Beatles for Sale
Here’s a roundup of all things fab four for your Beatles fan holiday shopping list.
Beatles for the Record
The Beatles With Tony Sheridan: First Recordings 50th Anniversary Edition (Time Life) is a two- CD set marking the 50th anniversary of the recordings the original Beatles (John, Paul, George, Pete Best and Stu Sutcliffe) made with Tony Sheridan in 1961 and 1962, produced by Bert Kaempfert for Polydor. This is the first U.S. reissue to include both stereo and mono versions and to omit the post-sessions overdubs from 1964. The historical value of these recordings, the surprisingly good sound quality and the beautiful packaging make this a must for real Beatles fans.
The well-received Ocean Kingdom (Hear Music) is another classical outing for Paul McCartney, this time composed for the New York City Ballet, with music performed by The London Classical Orchestra. Both McCartney’s pop music fans and the classical community embraced this recording. This is yet another side of a great songwriter and also the kind of musical project bringing new fans to ballet.
Another interesting McCartney project out, released through his MPL Communications is: Rave On Buddy Holly (Fantasy). A longtime Holly booster for years, McCartney owns the Holly song catalog. This tribute CD features Holly songs as interpreted by a wide variety of artists including McCartney, Graham Nash, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Nick Lowe My Morning Jacket, Julian Casablancas, She & Him and many others. Listen To Me: Buddy Holly (Verve/Forecast) is another excellent Holly set. It includes interpretations form Brian Wilson, Ringo Starr, Chris Isaak, Lyle Lovett and many others.
Two really fun Beatles-inspired projects recently released are: Rubber Soulive (Royal Family) from the San Francisco-based, jazz-soul band Soulive; a gritty album of Beatles covers and Abbey Dub (Goldlion) from Yellow Dubmarine, billed as a reggae Beatles tribute, a fun and original take on the fab four’s music.
One of the classic Beatles-inspired albums of all time, McLemore Avenue, an interpretation of Abbey Road from Booker T. & The M.G.’s, is reissued with six bonus tracks. This, along with George Benson’s The Other Side of Abbey Road, ranks as one of the best albums of Beatles music ever recorded. Two members of Booker T. & The M.G.’s recently released excellent solo albums: The Road From Memphis (Anti) from Booker T. Jones and Dedicated: A Salute to the 5 Royales (429), from Steve Cropper.
Beatles For Sale on Parlophone Records by Bruce Spizer (498 Productions) is yet another extraordinary book on the Beatles from one of the giants of Beatles scholarship. Spizer, an attorney who lives in New Orleans, self-publishes the books himself. His new Parlophone book takes the same route of his previous books. He looks at the music of the group through the prism of a record label the group recorded for, presented in a hard-cover book with a graphic presentation beautifully rendered and exhaustive. Anyone who says there are no need for any new books on the Beatles, isn’t aware of Bruce Spizer.
George Harrison: Living in the Material World (Abrams), by Olivia Harrison, is the companion book to Martin Scorsese’s epic HBO documentary. This gorgeous coffee-table book emotionally evokes the man and the musical artist whose solo career is finally being given its proper due.
Beatles Memorabilia: The Julian Lennon Collection (Goodman) from Julian Lennon and Brian Southall is a collection of the John Lennon memorabilia Julian Lennon owns. The collection mostly includes guitars and gold records and adds further to the history of John Lennon’s time with the Beatles and as a solo artist.
The Lost Beatles Photographs: The Bob Bonis Archive, 1964-1966 (It Books) contains long-lost photos of the Beatles. Most of the pictures reveal the band relaxing while on its American tours and greatly add to the background of the few short years the Beatles performed live in America.
Lennon: The Man, the Myth, the Music – The Definitive Life (Hyperion) by Tim Riley an exhaustive and certainly up-to-date book on the life of one of the most iconic figures in rock history. Riley’s previous Tell Me Why: A Beatles Commentary is one of the most enduring books on the Beatles and this Lennon biography is even better.
The Beatles in Hamburg: The Stories, the Scene and How It All Began (Chicago Review Press) by Spencer Leigh is the most visually arresting book on one of the most important periods in Beatles history. Leigh brings the period alive much the way he did with his book on the Cavern Club and takes the story up to today.
A Hard Day’s Night (Limelight Editions), by Ray Morton, part of the Music on Film series, presents a condensed exploration of the making of the Beatles’ film debut. This detailed and insightful book puts the movie into context in terms of the evolution of the Beatles’ impact on culture and reflects the important place the A Hard Day’s Night holds in film history.
Fab Gear: The Beatles and Fashion (Prestel), by Paolo Hewitt, is a beautiful hardcover book on the 60s fashion and style influence of the Beatles. Hewitt, who chronicled The Jam and Oasis, runs his own mod fashion company in Italy and is one of rock music journalism’s most respected writers. He is the perfect person to do this long-overdue book.