Skip to main content
ad info

 
CNN.com Books - News
CNN.com EUROPE:
Editions|myCNN|Video|Audio|News Brief|Free E-mail|Feedback  
 

Search


Search tips
BOOKS
TOP STORIES

Robert Kennedy: The 'younger brother full of pain'

It's 'Catcher in the Rye''s 50th -- but few are talking

Lawyer David Boies to write memoir

Author's survival tips for women: All you need are 'Three Black Skirts'

Novelist Matthew Kneale wins Whitbread Book Award

Kitty Kelley to write book on Bushes

(MORE)

TOP STORIES

India quake toll rising

Plea to delay climate talks

Global BSE warning issued

Cuba explains Czech arrests

(MORE)

 MARKETS    1613 GMT, 12/28
5217.4
-25.00
5160.1
+42.97
4624.58
+33.42

 
SPORTS

(MORE)

 All Scoreboards
WEATHER
European Forecast

 Or choose another Region:
EUROPE

WORLD

TECHNOLOGY

ENTERTAINMENT

  IN OTHER NEWS

U.S.

HEALTH

TRAVEL



(MORE HEADLINES)
*
EDITIONS:
CNN.com U.S.:

LOCAL LANGUAGES:


MULTIMEDIA:

CNN WEB SITES:

CNN NETWORKS:
CNN International

TIME INC. SITES:

SITE INFO:

WEB SERVICES:

'Beatles Anthology' out today

Ladies and gentlemen, the Beatles! -- in their own words

The Beatles pose for a photo session late in the group's career. The Fab Four's story is being told again in a book, but this time, it's in their own words in
The Beatles pose for a photo session late in the group's career. The Fab Four's story is being told again in a book, but this time, it's in their own words in "The Beatles Anthology"  

In this story:

First-person viewpoints

Putting down 'Sgt. Pepper'

Fifty pounds a week


RELATED STORIES, SITES Downward pointing arrow


(CNN) -- It weighs more than six pounds. It contains more than 1,300 images and 340,000 words. And it's all by, or authorized by, the Beatles.

It's "The Beatles Anthology," and it promises to be the last word -- or, at least, John, Paul, George, and Ringo's last word -- on the entire Beatles phenomenon.

  QUIZ
Test your knowledge of the Beatles

 
  ALSO
  • Japan's Beatles fans get first view of anthology
  •  

    More than 1.5 million orders have been placed worldwide for the book, which will be printed in eight languages and released in the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, the Netherlands, Germany, and Norway, among other countries. George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and Yoko Ono Lennon have spent six years compiling the work; the late John Lennon's accounts have been drawn from the hundreds of interviews he conducted over the years.

    Also included are Beatles producer George Martin, the late Beatles press officer Derek Taylor, and the group's former road manager Neil Aspinall, who is now head of Apple Corps, the organization that oversees the Beatles' interests.

    graphic

    First-person viewpoints

    "The Beatles Anthology" doesn't reveal much new history about the band; the Beatles are already perhaps the most exhaustively chronicled and dissected group in history, and there are books that offer day-by-day diaries of the Beatles' lives and their music. (There's even one book, Mark Shipper's "Paperback Writer," that's a hilarious semi-fictional history, complete with loopy footnotes.)

    What "Anthology" does do is offer first-person viewpoints from the four men who sat in the eye of the storm called "Beatlemania" and present their often very different memories of the same events.

    One oft-told story claims that the Beatles smoked marijuana in the toilets of Buckingham Palace before receiving their MBEs from the Queen. That was John Lennon's version. In "Anthology," however, George Harrison maintains that Lennon's tale wasn't true.

    "We never smoked marijuana at the investiture," he says. "What happened was we were waiting to go through and we were so nervous that we went to the toilet. And in there we smoked a cigarette -- we were all smokers in those days. Years later, I'm sure John was thinking back and remembering, 'Oh yes, we went in the toilet and smoked,' and it turned into a reefer. But we never did."

    Starr, however, isn't sure either way. "I'm not sure if we had a joint or not. It's such a strange place to be, anyway, the Palace."

    Before Beatlemania, the group gained local fame at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, England, and in the clubs of Hamburg, Germany
    Before Beatlemania, the group gained local fame at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, England, and in the clubs of Hamburg, Germany  

    Putting down 'Sgt. Pepper'

    The band members don't always agree about their music, either. John Lennon disparages 1967's "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," the album that is generally on or near the top of most critics' lists of the greatest album of all time. " 'Sgt. Pepper' is a nice song, 'Getting Better' is a nice song, and George's 'Within You Without You' is beautiful. But what else is on it musically besides the whole concept of having tracks run into each other?"

    But, Starr responds, " 'Sgt. Pepper' seemed to capture the mood of that year, and it also allowed a lot of other people to kick off from there and to really go for it. ... It was a monster. Everybody loved it, and they all admitted it was a really fine piece of work. Which it was."

    Neither do some long-festering grudges go away. Paul McCartney has gone on record as saying he's never liked producer Phil Spector's version of the "Let It Be" album, particularly the heavy use of strings and choral voices on the song "The Long and Winding Road." He reiterates that stance in "Anthology": "I heard the Spector version (of the album) again recently, and it sounded terrible. I prefer the original sound that's shown on (the album) 'Anthology 3.' "

    But Harrison, who often provides cynical counterpoint to McCartney's optimism in the book, disagrees. "I personally thought (Spector's version) was a really good idea," he says.

    Fifty pounds a week

    Other stories are more humorous. Early in their careers, manager Brian Epstein offered the Beatles a regular salary of 50 pounds a week for life. The group turned him down.

    Personal photographs never before published are included in "The Beatles Anthology," letting the public see a more domestic side of a young John Lennon
    Personal photographs never before published are included in "The Beatles Anthology," letting the public see a more domestic side of a young John Lennon  

    "We thought, 'No, we'll risk it, Brian. We'll risk earning a bit more than fifty pounds a week,' " recalls Harrison.

    It was a wise move on the Beatles' part: such a contract would have only paid them about 100,000 pounds (about $160,000) to date.

    The book's release comes more than 30 years since the group's breakup. During that time, each band member embarked on varyingly successful solo careers, and also endured an unfathomable tragedy -- the 1980 shooting death of Lennon by a deranged fan. Despite the distance that time has provided from their days as the best band on the world, the living members say they will always be Beatles.

    "It was a one-way love affair," says Harrison. "People gave us their love and their hysteria, but the Beatles lost their mental health."

    Ringo Starr's thoughts are more poignant. It's "impossible to turn the page and say, I'm no longer a Beatle," he says. "To this day, and for everyone, that's all I am."



    RELATED STORIES:
    Beatles label to get back 'worthless' gold discs
    September 14, 2000
    Beatles' 'Revolver' voted best album ever
    September 3, 2000
    The Beatles get back with a dance track
    August 28, 2000
    Former Beatle George Harrison hospitalized after stabbing
    December 30, 1999
    McCartney returns to the Cavern live on Internet
    December 14, 1999

    RELATED SITES:
    Beatles Online
    Chronicle Books

    Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
    External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

     Search   

    Back to the top  © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
    Terms under which this service is provided to you.
    Read our privacy guidelines.