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The Beatles At Shea Stadium: The Story Behind Their Greatest Concert Paperback – November 28, 2013
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"The concert and excitement surrounding the performance is described in amazing detail based on unedited live recordings and eyewitness accounts which appear throughout the book, including hundreds of little-known facts about the TV special produced by Ed Sullivan which aired on ABC, as well as the secret recording session to overdub the live audio for network broadcast." - Queens Gazette
"In this new book, author Dave Schwensen focuses solely on this Beatles concert and the history surrounding it. What follows is a fascinating book that chronicles the entire life cycle of this legendary show, from its inception to its execution and aftermath." - The Rock and Roll Chemist
"The book reveals everything one would want to know about the historic concert, from the weather to the songs to the sound system and marketing. The Beatles at Shea Stadium: The Story Behind Their Greatest Concert makes a welcome addition to any Beatle fan's library, as it fills in a significant knowledge gap."- Something Else! Reviews
"'The Beatles At Shea Stadium' offers multiple and valuable perspectives. Recollections from audience members, the concert photographer, a reporter and DJs put the reader at the scene, effectively presenting a complete picture of the sights and sounds of the humid New York night. Schwensen wisely stands aside and lets his subjects tell their stories... These figures reveal small moments such as Ringo Starr sitting alone on a bench signing autographs, and George Harrison anxiously peeking out onto the stage to witness the ecstatic crowd." - Beatlefan Magazine
From the Inside Flap
The date was August 15, 1965...
During a decade historic for change and innovation, it was an event that shook the innocence of pop music concerts into the sophistication of stadium rock. It was ground breaking and electrifying. It was a happening before the term happening was groovy. It survives in the memory of anyone who was there to experience the excitement, thrill, mania and love surrounding four young men who defined an image and created a soundtrack for a generation that came of age in the 1960s. For fans, associates and the innovators themselves, the echoes from a hot summer night in New York still resonate through the years.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book gives all the background to the concert, including information on promoter Sid Bernstein and New York DJ’s Cousin Brucie Morrow and Murray the K. Many people who attended the concert, either as a fan or because they were involved in the show in some way, are interviewed and share their stories of that momentous day. In 1965, the attendance and revenue were record breaking – it was the height of Beatlemania and the birth of stadium rock. In many ways, it was a concert that changed the music scene forever, with bands afterwards demanding a larger share of the profits and better security, sound and organisation. Yet, despite the obvious need for crowd control, it seems to have been a good natured and happy event. Fans recall the constant screaming, like “white noise”, but the police were there simply to protect them and scoop them up if they broke towards the stage. Nobody was hurt, nobody fought, there was no trouble – just an overwhelming excitement and enjoyment.
Every song performed is looked at in depth, including the finale of “I’m Down” – where, famously, John played the keyboard with his elbow, as the band gave up battling the roar of the crowd and just performed with enjoyment. Having arrived nearby by helicopter, even the fans wondered how they would “get away”. They were finally whisked away in a station wagon and, as fan Doug Fernandez recalled, “It was electric, it was fun and then it was over.” Years later, when Paul played with Billy Joel at the last show held at Shea, the same man drove him to the stage who had driven the band on that first show.
This is a fascinating account of that day. It has detailed information on everything about that ground breaking concert and also about the making of the television special. Many documents are hard to read, but the author assumed (correctly) that completists will want to see them and, where possible, letters are transcribed. There is a very interesting letter from M. Clay Adams to his son, Michael, after he travelled to London to record the Beatles overdubs for the tv special, including his impressions of both George Martin and the Beatles.
It is also interesting to note that, amongst the crowd at Shea that day were many famous faces – including the Rolling Stones and also Meryl Steep – who was keen to tell Paul that she had made a banner for him saying, “I’ll love you forever, Paul”, when she presented him with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (he said he remembered it!). Also there were both Linda Eastman and Barbara Bach, yet to meet their future husbands in person. This is a wonderful collection of memories and stories and, although it is obviously about one specific event, it is a must read for Beatles fans.
I really tried to like this book but the entire first half was so boring I kept putting it down. The second half though, which is about the re-recording in January 1966, of the concert soundtrack in preparation for television broadcast, is really fascinating. Included in this part are the actual documents connected to this project and even a very interesting letter about the Beatles from the producer's son who was living in England, to his father. Finally this section contains wonderful impressions of the Beatles....how they worked together, and with other people connected to the re-recording project, and what they were like individually. Perhaps this section is the reason for all the five star reviews. It's certainly a reason to recommend this book. However because I found the first 50 percent of the book so boring, I had to knock off two stars and only give it three. It's not the author's fault that people are often self centered and dull, and therefore their stories are dull. I give Mr Schwensen a lot of credit for a book that is very well put together, and well written. If only he had been able to find more interesting people connected with the actual concert, this would have been a five star book. I'm sure the task of finding people who actually had something worthwhile to say, would be daunting to any author.