Tag Archives: Paul McCartney

Book Review: “The Longest Cocktail Party” by Richard DiLello

Oh dear sweet lord, where has this book been all my life?…

The Longest Cocktail Partywritten by the Apple Corps ‘House Hippie’ Richard DiLello and published in 1973, is just the book I needed after reading both Peter Brown‘s book and Alistair Taylor‘s book.

This book as quite the refreshing look inside the workings of the Fab Four’s company Apple Corps. Richard DiLello was a New York born hippie who was traveling around the world trying to find himself, when he picked up a newspaper in London and saw a picture of Beatles PR man Derek Taylor whom he had known from when he spent some time in Hollywood. After giving Derek a call, Richard was offered a job working under Derek as a Client Liaison Officer, (but he was given the unofficial title of House Hippie). Technically, he was a gofer who spent from 1968 to 1970 working at his dream job.

This book is absolute for all Beatles freaks. I’m just sorry I took so long to get a copy after hearing about it for several years. It offers a humorous and very real look inside the going ons and ultimate demise of what was to be the Beatles dream production company that was going to turn away no one with talent. At the start of the company, the Fab Four had put out ads telling any and all talented people to send in their tapes, poems, scripts and artwork for consideration for financial backing by the Beatles new no nonsense company. This book gives us all a glimpse of the diverse characters that walked through the doors, call on the phones and even took up residency within the walls of 3 Savile Road, London. Richard also let’s us in on the early management of Apple’s most successful talent: Mary Hopkins, James Taylor, The Iveys (Badfinger), White Trash, Jackie Lomax and others.

There were a couple points of interest for me in this 286 page memoir that left me scratching my head. The first was the mention of the car accident John had in Scotland. Richard’s book only mentions John, Yoko and Kyoko in the car, but fails to mention that Julian was with them. Odd that he would be left out. Second after reading the book Miss O’Dell in which Chris O’Dell mentions Richard over 30 times (according to the index), Richard only very briefly mentions Chris maybe six times (“Chris O’Dell stuck her head in the door and asked…”). I expected to read more about her having a bigger part in this ‘party’.

Note: In 2010, Liam Gallagher of the band Oasis took on the project of making this book into a movie. In 2014, Liam was picking actors for the film, but by 2016 he was unable to get financing and the production company Revolution Productions pulled out of the project. Boy, would I have loved to see that movie!

I know this review is choppy, but there is just so much information in these pages it’s hard to organize my thoughts onto a page. It’s definitely a book that I would love to sit down and discuss with friends and freaks alike! And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: “With The Beatles” by Alistair Taylor

Last week I said I would touch upon the commentary given by Alistair Taylor in the documentary Brian Epstein: Inside the Fifth Beatle. It just so happens that I was reading Alistair’s autobiography last week when I took a break to see the film. With the Beatles was the last book written by Brian Epstein’s personal assistant Alistair Taylor. It’s actually revision of his 2001 book A Secret History. Alistair also wrote a book Yesterday: The Beatles Remembered in 1988 that was reissued in 1991 under the title Yesterday: My Life With the Beatles.

Why so many books by one man?

Alistair Taylor started working at NEMS in late 1960 at the age of 25. Originally he had been interviewed for a sales clerk position, but after a two hour interview, Brian Epstein hired him as his personal assistant. The rest my friends is history. Alistair would become Brian’s right-hand man throughout his time as the Beatles manager and would come to be known as “Mr. Fixit” in the Beatles circle.

Mr. Fixit was exactly as his name implies. He was in charge of any problems that arose in the Beatles professional and personal world. Alistair would shop for cars, houses, islands or anything else the Beatles might request.  If a pregnant fan showed up, Alistair could make her go away with a check from Brian. If a Beatle happened to unfortunately come down with a STD, Alistair would find the cure and hand deliver it to them. And so it went, for 9 years Alistair Taylor literally waited on John, Paul, George and Ringo hand and foot even after Brian’s death. He was even a shoulder to cry on when Jane Asher left Paul. Until 1969 when Allan Klein did a clean sweep of Apple Corp., fired Alistair and the Beatles stopped taking his calls. Life would never be the same….

This is Alistair’s story of those years. Interestingly, much of the first half of this book is quoted a lot in the documentary I watched last week about Brian. Still, it’s a book worthy of shelf space with any Beatles freak’s collection. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

 

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Guest Post: “Who Cares about Paul McCartney’s Voice, What About His Guests?”

Who Cares about Paul McCartney’s Voice, What About His Guests?

by Brody Duggson

Paul McCartney has been receiving flack about his singing voice during his current “One on One” tour.  

Some fans, mainly those who spend too much time on the internet, think his advanced age (he’s 75) has diminished his vocal prowess and made him too reliant on his backing band.

A few want Sir Paul to lower the keys of his songs.  The tune that appears to draw the most ire is “Maybe I’m Amazed.”

I think they’re being a little harsh.  Granted, no one has a higher bar than Paul McCartney, but when compared to most of today’s music, there’s no comparison.  An off-key Macca is still better than a current singer on key. And all you need are a pair of Macca tickets to hear for yourself!

There is reason to critique Paul on his current tour, but it’s not his singing.  It’s his choice of guests.

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon, and Barbadian singer Rihanna have all joined him on stage.  

If you’re going to deride a former Beatle don’t do it over his voice.  Do it for having to share his sound system with Rihanna.  

Yes, I know he recorded “FourFiveSeconds” with Rihanna, performed with her at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, and she has sold more than 230 million records, but I can’t name one of her songs (besides “FourFiveSeconds”), nor do I ever want to.

And what about Jimmy Fallon?  Jimmy Fallon!  Jimmy Fallon shared a stage with the guy who conceived Sgt. Pepper.

Thankfully Rob Gronkowski just danced to “Helter Skelter.”  Great job on not giving him a tambourine or something like that.  Now, Gronk is a great football player, but he’s the Tom Arnold of sports celebrities.  

Gronkowski being on the same stage as McCartney is like McCartney lining up in the slot during a Patriots game.

What’s next?  Is Macca going to perform “Things We Said Today” with Jared Kushner, “Band on the Run” with Sarah Silverman?

If you want to share the stage with Paul McCartney you should have to meet a certain high artistic standard.  Shouldn’t we, as a society, have stringent safeguards to protect our cultural icons from publicly performing with mediocrity?  I think so.

Let’s hope that during his next round of concert dates, Macca’s guests are of a higher caliber.  

McCartney returns to his “One on One” tour on Sept. 11 with the first of two shows at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

He travels to New York City for two concerts at Madison Square Garden (Sept. 15 and 17) and two at Barclays Center (Sept. 19 and 21).

He remains in New York State for a show at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse on Sept. 23 and two at NYCB LIVE’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale on Sept. 26 and 27.

On Oct. 1 and 2, Sir Paul concludes the North American leg of his 2017 “One on One” tour with two performances at the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan.

His latest setlist contains some deep cuts, although a deep cup for McCartney is a hit for most artists: “Here Today,” “Temporary Secretary,” and “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five.”

He ends his shows with “Golden Slumbers,” “Carry That Weight,” and “The End.”

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Book Review: “Dreaming The Beatles” by Rob Sheffield

Dreaming the Beatles: The Love Story of One Band and the Whole World by Rob Sheffield was published on April 25, 2017.  I had seen this book mentioned in the Beatles Book Collectors group on Facebook, but really didn’t pay it any mind until I stumbled upon it in a small book store while walking around a quaint little village with friends last week.

Rob Sheffield was born in 1966. He is a columnist for Rolling Stone magazine and a former writer for Spin magazine, so he’s got the qualifications and background in music for writing a book. But even after telling friends he was going to write a book about the Beatles and them replying, “Another book about the Beatles?!”, he didn’t take the hint.

From the jacket of the book:

Sheffield focuses on the emotional connections we make to the music. Chronicling his lifelong obsession with the Beatles along with the rest of the world’s, Dreaming the Beatles is a passionate celebration of the band and their music…

To me, it seems, when he isn’t bashing Paul (He actually wrote a chapter about called “Paul is a Concept by which We Measure Our Pain”), he’s writing about things that are so incredibly repetitive to a true Beatles freak. There are chapters dedicated to songs, albums and each Beatle. There are also chapters with titles such as: Beatles or Stones; Something (1969) vs. My Love (1971; The Cover of Abbey Road; When George sang In My Life. At times, it was as if he was pulling ideas out of left field to write about or telling us his own personal stories.

Chances are you’re not going to find anything new in these pages excepts for one man’s opinion of the Beatles, along with the story of Rob Sheffield’s experimentation with drugs and the fact that The Beverly Hillbillies were the top rated show in the U.S. from January to March 1964.

I took one for the team reading this one, folks…and for that reason…

I rate this book, 1 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: “The Beatles: Fab Finds of the Fab Four” by Noah Fleisher

The Beatles – Fab Finds of the Fab Four by Noah Fleisher is another book recommended to me from Amazon. Author Noah Fleisher is the PR Director at Heritage Auctions (the largest collectibles auctioneer and third largest auction house in the world), providing him with a first hand knowledge of the worth of music memorabilia and collectibles.

Published in November 2016, Fab Finds of the Fab Four is a 240 page paperback filled with beautiful color images of some of the rarest Beatles memorabilia you’ll ever see, though the author does acknowledges that the book only scratches the surface of what the Beatles merchandising machine actually put out on the market. This book not only provides the value of the items as they were set at auction, Noah also tells the story of the Beatles climb to fame and how each stage of that climb produced various items of worth. This book covers items from before they were famous up to the 2015 auction of Ringo Starr’s collection. Posters, tickets, photos, instruments, jewelry, letters, gold records, etc….it’s all in here.

I loved this book. But (and there is always a but…) it’s a difficult read at times because every page includes pictures and descriptions of various items mixed in with the text of the book. When the text/sentences continue on the next page but you’re not done reading about the memorabilia, it can get a little annoying to be going back and forth between the pages. The book is also not without it’s small typos. The thing is, though, this book is still worth the purchase price whether you’re a collector or not. It’s more than just a price guide…it’s a walk through Beatle history. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: “A Cellarful of Noise” by Brian Epstein

My reading and review of A Cellarful of Noise by Beatle’s manager Brian Epstein has been too long in coming. This book was published in August 1964 and since I was born in July 1964 and was unable to read at the time, I think I have a firm excuse for being tardy.

I’ve known about this book for a very long time, but it was during the reading and review of Peter Brown’s book, The Love You Make, that I finally decided to invest in my own copy. These books don’t come cheaply. My first edition hardcover copy cost me $25 + shipping. If you’re not inclined to spend that much on a book, you can get a copy of A Cellarful of Noise on Kindle for $7.99. But I digress…

I had one trepidation about reading this book and that’s because it was ghost written by my arch-nemesis Derek Taylor. Anyone who has read along with my blog for any substantial amount of time will know that Mr. Taylor just gets under my skin despite the fact that everyone associated with him always writes very highly of him and his place in the Beatles organization. Still, I wasn’t going to let this stop me from reading what I consider to be an absolute must read experience for any Beatles freak!

To give you some background on the writing of this book, let me quote a paragraph from Peter Brown’s book:

The book’s entire interview and research period took place over a long weekend at the Imperial Hotel in Torquay in the south of England. On the first day Brian got through his childhood period without much trouble, but on the second day he started having difficulty telling Derek the story of his teens and early twenties.

At only 120 pages, this book is a short and abbreviated story of Brian Epstein, his life, career (with and without the Beatles) and his hopes and thoughts about his future, the future of the Beatles and his other artists. At some points, it seems to almost become a sales pitch for Billy J. Kramer, Cilla Black and Gerry Marsden since it was written so early on in Brian’s career as a manager, but still it is a very enjoyable read with a lot of stories I had already heard and some stories that were new and revealing to me (remember, I don’t consider myself a Beatles trivia expert, so a lot of tales are still very new to me). Brian, always being the consummate professional and purveyor of good manners, is kind throughout the pages and if he does tell any tales of arguments or disagreements, he’s sure to clear up any harsh exchanges with words of peace and harmony in the end. And even though I had my doubts about this book because of Derek’s influence in it’s pages, I’m led to believe that because of Brian’s inscrutable honesty in all manners, that he would have never allowed the release of any book that wasn’t a true story and depiction of himself or those around him. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: “The Love You Make” by Peter Brown

I sincerely apologize for not posting this review last week. In all my heart, I truly believed I was going to read this 437 page book in one weekend! Stupid me. Time got away from me and try as I might, I just couldn’t get it read for a review last weekend….so here it is.

The Love You Make – An Insiders Story of The Beatles by Peter Brown (and Steven Gaines) was first published in 1983. I stumbled across my copy at a book sale at a local library for just $2.50, but according to Amazon.com, they sell for over $10 each. The book was re-released and 2002 edition is available as a used book for as low as $0.01!

But enough of the crap…let’s get on with the review…

Peter Brown started out as salesman at NEMS when
Brian Epstein recruited him from another store across the street. When the Beatles came along, he took over managing NEMS in Brian’s absence, but was soon to follow Brian in working for the Fab Four. This is his story…

For all my fellow Beatles freaks, you may find a lot of the information in this book as ‘old news’ though there are quite a few instances of Peter saying, “…told for the first time here”. Obviously, after 34 years, his new stories have become common knowledge or have been debunked. There are also the usually tall tales like that of John Lennon being born during an air raid when all official government reports from Liverpool say that there was no air raid on October 9, 1940.

I was informed by a friend that Peter Brown caught a lot of flack for some of the stories he told in this book and that there was a sizable backlash. He tells the story of Brian and John’s holiday trip to Spain after the birth of John’s son Julian with details that I’ve never heard before reading this book. He talks of their sexual encounter that is different from the story told by John’s childhood friend Pete Shotton in his book. In fact, this book tells a great deal of many of the Beatles carnal activities all the way back to their pre-Hamburg days. There are also the stories of John and Yoko’s heroin addiction and the usual praising of Derek Taylor‘s drug and alcohol fueled work at Apple. Paul’s extracurricular activities while living with Jane Asher are also discussed.

The stories go on and on…I can’t even make a dent in them in this review. You’ll just have to read it for yourself. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

 

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