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Japan's Beatles fans get first view of anthology
TOKYO, Japan (Reuters) -- Hundreds of Japanese Beatles' fans became the first worldwide on Thursday to get their hands on the first book ever written by and about the Fab Four.
British publishers Casell & Co. said in London that more than 1.5 million orders had been placed for "The Beatles Anthology." The 370-page autobiography is being released globally in 13 languages at midnight in major cities around the world.
But Japan had a head start over the others.
"The publishers have been very strict in embargoing the release date but we got special permission to do it at midnight today," said Paul Dezelsky, president of HMV Japan. Due to the difference in time zones, Japan's launch is nearly half a day ahead of Europe and the United States.
Accompanied by a Japanese band playing a string of famous Beatles songs, the 1,000 copies displayed on sale at the HMV shop in Tokyo's trendy Shibuya district vanished within the hour.
Twenty-year old Beatle fan Naoyuki Kamiyama said that, although he had never listened to the Beatles during their heyday, he had to buy the book because he believed the band's music was classic.
"In the classic world, it's Mozart," Kamiyama said. "And like Mozart, I strongly believe the Beatles will survive time and fashion."
The book details how the group's record company paid the band just one old penny between them for each single record sold during the early 1960s and 10 pence for every album.
It also reveals how band members had very different memories of the myriad sensational events surrounding them.
"I am definitely a Beatle-maniac," said 50-year-old Takashi Kaneko who attended the Tokyo launch with his wife. "We grew up with them."
The release of "The Beatles Anthology" precedes next week's opening of Japan's first museum officially dedicated to John Lennon -- the only Beatle who did not survive to see the autobiography's release.
Lennon was gunned down in front of his New York apartment on December 8, 1980. His widow, Yoko Ono, wrote his part of the memoirs in his place.
Copyright 2000 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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