Treasures of The Beatles

Treasures Of The Beatles
By Terry Burrows
Carlton Books – £25.00

Terry Burrows’ Treasures Of The Beatles is a veritable treasure trove of Beatles memorabilia, guaranteed to bring the largest of smiles to the largest of fab four fans – and I ain’t talking those of the rotund persuasion. Put it this way, upon its arrival, my partner couldn’t help but comment upon the sheer glee etched all over my face…

Indeed, with the current fiftieth anniversary of the band’s stint in Hamburg being celebrated throughout Germany (not to mention the mighty successful musical All You Need Is Love that is continuing to pack ‘em in in Berlin), there appears to be no let up in sight so far as Beatles paraphernalia is concerned. But what makes this Carlton collection a tad different, is the fact that it’s at the vanguard of something new, something special.

It’s not so much a book as a lavish, chronological assortment of bits’n’pieces that make up a sort of quintessential, highbrow and necessary scrapbook. Commenting on the song ‘Not A Second Time’ from the With The Beatles album on page twenty-one for instance, Burrows writes: ‘’Written by John, who double tracks the vocals, ‘Not A Second Time’ is another soul-influenced number. This led to William Mann, the music critic of The Times, writing an over-enthusiastic article entitled ‘What Songs The Beatles Sang.’ He gushingly compares the track to Gustav Mahler’s ‘Song of the Earth,’ saying: ‘’One gets the impression that they think simultaneously of harmony and melody, so firmly are the major tonic sevenths and ninths built into their tunes.’’ He continues in this vein, going on to discuss the Aeolian cadence at the end of the song. John thought Aeolian cadences sounded ‘’like exotic birds.’’

Replete with black’n’white, hardback cover within a box, Treasures Of The Beatles’ colourful contents takes the reader by smokescreen surprise.

Even though the whole thing consists of only sixty-three pages – many of which are laden with inserts containing a wealth of literary facsimiles (among them: the Koschmider contract for the aforementioned Hamburg gigs in 1960, a 1963 signed flyer for Parlophone Records and a hand-written set list from the same year, a 1964 poster of the band’s tour of New Zealand and a hand-written USA tour itinerary from the same year, a 1965 signed postcard from the set of Help! and a 1967 Invitation to The Magical Mystery Tour plus a whole lot more besides) – it’s the actual layout and design that traverses the norm.

From the early days of 1957 to the demise of the band in 1970 and the aftermath thereof – via a brief assessment of each individual band member and album – this Terry Burrows collection is akin to that of a much deserved bar of chocolate. It might not enlighten beyond what we already know nor be that good for our collective complexions, but so far as a sure-fire, literary sugar-fix-hit is concerned: it’s the dog’s under-carriage.

David Marx


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