Category Archives: John Lennon

Book Review: The Beatles and Me on Tour by Ivor Davis

Ivor Davis bookI met Ivor Davis for the first time at the Chicago Fest for Beatles Fans in August.  The word most commonly used to describe Ivor was ‘charming’.  And that he was!  He won everyone over who had the privilege to meet him and take home a copy of his book.  I’ve finally gotten around to reading this book and here’s my honest review.

What an absolute delight this books is!  Refreshing and so well written, anyone can just breeze through it’s pages.  The only downside…it ends.  Ivor has spent his life as a reporter and it shows in his writing style…very easy and smooth, it’s an absolute joy to follow him along on his journey with the Beatles during their 1964 tour of America.  Ivor doesn’t bore you with HIS story…he tells the story of what was going on behind the scenes.  Readers get the inside story of the Beatles backstage, in the air, holed up in their hotel rooms like caged animals and the secret meetings and parties that went on with other stars of the time.

Without a doubt, this book is a must read and must have for any true Beatles fan.  And if you’d like to know more about Ivor and his book, you can go to his website at: www.IvorDavisBeatles.com.  There are also links to let you know where you can purchase your own copy.

And if you’re in the L.A. area, don’t miss the opportunity to meet Ivor Davis at the Fest for Beatles Fans in L.A. on October 10-12, 2014.

I rate this book: 4 out of 4 Beetles!

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

'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 Amazon.com 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 Amazon.com.  Paperbacks are available exclusively through Dee’s website: www.ConfessionsOfABeatleManiac.com.

You can follow Dee on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Confessionsofabeatlemaniac 

 

I rate this book: 4 out of 4 Beetles

 

 

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Filed under Beatles books, Beatles-freak, George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, reviews, Ringo Starr

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: Blogcritics.org, 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: http://www.altoona.psu.edu/beatles.

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New festival for Fab Four fans: Beatles At The Ridge

Beatles At The Ridge, Walnut Ridge, AR: Sept 20-21It’s been way too long since I’ve posted a review or opinion on this blog, but when I heard about Beatles At The Ridge, I knew I just had to spread the good word!

Beatles At The Ridge is a two day festival in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas created by Charles Snapp in 2011.  It is now in its third year running.  Last year, the crowd size was estimated at over 10,000, but I have a feeling that this fest is going to put the best of all Beatles festivals on guard!  This fest has the potential to become a new mecca for the most diehard fans.

So what connection does Walnut Ridge have to the Beatles?  I’m glad you asked…because Walnut Ridge can boast about their Beatles encounter.  From their website: “A quiet night in 1964 was interrupted by the unusual sound of an airliner approaching Walnut Ridge Airport. Its arrival sparked enough interest that three local teens went to investigate, only to discover John, Paul, Ringo, and George walking from the plane. The Beatles, the biggest rock band in the world, had arrived at Walnut Ridge, Arkansas.”  You can read the rest of the story and see pictures here.

This year’s fest will have over 100 vendors (the number is still growing as word gets out about BATR).  Admission is free, parking is free and all entertainment is free.  I don’t think I’ve heard of another Beatles festival that can say that (but I could be wrong).

The entertainment for this two day, three stage event is also growing by the day.  Scheduled to appear this year are: Stan Perkins (son of Carl Perkins), Beatles tribute band – BritBeat, Ringo Starr tribute artist – Ringer Star,  Beatles expert & author – Jude Southerland Kessler, Danny Donuts Yellow Submarine Parade and many more!  There will also be a Beatles costume contest with prizes!  A full list of events can be found here.

In 2012, Beatles at the Ridge won the “Top new Festival” award from the Arkansas Festival and Events Association.

 Beatles At The Ridge will run from Friday, September 20th thru Saturday, September 21st.  For more information, go to: www.BeatlesAtTheRidge.com
I have a feeling this party is truly going to rock and it’s going to put a scare into the owner of many a Beatles fest.  If you go, please check in here and let us know your opinion!

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CD Review: Beatlesque Four by Alan Bernhoft

Looks like Alan Bernhoft has done it again with his latest release, Beatlesque Four!

My last review of Beatleseque Three, Alan had begun to recover from a what I thought was a very dissappointing Beatlesque Too album.  I think I can safely say, this album is the best of the bunch.

The CD starts out with a catchy, little head-bobbing, Lennon-esque title track, Love Everyone.  This is one of those songs you can imagine every mom wanting to play for their young children.

Another memorable tune is track 9 – My Rolls Royce…a song you can imagine Ringo singing.  Everything from the limited vocal range to the silly lyrics just screams Ringo!

Track 11, I Fly is an amazing tune that really and truly highlights the talents of Alan Bernhoft.  It’s just beautiful with it’s whisp of Beatles influence but not overdone.

Included in this album are three spoken word tracks from the writings of T.S. Dorglesnout.  They’re amusing little ditties fit perfectly in amongst the songs.  Who’s T.S. Dorglesnout?  When you find out, please let me know too!  🙂

This album ends with the song, Captain Anaujiram.  Though me and the good Captain would never share company, they song is amusing!

I don’t want to leave out that Mr. Bernhoft has included a holiday tune on this album called Imagine Christmas.  I must say I’m a fan of it already since I’ve personally had enough of the same-old, same-old holiday tunes every year.  I’d love to see the song distributed to radio stations across the country and be the next big holiday song!

I’m very impressed with this album and enjoyed getting an early copy of it.  The official release date is Saturday, June 23, 2012.  You can sample and buy a digital copy on Amazon.

I rate this CD: 4 out of 4 Beetles

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Short Story (ebook) Review: ‘Paul McCartney’s Coat and Other Stories’ by Michael White

Paul McCartney's CoatThis holiday, I got myself a Kindle Touch…thanks to the generosity of a friend who gave me an Amazon gift card.  Wanting to put this new device to use immediately, I did a search for ‘Free books beatles’ under Kindle books.  The ebook, ‘Paul McCartney’s Coat and Other Stories’ came up first on a very short list of only 3 books.

Let me first inform my readers that only the Forward is free.  You can get a Sampler for 99 cents, but the entire book is $4.50.  So…I ended up spending $5.49, but I have now learned a valuable lesson on what not to download to my Kindle.

Now for my review of just the first short story in this ebook:

If you’re a fan of short stories and/or fan fiction, you’ll enjoy reading this tall tale about a Beatles fan having a close encounter with the Fab Four at a pub in 1967 and his short ownership of Paul McCartney’s coat that was left behind in the pub and the discovery of Julian Lennon’s drawing  of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds!

The author, Michael White, gives a footnote at the end of the his story saying that on the original drawing by Julian, the words “Lucy with diamond eyes” were crossed out and the words, “Lucy in the sky with diamonds” were written underneath.  After doing a search on the interent, I couldn’t come up with any confirmation of this…even though it plays a huge part in telling of this story and I found it quite amusing how the author may have taken this fact and turned it into his own story!  (Note: I’d appreciate it if anyone can confirm the story about the original picture.)

The story does contain quite a lot of typos, but I’ve been told this can happen when books are converted to Kindle editions.  The reader may become impatient with several missing quote marks, run-on sentences and other small publishing errors.

Also, I guess one way to get attention for your new book is to put one of the Beatles names in the title or ‘Beatles’ itself.  It got my attention and no, I didn’t read any of the other Mr. White’s other short stories, but I now have them handy in case I find myself waiting at a dentist office or such.

This book is available in it’s full Kindle editon at Amazon.com, but is only available in it’s free edition of the Forward from Barnes and Noble.

Because this story is fan fiction (and I’m not a fan of that genre) and because I felt that the author gets sidetracked on other topics to the point of feeling like he was just adding ‘filler’ to his story:

I rate this story in this book: 2 out of 4 Beetles

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Book Review: ‘John Lennon: All I Want is the Truth’ by Elizabeth Partridge

Here’s another late review since this book was published in 2005, but I just heard about  ‘John Lennon: All I want is the Truth’ from a new friend who is friends with the author…so I bought a copy to check it out!  This book was described to me as ‘a book about John Lennon for teenagers’.

The first thing that will surprise you about ‘John Lennon: All I want is the Truth’ is it’s large size: 10.5′ x 10″.  This book looks more like a coffee table book than a book for children.  Also the reader will be suprised at the wonderful photographs throughout the book…adding to it’s ‘not so much for children’ style.  Don’t get me wrong…this book is absolutely beautiful to look at and page through and would be a standout book for anyone’s Beatles book collection.  But (and you knew it was coming)…most Beatles Freaks don’t buy books for their looks.  Beatles Freaks want facts…real facts and they want the truth.

The author does a pretty good job of telling John’s story.  Some of the facts that seem to be wrong are the usual ones, such as Aunt Mimi ducking and hiding from an air raid while on her way to see John in the hospital on the day he was born.  Other than those, which are few and far between, the book is a very easy read with great detail mixed with the gorgeous pictures on every page.

Now, herein lies the problem…sometimes the details are a little much for the younger generation that this book is aimed at.  Ms. Partridge brings up such topics as Paul losing his virginity, ‘knee tremblers’, prellies, etc.  I don’t know that I would have wanted my tweener or young teenager reading these details even if it is about the Fab Four.  My opinion (and it is just that…mine) is that this book would be great for anyone over the age of 15.

This book is available on Amazon and there are some great deals for it on Half.com.

So there you have it…big, beautiful, well-written, though sometimes erroneously, book about the life of John Lennon that would look great in your collection and everyone will enjoy the great pictures!

This brings me to a very difficult decision on what to rate this book, but since this book did win a BCCB BLUE RIBBON NONFICTION BOOK AWARD and a  2006 Michael L. Printz Award, I’m going to bump my rating up to:

I rate this book: 3 out of 4 Beetles

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