Paperback Writer: A Beatles Book Roundup

Fans of The Beatles have no shortage of excellent new books related to the group to read these days. A slew of tomes that cover a wide variety of topics have come out lately and all are not to be missed.

Bruce Spizer continues to write and publish some of the best books on the Beatles. Along with Mark Lewisohn, he is one of the foremost experts on the group in the world. Spizer started out by writing and publishing several books that dissected the history of the group, primarily through the volumes he wrote on the record labels that released the group’s music, with an emphasis on Vee-Jay, Parlophone, Capitol, and Apple.

His books about Apple Records also covered solo recordings from members of The Beatles. These oversized editions were sturdy, hardcover books, with slick color art, heavy on detail, and truly definitive works. They are not just for the serious reader of books on The Beatles, but also for those who love beautiful books filled with a myriad of images related to the group’s recorded output. For several years now, Spizer has changed direction and is writing and publishing books that focus on individual albums and are in a more compact 9 x 9 format.

The latest book in this Albums Series is The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine (498 Productions). Like the previous editions in the series, the text gives an informed look at the music and times, with additional contributions from Spizer’s regular collaborators and fan recollections.

The books make wonderful companions to the deluxe reissue packages on the music of The Beatles that have come out since Sgt. Pepper, although this latest book works better in tandem with the respective film reissue packages. Serious fans of The Beatles will want to have all of the books Spizer has written and published on the group and keep them close to their collection of the music and films of the group.

Also recently published by Spizer is the 12-page booklet, The Beatles Finally Finally Let It Be, a supplement to his Album Series book The Beatles Finally Let It Be, which is free for anyone who purchases the Album Series book. Spizer’s books can be purchased through the usual online and physical bookstores but also at beatle.net. B+

Kenneth Womack is one of the most prolific authors of books about The Beatles and his prodigious output of books related to the band at this point is varied and informed. His latest book, Harrison, Clapton, and Other Assorted Love Songs (Chicago Review Press), co-written with Jason Kruppa, looks at the musical and personal relationship between George Harrison and Eric Clapton. Harrison and Clapton bonded over their obsession with guitars in the earliest days of Beatlemania and then developed a deep personal relationship and friendship, tested by Harrison’s wife Pattie Boyd, who eventually married Clapton.

The musical period when Harrison was making his first proper solo album All Things Must Pass, with Clapton’s assistance, also featured sessions that ultimately led to the birth of Clapton’s group Derek and the Dominos. That band’s one studio album, of course, yielded perhaps Clapton’s most famous song, “Layla,” inspired by Clapton’s love for Pattie Boyd. Those are only some of the topics touched upon in this must-have book. This is an idea that has just been waiting to be turned into a book and Womack and Kruppa are the perfect candidates to tell this complicated and fascinating story. B+

Womack and Kruppa are a formidable team, and another recent book related to the Beatles also boasts a superstar lineup of authors. The Beatles Fab Four Cities (Acc Art Books) is a collaboration between David Bedford, who has written extensively on Liverpool, Richard Porter, one of the foremost guides to Beatle walks in London, Susan Ryan, who has been giving walking tours of New York along with being involved in a myriad of other activities related to The Beatles and music, and Simon Wetizman, Beatles author and filmmaker.

The book provides a geographical-historical survey of The Beatles, through the main four cities—Liverpool, Hamburg, London, New York—that reflected their birth, rise, maturation, superstardom, work and life. While the book can be used as a handy tour guide filled with addresses, maps and photos, it also makes for great reading. The book is a great companion to three other books that while going over some of the same terrain, are all quite different. Those books are The Beatles London by Piet Schreuders, Mark Lewisohn and Adam Smith; The Beatles in Liverpool, Hamburg, London: People Venues Events That Shaped Their Music by Tony Broadbent; and The Beatles’ England: There Are Places I’ll Remember, by David Bacon and Norman Maslov. B+

While Lewisohn, Spizer and Womack are perhaps the three most astute experts on The Beatles, Dr. Robert Heronimus has written the definitive books on the film Yellow Submarine. The good doctor is now back, with his second volume on the Yellow Submarine movie, the self-published It’s All in the Mind: Inside the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, Vol. 2 (Heronimus and Co., Inc.), this time, written in collaboration with Laura Cortner.

His first book, published in 2002, was Inside the Yellow Submarine: The Making of the Beatles’ Animated Classic (Krause). While the first book dove deep into the making of the film and all the aspects of the ancillary products surrounding it, it also revealed in detail who the people who involved with the film were. The new book goes even further about the people who worked on the film and brings their stories up to date.

These books go beyond mere history. Heronimus and his team have been key players in the revitalization of the film and in celebrating the contributors who helmed the production as well as some of those forgotten over time. The latter, although unsung, were key to making this timeless animated cinematic classic. Both books can be purchased through the usual online and physical bookstores but also at yellowsubmarinebook.com. A

There have been some wonderful books about Apple Records. Some of them dissect the business aspects of the company, while others offer insider views of the legendary Beatles company. Those Were The Days 2.0: The Beatles and Apple ‎(Cherry Red Books), by Stefan Granados, is an update of the 2002 edition of the book. Granados seems to cover all aspects of the history of Apple, without being redundant, in engaging, page-turning prose. What really makes this book such a must-have is the way Granados dives deep into the history of Apple Publishing; an area not fully explored elsewhere. A

Don’t miss the Fest for Beatle Fans in Jersey City, New Jersey, at the Hyatt Regency on the Hudson, April 1-3. After a two-year absence due to the pandemic, the in-person celebration returns. Some of the guests that will be there this year include Billy J. Kramer; Michael Lindsay-Hogg, director of Let It Be; Laurence Juber, formerly of Wings; Don Dannemann of The Cyrcle; Greg Bissonette of Ringo Starr’s All-Star Band; Chris O’Dell; the aforementioned Lewisohn, Spizer, Weitzman, Ryan and Bedford; and Get Back director Peter Jackson, via a Zoom interview.

This entry was posted in The TVD Storefront. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text
  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text