Thursday, June 16, 2005

What To Get For Father’s Day


If you’re a father and a Beatle’s guy, there is no better book to ask to get on Father’s Day than Tony Bramwell’s recently released “Magical Mystery Tours: My Life With The Beatles.”

Bramwell grew up with George Harrison and worked for Brian Epstein during the years Epstein discovered and managed the group, and stayed on with them through the break up—doing tasks as grand as handling radio promotion for new Beatles songs and as mundane as being asked by John to go fetch his belongings from Yoko’s flat when John had determined to break off their affair. (Yoko wouldn’t let Bramwell in the building; John eventually returned to her.)

Bramwell saw it all, from beginning to end, which makes this book much more interesting than all the other Beatles books out there.

“The Sun Also Rises,” this is not: repetitive, longer than necessary, and written more in the manner of a guy sitting in a pub telling the stories…nevertheless, “Magical Mystery Tours” has a tremendous amount of stuff in it that you never knew.

What’s really interesting is how the band became a sensation in the first place. This was no “boy band” put together by some impresario and given a TV contract and vocal lessons. These guys worked like dogs, and before they broke in America they had created a buzz at every gig they played.

Bramwell describes nitty-gritty you never knew, including the disguises they wore and deceptions they used merely getting into and out of the theaters they were playing in Britain, without being torn apart by screaming girls—and this was years before Ed Sullivan made them bigger than Elvis.

The other interesting stuff here is how the boys actually lived after they stopped touring and were cranking out albums in Abbey Road. Girls camped out on the sidewalks in front of Paul’s house for months on end, climbing in unlocked windows and making themselves available (many eventually worked at Apple Corps, The Beatles’ own record label); while John holed up in his house—a fairly miserable character, knowing not much else besides getting high and writing and recording songs.

And for those of you who always blamed Yoko for breaking up The Beatles, even after these twenty-plus years of sympathetic revisionist history since Lennon’s killing, well, you were right.

Yoko does not come off well here—I’ll leave it at that.

But I do not want to spill all the beans, so I’ll just leave you with a trivia question to which you will not know the answer, unless you read this book or you’ve in fact spent evenings sitting in a pub with Tony Bramwell:

“Hey Jude” has always been called the first record printed and released on Apple Corps, The Beatles’ record label. But it was not. It was actually the second record printed under the Apple label.

What was the first record printed by Apple, and who sang it?


Jeff Matthews
I Am Not Making This Up

7 comments:

Dane Hamilton said...

James Taylor's first album...

Jeff Matthews said...

Nope.

Hint: this was a single, not an LP.

Bob Koch said...

Those were the days - Mary Hopkins

Jeff Matthews said...

No.

Hint: it's sung by a guy who had been to his generation what The Beatles were to theirs.

Its_strange said...

Frank ?

smr said...

Sinatra "The Lady is a Tramp".

Jeff Matthews said...

Bingo.