stories-behind and analysis of the songs, so you should get it if that would help you.
  •  “Here, There And Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles” by Geoff Emerick - Confession time: I haven't read this. I've always been put off by Ken Scott's takedown. However, Geoff was one of the few people who was there in the studio, so although it's ghost written I'm sure there's some stuff worth knowing.
  • “All you need is ears” by George Martin - Not really a classic Beatles book. IIRC it was written before Lewisohn's Sessions, so there are a few half-remembered anecdotes that were later corrected by Mark. A nice book but inessential.
  • “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions” by Mark Lewisohn - I'd assumed you had this already. Yes, get this.

I can also recommend Walter Everett's two-volume The Beatles As Musicians. He's not always 100% correct on how the songs were recorded, but the musicological approach is fascinating. If you can read music or understand theory at all it's hugely illuminating. If you can't it's probably incredibly dull. YMMV.

You might also appreciate The Beatles' Gear by Andy Babiuk, which tells you precisely which instruments (guitars mainly, but also amps, drums etc) they used from the Quarrymen era to 1970.

Joe, you gotta read it. I love it.

(This signature brought to you by Spaghetti Tuesdays. Occurring on Wednesdays since 2013.)

4 July 2014
8.22am
Oudis
Apple rooftop
Forum Posts: 1387
Member Since:
15 May 2014
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Hello Joe, hello IveJustSeenAFace,

Thanks for your kind replies, thanks for taking the time –and sorry it took me so long to reply back. I think I will buy (one by one, I’m sorta broke) “Here, There And Everywhere” by Emericks, Ian MacDonald’s “Revolution in the Head”, and “The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions” by Lewisohn. After all the Hunter Davis book is all I’ve read about The Beatles; I need some more…spiritual nourishment. I appreciate your advice,

Oudis

Forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabit” (“Perhaps one day it will be a pleasure to look back on even this”; Virgil, The Aeneid, Book 1, line 203, where Aeneas says this to his men after the shipwreck that put them on the shores of Africa)

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