176 of 186 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2006
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
When it comes to books about The Beatles, they usually fall in one of two categories: "memoirs" and "archives" (including timelines, analysis, photos, recording info, etc). Now Geoff Emerick has joined the throe of Beatles authors by publishing his account that actually falls in between the memoir/archive genre. His new book "HERE THERE AND EVERYWHERE-My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles" is no "cash in", but a valuable insight to the workings of the group. While there are no real "Beatles revelations" contained other than those that true Beatle aficionados already know, such as the working title of the "White Album", John's accidental acid trip on the rooftop of EMI etc), the true value of this book is the first hand observances of the Beatles in their most important environment: the recording studio!
Some people are lucky enough to realize their "calling" early in life - and Geoff Emerick was one of those lucky few. An early love of music caused a natural fascination with the mechanics behind recording. His experiments with tape recording and his persistence led him to a job at EMI! While Geoff Emerick wasn't the Beatles recording engineer during their early years at EMI (he started as an assistant engineer), his employment there did grant him occasional views of The Beatles at work during the time of 1962-1966 when Norman Smith was their engineer. However, when Smith left to become a producer (going on to produce Pink Floyd's first two albums at EMI) it was Emerick who was promoted to the position of Beatles' engineer. So, Emerick was there during the true renaissance of the Beatles studio years: Revolver, Sgt. Pepper, Magical Mystery Tour, (part of) The White Album, and Abbey Road.
What about Let It Be, you ask? Well, it is well documented how bad tensions were during the recording of The White Album, prompting Ringo Starr to be the first Beatle to quit the group at the time. Further evidence of the bad feelings during this album can be seen in the departure of Emerick - he also quit halfway through the recording (but unlike Ringo, didn't come back for the album). So, he missed the whole Let It Be fiasco, until being asked to return for Abbey Road. He went on to design the Beatles personal recording studio, which sadly wasn't finished in time for The Beatles to actually use!
As witness to one of the Beatles first recording sessions ("How Do You Do It?"), Emerick paints a fascinating picture of the individual dynamics and personalities of each Beatle in the recording studio. Paul was the easiest to get along with, a true workaholic in the studio who, curiously enough was pegged as "the leader" by Emerick during the early sessions. John was often impatient, but curiously enough - it was always a new Lennon song that was first recorded for each new album session! Later, John's impatience actually paid off when they discovered they were one song short for completion of Revolver - they quickly finished John's "She Said She Said". Other tales include a funny story of the "fan siege" during the recording of "She Loves You" in which fans were running loose at EMI - which gave Emerick a first-hand view of Beatlemania and he comments that this "atmosphere" seemed to lend to the electricity of the recording. George Harrison was probably the least 'at ease' in the recording studio and had problems nailing his solos, such as his solo on "A Hard Day's Night". Ringo was basically quiet in the studio.
I read as quickly as possible to get to the Revolver/Sgt. Pepper recording sessions, and Emerick's descriptions did not disappoint! I was in Beatles heaven hearing how each song was recorded and the whole spirit of invention that went into Beatles' records - not just by the Beatles themselves, but by Emerick's ingenious solutions to the seemingly impossible requests of the Beatles, especially John. It was Emerick who came up with a solution for Lennon, who wanted his voice to sound like the "Dahlai Lama chanting from a mountaintop" on "Tomorrow Never Knows". His solution? Using a Leslie speaker(Which rotates) to achieve the proper effect on John's voice. Also, in regards to Revolver, I wasn't aware that the tape trick (cutting up random bits of tape and putting them back together) that George Martin used on "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite" was first used on "Yellow Submarine"!
Of course, Sgt. Pepper was the pinnacle of the Beatles collective studio experimentation and it is amazing to hear the casual attitude the Beatles had during the sessions - it being the very first time that they weren't under any time restraints. George Harrison's lack of participation in this groundbreaking album is discussed. Fresh from his trip to India, George just wasn't interested, especially with Paul taking a lot of the lead guitar breaks and his first contribution to Pepper ("Only a Northern Song") being kindly put aside. The mysterious, still unreleased Beatles song, "Carnival of Light" (recorded during a five-hour session that also included vocal overdubs for the then-unreleased "Penny Lane") is discussed.
It is amazing how the Beatles went from the happy, creative Pepper sessions to the dreary White Album sessions in just one year! While Emerick left EMI for Apple, he avoided the bad scenes of the White Album and Let It Be, to concentrate on building the Beatles recording studio. However, he did get to attend one Phil Spector Let It Be session and his observations are contained within the book. Finally, the Beatles swan song, Abbey Road is detailed, from John's sometimes lack of interest (and Yoko's bed being brought into the studio!) to George's emergence as a studio talent.
Geoff Emerick went on to win a total of 3 Grammy awards for his Beatles work. While most of the book concentrates on The Beatles, he does mention some of his other projects, such as Paul McCartney's Band on the Run, as well as his work with The Zombies and Elvis Costello. Finally, he comes full circle with his involvement with the "Threetles" reunion sessions for the Beatles Anthology.
"HERE THERE AND EVERYWHERE-My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles" is truly a Beatles' book that delivers! A descriptive story of the Beatles in the recording studio has been sorely missed...until now.
100 of 114 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2006
Other recent books about the Beatles,like Spitz's biography or Bramwell's gossip collection, had tended to be more about group politics than about the one thing that made the Beatles great: their music. In his book, Here There and Everywhere, Geoff Emerick, along with music journalist Howard Massey, correct this trend, presenting Beatles fans with a memoir of how the Beatles, along with the production team of George Martin and Geoff Emerick pushed the boundries of recording during act of creating the greatest music of the 20th century.
Beginning as an extremely young boy, Emerick learns the ropes of recording according to EMI policies, which he shows are anti-intunitive and throttling. Using their financial clout, the Beatles override all sense about the technology, allowing Emerick to experiment in various dire ways, trying (and mostly suceeding) to please the Princes of Pop. He is plainspoken about the musical deficiencies of the band, showing Paul McCartney to be the consummate music within the group. The rise of George Harrison from the fumbling guitarist who had his solos rerecorded by the ever more invented McCartney, to the writer of his later hits is one of the more interesting pieces of the book. Happily, Emerick is light on the Lennon/Ono debacle, although perforce by his observation of the recording studio during the White Album and Abbey Road session, we see how Lennon's new obsession ruined the band. Interestingly, the only verge into rancor is directed towards Ringo, who unforgivingly to Emerick, ruined the new Apple recording studios. Et tu, Rings?
Having now read many many books on the Beatles, I can say that Emerick's memoir is among the best. Compare this book, if you will, with George Martin's two slight memoirs, and you may find yourself agreeing with me, especially if you want to know about the music, as opposed to the mayhem.
49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
In the early 1960s Geoff Emerick landed the dream job music fans would have killed for; assistant recording engineer at EMI Studio working with George Martin. It was a dream job because one of the first groups Emerick worked with was the Beatles. The next seven years of musical magic and misery Emerick spent in the control room are wonderfully chronicled in this book.
Though Emerick was a Beatles insider, he wasn't the 'Fifth Beatle' and makes no claim to that title in this book. Rather he was a young, impressionable teenager who worked with the Beatles for thousands of hours and occasionally helped them in realizing the musical vision they heard in their heads.
What was most enjoyable about Emerick's book was his recounting of the group's musical development, the friendship and chemistry between John, Paul, George and Ringo and especially those magical moments when a song came together. Later on, when the group started to self-destruct, the magical moments were much fewer but even then, as for instance when recording 'Abbey Road,' making the music would melt away the animosity.
Emerick was never a confidant or even a friend of any of the Beatles. He was an employee working in the control booth and the Beatles were down in the studio and the twain didn't meet that much. Some may object to his opinions about the four but, given his vantage point, those opinions are perfectly valid. Having read lots of Beatle books, I didn't come across any smoking guns in Emerick's book. Could John be short-tempered and nasty? Sure. Could he be a wonderfully funny and compassionate man? Yup. Was Paul the most approachable Beatle? Well, duh! And on and on.
What I find most impressive about the Beatles in the studio was this fact. Despite being virtual prisoners in the drab, soul-deadening EMI studios, they still managed - with some help from their friends - to create some of the most inventive, joyous pop music the world has ever seen!
I enjoyed Emerick's book immensely. It's an eminently readable, affectionate, warts-and-all record of the high spots, low points, craziness and tedium and you are there! Thanks, Geoff!
35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2006
Here, There and Everywhere is a fascinating read for those of us who are insatiable about the details of the Beatles recording sessions - following the ideas and
paths that lead to the music we know so well being created. For the most part I was glued to the pages as it's written from a unique perspective, from an individual
who actually contributed to the music and who'se sonic stamp is indelibly fixed upon it for ever.
Certain procedures to achieve ideas I already knew about as I'm sure many of us did, but there was such insight into others that I read with thirsty glee. The
anecdotes about the Day in the Life and Strawberry Fields sessions were particularly captivating for me as was the consistent search for the gateway to more bass
What disappointed me was Mr Emerick's tedious prostation before Paul at the expense of everyone else including George Martin. I love Paul's work but Geoff's
dismisal of everyone else and elevating McCartney to the sole saviour and focal point of the Beatles through out their recording idea eventually annoys more than it
enlightens. I'm always prepared to learn something new and this goes for Beatles history too, but Geoff writes it in such a way that only Paul stands tall with a
beacon in his upraised hand like the Statue of Liberty, leading the way for all the lesser mortals who somehow manage to stumble their way behind his vision and
The other annoying element is that Geoff Emerick is such a shameless self-aggrandizer, often he writes as if he was the hero of the moment. Maybe he was, but the
impression I got from the read was that often the main elements in the music recorded by the Beatles were Paul and his buddy Geoff. It was painful to persistantly
read how George Harrison was a miserable inept human being; Ringo, pointless; John, a flake and a technical Neanderthal; and George Martin a conniving power
thirsty, focus grabbing self aggrandizer himself!
It is surely Mr Emerick's right as the co author to write the book as he chooses, but it does cause discomfort to read at times, especially knowing that his verbatim
quotes from 40 odd years ago cannot in any sense be considered accurate. It adds fiction to the mix, I felt this as I was reading it which cheapened the historical
I mostly enjoyed the book for what I learnt about the music, the way it was recorded, the techniques, but came away feeling uneasy about Geoff Emerick the person.
I guess in a similar way he found fault with the Beatles (to a much lesser extent, Paul) I find fault with him.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
At the very end of the Gospel of John, the Evangelist remarks that Jesus did many other things than what the Bible tells and that if every one of them were written down the whole world could not have room for all the books that could be written. Of course, The Beatles cannot be compared to the timeless influence of the Messiah; but, for their time and likely a long time after, they were earthshaking and (not the least) much beloved.
There has been a steady, growing library of books about The Beatles. Some are by people who knew them intimately and were witnesses to actual events. Others may tell The Beatles story second or third hand. Still others write specifically about the music itself with some focusing on the specific musical instruments each Beatle used on this and that recording. As with anything, some Beatle books are good and some are god-awful. Some books are openly hostile and disparaging to the music and The Beatles themselves as people. All this requires some tempering.
As great and endearing each of the Beatles were, each in their time could be complete jerks. They also could be open and generous to a fault. It is obvious they had no business sense in their early days and especially with the establishment of Apple. For those who loved them and took as inspiration The Beatle's proclamation of "peace and love", the final dissolution and acrimony amongst the band was heartbreaking--somewhat similar to breaking faith. Yet they left us with music that did change the world, launched thousands of bands, spawned a fantastic age of musical creativity in their wake, and continue to awaken new fans each and every day. John, Paul, George and Ringo themselves will eventually fade from popular memory; but the music...yes, the music will be loved.
This is Emerick's personal memoir and so we see the Beatles through his eyes and ears for events he actually witnessed--very little that he did not see for himself. Some may dislike the degree Emierick puts himself into the narrative and his modest claims to contributing some innovations to the sound of particular Beatle tracks; but it is interesting how little of Emerick's actual personal life makes it into the book.
As Emerick began his career in record engineering, he literally had just left school and was walked to the EMI offices by his father for his first job interview. Knowing absolutely nothing about the craft, he is taken in under George Martin's wing and met the Beatles very early in their recording career.
Of the individual Beatles themselves, Emerick's account is off balance and in many ways leaves some questions unanswered. Emerick clearly liked John quite a bit. At the same time, it was difficult to know which John you were going to get. By the time Emerick met him, John had entered a placid, easygoing stage in his life--somewhat by John's personal temperament and later most likely under the influence of marijuana and LSD. Nonassertive and at times almost childlike, John was quite content to let McCartney take the band's reins. Nevertheless, this time was the most creative in Lennon's life.
Oddly, Lennon didn't like his own voice. Emerick spent a great deal of time modifying Lennon's recorded voice to satisfy him. (This is why many listeners had difficulty telling who was singing on some Lennon recordings.) Lennon, like the other Beatles, constantly and naively pressed the limits of recording technology and musical instruments themselves. Often he (they) would leave staff objections behind by remarking "don't worry--you'll find a way". Lennon would come up with odd ideas such as being hung upside and singing while spinning around the microphone. Fortunately, Lennon forgot all about it after those in the studio deliberately stalled with other matters for an hour.
Lennon's laid-back demeanor changed around to time of the appearance of Yoko Ono and the recording sessions for what would turn out to be the WHITE ALBUM. Lennon turned intolerant, abrasive and unpleasant. Arguments among the Beatles were common at all stages the band's existence; but the frequency and bitterness increased sharply during the WHITE ALBUM sessions. Emerick himself is not inclined to attribute this change to Yoko Ono herself but rather upon Lennon's addiction to heroin. One is naturally curious what the other Beatles thought and said to Lennon about his enthusiasm for the corrosive narcotic; but Emertick leaves to question unanswered. What is more, if it was Yoko Ono who introduced Lennon to heroin (which is likely), she bears far more responsibility for the bitter disunity among the band members than Emerick is willing to concede. When all is said and done, Emerick loved Lennon. I think, however, it would be fair to say Emerick's relationship with Lennon was a little distant compared to the one he shared with McCartney.
Of the Beatles, Emerick gives the least attention to Ringo Starr. By any reputable standard, Starr was an important and innovative drummer as well as the most affable man one could wish to meet. You wouldn't know that here. There are three significant details we find out. 1.) Emerick worked with Starr to get the drum sound wanted often defying EMI's regulations on microphone placement. 2.) Starr would retire to a corner of the studio to play chess rather than stand around with nothing to do while the others haggled out what they wanted for the song. 3.) As many other sources record, Emerick confirms that Starr became fed up with all the arguing during the WHITE ALBUM sessions and quit the band to the distress of the others.
Of all the Beatles, in the beginning Emerick was the least impressed with George Harrison. Emerick on the other hand tells us he never got to know Harrison beyond a strictly professional relationship. Still, Emerick did not think much of Harrison's abilities as a guitar player and a musician. Emerick notes Harrison's failure to come up with satisfactory solos--only to have McCartney come through with "absolutely brilliant" guitar playing that saved the day. This opens up some peculiar questions. If McCartney was the better guitarist, why was he regulated to the bass? If Harrison was clearly so lacking, why did both Lennon and McCartney make him the lead guitarist? We aren't told.
Emericks' opinion of Harrison rose later in the Beatles sessions after George played more on the side with other musicians--particularly Eric Clapton. Emerick also credits--perhaps as a revelation to no one but to himself--Harrison's immersion into Eastern music. As Harrison began to produce other artists, Emerick professes amazement at Harrison's knowledge and command of the recording studio. Emermick was greatly impressed when after the band finished completing "Let It Be" (the single) Harrison came back into the studio that night and put together a more sophisticated guitar solo to go in place of the rougher one that was recorded first that day. (According to Emerick, the Hfirst solo was used for the album version while the much better one appears on the single.) Toward the end, Emerick has nothing but praise for Harrison's "Something" and "Here Comes The Sun".
When it comes to Paul McCartney, Emerick has little but praise and admiration. At times one could be forgiven if one thought Emerick was of the opinion that McCartney could have been the Beatles all by himself. In Emerick's telling, McCartney constantly contributes a brilliant guitar riff, drum beat or what have you just when it is needed while the rest of the Beatles are stymied. Of course, McCartney's songs were just superb time after time. If Emerick has anything negative to say about McCartney, it is found reading between the lines when McCartney welded a heavy hand in leading (intermittently bossing) the band during its last two years.
Emerick's effusive admiration for McCartney has to be seen in the light of the plain fact that he has had a long personal and professional relationship with McCartney--a relationship that stretches from the early days of the Beatles through BAND ON THE RUN to McCartney's recent GOOD EVENING NEW YORK CITY where Emerick handled the audio mix, in both stereo and 5.1. There is nothing wrong sticking up for one's friends. It is just that the reader should be aware that Emerick's account of McCartney may be somewhat colored by their friendship. The less charitable would suppose Emerick never bad mouths McCartney to continue to work with him.
There are several things one can glean from Emerick's book. Here is a few:
In spite of The Beatles huge contribution to EMI's coffers (almost 90% at times), EMI afforded them recording and studio equipment that was only adequate for times. Certainly behind the state of the art technologies available to many other rock bands contracted to other labels.
In the early part of The Beatles rise, the band toured like mad--constantly jumping all over the United Kingdom and Europe fighting to be noticed. The recording sessions had to be sandwiched in to fit their schedule. The Beatles were so exhausted that to Emerick's ears the breakout singles "She Loves You" and "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" sound tired. Personally, I think the exhaustion from overwork is barely noticeable--enough to be easily ignored upon even close listening.
As the Beatles progressed, they gradually pushed Brian Epstein out of their inner circle. They grew increasing irritated when Epstein occasionally dropped in the studio to catch up with his most important clients. As a general rule, The Beatles hated to have anyone around their recording sessions who were not directly involved to the process. Given that Brian Epstein was so protective for The Beatles and saw to their needs, this was particularly cruel. Yet, they were shook up deeply at Epstein's death. (Unlike other writers, Emerick says nothing of Epstein's struggles with both his depression and his homosexuality.)
By the time of WHITE ABLUM sessions, The Beatles were increasingly marginalizing George Martin, their longtime producer and innovator. It was during these sessions, The Beatles engaged in their most acrimonious and bitter arguments. The fights spilled over to the treatment of the recording staff. At the very least, the fights made the staff uncomfortable and fed up if not a little frightened at times. This eventually led to both Harrison and Starr temporarily quitting the band. Finally, both Emerick himself and George Martin walked out of the studio and quit their association with the Beatles. Neither would rejoin working for The Beatles until the Abby Road sessions after McCartney made urgent pleas to them both.
McCartney and Lennon were dismissive toward Harrison and Starr's songwriting. They thought Harrison and Starr were inferior performers and certainly several cuts below themselves. McCartney and Lennon gave what they considered their lesser songs to Harrison and Starr to perform and record. When either Harrison or Starr got their change to record, McCartney and Lennon rushed the sessions--giving little more than perfunctory effort in support. Years later, both McCartney and Lennon admitted as much. McCartney in particular expressed regret that he mistreated his "brothers. The memory broke his heart as Harrison slipped to death.
At first Yoko Ono was a mere presence in the studio when Lennon brought her in to be beside him. This already broke one the Beatles cardinal rules against having wives and girlfriends around the creative process. Gradually, Lennon and Ono became convinced Ono was a member of the band--much to the resentment and objection of the other three Beatles. Emerick relates that Lennon and Ono took to taking various sound effect tapes from EMI's library and piecing together finger-paintings of noise into what they thought was art. When Lennon insisted "Revolution #9" would be included on the WHITE ALBUM as well as the next single, George Martin, his staff and The Beatles strongly objected. "Revolution #9" was not a pleasant work nor beautiful in any sense. Something of an abuse toward the Beatles' loyal fans and devoted listeners. While the idea of a single was scrapped, on the album it went. It was during these "discussions" that Ono inserted herself for the first time stating that "Revolution #9" was the direction the Beatles should go from there on. Emerick writes that a tomblike chill descended across the room. It was a rupture the band never really recovered from.
The album ABBEY ROAD came about at McCartney's pleading. Everyone knew that the band was over; but McCartney in particular didn't want The Beatles to leave the world such a dispirited and acidic close. (McCartney never has liked LET IT BE album as a whole. There were a handful of good songs. Nevertheless, it was an inferior album which later turned out to be difficult for fans to digest.) McCartney implored Martin, Emerick and the rest of the Beatles to come back for one last try. Harrison, Starr and McCartney came back first and worked together for a few weeks without Lennon. Lennon and Ono were off doing their legendary antics and John would not join the sessions until his business was done. Emerick was surprised how free, cooperative and relatively harmonious Harrison, Starr and McCartney were. When Lennon came back, however, tension immediately filled the room. (It has to be remembered that while Lennon offered mostly scrapes of songs to the project he also contributed "Come Together"--one of the most memorable and celebrated rock songs on anyone's list.
The one question that I have never found satisfactorily answered in any account of Beatles is just what happened between the "love and peace" days of SGT PEPPER and the fractious days of the WHITE ALBUM sessions that turned the relationships in the band sour. One can piece together some individual facts. Did the band lose essential glue when Brian Epstein died? Did the critical beating the band took at the release of Magical Mystery Tour (the film) create disillusionment with the whole idea of The Beatles? Without touring, The Beatles no longer a tight performing band. Did that eventually cost the band a sense of unity (sort of the "us against world" brotherhood) that spells the demise of so many bands? Was Lennon's girlfriend (Yoko Ono) lethally too much for the rest of the Beatles? Did McCartney's benevolent (and then not so benevolent) dictatorship insult the growing maturity of the rest of the band? Did the scandalous events at the end of spiritual retreat at the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ashram in India create an unspoken gulf among them? Was Lennon's heroin addiction a visible destructive force the rest of the Beatles had no personal resources to deal with?
It could have been any one of these or some combination. It could have other factors unknown to the general public. Whatever was the case, Emerick doesn't tell us. One may suspect that his close relationship with McCartney prevented Emerick from being entirely forthcoming; but there is no proof of this.
Emerick tells of events in the post-Beatle years--including the infamous mugging of the McCartneys in Lagos, Nigeria that came close to ending in their deaths. Frankly, these are anticlimactic. At the close, we finally catch Emerick summing up his own expansive and extraordinary career in recording many of the great artists as well as having his hand in some of the great rock records in our memories. Going from an inexperienced young boy just out of school to a well-seasoned recording engineer and producer forty years later is no mean accomplishment. It was a smile of fortune and long hours of hard work.
Lennon and Harrison are gone. Only Starr and McCartney remain. Starr says he was too drunk or high to remember much of what happened and McCartney isn't telling. This leaves us with books such as this one to get some clue as to what happened in that crucible none of us will be privy to. This a great book for those of us who still love The Beatles. We can't get enough.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2006
Finally, a Beatles book from an insider who has no agenda, no axe to grind! In case you don't know who Geoff Emerick was, he was the man responsible for the sound of the Beatles from 1966 onwards, from their Revolver album to Sgt. Pepper (called by many the two greatest rock albums of all time) to their final record, Abbey Road. I knew that he had done those records with the group, helping shape their new psychedelic image, but what I didn't know was that he had also worked with them on many of their earliest records, too, things like I Want To Hold Your Hand and She Loves You. And he was only 15 at the time!
What an incredible story, and it's told really well too, and with admirable honesty. There's no dirt dishing here, like so many other Beatles books, but there is a refreshingly candid look at the personalities involved. George Martin didn't do everything he claimed he did, and John wasn't really the leader of the band, not in the studio, anyway -- Paul was. Ringo was as good a drummer as we always thought he was, but he was also very quiet and tended to say little, though when he did come up with a comment, it was usually a gem. Emerick's portrait of George Harrison is perhaps the most interesting one. Harrison apparently wasn't all that great a guitarist in the early days, at least not when the red Recording light came on (don't forget, he was only 18 when Emerick first heard him play), but he got better and better as the years went on, and it's fascinating to see the way he grows in stature in Emerick's eyes as the band get further along in their musical development. By the end, you can tell that Emerick has almost as much admiration for him as he does for the "musician's musician" Paul and the ever-mercurial but phenomenally talented John.
I had a blast reading this book, and it got me to get out all my old Beatles records and give them a spin one more time... only this time, knowing the stories behind the making of them, I heard all those classic recordings with new ears.
A great read, and a lot of fun. Highly recommended!
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2006
Like most people, I enjoy the Beatles music but I am not really a fan. I didn't expect this book to engage me as much as it did. I read it in a day!
The book is well written and easy to read, which I think is the contribution of co-author Howard Massey. Massey has written another great book entitled, "Behind the Glass," which is a collection of interviews with top record producers describing how they create hit records. I highly recommend that book as well.
This book is not technical and is really written to appeal to anyone with an interest in the 60s, the Beatles or the music industry. There are "cameo appearances" in the book by some other great artists of the times, including Judy Garland and top classical musicians that recorded at EMI studios.
Some of the other reviews criticize Emerick for his favoritism of McCartney and knocks on the other Beatles. My attitude is that this book is about Geoff Emerick more than anything else. This is a recollection of his personal experiences with the Beatles and is written from his point of view. The fact that his impressions of the four Beatles as individual people don't always coincide with the mythology that has developed aboutt them over the years is interesting and understandable. It makes complete sense to me that Emerick, as a professional recording engineer/producer, would favor McCartney. While I strongly prefer Lennon's music over McCartney's, the fact is that McCartney was the best overall musician of the Beatles. Ask anyone who has seeen McCartney live lately, he effortlessly moves between bass, guitar and piano, and plays them all equally well. Since Emerick worked everyday with some of the world's greatest musicians (he worked with some pretty famous people other than the Beatles), he must have been impressed by Paul's talent.
Emerick also claims that McCartney was the one Beatle that took the strongest interest in the process of recording. Since Emerick is a professional recording engineer, it makes sense that he would bond with McCartney. Let's face it, if one of the Beatles took a strong interest in what you do for a living, you would think they were the greatest Beatle too!
I rate it five stars. It is well written and gives a fresh perspecitve to the Beatles.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2006
Excellent behind the scenes account of how the beatles actually recorded their music. This book is loaded with personal and tecnological information that brings to life a very interesting period in pop music. I am puzzled by some of the reviewers reactions to Emericks portrayal of Ringo and George. I think he goes to considerable length to convey to the reader the role those two actually played in the studio as compared to Lennon and McCartney. George was younger and treated as a junior partner and was definitely over shadowed by Paul and John which the author says is likely the reason for Harrison's general dissatisfaction with the group. He is a bit hard on George as a guitar player citing the long periods it took to get usable solos but he also credits Harrison's development as a musician producer and song writer. The other thing to keep in mind about Emericks perspective is that he was a studio employee, and for all his contributions to the Beatles music, he was never accepted into the inner Beatles circle. The fact that McCartney actually gave him the time of day and took the time to get to know him makes his positive portrayal of McCartney that much more understandable. Also interesting was Emerick's stories of how McCartney stayed late in the studio working long long hours alone just to get the bass parts perfectly. There are so many interesting anecdotes of this nature that really make this a worthwhile book. Check it out.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 25, 2008
Geoff Emerick was the recording engineer behind such seminal works as Revolver and Sgt. Pepper. He was also privy to most of the innerworkings of the Beatles' recording sessions even if he wasn't the chief engineer on all their albums. Through careful observations of the Beatles' compositional styles and perceptive insights into the dynamics of their personalities, Emerick brings a welcome clarity to the subject of how the Beatles worked in the studio and how their vision of rock evolved. The early days are evoked with particular charm, especially the memories of recording "She Loves You" at the same time that frantic fans were invading EMI studios. Emerick's comments on the raw energy of "She Loves You" versus the more contained power of "I Want to Hold Your Hand," are more than worth the price for any serious Beatles historian. Interesting, detailed, and very readable. A gem in the ongoing treatises upon Beatle-ology.
Donald Gallinger is author of the novel, The Master Planets
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2008
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
"People don't realize, it but George had a great sense of humor," Emerick recalled. "He was also such a gifted musician. On "Taxman," from the Revolver album, I can remember him writing the guitar parts backwards to get the effect. He could do anything. At first, John and Paul didn't realize how well he could write songs. But then they saw what he could do."
This is not a quote from the book. It is, however, a quote from Geoff Emerick after he heard a cut from the then unreleased Brainwashed album.
Don't expect anything like this in Here There and Everwhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles. If anything, George Harrison comes off as a no-talent, mean spirited spoiled brat who, apparently, didn't much care for Mr. Emerick.
The bulk of the book is an unabashed tribute to Paul McCartney, whom he apparently not only liked but idolized. John and Ringo don't fare much better than George, so...unless you've never heard anything else about the recording sessions and think the recollections from the vantage point of a 16 year old is definitive, I can't recommend this book. If you like any of the other Beatles and don't have an altar to Paul in your home, it will be disappointing.
I actually do like Paul, but the shots taken at the other three in this "memoir" are tough to take. Ken Scott, one of the other engineers who went on to produce many other artists (including George Harrison) has publicly disagreed with much of what is written in this book.
So, in spite of glowing reports, and especially if you think George Harrison was a superb musician and not some knee jerk wannabe...well, you know...don't buy it.
Now, I'm going to amend my earlier thoughts on this and say that it does have some interesting stories about various recording sessions. The account of Yoko in bed during the Abbey Road sessions is still hard to imagine, but the description of the final guitar solo blow out at the end of the medley raises the unfulfilled hope that it might have all worked out in "the end".
So, depending on your susceptibility to the bias, consider the book an interesting read, but still not what I, personally, had hoped for.
Good luck on your decision.