Happy holidays readers! While surfing my way through Facebook this week, I came across a post about this book – Once There Was a Way: What If The Beatles Stayed Together? by Bryce Zabel. Since it was just released on December 5, 2017, I decided request a review copy from the publisher, Diversion Books. After offering to send me a review copy, they wrote back to me and asked if I would like to have a contest on my site and give away three copies. “Absolutely!”, I replied.
The book is a 308 page, fictional tale of what might have happened had the Beatles remained friends and never broke up their band. I can’t wait to read and review it for everyone, but in the meantime, here is an excerpt from the book. I choose this one because it includes one of my favorite Beatles ladies…May Pang!
ONCE THERE WAS A WAY – EXCERPT
Lennon Kidnapping (1974)
Once Julian was safely back to the care of his mother, Cynthia, John returned to his party life in Malibu. The Weathermen followed him constantly. Ironically, even though Lennon spotted them several times, he dismissed them as junior FBI agents and ignored them.
The nightclubs they followed him into included the famed Troubadour in Hollywood. Wearing disguises, the Weathermen observed Lennon and Nilsson throwing back Brandy Alexanders like men who had been lost in the desert for a week. One night, an inebriated Lennon came from the restrooms wearing a sanitary napkin attached to his forehead. Dohrn and Ayers watched as a waitress questioned him as to whether he was leaving a tip on the way out.
“Do you know who I am?” Lennon asked.
“Yes,” the waitress shot back. “You’re the asshole with a Kotex on your head.”
The plan had been for Dohrn and Ayers to pick up Lennon after he left the Troubadour, but now there were too many people around, from bouncers to club owners to fans gathered to watch the stumbling Lennon. If anything, the scene convinced Dohrn and Ayers that Lennon was a worthy target who would benefit from some re-education—they’d just have to wait a little longer to implement their plans.
As it turned out, they didn’t have to wait as long as they thought. The evening of March 12, 1974, had been a dark one for John Lennon, now almost a year into his banishment by Yoko Ono. Lennon and Nilsson began throwing down more cocktails and decided to heckle the Smothers Brothers, the controversial political satirists.
“The comments got so ugly and personal that we were about to get pulled off the stage,” Tommy Smothers said. “We loved the Beatles and it blew our minds that one of them would try to ruin our show.”
As the situation escalated, club security attempted to remove the drunken and enraged rock stars in the audience. The struggle turned physical, and Lennon lost his memorable glasses in the scuffle.
All of this, of course, attracted just as much attention as the Kotex incident, but this time, the Weather Underground was prepared—they had a spotter in the crowd who used a nearby payphone to call Bernardine Dohrn, stationed at another payphone near Lennon’s rental house on the beach.
As a taxi dropped off Lennon, Nilsson, and Pang at Lennon’s, a coordinated team of five members of the Weather Underground made their move to grab Lennon. Nilsson tried to hold on to his friend but was punched out cold for his bravery, suffering a concussion when his head hit the stone driveway. A car appeared, driven by Ayers, with Dohrn in the passenger seat.
Pang screamed, terrified she might be raped, and was gagged, blindfolded, and thrown into the back seat. The Weather Underground radicals overpowered Lennon as well, tied his hands with duct tape, and threw him in the trunk of the vehicle. Within less than a minute of exiting the taxi, John Lennon, inebriated and vomiting, found himself locked in a dark car trunk without his eyeglasses.
The car sped off, going north on Pacific Coast Highway. Twenty miles away, on a dark, deserted stretch of beach highway outside of Trancas, a member of the rebel group threw May Pang from the car.
It took her over two hours to find her way to an all-night liquor store with a phone. The manager, a volunteer member of the Malibu Sheriff’s Department, took care of the frantic Pang and helped her remember the physical descriptions of the assailants as best as possible.
With Pang’s assistance, deputies found Harry Nilsson shortly before daylight, still unconscious, in the driveway of the beach house. Within another hour, AP had broken the story.
(LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA)—THE RADICAL WEATHER UNDERGROUND TERRORIST ORGANIZATION SAYS THAT MUSICIAN JOHN LENNON IS IN ITS CUSTODY. LENNON, A MEMBER OF THE POPULAR MUSICAL GROUP THE BEATLES, HAS BEEN MISSING SINCE TUESDAY.
FBI DIRECTOR CLARENCE M. KELLEY CONFIRMS THAT BUREAU AGENTS BELIEVE THE COMMUNICATION FROM WEATHER UNDERGROUND LEADER BERNARDINE DOHRN IS AUTHENTIC.
To enter the contest to win one of three copies of Once There Was A Way, just leave a comment below and tell me what you believe may have happened (or wished had happened) if the Beatles had stayed together. One entry per person. Contest ends and winners will be announce at 9 a.m. on Sunday, December 24, 2017.
Good luck and happy holidays….and thank you to Christine at Diversion Books for giving my readers a spectacular holiday!
13 responses to “Book Giveaway: “Once There Was a Way: What if The Beatles Stayed Together?” by Bryce Zabel”
I’m not much for “what if” questions, preferring to deal with things as they are, rather than musing about missed opportunities and what might have been…however, I don’t think I would wish for The Beatles to have “stayed together”. I think they needed to break up when they did. If I wish for anything, it would be for them to all still be with us, and to get together periodically for group projects, as one of them (George? John?) had proposed at one point. What I WOULDN’T want is for them to be on the road in their mid-70s singing “She Loves You”.
Couldn’t agree more, David!
Whoops, the language is not even worth c-movie rating. Awful.
If the Beatles had stayed together, I wish they would have done a series of small concerts at smaller clubs & colleges in the early 70s. Paul did this with the first Wings tour in England & Europe. Imagine if instead of Wings, it was the Beatles??
I think the “What If” scenario is fascinating to indulge in. Personally, I think the Beatles were too big to go the small venue circuit, but the thought of it suggests the great music that they would create once they could get back to be a performing band.
I would have hoped for one new Beatles album every two years. No singles, no touring, just albums, maybe even concept records. Our loss is their Gainsborough nil.
It’s hard to imagine a world where the Beatles had stayed together. The break up produced a lot of growth in each member as individual artists, and without the break up we would have missed out on all of their work as individual artists and the many collaborative efforts with other artists and groups.
I wish they would’ve stayed together-I think of they had, we would still be seeing them touring or at least producing more music that we would still be enjoying today! I think they would’ve also taken a strong stance in the issues today too and maybe could’ve initiated more of a “come together” type attitude that would’ve had a great influence on many people. I would’ve loved the chance to see all them together or separately in concert! Ahh-if only!
I’ve always wondered what some of their early solo efforts would have sounded like if the band did them. We do have rehearsals etc for the song/album “All Things Must Pass”, but I think of songs like “Imagine” or “Instant Karma”…”Maybe I’m Amazed and “My Love”…”Photograph” or “Back Off Boogaloo”…”Give Me Love” or “What Is Life”. The lads did show up occasionally on each others albums and singles (George on the “Imagine” LP or John writing songs specifically for Ringo), but to have them all together on even one of them would have been amazing!
If The Beatles would have stayed together I would have hoped that John Lennon would have kept Tittenhurst Park. It was an estate of major architectural, horticultural, and social significance. Even if he had purchased another home elsewhere, he could have kept the estate and allowed the recording studio to be used by other musicians (as Ringo had done once he acquired the estate), and, with 72 acres, and multiple guest houses on the property, he could have provided a stable and beautiful home for members of his family to always have, including, of course, his step-sisters, cousins, etc. Eventually, upon his death (in the future) the estate could have been turned into a Graceland-type attraction so that fans around the world could come to Tittenhurst Park and walk the ground sof that major Beatles landmark. (learn more in my book series about TITTENHURST PARK)