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 Sports

Pacquiao knocked Algieri down 6 times, dominates

Pacquiao Bradley News Conference

Pacquiao gets a signature win that should put to rest the idea he's declining and maybe even set up a fight next year with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

in Local

Lynden museum won’t give up all its guns after all

old guns

A pawn shop offered to do the museum's paperwork for them

in Local Sports

Big plays help Huskies race past Beavers

Washington's John Ross returns a punt against Arizona State in the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, in Seattle.

The Huskies became bowl eligible with a 37-13 win over Oregon State on Saturday night.

in Local Sports

WWU men wins exhibition at American University-Puerto Rico

western washington logo generic copy/wwu

Western Washington University concluded its trip to Puerto Rico on Saturday by defeating American University, 85-68, in a men's basketball exhibition game at Complejo Deportive.

in Local Sports

WWU women defeats UCSD

Viking at Carver

The Western Washington University women's basketball team rallied from a seven-point deficit and went on to claim an 80-77 overtime win over UC-San Diego to conclude final-day action at the West Region Crossover Classic on Saturday at Sam Carver Gymnasium on the WWU campus.