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Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles Paperback – February 15, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Emerick was a fresh-faced young engineer in April 1966 when producer George Martin offered him the chance to work with the Beatles on what would become Revolver. He lasted until 1968, when tensions within the group, along with the band members' eccentricities and the demands of the job, forced him to quit after The White Album, exhausted and burned out. In this entertaining if uneven memoir, Emerick offers some priceless bits of firsthand knowledge. Amid the strict, sterile confines of EMI's Abbey Road studio, where technicians wore lab coats, the Beatles' success allowed them to challenge every rule. From their use of tape loops and their labor-intensive fascination with rolling tape backwards, the Beatles—and Emerick—reveled in shaking things up. Less remarkable are Emerick's personal recollections of the band members. He concedes the group never really fraternized with him—and he seems to have taken it personally. The gregarious McCartney is recalled fondly, while Lennon is "caustic," Ringo "bland" and Harrison "sarcastic" and "furtive." Still, the book packs its share of surprises and will delight Beatle fans curious about how the band's groundbreaking records were made. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Emerick was only 15 when he began working with the Beatles as an assistant engineer at Abbey Road Studios. Later, as a 19-year-old full engineer, he was on board for the seminal Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Always aiming for perfection, the Beatles never took no for an answer, and he did his best to oblige by developing innovative recording techniques, some simple (e.g., using a loudspeaker as a microphone), others more sophisticated. Being the Beatles' engineer wasn't entirely pleasant. Eventually, during the tense and uncomfortable White Album sessions, the Beatles barely spoke to one another without anger, and Emerick quit before recording was finished. But he returned to work on Abbey Road and several McCartney solo records, including Band on the Run. Anyone interested in the Beatles and their music ought to love Emerick's as-told-to insider's account of working with the world's most famous band when they made their most famous music. June Sawyers
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
It’s clear that Emerick has a pro-McCartney bias. This is partly due to Paul being more friendly toward him than the others right from the beginning. But it's also because he holds the opinion that McCartney was the "pure musician" of the group. Given McCartney’s proficiency on bass, fingerstyle acoustic guitar, lead guitar, piano and even drums, it’s hard to argue with that. However, Emerick also holds a dim view of George and Ringo as musicians, and it should be noted that others, such as Beatles engineer Ken Scott, had a much higher opinion of the talents of the latter two than does Emerick and have flatly stated their disagreement in that regard. Of course, as someone who was there, Emerick is certainly entitled to his opinion.
It should be mentioned that McCartney is not always presented in a flattering light either. Emerick notes that he was driven and could sometimes be overbearing to his band mates. He was even testy and bad-tempered at times, like all of the Beatles, in the group’s latter years. Meanwhile John comes off in the book as very talented but moody, impatient, somewhat lazy, and often high as a kite in the studio. He could be incredibly sweet and charming, according to Emerick, and sometimes very angry and nasty. Based on what we now know, that’s probably fairly accurate.
Where this book shines is in the descriptions of the recording process. From about 1966 on, the Beatles were searching for unusual sounds--a guitar that didn’t sound like a guitar, for instance--and it was the job of the engineer to figure out how to make it happen. Fortunately for the Beatles, Emerick was young and experimental and willing to break the steadfast EMI rules about how recording was to be done, which often landed him in hot water with the administrative higher ups. While George Martin was a gifted producer and orchestral and vocal arranger, it’s clear that he relied heavily on the engineers to satisfy the Beatles’ demands in their quest for the ultimate sound. Fortunately for the Beatles, Emerick was there to help through most of it.
Emerick is clearly very enamored of the Revolver/Sgt. Pepper period. The White Album that later followed in 1968 was such a wide departure and so different from the 1966/1967 period, perhaps this is why (incredibly to me) Emerick finds the White Album to be virtually unlistenable. Or perhaps it’s because he worked on it very little and thought he could have done it better. Either way, I’ve always felt it was a fine and diverse album, though again he is entitled to his dismissive opinion about it.
There is lots of interesting recording minutia scattered throughout the book. For instance, we find out why the alarm clock rings on “A Day in the Life” and learn that it was pure serendipity that it ended up dovetailing nicely with the “Woke up, fell out of bed” section in the middle. Working within the limitations of four-track tape recording, Emerick helped pioneer much of what we now take for granted in the greatly expanded digital recording world and it’s interesting to see the process unfold.
As for the breakup of the greatest band ever, Emerick actually goes pretty easy on Yoko, though he notes the tension and disruption her presence clearly caused. By 1969, as Emerick saw it, the Beatles were basically going in different directions musically--and in personal life--as well as growing sick and tired of one another amidst the clash of egos.
All in all, this is a fun and interesting read. I recommend it to any Beatles fan. You may find yourself in disagreement with some of his opinions, and there are some occasional factual issues, but this book really helps illumine the recording process of some of the most iconic pop/rock music ever produced.
Emerick in this story has a nice way of rendering song-making accessible to a layman (like myself) who does not have an abundance of technical knowledge regarding recording. This book is accessible to the average fan (and I expect would also excite the technophile who does possess an understanding of how audio techniques come together in modern recordings).
Add to this that Emerick was a witness to the interplay of the Beatles in the studio for Revolver, Sgt. Pepper, and Abbey Road (in addition to their other albums - missing only Rubber Soul, The White Album and Let It Be, I believe). The Beatle stories are fascinating in their own right. Joining his rich history of band anecdotes and the evolution of their relations as band mates to the story of how their pioneering sounds were made makes this book an enjoyable twofer in Beatle writings.
An intersting and fascinating well-written account.