Category Archives: Beatles influence

Book Giveaway: “Once There Was a Way: What if The Beatles Stayed Together?” by Bryce Zabel

Once There Was A Way Bryce ZabelHappy 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.

***

Breaking News

APB107

-BULLETIN- (AP)

(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.

05:18gAPD  03-15-74

APB108

LENNON-BULLETIN-TAKE 2

FBI DIRECTOR CLARENCE M. KELLEY CONFIRMS THAT BUREAU AGENTS BELIEVE THE COMMUNICATION FROM WEATHER UNDERGROUND LEADER BERNARDINE DOHRN IS AUTHENTIC.

 

Thrilling…huh?

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!

 

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Book Review: “A, B, See…The Beatles! A Children’s ABC Book” by Jill Davis

**I have a big surprise for my readers on Sunday, December 17th, so I’m posting a review a little early…

A B See The Beatles Jill DavisA, B, See the Beatles!: A Children’s ABC Book by Jill Davis and illustrated by Jeanne Conway was published on August 4, 2015. Jill, an elementary school teacher for 35 years, was inspired to write this book for her grandchildren after going on the Magical History Tour of Liverpool and London in 2010.

This is going to be a short review, because otherwise the review will be longer than the book itself.

Jill Davis needs to be congratulated on her very unique choice of Beatle-y words and topics to go with each letter of the alphabet and to her illustrator for doing a fantastic job of bringing the words to life through large colorful paintings. That being said, this 36 page book starts off the alphabet with:

A is for Apple, not the kind you eat.

Okay…now explain to me how you’re going to explain to your 3-5 year old exactly what she means by Apple if it’s not the eating kind? And how do you explain the letter E, which is for Epstein and Eggman?

“What’s an Eggman mommy?” Well, darling, it’s the nickname of Eric Burdon of the band The Animals because he used to break raw eggs on his sex partners.

Beautiful book, beautiful pictures, but in my opinion the choice of Beatle words Ms. Davis chose for a lot of the letters are far beyond the scope of your average pre-school child whether they are fans of the songs or not. Expect to do a lot of explaining. I do recommend it though for Beatle book collectors. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 2 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

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Song & Video Review: “What’s It Like in Liverpool?” by Marc Kenny

Early this week, I was doing my usually daily stroll around my social media accounts when I saw someone had posted this video.  “What’s It Like in Liverpool?” is a song by native Liverpudlian Marc Kenny.

The song is catchy and fun.  The video is bright and lively with scenic shots of Liverpool and the Cavern Club.  So what’s my gripe?  I have to wonder if this song is just another attempt to capitalize on the proud home of the Fab Four?  Kenny’s biography says he’s been reading and writing music since the age of 9 and that while other kids at school were learning classical pieces, his parents bought him the Beatles music book.  I can’t argue with that, I did the same for my son.  But why write a song about Liverpool with lines from Beatles’ songs in it and with a video filled with Beatles related images from around the city?  If someone is so talented (and you only have to read Marc’s long bio to know how talented he claims to be), why resort to capitalizing on the greatest band in the world to become famous?

Then again, I have to wonder whether maybe I’m the only one that is even having these thoughts, since the video currently has over 4,000 viewings and according to Facebook, it’s been shared over 6,000 times.

Well, I do have to admit…I’ve hit the play button at least a half dozen times myself.  The song is very good, the video is also well done, and yes, Marc Kenny has got talent.  And for that reason…

I rate this song and video, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

4beetle 3beetle 2beetle

 

 

 

You can buy a copy of What’s It Like in Liverpool? on Amazon.com for $0.89 if you’d like to support Marc Kenny.  Or you can buy the studio and live versions, plus one other song here for $2.67.

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Book Review: “Ramones: An American Band” by Jim Bessman

I picked this book up several years ago at an online clearance sale.  My intent was for my husband to read it, since I really never dug The Ramones.  Then I found out that they were heavily influenced by the Beatles. And, there is no lack of Beatles references in this book! Even the story of them rewriting the lyrics to a John Lennon song and getting Yoko’s permission to record it.

Ramones: An American Band was published in 1993, long before Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee, Marky, or any other Ramone wrote their autobiography. In fact, it was written prior to the band breaking up in 1996, so it’ll bring you right up to what was the present moment of the band at that time.

The Ramones are credited with creating Punk music. What a lot of people thought was just a joke band that would never last went on to become one of the greatest bands of all time. This is a band who was the influence behind the Sex Pistols, Debbie Harry and so many Punk bands of the 70’s and 80’s. And though they never enjoyed huge commercial success or even a #1 hit, Spin magazine ranked them the second-greatest band of all time trailing only the Beatles.

I’m glad I took the time to read this book and to get to know the Ramones. This book has made me want to pick up each of the band members autobiographies and get their individual views of how the Punk scene looked from the inside.

You can still buy this book online at all the major retailers, with used copies starting at $0.01.

I rate this book: 3 out of 4 Beetles!

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Book Review: “The New Norm: Lessons from a look-alike” by Mike Oltersdorf

book

The New Norm by Mike and Dan Oltersdorf came up on Amazon as a suggested read while I was looking at another book.  What attracted me to this book, besides the fact that this guy looks like my favorite Beatle, is that he has Parkinson’s disease.  I spent many years working in nursing homes as a nurses aid and I’ve seen the devastation that Parkinson’s can reek on someone’s body.  Trust me folks, Alzheimer’s has nothing on Parkinson’s.  My heart goes out to Mike.

Mike Oltersdorf didn’t always look like Paul McCartney.  It wasn’t until his late 40’s after gaining 40 pounds that people started to tell him his resembled the cute Beatle.  This lead to many years of him working as a celebrity look-alike and winning the Beatles Look-alike contest 12 times at Beatles Fest.  But nothing could prepare him for the Parkinson’s diagnosis that made him feel as if his exciting career was over.  Or was it?

This book is Mike’s (and his son Dan) story of how he managed to spin a new take on his life and how he found enlightenment from the lyrics of two Beatles songs.  And through these lyrics, he passes his gift on to the world to teach us all how to live the new norm everyday.

This book is just 80 pages, but packs a punch and ends with a worksheet to help you find your gift to share with the world.  Proceeds from each book benefit the National Parkinson Foundation, so even if you just buy the $0.99 Kindle version, you can know you’ve helped others, but I think you’ll enjoy Mike’s message.

You can order Mike’s book in paperback or for Kindle at Amazon.

I rate this book: 3 out of 4 Beetles!

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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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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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