Book Review: ‘Confessions of a Beatlemaniac’ by Dee Elias

'Confessions of a Beatlemaniac' by Dee Elias
‘Confessions of a Beatlemaniac’ by Dee Elias

I had the pleasure of meeting Dee Elias at the Fest for Beatles Fans in Chicago and finding out about her book ‘Confessions of a Beatlemaniac: A true story of a fan who broke all the rules to meet the Beatles!‘  Without even reading a word, I got the impression that Dee’s story is going to become huge among other Beatles fans.

Though this book is currently listed on as being for ages 10 – 18, it’s definitely a multi-generational read.  Taken from the pages of Dee’s diary when she was 14-16 years old, this book tells of the extent to which Dee, her friends and many other Beatlemaniacs would go to just to get close to the Beatles.   This is the story of how she honed her technique by managing to meet other stars like Sonny & Cher and Simon & Garfunkel.

Why did she wait so long to tell her story?  When I spoke with her at the fest, she said not only did she think no one would be interested, she also was still keeping her antics a secret from her parents 50 years later!

If you’re looking for a fun book directly from the heart of a true Beatle fan who was THERE, you’ll enjoy this quick (168 page) read.  (And you absolutely won’t want to miss the story of Dee’s encounter with Billy J. Kramer!)

This book is available for Kindle at  Paperbacks are available exclusively through Dee’s website:

You can follow Dee on Facebook at: 


I rate this book: 4 out of 4 Beetles



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And you can keep the dime (Jim Croce)

This meme was passed along to me by Lanea Stagg, the author of Recipe Records Cookbooks.  She’s an incredibly creative and talented woman who has a Beatles themed cookbook in her series!  There are only four questions, but I hope you enjoy learning a little about what I’m working on outside of this blog.  I know I haven’t spent much time on here, but I think these four questions will help you understand why.  Enjoy!

1. What am I working on?

Well, for the past two years, I’ve buried myself in research for a book I hope to write about the life of Jim Croce.  I was nine years old when Jim Croce died in a plane crash and it was the first celebrity death that I remember hearing about.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

There aren’t a lot of books about Jim Croce except for the few by his widow Ingrid and two books written for children about him.  I also know of two other books that are currently being written.  One is by his cousin Steve and the other is by the sister of his accompanist Maury who was also killed in the plane crash 40 years ago.  Except for the children’s books, most of the books are about the personal lives of the Jim and Maury, while I hope to approach my book from a more professional angle.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I don’t know what possessed me to write this book.  One day I happened to stumble upon the fact that Jim Croce is buried about seven miles from my house.  I decided to go visit his grave and something inside of me decided I needed to write his story.  It hasn’t been an easy task…roadblocks seem to pop up everywhere.  But just as soon as one roadblock appears another open road shows ups and I discover some new information.  The research has been so much fun!

4. How does your writing process work?

Writing process?  What writing?!  LOL  I’ve been so busy doing research, I don’t know when I’ll actually start writing.  Every time I decide it’s time to sit down and seriously put some words on paper, I stumble on some new facts that need investigating.  When I do finally get to sit down and write, my process will be to start at the very beginning and just keep writing until it’s done!


So that’s it for me and my upcoming New York Times bestseller!  It’s time to pass the hat to other bloggers to find out what they’re writing about in their spare time.

Tag…you’re it:

Craig Vanderslice (aka CigarCraig)

Shelley Germeaux (aka Lennon Examiner)




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Beatles ‘Twist and Shout’ hula hoop dance

A little something for your viewing pleasure.  This is folksinger and hoop instructor Melissa Cox on the beach in New Zealand hoop dancing to the Beatles ‘Twist and Shout’

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Johnny come lately, the new kid in town…

PSU Beatles

“Everybody’s talking
There’s a new kid in town
People started walking
There’s a new kid in town” – Eagles

With the approach of the 50th Anniversary of the Beatles coming to the United States, it seems that new events, festivals and conferences are popping up everywhere to celebrate the occasion.  And though the Fest for Beatles Fans is the biggest fest around, some of the others aren’t to shabby!

One of the biggest events will be at Penn State University in Altoona, PA on the weekend of February 7-9, 2014 and is called ‘It was 50 Years Ago Today: An International Beatles Celebration.’  This three day event isn’t a festival.  It’s a conference.  According to their website, “In addition to panels and presentations, the conference will include film screenings, musical performances, art and photography exhibits, and keynote addresses by leading Beatles critics and musicologists.”

The director of this event is Dr. Kenneth Womack, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at PSU Altoona, and the author of: Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry of the Beatles, The Cambridge Companion to the Beatles, Reading the Beatles: Cultural Studies, Literary Criticism, And the Fab Four and the soon to be released The Beatles Encyclopedia [2 volumes]: Everything Fab Four.

A few of the respected 50+ experts set to appear at this conference are:

Mark Lewisohn – regarded as  one of the world’s leading Beatles authorities, Mark is the author of the NY Times bestseller Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years, Volume 1.

Andy Babiuk – the foremost authority on the equipment used to create the Beatles’ music and the author of Beatles Gear: All the Fab Four’s Instruments from Stage to Studio.  Andy is also a staff consultant to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH.

Walter Everett - the author of the Beatles As Musicians book series, Mr. Everett is also a member of the School of Music faculty at the University of Michigan and the author of The Foundations of Rock.

Jude Southerland Kessler – a Beatles expert, author and host of her own radio show, Ms. Kessler is the author of the John Lennon Series.  She has spent nearly 30 years researching John Lennon and the Beatles for her 9 book series., making her a leading expert on the topic of the Fab Four.

Dr. Kit O’Toole – For over 19 years, Dr. O’Toole has written music, concert, and book reviews, interviews, popular culture essays, and technology “how to” articles.  Her work has appeared at:, Something Else Reviews, Blinded by Sound, Cinema Sentries, Seattle PI and Beatlefan magazine.

This is definitely set to be one of the most intellectual of all the Beatles events to be held in 2014!  And what’s cool about their registration is that you not only can you sign up for which days you would like to attend, you can add your meals and accommodations to your package as you like!

For more information on this conference, along with a schedule of events & presenters, and registration, check out their website:

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Book Review: ‘Shivering Inside’ by Jude Southerland Kessler

Shivering Inside

Alrighty, so I’m a bit behind on my reading!  I finally managed to find 3 days to devote to the reading of this very large book (almost 600 pages).  I wanted to hurry and get “Shivering Inside” read before the 3rd book in The John Lennon Series, “She Loves You” is released on February 7, 2014.

So, you may already have figured out that this is the 2nd book in what is to be a 9 book series on the life and career of John Winston Lennon.  The author, Jude Southerland Kessler, has already devoted almost 30 years of her life to researching and writing these first 3 books.  She expects to put out a new book every 3 years…taking her to the year 2032 to complete all 9!  Phew…

As for this book, I gotta say that I enjoyed it more than I did the first book, Shoulda Been There.  There seem to be a much better flow.  I don’t know if it was the writing itself, or the fact that this book covers Lennon’s life from December 1961 when the Beatles hired Brian Epstein as their manager and their careers took off.  Either way, this book is a great follow up to Ms. Kessler’s first book or it can stand on its own.

For me, though, I know I’m anxious to read the next volume when it comes out since this book leaves the reader hanging just as John is about to leave for a 2 week vacation in Spain with Brian Epstein.  There has always been a lot of speculation about what happened on that holiday with John knowing that Brian was a gay man.  Jude promises to expose the truth.

In the meantime, be sure to read this book as a prelude to the next edition.  And if you haven’t already read the 1st book in the series, get that one too!  Jude Southerland Kessler spent an unbelievable amount of time researching and footnoting each detail of her books.  No stone was left unturned.

There’s no doubt, these books tell John’s true story.  You can read more about Jude and her books at:

I rate this book: 4 out of 4 Beetles

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Album Review: “Four” by Andrea Perry

a1915268809_2 Damn!  I got suckered by another musician telling me how “Beatle-y” their songs are and that I should listen to their album.  This time, the request came from a musician/producer in Austin, TX named Andrea Perry and her album “Four“.

Hi, I’m a Beatles freak with a new album with several very Beatles influenced songs. I’d love if you’d check it out. <snip> Tracks 4, 5, 13 and 14 are the most Beatle-y. Track 1 maybe too.

Okay Andrea, I’ll be the judge of that!

There is no doubt that there is a ‘Beatle-y’ sound to many of the songs on this album…some listed in Andre’s note to me and some are not.  But, I wonder how many musicians realize that going around proclaiming their music is heavily influenced by the greatest band in the world opens them up to having the entire album put under the microscope by none other than the very neurotic, anally retentive, OCD Beatles fans?  And do you really want to open yourself up to that?  I guess so…

The violins and cellos on the first song ‘My Lover Said’ are what trigger the Beatles-effect right from the get go and this song sets the tone for the album and I think it’s a more Beatles-esques song than – ‘Back Before There Was You’ or ‘While Spinning’.

Now, how does this album stand on its own away from it’s Fab Four fan influence?  Not bad…but there was a song or two where I would have liked to have heard more layered vocals or harmonies because the lyrics seemed to become background noise to the instrumentals.  And though Andrea says that track 5 – ‘While Spinning’ is Beatle-y, it sounds a lot like track 6 – ‘Where Have You Been’. There was also a part of me waiting for this album to climax and I didn’t feel like it quite did that until about track 13 -‘Welcome Home’.

But don’t take my word for it, head over to Andrea Perry‘s website and listen to it for free.  If you like what you hear, the album is only $7 to download!

I’m not going to rate this album because I just don’t think it would be fair.  Yes…heavy Beatles influence.  Yes…the album can stand alone, but has it’s issues.  How would you rate it?

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Book Review: ‘Rubber Soul’ by Greg Kihn

rubber-soul-cover-final-hartter-200x300Well boys and girls, it’s time once again for a couple disclaimers before I break into my review of this book:

1. This was the first full length book that I read entirely on a Kindle.  I like real books with paper pages and page numbers, so this alone was a challenge when all the Kindle would tell me was a percentage of what I had already read.  Is this going to be a factor in my review?  I dunno!

2. I’ve said it before…I don’t like fan fiction.  BUT…I had to catch myself because I realized that I do read fan fiction about Edgar Alan Poe.  In fact, I’m kinda obsessed with it!  So let me correct myself, I don’t like Beatles fan fiction.  I like my Fab Four the way I like my soap and men…99 44/100% pure!

On to the review:

Rubber Soul is the latest in a series of novels by Greg Kihn.  Yeah…THAT Greg Kihn…the man behind ‘The Breakup Song’ and ‘Jeopardy’.  Apparently, he’s been keeping himself busy these past several years with a radio show and authoring books.  Who’d a thunk it?  This latest installment is a murder mystery featuring …you guessed it…The Beatles!

I must say that I love Greg’s writing style!  What an easy and peaceful read this book was even as I struggled to get used to reading it on my Kindle (or KIHNdle).  No flashbacks and not overloaded with too many characters.  But I will admit, I almost didn’t make it past the 2nd or 3rd chapter when the main character becomes, what I consider, a little too involved with The Beatles.  I understand that Mr. Kihn stayed true to the Beatles story during their early years, but there was a moment where I felt he crossed the line a bit with mixing his fiction with his fact.

*Note: I have it from a good source that Greg Kihn had never heard of ‘fan fiction’ up until 2 months ago even though he’s been writing it for years.  Go figure…

I finally picked the book back up after a couple days of questioning why I had decided to read another Beatles fan fiction book (because he’s Greg ‘fu-kihn’ KIHN…that’s why!), I marched on through the digital pages and can say that it became a much better read with the Beatles taking a back seat to the main character up until the end when the plot thickens and draws our boys back into the story.  At this point, I could no longer put the book down until finding out ‘Who done it?’

I must say, Greg did his homework on the Beatles for this book.  I do believe there is one obvious error when he writes that Stu and Astrid were married…they never got that far before Stu passed away.

I rate this book: 3 out of 4 Beetles

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