News

Author’s dive into Beatles story still has depths to explore

Author’s dive into Beatles story still has depths to explore

BEATLES BOOK: The noted Beatles scholar, 56, fell in love with the Fab Four as a child, and published his first Beatles-related reference work in 1986. His latest book, "Tune In," was published late last year. Photo: Associated Press

By Matthew Lewis

CHICAGO (Reuters) – For British author Mark Lewisohn, telling the story of the world’s greatest rock band the way it deserves to be told will take time – a quarter-century, to be exact.

The noted Beatles scholar, 56, fell in love with the Fab Four as a child, and published his first Beatles-related reference work in 1986. His latest book, “Tune In,” was published late last year.

The volume, which took 10 years to write, is the first in his planned “All These Years” biographical trilogy. It begins in 1845, when the Irish potato famine forced John Lennon’s ancestors to migrate to Liverpool, and ends in December 1962, shortly after the group released its first single, “Love Me Do.”

Lewisohn concedes that the length, 880 pages in the U.S. version and 1,728 in the unabridged British edition, may be daunting.

“Obviously, I want the book to be read by as many people as possible. But it’s as long as it needs to be,” Lewisohn told Reuters. “My interest is solely in learning as much as I can, to get the story as right as possible.”

Reviewers have praised Lewisohn’s deft balance of scholarly detail and gripping narrative. The author did not seek the blessing of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr or the estates of Lennon and George Harrison for the unauthorized book.

“Access often comes with control, and it’s crucially important that this is no whitewash,” he explained.

Lewisohn hopes that Volume 2, which will break off the narrative around 1966, will be completed by 2020 and the third and final installment about seven years after that.

“With this project, it’s not about ‘I’ve got enough, I can stop now,'” he said. “It’s ‘If I don’t turn over the next stone, I might miss the best thing of all.’ So I will turn over every stone before I stop researching.”

“Tune In” zeroes in on the youthful John, Paul, George and Ringo and their apprenticeship in the rock clubs of Liverpool and Hamburg, Germany.

Lewisohn hunted down early Beatles set lists and looked for patterns. He discovered that Harrison was an equal partner in the early days, at least in terms of sharing lead vocals onstage. The 1962 performances featured a “George vocal” on every third song, alternating with John and Paul, partly because manager Brian Epstein wanted to show off the group’s versatility.

Lewisohn also demonstrates that, contrary to what some have said, Ringo was a talented musician, and Liverpool’s most in-demand drummer.

“He was probably the only musician in Liverpool who had more stage experience than even John, Paul and George,” he said. “Anyone who thinks he was an average Joe is actually insulting John, Paul and George with their choice” of recruiting Ringo.

Lewisohn feels he still has more to learn about the group.

“I certainly don’t think that this is a book just for Beatles fans. This is a post-war history of our culture. These three books, when eventually the series is completed, will be something that I hope will stand for centuries to come.”

(Editing by Patricia Reaney and Gunna Dickson)

Recent Headlines

in Viral Videos

B1G mascots ‘Shake It Off’ parody

12-overlay3

Big Ten mascots show off their dance moves to Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off."

in Entertainment

Robin gig has gone to the girls

jenamalone

The superhero sidekick is set for a sex change in the upcoming "Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice" film.

in Music

Led Zeppelin plagiarism case to be heard in Pa.

2012 Kennedy Center Honorees and members of the band Led Zeppelin, from left, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and Robert Plant chat on the red carpet after arriving at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors Performance and Gala Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012 at the State Department in Washington.

Led Zeppelin have lost the first round in their plagiarism battle over mega-hit "Stairway to Heaven."

in Viral Videos

If ‘WALL-E’ was a Christopher Nolan film

15-overlay3

Take a look at Pixar's "Wall-E" reimagined as if it was created by the director of "The Dark Knight."

in Entertainment

Jay Leno is the funniest man in America

jayleno

The former "Tonight Show" host received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the Kennedy Center Honors.