Fab Four 2.0 Giveaway

Back to our regularly scheduled trivia quiz! First person to answer all four questions correctly will win a free copy of Fab Four FAQ 2.0 by Robert Rodriguez. Include your email address so we can contact you if you win. 

Q: What song did John Lennon pen on Ringo’s 1976 album Rotogravure?

Q: Where did John and Yoko honeymoon in March 1969?

Q: What song was McCartney originally accredited to, despite having nothing to do with the composition?

Q: What did Paul apparently say to a reporter when first asked about the death of John Lennon?

In the years following the 1960s, Beatle fans around the world were twice-stunned: in 1970, when their beloved group disbanded, and ten years later when the murder of John Lennon ended a decade of hope that somehow the Fab Four would reunite. Fab Four FAQ 2.0 picks up the story where the acclaimed Fab Four FAQ left off. Loaded with images of rare period ephemera, including periodicals, single sleeves, and movie stills, this is the first comprehensive biography of all four ex-Beatles. This book covers everything from their recording careers in the decade after the band’s dissolution to the musicians they played with, the bands they influenced, the manifestations of latter-day Beatlemania, and the constant clamor for reunion expressed by fans and – sometimes – by the four themselves.

Q & A with Robert Rodriguez

Robert Rodriguez

Robert Rodriguez is the author of Revolver: How the Beatles Reimagined Rock’n’Roll. He is also the series editor of the FAQ series, as well as the author of the two Fab Four FAQ books. The following is an excerpt of an interview with Music Tomes. Please visit their website for the full interview.

You’ve written extensively on the Beatles. What about the group first captivated you?

I had older brothers who were record buyers back when the Beatles were still recording; I was a little young for all of that. But I remember vividly the Capitol swirl and Apple labels – they stood out among the 45s, in my mind at least.

What grabbed me about the Beatles was their sound, and that didn’t click with me until I first heard the Red and the Blue albums – the 1962-1966and 1967-1970 compilations. That was mind blowing – having the scope of their career laid out on four discs; everything from “She Loves You” to “Strawberry Fields Forever” and beyond. To me, it was like every sound imaginable had been done – and by the same four guys! So those packages were the real gateway for me. Thereafter, catching A Hard Day’s Night and Help! on TV sealed the deal – these guys weren’t just great musicians, but compelling, funny personalities, too.

You’ve also written two books in the FAQ series on the Beatles. With so much written about the band, what is the ultimate goal of these books?

I imagined that, like myself, there were a lot of fans that were hungry for a single volume work that was neither a deeply scholarly analysis, nor an colorful series of superficial anecdotes. Or worse yet, trivia. Something that, furthermore, contextualized the Beatles’ achievements by placing them into the times in which they created.

At the same time, I thought it be great if somebody could deconstruct their story, so that you could zero in on exactly what aspect or another that you wanted to learn about. So the first FAQ was created as a way to present a ton of information broken down by facet, that invited readers to pick up the book at any point and begin reading where there interests lie, and let the history take them where they wanted to go.

No one else did it, so I stepped up!

The Beatles are a well-covered subject, but creating a narrative that got to the good stuff with immediacy was the goal. It didn’t feel like anyone had really covered their solo years as an integrated entity, hence 2.0. In a way, covering such a massive amount of ground with the two FAQs was easier to accomplish, with all the quantifiable milestones along the way, than Revolver, which was a narrowly focused topic.

But I wanted to challenge myself as a writer and researcher, and hopefully, bring something new to the table. So while the FAQs were straightforward reporting with some opinion thrown in, Revolverwas intended as a conversation starter, something to get people to re-examine their long-held opinions and see the Beatles’ work with fresh eyes.

Can you give us a sneak peek at some of the upcoming titles in the series?

We have a pretty well-developed “wish list” of titles that we are tracking down just the right writers for. But ones that are signed and sealed include The Twilight ZoneStar Wars, Film Noir and Doctor Who, on the TV/film side of things. With music, we have upcoming titles on The Who, Miles Davis, Jimmy Buffett and Hendrix.

Keep reading this interview on Music Tomes.

Revolver: How the Beatles Reimagined Rock’n’Roll

The making of Revolver – hunkered down in Abbey Road with George Martin – is in itself a great Beatles story, but would be nothing if the results weren’t so impactful. More than evenSgt. Pepper and Pet SoundsRevolver fed directly into the rock ‘n’ roll zeitgeist, and its influence could be heard everywhere: from the psychedelic San Francisco sound (Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead); to the first wave of post-blues hard rock (Sabbath, Zeppelin); through movie soundtracks and pretty much everything that followed it – including every generation of guitar-based pop music and even heavy metal. More than any record before or after, Revolverwas the game-changer, and this is, finally, the detailed telling of its storied recording and enormous impact.

Keith Elliot Greenberg, an interview

 Onstage and Backstage podcast from Hal Leonard is available on iTunes and Libsyn. Each episode authors and their guests have a chat about the topics of their books. Today, Keith Elliot Greenberg talks about his book December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died on Off the Meter with Jimmy Failla. This episode has been re-posted on Onstage and Backstage podcast with permission of Off the Meter.

>>>LISTEN HERE<<<

December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died follows the events leading to the horrible moment when Mark David Chapman – the paunchy, mentally ill Beatles fan – calmly fired his Charter Arms .38 Special into the rock icon, realizing his perverse fantasy of attaining perennial notoriety. New York Times-best-selling author Keith Elliot Greenberg takes us back to New York City and the world John Lennon woke up to, and we follow the other Beatles, Lennon’s family, the shooter, fans, and New York City officials through the day. Once the fatal shots are fired, the pace only becomes more breathless.

Robert Rodriguez, an interview

 Onstage and Backstage podcast from Hal Leonard is available on iTunes and Libsyn. Each episode authors and their guests have a chat about the topics of their books. Today, Robert Rodriguez, author of Revolver: How the Beatles Reimagined Rock’n’Roll, chats with Patrick Phillips on The Patrick Phillips Show about how the Beatles’ album Revolver is the artistic high water mark for the band, often over shadowed by Sgt. Pepper. This episode has been re-posted on Onstage and Backstage podcast with permission of Patrick Phillips.

>>>LISTEN HERE<<<

Revolver: How the Beatles Reimagined Rock’n’Roll by Robert Rodriguez (Backbeat Books)

The making of Revolver – hunkered down in Abbey Road with George Martin – is in itself a great Beatles story, but would be nothing if the results weren’t so impactful. More than evenSgt. Pepper and Pet SoundsRevolver fed directly into the rock ‘n’ roll zeitgeist, and its influence could be heard everywhere: from the psychedelic San Francisco sound (Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead); to the first wave of post-blues hard rock (Sabbath, Zeppelin); through movie soundtracks and pretty much everything that followed it – including every generation of guitar-based pop music and even heavy metal. More than any record before or after, Revolverwas the game-changer, and this is, finally, the detailed telling of its storied recording and enormous impact.

When The Beatles Met Elvis

Guest Blogger: Bruce Pollock is the author of, If You Like The Beatles. Below is an excerpt from his blog.

By the fast and loose standards of rockabilly, Elvis Presley’s ride from fame to fortune has to beconsidered nearly exemplary, if not virtually domesticated. Long since revealed in his many biographies as a simple good old boy trapped in a Graceland not entirely of his own making, Elvis was nonetheless extremely sensitive, insecure, and competitive about his place in the rock and roll scheme of things.

While Carl Perkins lay in a near coma in a New York City hospital, Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and DJ Fontana, in town for a gig with Elvis, came to call, bearing Elvis’s good wishes. But no Elvis. Weeks later he sent a telegram wishing Perkins a speedy recovery. Did he harbor a grudge that Carl’s version of “Blue Suede Shoes” outpaced his own on the charts? Or that Carl released it at all? Who knows? But is it a coincidence that Elvis never recorded another Carl Perkins song (while the Beatles recorded more than half a dozen)?

When the Beatles finally met The King in the summer of 1965, when they were both ensconsed in separate huge mansions in Los Angeles, it was like two pop cultural ships in the night, circling each other, the one bound for glory, the other heading for a reef in the middle of the North Atlantic. It had to be a tense, stilted afternoon. Whereas a year earlier, Bob Dylan had famously turned them on to pot, Elvis apparently didn’t offer them so much as a peanut butter and banana sandwich. On the other hand, the lads were probably already stoned when they arrived. And Elvis may have been loaded on a cocktail of barbiturates. The Memphis Mafia was there, all of Elvis’ childhood pals. The color TV was on with the sound off. Muddy Waters was on the stereo. The Beatles played pool with El’s bodyguards. Elvis played some bass and the fellows eventually jammed and talked gear. Priscilla stopped by to curtsey like a proper housefrau. Elvis had met her when he was 25 and she was 14. They didn’t marry until she turned 21, in 1967. On their way out, Elvis gave the Beatles souvenir holsters.

For more please visit Bruce Pollock’s blog.

If You Like The Beatles

The Beatles came up in the rock and-and-roll era, when Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Elvis Presley defined cool. Their early shows were big beat bacchanals, the Brit interpretation of that crazy American sound. But it wasn’t long before they were absorbing and creating more and more music – from folk to experimental, to psychedelia and hard rock, quite literally changing music forever and influencing hundreds of great bands in the process.

Q&A with Keith Elliot Greenberg

Keith Elliot Greenberg is the author of December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died, now out in paperback from Backbeat Books.

Why did you feel compelled to write this book?
For 30 years, I’ve been carrying this story. I was five years old when the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan, and the first movie I ever asked my parents to see was A Hard Day’s Night. John Lennon never knew me, but I felt that I knew him, and he understood me. Mark David Chapman felt the same way. But because something misfired in his mind, he decided to take John Lennon away from all of us.

Some of the most moving parts of the book are the scenes of ordinary New Yorkers coming to the Dakota after the tragedy to express their sorrow and grieve with one another. Do you remember what you did that night?
The night of the murder and the aftermath is so vivid to me. I can see the John Lennon button I hung from the rearview mirror of my car. I remember the feeling of serenity, standing in silence at the vigil in Central Park. It’s strange because about a week later, I was in a diner in Queens, and ran into some people I’d seen at the vigil. We looked at each other and nodded, didn’t have to say anything, because we all were feeling the same thing.

I’m a lifetime New Yorker and, in some ways, the story of John Lennon’s death is a story of this city. When I interviewed people for this book—Mayor Ed Koch, a woman who lives in the Dakota, a guy who was in the emergency room when Lennon came in, a cop called to the scene—we all shared a very New York perspective of what occurred. This was a tragedy for the world, but it happened in our city—the city I love as much as any family member—and, for that reason, the memories seem that more intense.

What can we learn by looking closely at this one day in such detail? It’s clear from your book that there’s so much more to this story than just the shooting of a rock icon by a mentally ill man—shocking as it was. Why is it so significant?
December 8, 1980 was more than a day. It was a convergence. I tried to tell the story of John Lennon’s life—his emotional highs and lows—and how it all led to this day. Mark David Chapman’s was unraveling, going back and forth over whether he should commit this act, and then, in one moment, it all exploded. Everybody felt it. And the feeling lingers even now, 30 years later.

Some have said that Lennon’s death changed the relationship between celebrities and their fans. Do you agree with that?
Lennon’s death changed our perspective. John was nice to his fans, the people who hung out in front of the Dakota every day. No one realized that stalkers could actually be dangerous. Because of this incident, celebrities have had to build walls around themselves, cut themselves off. They’re scared. It makes you wonder about the effect this isolation has had on music. How can you write songs about regular people when you’re terrified that one of them, in Lennon’s words, is going to pop you off?

Why is it important to look at these events from the perspective of 30 years on?
Thirty years seems like such a short time. In many ways, I feel like the same person I was then. So do the people I interviewed for the book. But it’s important to take a moment like this—I don’t want to trivialize it and call it an anniversary—and take stock of what occurred 30 years ago. Think about the music we missed, think about the doors John could have opened, think about Yoko’s words to continue his dream of peace and pass it on to the next generation.

December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died follows the events leading to the horrible moment when Mark David Chapman – the paunchy, mentally ill Beatles fan – calmly fired his Charter Arms .38 Special into the rock icon, realizing his perverse fantasy of attaining perennial notoriety. New York Times-best-selling author Keith Elliot Greenberg takes us back to New York City and the world John Lennon woke up to, and we follow the other Beatles, Lennon’s family, the shooter, fans, and New York City officials through the day. Once the fatal shots are fired, the pace only becomes more breathless.

Beatles Trivia

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The first person to answer all three questions CORRECTLY in the comments will win a free copy of Fab Four FAQ (Hal Leonard Books). You must include your email address so we can contact you if you win.

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.Q: Which Beatle was the first to cross Abbey Road, as depicted on the iconic album’s cover?

Q: Where did George Harrison meet his first wife Pattie Boyd?

Q: What year does Stuart Sutcliffe decide to quit the Beatles?

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Beatles Month

Welcome to February. You will be hearing a lot of Beatles on the radio this month in the States in celebration of the Beatles conquering America.

Listen now to Bruce Pollock, author of If You Like the Beatles…, on Outsight Radio.

Beatles book recommendations:


Fab Four FAQ
Fab Four FAQ 2.0
Beatles Gear

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A Hard Day’s Night: Music on Film
If You Like the Beatles…
December 8, 1980

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Revolver: How the Beatles Re-Imagined Rock’n’Roll coming May 2012

December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died

Thirty-one years ago today, Mark David Chapman calmly fired his Charter Arms .38 Special at John Lennon, killing the rock icon and fulfilling his deranged quest for infamy. In this excerpt, New York Times bestselling author of December 8, 1980 Keith Elliot Greenberg takes us back to New York City and the world Lennon woke up to on that final fateful morning.

Below the high gables and terracotta spandrels—and the carved Lakota Indian gazing upon the yellow cabs and subway-bound commuters on Seventy-second Street—John Lennon scuttled around the Dakota, writing small notes to himself. Even with an album climbing on the charts, the former Beatle had grown to define himself as a househusband, and if he didn’t make these scribblings, certain workaday tasks just wouldn’t get done. With a five-year-old child at home, John and Yoko were awake at 8:00 A.M., planning the day and eating breakfast. At age forty, Lennon felt relatively healthy, renouncing the alcoholic tears that had characterized his youth in Liverpool and the Beatles’ early days in Hamburg, as well as the fifteen-month “Lost Weekend” that nearly broke up his marriage. Among some rock ’n’ rollers who’d grown up on the Beatles, forming a cocaine dependency ranked among the better ways to transition from the seventies to the eighties. But, having snorted his share in more thoughtless times, John now abstained.

Officially, John had also given up sugar. In the studio, though, he allowed himself to give in to arguably his most innocent of vices. John and Yoko had gone through a vegetarian phase and now aspired to be macrobiotic, eating whole grains and fish with rice. On a recent visit to the Dakota, however, an interviewer from Playboy had noticed that John still loved his Gauloises Bleues, the strong French cigarettes particularly popular in the Middle East.“Macrobiotic people don’t believe in the Big C,” Lennon told the magazine, conceding that he was more than conscious of the possibility that he was deluding himself. “Macrobiotics don’t believe that smoking is bad for you. Of course, if we die, we’re wrong.”

Mortality was an issue that came up often with Lennon. As a performer, he’d encouraged his listeners to abandon the parochial concept of earning a spot in heaven. Yet, without that secure notion to soothe him, he seemed to worry about his life ending prematurely. In virtually every interview, he broached the topic of death—even if it was to emphasize that he hoped to live a long, fulfilling life.

For more than a decade, the man who’d once smacked around insubordinate girlfriends and insolent associates had characterized himself as a pacifist. If someone challenged him to a fight, he said, he’d run away—shouting over his shoulder about peace. But Lennon pointed out that Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., had also forsaken violence—and been killed nonetheless.

In 1975, he’d removed himself from the public eye, spending the majority of his time in the warren of apartments the Lennons owned in the Dakota, the landmarked, North German Renaissance– style building on Central Park West—to live, not as a hermit, but as a civilian. The experience invigorated Lennon after years as a captive to fame. Even after the Beatles’ breakup, John had felt like he couldn’t escape his celebrity. And he’d believed that he had to hustle to maintain it—because, as much as he condemned the recording industry, he wanted to live up to the standards expected of Beatle John. During his five-year sabbatical from the business, he told one reporter, the “invisible ghost” had disappeared.

rockbookshow.com

Click here for another video of author Keith Elliot Greenberg.

December 8, 1980

In a breathtaking, minute-by-minute format, December 8, 1980: The Day John Lennon Died follows the events leading to the horrible moment when Mark David Chapman calmly fired his Charter Arms .38 Special into the rock icon, realizing his perverse fantasy of attaining perennial notoriety.

New York Times bestselling author Keith Elliot Greenberg takes us back to New York City and the world John Lennon woke up to. The day begins with a Rolling Stone photo session that takes on an uncomfortable tone when photographer Annie Leibowitz tries to maneuver Yoko Ono out of the shot. Later Lennon gives the last interview of his life, declaring, “I consider that my work won’t be finished until I’m dead and buried and I hope that’s a long, long time.”

We follow the other Beatles, Lennon’s family, the shooter, fans, and New York City officials through the day, and as the hours progress, the pace becomes more breathless. Once the fatal shots are fired, the clock continues to tick as Dr. Stephan Lynn walks from the emergency room after declaring the former Beatle dead, Howard Cosell announces the singer’s passing on Monday Night Football, and Paul McCartney is lambasted for muttering “Drag, isn’t it?” – his bereavement confused with indifference.

The epilogue examines the aftermath of the killing: the considerable moment when 100,000 New Yorkers stood in silence in Central Park, the posthumous reunion of the Beatles in the studio – with George, Paul, and Ringo accompanying the recordings of their old friend – the unveiling of a bronze John Lennon statue in Fidel Castro’s Cuba, and the durable legacy that persists today. Available for purchase here from Backbeat Books.