Category Archives: Paul McCartney

Guest Book Review: “Paul McCartney: The Life” by Philip Norman

Today’s review is from one of my very talented musician friends, and another Beatles freak – Nik Everett. You can follow Nik on Facebook here.

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Paul McCartney: The Life by Philip Norman (Little, Brown and Company 2016)

This new outing offers few revelations into the life of Paul McCartney but much personal detail with scant references to his music as if Norman appears afraid to discuss music nor cares to know nothing about it. One must remember he was the author of the best selling Beatle bio, “Shout!” and was savage in his treatment of McCartney showing bias in favor of John Lennon often also at the expense of George and Ringo. In “The Life” Norman appears to redeem himself and puts Paul into a fairer light acknowledging his contributions to The Beatles not only musically but the cultural with McCartney’s immersion into the avant garde and the hippy underground. That foray brought many of the innovations and sounds to The Beatles psychedelic years starting with “Revolver” through “Magical Mystery Tour.” Norman also brings into focus his subject’s work ethnic. It is likely that “Revolver” until the last album, “Abbey Road” would have never happened without his creativity and drive. McCartney was The Beatles’ greatest cheerleader. And as innovative as the Fab Four were in the studio, they got along best during their club and touring years thus, the book covers that well from Liverpool to Hamburg then conquering America and the world. The book also does reveal the often touching relationship Paul had with his father the amateur musician, Jim.

Norman takes us on the all too familiar journey through the Beatles breakup, meeting Linda, forming Wings with the tensions of revolving members, Paul’s complicated relationships with John and George, his business savvy and MPL empire, the philanthropy, his children, the eventual triumph and worldwide success of Wings, the infamous Japanese pot bust, the Wings breakup, Linda’s tragic death and the solo years leading up a return to touring that continues to this day.

The final act spends too many pages on his marriage to Heather Mills but it’s nice to have a bio that takes us up to modern times. As implied earlier, the book helps secure McCartney as a shrewd businessman and PR man who happens to be a musical genius with a still restless, creative soul in his seventies and is surprisingly normal as one of the most famous men on earth can be.

 

Nik Everett singer/songwriter

http://www.reverbnation.com/nikeverett

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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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Book Review: “Angie McCartney: My Long and Winding Road”

Angie McCartney bookPhew!  That Angie McCartney can talk…and talk…and talk…and talk!  But, ya know, it works for her and this book.  And she does stop to catch her breathe on pages 156-157.

Angie McCartney has the distinction of being the step-mother of Sir Paul McCartney.  This is a role she took on in November 1964, at the height of Beatlemania, when she married Paul’s dad Jim.  My Long and Winding Road is Angie’s story.  From her humble beginnings, up until present day, Angie tells of her roller-coaster ride of a life and her travels around the world with her daughter (and best friend) Ruth by her side.

Some Beatles fans may be disappointed that at about midway through this book, after Jim’s death, Paul McCartney is rarely mentioned.  I personally had no problem with this since Angie and Ruth’s adventures make this book a joy to read, and in the end, you find yourself rooting for both of them.

Angie does spend a great deal of time thanking the VIPs that she has met in her 82.9 years, but not in a bragging type of way.  With each celebrity that she writes about meeting, she includes a wonderful story of how they met or a funny story to go along with their continued friendship.

Kindle users can download a copy of this book for just $6.99Angie McCartney: My Long and Winding Road

For those more dedicated fans, you buy a signed copy direct from Angie’s website for $30.

Or for those of you who may be a wee-bit off your rockers, you can buy a used copy of this book on Amazon for about $75!

I rate this book: 4 out of 4 Beetles!

MAMT-VARIETY-PACK

***Note: Don’t miss my new feature starting Tuesday, June 30, when I begin my weekly summer series called ‘Tea for Tuesday‘.  Every Tuesday through July and August, I will post a review of one of the nine flavors of Mrs. Angie McCartney’s Organic and Fair-Trade Teas.  My hope is that this will help some of my readers in their own process of selecting their own favorite flavor.  Or maybe you’ll just buy them all!  See you Tuesday…

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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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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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