This is the COOLEST book. Now, go figure, I'm readin' a book about Beatles. This one is called Here, There and Everywhere by Geoff Emerick and Howard Massey. Holy Funtimes Batman!
Believe it or not, I've read somewhere around like one other book about this band and the thing that struck me about this book as HOLYCRAP-BRANDNEWINFO! was the angle. You always read "The Beatles Story" from either the Beatles perspective which starts in Liverpool, Hamburg, London and then the world! OR you start in America after they've become OMGTHEBEATLES!!, ya know? And then there are all the books that concentrate on just one Beatle, which are great, but you kind of lose sight of the the group as a whole.
Well, our hero, Geoff Emerick was a mere 15 years old when he started at EMI Studios (later renamed Abbey Road Studios in 1970). FIFTEEN! in case you skimmed. I was painting my nails and thinking about Johnny Depp when I was 15. Then on Dude's second day on the job, he's just sittin' in on The Beatles' first ever recording sesh. No bigs.
So, Geoff, first day new kid, is just getting to know this new job of his and all this buzz is swirling about this new pop group from up north (they spit on the Northerners in this London town) and there's one guy that works there that is STOKED on this group (but don't get too attached to him, he gets sacked in a minute). Everyone else is like, "alright, whatevs". Next night Geoff gets to sit in on the recording and is immediately swooned. He also develops a boy-crush on Paul. He never actually says this, but I can read between the lines. And besides, who doesn't have a crush on Paul, I mean seriously. Look at him.
Swoon. Where was I?... Oh yeah, Paul McCartney. Wasn't I? I think one of the most "What?! Dude! Yes, that makes sense!" bits in the book is this on page 43.
Though [Paul] didn't raise his voice like the lead singer did, I had the distinct impression that he was the leader of the group. When he spoke, the others listened intently and invariably nodded their heads in agreement, and before each take, he was the one urging them to give it their all. Looking back on it now, it's funny how most people thought of John Lennon-the hook-nosed lead singer on that first song-as the leader of The Beatles. It might have been his band in the beginning, and he might have assumed the leadership role in their press conferences and public appearances, but throughout all the years that I worked with them, it always seemed to me that Paul McCartney, the soft-spoken bass player, was the real leader of the group, and that nothing got done unless he approved of it.
There are two things that excite me about this quote. First off, it's this Lennon we see later on as being the whipping boy to Yoko which adds to the widely felt "Yoko is a witch!" opinion. Turns out, apparently Paul was cracking the whip, too. That's all for another post. It also goes to show that John's assertion that the band broke because Paul took over in 1967 after the death of manager, Brian Epstein is a load of crap. (I will get to the bottom of the Beatles one day. You'll see and will feel foolish for mocking me.)
I also dig seeing how they interacted with each other. In the beginning, it was Paul and John BFFs- but it seems that around '66 it was John and George pairing up and Paul and Ringo off to the other side in their own little huddle. (Oh that's sad and kind of prophetic seeing as how it all turned out...)
So anyway, I'm only half-way through the book so there will be a part 2 to this in a day or two. Stay tuned. And since I was curious, and you might be too, here's what ol' Geoff looked like, back in the day.
He's the one that's not Ringo. If you don't know which one is Ringo, then you need to go back to Cool School.
HEY! I have an idea! I'm gonna start my own Oprah! Book Club. Go get this book and read it. We'll re-convene in a couple of days and maybe somebody will win a car! And probably not from me!