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Let's Put the Beatles Back Together Again 1970-2010: How to Assemble & Appreciate the 2nd Half of the Beatles' Legacy Perfect Paperback – October 1, 2010
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The author conducts a nearly 500-page thought experiment: he imagines an alternative history after 1969 in which the Beatles didn’t stay together, but didn’t exactly split up either. They agreed to release the best of their solo efforts under the Beatles banner. So what he does, essentially, is kill off the weak stuff and the material that just wasn’t very ‘Beatle-y’ and turns what’s left into a series of Beatles albums.
He makes a compelling argument for why a) this isn’t such a stretch b) doing it his way restores the post-breakup material to a place of honor.
I got the book late yesterday and stayed up way too late reading.
[Y]ou can do everything he does yourself, provided you have the music in your library. What I like best about it, so far, is that he finishes the Beatles story as it should have been finished--and even though his conceit is fanciful, his approach is solidly grounded in reality.
Highly, highly recommended.”
--New York State’s WWNY-TV news director Scott Atkinson
“[A Beatles 1970-2010] is what Walker has created, and I agree with him, that you’ll rarely listen to the individual solo albums again. I have a full set of his suggested compilations and they are superb. I suggest that you follow this train of thought, get into the background of each solo track, album and songwriter, and then make your own ‘Beatles’ albums. It’s well worth it. Go on, dig out your back catalogues and Put the Beatles Back Together Again.”
--British Beatles Fan Club Magazine (David Bedford, author of Liddypool)
"[I]t's a pleasure to welcome [a Beatles book] that doesn't tread in the footsteps of what's gone before...[W]hat Walker is proposing...works well...He is both a good writer and a good researcher..."
--BBC Radio Merseyside's Spencer Leigh
"Very interesting new concept based on...the treasure trove of music from the solo Beatles."
-- 'The Fest for Beatles Fans' Mark Lapidos
"The author makes the Beatles breakup a way to revise their catalog...He puts a new spin on [the breakup]...The premise of the book is to replace Allen Klein (which will certainly get the book fans for that reason alone)...Walker's logic behind the [resulting] new albums makes for a 'what if' scenario that creates, at the least, something to consider. "
--Beatles Examiner's Steve Marinucci
“Wow, I’m really impressed. It’s so big and smart and well written...a very great unadulterated pleasure...[Walker’s] really done it.”
--‘Toronto Today Magazine’ editor-in-chief Eric McMillan
About the Author
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Re. 'Let's Put The Beatles Back Together Again 1970-2010':
About the Beatles it's hard to write anything new...[Yet,] accomplished with fearless dilettantism by Jeff Walker, is the job of pruning what exists. The book is a veritable orchard of the resulting bonsai trees. To put it more crudely, this is a listmaker's wet dream.
Walker structures the book around the idea that, contra Lennon's song 'God', the dream is not over. [T]here is a way to claw back the Beatles' solo careers and construct a Beatlesque canon. To do this, Walker proposes a thought experiment. Suppose the Beatles, upon officially splitting up, had made a pact to continue to group together their best solo recordings under the moniker of the Beatles Releasing Collective (the BRC).
John still dies on December 8, 1980, but he 'survives' as 'ghost-John' recording artist by virtue of having a fair bit of unreleased work in the can. They still release [solo work but] the best tracks (ie. 'Nineteen Hudred and Eighty-Five' but not 'No Words' from Band on the Run) are creamed off and packaged for the BRC.
I would say [the book] is best described as a piece of conceptual art...At its heart is the notion of digging out 'Beatlesworthy' (as Walker puts it) songs from the post-Beatles period. A subjective--and subjunctive--cataloguing which is very much of our time. The idea of wresting programming duties from the artist is the sine qua non of the iPod playlist. It's a notion positively encouraged by the digital world we've surrounded ourselves with. As someone who runs what I'd like to think of as a discriminating music blog, I am all for eclecticism. Out with the overrated! Down with the merely popular (Indeed, at one point, Walker refers to to people whose appetites are sated by Best Of collections as 'cultural plebians'.)
To me, this is where the book comes into its own. The BRC's Black Album, a 1973 four-record boxed set juxtaposes the former Beatles' best solo tracks. [ie.] George's 'What is Life' is followed by John's 'Instant Karma', followed by Ringo's 'It Don't Come Easy', followed by Paul's 'Another Day'. (Interestingly, Walker relates that George made very similar collection in 1971 for Beatle fan[ friends] who couldn't wait for the boys to re-form.)
Walker's selections...are admittedly quirky at times: the Get Back sessions are abundantly represented [in a transition chapter]...However, I found the author's quirkiness endearing rather than irritating. Commendation must go to him for representing each of the Beatles fairly. I myself wouldn't have known where to start with Ringo.
Moreover, there is a marvellous boldness to the writing and to the choices. A boldness which rests somewhere on the assumption that the Beatles' [post-1960s work is] better listened to selectively...[W]hat counts as Beatlesque [is] not an easy question to answer, nor is Walker the type to ponder such philosophic questions. But perhaps that's the point. It's easier to classify the Stones' output...But the Beatles' work frequently eludes such categorisations. That's why we love it. That, I might add, is the best definition of what is 'Beatlesque'.
[T]his is not a book for completists, but for fantasists. And that is also appropriate: the Beatles were, after all, in the job of fantasising for a generation.
[T]he book does double duty as a repository of biographical data and contextual information about the song selections. Here I found Walker's pruning superb. You may know that John Lennon had a pony as a child, but I hadn't seen that mentioned before, and I certainly don't know many writers who would dare to be literal enough to mention it in the context of 'I Dig a Pony'. (And I mean that as a compliment.) You might not think it adds much to your appreciation of the song, but it I think it does.
Futhermore, the timelines Walker provides are helpful, but beyond that, they often have their own unexpected pathos, the week leading up to Lennon's death in December 1980 in particular.
[A]lthough...it is very informative, this is not a dry book, by any means. There is plenty of gentle humour: the short section entitled 'Ringo's Guide to Impressing a Bond Girl' (in short: nearly getting killed together) was a big favourite of mine. And how can you not love a book with the chapter heading 'Getting Past George's Obsession with Eastern Religion'?
I haven't even touched on many of the problems the book deals with felicitously. To select one...how do you go about compiling a great Beatles [Releasing Collective] 'live' album [set]. Walker shows how it could be done...Imagine if Walker was to catch someone's ear at EMI.
In summary: This is a well-meaning and worthwhile project, accomplished with good humour and a lightness of touch, despite the enormous effort involved. I cannot fault Walker's meticulous research, which has encouraged me to seeek out in particular some Harrison and Starr tracks...otherwise...buried...on...middling albums. Certainly this is a good antidote to the complacent, who might think they have listened to everything the Beatles had to offer them.
'Said the Gramophone' music blog (Sean)
[In late 2010] the Beatles' catalogue finally appeared for sale on iTunes...But...the songs of John, Paul, George and Ringo ha[d] been on iTunes for years. Just not their songs together. The Beatles' respective solo material wasn't caught up in the same licensing tangle...But who cares, right? Sure, everyone likes 'My Sweet Lord', 'Band on the Run' and 'Oh Yoko'-but after the Beatles broke up, "The Beatles sucked." Besides a tiny handful of exceptions, and a single here and there, the Fab Four's post-1970 output is scarcely worth paying attention to.
Or is it?
I'm reading a book [whose] title is as good a description as any: Let's Put the Beatles Back Together Again 1970-2010: How to Assemble & Appreciate the 2nd Half of the Beatles' Legacy'. It's a 20-word way of saying, Not so fast, kid. Or, Maybe there's something worth saving on that Ringo Starr album.
Jeff argues that the Beatles kept on making good music after early 1970--they just didn't make it consistently. The gems are hidden amid the dross, he explains, but today such dross can simply be ignored or consigned to oblivion. Imagine if the Beatles kept making music, just not all together. Alone, or in twos and threes, they went into the studio--and then released the best and most Beatlesque of this solo material as, er, the Beatles Releasing Collective.
This is Jeff's alternate-universe...Allen Klein and Yoko Ono don't wedge the boys apart. A mysterious manager called Arnold Zonn (aka "Cap'n Arn") swoops in and consoles their roiling hearts. Zonn had the psychological acumen to persuade [the Beatles]...to carry on, in a new form that would address all their separate aspirations. And suddenly there's room for not just one or two more Beatles albums--but 40 years' worth.
Over 500 pages, Jeff creates, curates and defends six "core" albums, 16 bonus CD-Rs, and various LP revisions overseen by the 'Beatles Releasing Collective'. All, in a sense, are imaginary [but can be made]. There's 1982's MoonDogs, a kind of Lennon memorial, with song's like Paul's 'Here Today' and John's '(Just Like) Starting Over'. There's 2000's 45, a 3-disc set [that includes the] Anthology's 'Real Love' and 'Free as a Bird'...And, um, lots and lots more. Each has been meticulously assembled, sequenced and refined--these are not crude collections of the mop-tops' solo hits. Jeff writes with passion and all the half-crazy focus of a serious Beatles fan.
But is he right? By carefully culling the best of the after-Beatles Beatles, assembling these songs into albums, can you make something that lives up to the legacy?
Judge for yourself.
beatlesnews Sept. 23, 2011 (okvegascowgirl)
[Jeff Walker's] premise is finding a way to appreciate all the solo material available after 1970, and enjoy it as a Beatles fan. The alternative universe the author creates to explain the way he's approaching the project is fascinating: what if the Beatles had still broken up (sorta) but continued to record and release material under the umbrella of the Beatles Releasing Collective.
As interesting as are his explanation of the BRC and how it could have functioned to keep Beatles music alive and well--in the tradition of the 'White Album' (where there was much individual creativity happening)--it's the early section where he makes his case as to why he believes the breakup coud've easily been avoided in the first place that has me glued to the book.
He uses a zillion sources to pull examples of all the times between 1970 and 1980 the four alluded to the possibility of working together. I'd never been aware of quite a few of these quotes, but the conclusion is intriguing: it wasn't ever extreme animosity that kept the Beatles from working together; it was the legal ramifications of the lawsuits, all of which stemmed from the existence of Allen Klein. Walker argues that if only Allen Klein had been out of the picture earlier, so much legal conflict could have been resolved easier or even avoided altogether.
The boys talked about missing the others, about how nice it would be to play and write together etc. that it's very easy to believe in 'what could have been'.
[I] soon will be heavily into the practicalities of assembling the BRC library, composed of solo music that sounds very Beatles-esque, and of course solo material that involved more than one of the Beatles.
Top Customer Reviews
So I was skeptical, initially, about this new work. I could not imagine Jeff Walker finding a new angle from which to examine the group and their music. He's done the near-impossible, in my view. With his fascinating construct-the Beatle's Releasing Collective-Walker suggests an alternative history for the Fab Four; one in which they could grow as individuals and artists, make and sell their solo music, while maintaining a co-operative structure for marketing the best of that product. With the best of both worlds, Walker posits, the Beatles would have had less resistance to continuing to pool their talents and we, as listeners, would have been the beneficiaries.
And so Walker does what the cover of the book promises; he puts the Beatles back together, examines the music with a great deal of reverence, but also a great deal of pragmatism, and re-packages the music so that Beatle lovers might get to the best and leave the rest behind. Congratulations, Jeff Walker, on your contribution to a remarkable history.
I loved the Beatles as a group, but I was never fond of any of the solo work as albums. The chemistry was gone. Lennon's records were too acerbic, and McCartney's too sweet. My favorite of the solo records was "All Things Must Pass"; Ram had some material, and was beautifully produced; Lennon's first record was undeniably great, but I was seldom in the mood for it. After that I stopped listening, and I missed them.
Walker realized that the band's chemistry can be reconstituted over the course of an album by mixing the right solo songs, and the strength of this book is his complete commitment to this idea. His look at the post 1970 material is more thorough than any I've seen, and he's full of thoughts and little known facts about the four band members, especially Lennon.
George Harrison brought in Eric Clapton to play the solo on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", and introduced Billy Preston to the others during the "Let It Be" sessions. In the months before the Beatles' break-up Lennon remarked that he could see the various members each fronting his own version of the band, with different members. When rancor and business decisions split up the band Lennon's vision was delayed, but Walker's book puts it back on the table.Read more ›
The first part of the book he makes a very plausible argument for how this alternate reality of the Beatles recording solo but releasing their output collectively could happen.
The second part of the book is the first thing I was dissapointed with. He reconstructs the "Get Back" sessions that resulted in the Let It Be Album. I thought this was a book about the Beatles Solo output. Their actual history together needs no reconstucting.
The Rest of the book is spent going through the reconstructed albums. This is the second thing that realy disapointed me. He has the Beatles releasing new material only 4 times (6 if you count an all covers and a live album) in the 40 year span that the book covers. One in 1973, 1982, 2000 & 2010. Three of these sets are 3 disc sets and the other one a 2 disc set. There is no way that the Beatles would have waited so long to release their songs. In the decade of the 70's alone they had enough good material that I could see them easily releasing 6 albums (in 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1976 & 1979).I suspect that the author did not want to be forced to pick songs from such a limited time period of a year or two to construct these albums. His albums read more like a greatest hits collection rather than actual albums. Because of how they are constructed we sometimes have songs from more than 10 years apart apearing on the same album. Remember the Beatles only recorded together 8 years (1962-1969)and look how much their songs changed over that time. As solo artists the Beatles songs also changed dramatically over time.Read more ›
Today, December 8, is John Lennon Day. John Lennon, one of the greatest song writers of all time, promoted peace and love throughout the world. And here I am today enjoying Jeff Walker's new book about the Beatles. As a child of the sixties, I thought I'd heard almost everything about the Fab Four. But every page in this book contains a new interesting fact or story. Walker has done a hell of a lot of research here. Especially poignant to me are the stories that concern Lennon, written as backgrounds to the songs he wrote. For example, the song "Mother" reveals the Oedipal suggestion behind the line, "You had me, but I never had you." This song is a reason to delve into Lennon's youth - his complex and heartbreaking relationships with his mother, father, and Aunt Mimi. The background to Lennon's tribute to Yoko, "Woman," involves his first wife Cynthia, girlfriend May Pang, and, of course, Yoko.
Walker writes a background to almost every hit song recorded by John, Paul, George, and Ringo after 1970. I find these expositions interesting. "The Long and Winding Road" is a twisty road along Scotland's Mull of Kintyre peninsula that leads to Paul's farm. Ringo's hit 'Photograph' was inspired by real life drama. Walker tells us, "In late 1973 George Harrison not only shared a songwriting credit with Ringo for the number-one song "Photograph," he also shared the number-one woman in Ringo's life, Maureen." Speaking of George, he rescued financially the now classic Monty Python film Life of Brian, when EMI pulled out.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is fun if you like the concept, but, well, I don't. Imagine if someone made of list of everything good you had accomplished since you were in college, and then combined... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Enslowe
I was so excited about this book, and skimmed through it at first. First of all, I don't think 3 stars would do it justice, more about 3.5 stars. Read morePublished on April 19, 2013 by Steve Lockwood
Fascinating take on what might have been. You will want to create the suggested post-breakup CDs with your burner and continue the fantasy. Read morePublished on April 21, 2012 by Walrus
This book is well written and based on anintersting and innovative concept. Although i have a few issues with the track selections and edits, overall I have found that compiling... Read morePublished on January 9, 2012 by Tsardan
When I first heard about this book, I wasn't too sure. But then I read it, and couldn't stop myself thinking: is this fiction, fact, a mixture. Read morePublished on November 9, 2011 by D. A. Bedford
I'd never written an Amazon book review before. I was, though, thinking about doing one for this book when I ran across an exchange on a Beatles blog (`Hey Dullblog') that conveys... Read morePublished on September 27, 2011 by Old Enough to be a True Beatles Fan
I am intrigued by the concept that this book suggests. I am currently reading this book, and I can't wait to burn some CDs with the titles and running orders that this book... Read morePublished on September 24, 2011 by Richard M. Ceragioli
This book is much better than it is. The premise is sound, but the book itself is more than premise. Much more. Read morePublished on September 23, 2011 by Richard Courtney
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