The Rolling Stones perform “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” during One World: Together At Home on April 18.
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Robert Bound speaks to writer Craig Brown about his new biography of the Beatles, called ‘One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time’. How do you say something fresh about one of the most written-about bands in history?
John Updike compared them to ‘the sun coming out on an Easter morning’. Bob Dylan introduced them to drugs. The Duchess of Windsor adored them. Noel Coward despised them. JRR Tolkien snubbed them. The Rolling Stones copied them. Loenard Bernstein admired them. Muhammad Ali called them ‘little sissies’. Successive Prime Ministers sucked up to them. No one has remained unaffected by the music of The Beatles. As Queen Elizabeth II observed on her golden wedding anniversary, ‘Think what we would have missed if we had never heard The Beatles.’
One Two Three Four traces the chance fusion of the four key elements that made up The Beatles: fire (John), water (Paul), air (George) and earth (Ringo). It also tells the bizarre and often unfortunate tales of the disparate and colourful people within their orbit, among them Fred Lennon, Yoko Ono, the Maharishi, Aunt Mimi, Helen Shapiro, the con artist Magic Alex, Phil Spector, their psychedelic dentist John Riley and their failed nemesis, Det Sgt Norman Pilcher.
From the bestselling author of Ma’am Darling comes a kaleidoscopic mixture of history, etymology, diaries, autobiography, fan letters, essays, parallel lives, party lists, charts, interviews, announcements and stories. One Two Three Four joyfully echoes the frenetic hurly-burly of an era.
Author Paul Zollo conducted a series of in-depth discussions with Tom about his career, with special focus on his songwriting. The conversations are reprinted here with little or no editorial comment and represent a unique perspective on Tom’s entire career. Originally published in 2005 (also by Omnibus Press), Tom’s wife Dana has fully approved this updated edition, which retains its foreword by Petty, adds additional interview material, an expanded introduction as well as additional photos from Petty’s last ever live performance. This is, perhaps, as close as you can get to an autobiography by the great man.
Tom Petty has long been considered one of the great songwriters of American rock ‘n’ roll, as well as one of the key standard bearers of integrity in the music business. Conversations With Tom Petty is the first authorized book to focus solely on the life and work of the man responsible for some of the most memorable rock anthems of our generation, including: ‘American Girl’, ‘Breakdown’, ‘Refugee’, “The Waiting’, ‘Don’t Come Around Here No More’, ‘I Won’t Back Down’, ‘Free Fallin’, ‘Runnin’ Down a Dream’, ‘You Don’t Know How It Feels’, ‘Mary Jane’s Last Dance’ and many others.
Singer and songwriter Mike Love is best known as one of the founding members of the Beach Boys, whose infectious harmonies and unique California sound first hit the airways nearly 60 years ago, in 1961. Through the ups and downs of a long career, Love still considers it a “precious miracle” the way fans connect with his music. He shares his Brief But Spectacular take on his life as a Beach Boy.
“Abbey Road” was the Beatles’ last word—the final recordings by the most popular and influential artists of the nineteen-sixties. Now, on the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary, “Abbey Road” has been expertly remixed by Giles Martin, George Martin’s son and protégé, and reissued in a super-deluxe edition that comes with an archive of studio outtakes and a hundred-page book of essays and liner notes that chronicle how the recordings were made. “The Beatles are good even though everybody already knows that they’re good,” the classical composer Ned Rorem observed in 1968, alluding to how the band’s immense popularity confounded the usual notions of discriminating taste. If anyone needs to be reminded of this, this new edition of “Abbey Road” should do the trick.
In the spring of 1969, Paul McCartney telephoned George Martin to ask if he would be willing to work with the Beatles on a new album they planned to record in the months ahead. Martin, who was widely regarded as the most accomplished pop-record producer in the world, had overseen the making of all nine albums and nineteen singles that the Beatles had released in Britain since their début on E.M.I.’s Parlophone label, in 1962. His reputation was synonymous with that of the group, and the fact that McCartney felt a need to ask him about his availability dramatized how much the Beatles’ professional circumstances had changed since the release of the two-record set known as the White Album, in the fall of 1968. In Martin’s view, the five months of tension and drama it took to make that album, followed by the fiasco of “Get Back,” an ill-fated film, concert, and recording project that ended inconclusively in January, 1969, had turned his recent work with the Beatles into a “miserable experience.”