Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Beatles Book Worth Reading

I was clicking around some friends' Web sites and Blogs and landed at Ned Music. Ned's an old buddy of mine and fellow Beatles trivia maniac. He posted about the new Beatles CD, Love, which combines both familiar and unheard of snips from Beatles songs across their catalog and does a mash-up into new pieces of music as the soundtrack to the Cirque du Soleil show of the same name.

I don't have the CD yet but after reading the entry, I am going to get it. It reminded me that I have suggested a recent Beatles book called Here, There and Everywhere to a few friends. It's written by Geoff Emerick, who was an Abbey Road engineer who worked with The Beatles from Revolver through the White Album, and then off and on afterwards, even through McCartney's current dismal solo career.

This book is a must have for Beatles fans, or even people curious as to how a record is made.

Remember, in the days before being able to truck down to Guitar Center or go to the Musician's Friend Web site to buy, say, a Flange effects pedal for your guitar, they used to have to come up with these effects out of thin air. They used tape machines to generate echo and reverb. They re-wired Leslie speakers to run instruments and voices through them.

Emerick even tells a story about how he enclosed a very expensive microphone in a plastic bag and submerged it in a water glass to see what it would sound like (bad). He even tells about how Lennon wanted to be suspended by a rope from the ceiling of the studio so HE could revolve around the mic. This is the crazy experimentation that led to all those killer songs and sounds that we totally take for granted today.

Emerick's book rips the lid off of these mysteries and shows with vivid storytelling how The Beatles and Abbey Road producers and engineers did what they did, with the paltry supplies that they had at their disposal.

Also, apparently The Beatles were total a-holes post-1968 and Harrison was a piss poor guitar player! Emerick for sure is biased towards McCartney and against Harrison. He tells great stories of Lennon being a jerk and Ringo being boring.

Regardless of all of this, I whole heartedly suggest getting this book if you are into The Beatles or recording. You'll learn a ton and be right amused in the process. If only school has been this interesting...


Ned said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ned said...

Scuse me..messed up that first post..

Thanks for the props man. That "Love" CD is super cool. I suggest a minimum of two listens all the way through with headphones. Regarding the book, it did seem a bit biased towards McCartney but from everything thing I've read I don't think Emerick has strayed too far from the truth. Harrison proved himself as a guitar player during his solo years when he developed his signature slide work. I was a little shocked to discover that McCartney played the lead on Taxman though..I love that solo.