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Book by Beatles recording engineer

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by markw51, Aug 10, 2014.

  1. markw51

    markw51 Tele-Afflicted

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    Been reading with considerable interest the book by Geoff Emerick. His appraisal of each of the Beatles is especially interesting to me.

    "I always felt that the artist was John Lennon and Paul McCartney, not the Beatles. That seemed obvious in the recording studio, especially with the way that George Harrison would have difficulty with trying his guitar solos and Ringo would trip over drum fills."

    Emerick, Geoff; Massey, Howard (2006-03-16). Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles (p. 104). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.
     
  2. Lucky Day

    Lucky Day Tele-Afflicted

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    I read that book when it came out. I thought it was interesting.
     
  3. TDPRI

    TDPRI Retired

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    It's been a while since I read that one. But my memory isn't favorable about it.

    If you really want to know about the Beatles I would recommend: Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years by Mark Lewisohn.

    It's 800 pages. It's the first of three planned books in this series and it's a great book.
     
  4. catdaddy

    catdaddy Tele-Afflicted

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    I loved the book and Emerick's details about what was accomplished in the studio and how much of what we hear in The Beatles recordings came to be. His position as a recording engineer for many of their sessions gives his book insights into things that very few others were there to witness.

    For those who are more interested in The Beatles personal lives this book is not something that has that kind of content.
     
  5. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    I'm going to find these. I love studio perspective stories about the making of great music...
     
  6. H. Mac

    H. Mac Friend of Leo's

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    The three themes in Emerick's book were: (1) his "man crush" or whatever on Paul McCartney; (2) his bashing of George Harrison; and (3) his self-promotion. I can't think of a more annoying book.
     
  7. Mjark

    Mjark Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I think I might be interested the Emerick book. But it might be good to consider he started as an assistant at age 15 and was barely in his 20's by the time they were finished.
     
  8. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    I just saw a fairly decent documentary about Freda Kelly The Beatle's secretary on Netflix. Really good insight and interesting facts on the early Beatles in particular.... Pretty good watch.
     
  9. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yeah, I saw that Freda one too.

    Every man or group of men needs a Freda in their corner.
     
  10. hekawi

    hekawi Poster Extraordinaire

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    This is far and away my favorite Beatles book. How did they make so many great recordings? They worked very, very hard.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. VWAmTele

    VWAmTele Friend of Leo's

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    I don't care how many takes it took George to get the solos right - the end result always fit the song perfectly. Obviously, John and Paul were the songwriters (artists) with John carrying the band through the first years of Beatlemania, but the phenomena of the Beatles was created by all four members, their manager Brian Epstein and producer George Martin.
     
  12. bowman

    bowman Friend of Leo's

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    I read the Emerick book when it first came out, and I, too, found it more than a bit self serving and opinionated. But the detail provided by a first-hand participant in that environment far outweighs his obvious bias. So I would still highly recommend this book for any Beatle fan - great inside info in there.
     
  13. knopflerfan

    knopflerfan Tele-Afflicted

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    VWAMTele - totally agree with you. Yes, McCartney and Lennon were the primary songwriters and vocalists (best of all-time in my opinion, along with Harrison's harmony) but the Beatles would not have been nearly as popular without George and Ringo - they were two of the four "missing ingredients" and were the perfect blend to formulate the greatest band in history. I'm a gigantic McCartney fan and still feel that his interplay with Ringo, specifically, was essential and unique as the "backbeat" of the Fab Four. McCartney has said that Ringo was/is the greatest drummer he's ever played with. As somewhat of a parallel observation, Mark Knopfler was "both" McCartney and Lennon in Dire Straits and I've heard him, David Knopfler, and John Illsley say that Pick Withers (their original drummer) was the greatest drummer they ever played with. He was integral to there popularity when they first started out and put them on the musical "map".
     
  14. jimbach

    jimbach Tele-Holic

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    While I enjoyed the book more than you, I agree with your criticisms, especially the first two.
     
  15. Wrong-Note Rod

    Wrong-Note Rod Poster Extraordinaire

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    Emerick was very critical of Harrison at first, but I believe later in the book, he gives him some good praise.

    My fave Beatles book is The Beatles by Bob Spitz. He does go pretty far into the Yoko hatred thing but its still a good read, especially the pre-Beatles era.
     
  16. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    +1
     
  17. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    The book brought home the point that the Beatles wanted every recording to be different. I loved how open and energetic they were in trying to achieve that. Evidently, they found working with Emerick very rewarding, as they could easily tossed him aside and find somebody else. A friend heard George Martin speak at a conference once. He said the Beatles expected the very best and had no tolerance for less than that.

    I forget whether it was Emerick's or some other(s), but he tells the tale of the new, special studio that Magic Alex was building for them, in the basement of Apple, I think. Alex was a hanger on, who got their attention by building little plastic boxes with lights that randomly flicker on and off. John was more susceptible to this than the others. Alex was passing himself off as an electronics genius, who in reality had been a tv repairman in his native Greece. Among the planned innovations for the new studio were invisible sound blockers. I think when a beam shot across a room, a sound made on one side could not be heard by someone on the other side. Anyway, on the inaugural recording session, the Beatles and others showed up, ready to work. The sound system was noisy and kept cutting in and out. The wiring was a mess, and the monitor speakers were in cabinets where the speaker hole in the baffle had been made with a drill. The Beatles quickly packed up and left, wordlessly.

    Like others, I was put off by the praise for Paul and disdain for George. Emerick talked about how a small table was put in the studio for the Beatles to use to have tea and beans on toast, eventually putting up a folding partition. They never shared their food with anyone and only ate together in the studio. He tells a very funny story about the time that George, in the control room, happened to look down just in time to see Yoko snag a tea biscuit from a package atop his amp. "*****!" he snarled.

    The Lewinsohn book on the recording sessions really blew me away when I first read it. Those guys worked like dogs, never giving up or settling for less than the best. In the same conference talk, Martin said that the Beatles would working on a piece much past the point when lesser post-Beatle artists would give up and settle for a lower quality recording.
     
  18. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Hah! I was playing a lot of Pink Floyd last weekend, and looked up a few things. According to Wikipedia, "On of these Days" (Meddle) features double-tracked bass guitars played by David Gilmour and Roger Waters, with each bass hard panned into one channel of stereo. Gilmour's bass sound is quite muted and dull. According to Gilmour, this is because that particular instrument had old strings on it, and the roadie they had sent to get new strings for it wandered off to see his girlfriend instead.

    Priceless!
     
  19. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    +1 one someone else's +1.
     
  20. SixShooter

    SixShooter Friend of Leo's

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    Ok, I can tie your post into the OP...Emerick says that the cash register that was used for sound effect in Yellow Submarine was also used on Pink Floyd's 'Money'. Tada!
     
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