Tag Archives: Hamburg

The Beatles in 100 Objects

100 objects

The Beatles in 100 Objects
By Brian Southall
Carlton Books – £25.00

Having already written about Brian Southall’s Abbey Road and Beatles Memorabilia – The Julian Lennon Collection, I have to confess to being somewhat intrigued by this relatively new book on the greatest band on the planet, which comes courtesy of a completely different angle.

Other than Andy Babiuk’s excellent 2002 publication of Beatles Gear – All the Fab Four’s Instruments from Stage to Studio and the aforementioned Julian Lennon collection, I can’t really think of a book that concentrates purely on Beatles stuff, things and objects. Admittedly, there was Ringo’s 2005 Postcards from the Boys, but not only was that compiled by an actual Beatle, it was more literary and highlighted the somewhat idiosyncratic insight into the band’s zany, personal and at times, rather affectionate communication.

The Beatles in 100 Objects has been put together from the premise of a more than fascinating compilation of things, many of us might already know and/or be familiar with. Like John Lennon’s Rolls-Royce (a hippy car with all the mod cons) and George Harrison’s painted guitar ‘Rocky’ (a paint and nail varnish job). Althjough more than that, Southall was lucky enough to dig deeper and stumble upon an array of interesting, Beatles related memorabilia – much of which sheds new light.

On page seventy for instance, there’s a replica of a signed Star Club menu, which apart giving early sixties, German drinks prices, clearly marked the end of an era: ””We outlived the Hamburg stage and wanted to pack that up,” said John Lennon. ”We hated going back to Hamburg those last two times.”” While on page 174, there’s a reproduction of Liverpool Airport’s Overcrowding Notice of Friday 10th July 1964 – which again, has been signed by all four members of the band: ”Over 200,000 loyal Beatles fans lined the route from the airport to the city centre and Paul McCartney observed, ”We landed at the airport and found there were crowds everywhere” and went on to say, ”It was incredible because people were lining the streets that we’d known as children, that we’d taken the bus down or walked down. And here we were now with thousands of people – for us” […]. In 1986, ten years after the airport had been privatized, the original terminal at Liverpool airport was replaced with a new building and in March 2002 Liverpool Airport was officially renamed John Lennon Airport.”

From McCartney’s handwritten recording notes for ‘Hey Jude,’ to yet another signed item, the Parlophone promo card (A label for life);’ from Ringo Starr’s Abbey Road ashtray (which he kept beside his drum kit), to the four personalized luggage tags The Beatles were given by Trans World Airlines (during their 1965 Back in the USA tour), The Beatles in 100 Objects is made up of exactly what it says on the cover.

As a result, the book makes for fascinating reading and is as such, nigh un-put-down-able.

The one-hundred objects themselves, have been reproduced in full quality colour on the right, while on the left, Southall depicts the details as well as the story behind each and everyone. So other than being a mighty fun read, it also acts as a great reminder – as the author writes in the book’s Introduction: ”So here we have a book which doesn’t just bring together for the first time a unique collection of objects which illustrate and highlight the life and times of The Beatles in a new and informative way but also reminds at least one senior citizen – and everybody else who is remotely interested in the most golden years of pop music – of how it was back then… when The Beatles ruled the world.”

David Marx

The Beatles – The Biography

The Beatles – The Biography

By Bob Spitz

Aurum Press – £25.00

So what can be said about The Beatles that hasn’t already been said? Well if this veritable tomb is anything to go by (which clocks in at over 850 pages), rather a lot. This may be due to the formidable accumulation of Beatles myth’n’magic’n’micro-detail amassed over a number of years, by the New York Times writer (and author) Bob Spitz. With several books behind him – Barefoot In Babylon and Dylan among them – Spitz has clearly done his homework way and beyond the call of Beatledom duty. As Chris Bray has written in The Telegraph: ‘’Spitz’s achievement is to re-humanise those bastards and make us love them – need them, feed them – all over again.’’

And not a moment too soon I say, for amid today’s climate of sanctimonious X-Factor ubershite and treachery and safety and boy-band bollocks and a cleavage the size of Norway and am I going on [.?.], ‘tis about time we were reminded about the sheer wonderment of creativity – upon which Messrs. Lennon and McCartney not only reigned supreme, but sparkled like no other; as Spitz reminds us in relation to the ‘Beatles For Sale’ album: ‘’John and Paul continued to grapple with the prospect of evolving without alienating. Experimentation and growth had become something of a professional obsession, but it would have been counter-productive, they realised, to do a complete about-face […] They were still making a conscious effort not to deviate too much from the fold, to take creative baby steps as opposed to the proverbial flying leap.’’

With contributions from here, there and everywhere – among them, countless sexagenarian scousers, Spitz’s The Beatles: The Biography is as unputtadownable and (dare I say it) crucial, as Ian Macdonald’s Revolution In The Head, ‘the’ Beatles book by which all others are measured (and Noel Gallagher’s favourite book of all time!). Admittedly, some may find the author’s Americanisms, such as ‘’downtown Liverpool’’ (among others) lend the book a sense of otherness and detachment – which is both understandable and a tad vexing – but, because of the sheer density and love of Beatles stuff, this book is as vital now as the band were then (and still are).

David Marx