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Showing 1-10 of 314 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 499 reviews
on June 6, 2016
Geoff Emerick’s “Here, There and Everywhere” is a fascinating book for any Beatles fan and I would recommend it, though it is not without its problems. Emerick had the opportunity to be the proverbial fly on the wall pretty much throughout the entire Beatles recording odyssey, starting initially as an underling in the early sessions and eventually becoming the recording engineer by the time of the Revolver sessions. He quit early on in the making of the White Album, amidst the well-documented acrimony in the studio, but later returned for Abbey Road.

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.
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VINE VOICEon September 6, 2017
This is a book for Beatles fans. I've read articles and books on the lyric side of Beatle songs over the years. They generally are fascinating (though somewhat of a guessing game due to changing Beatle explanations / thoughts on various songs over time). Lyrics of course are only a part of the song. Geoff Emerick, longtime EMI / Apple engineer for the Beatles, gives a detailed account of how the sounds were recorded and adulterated to produce many of the pioneering songs the Beatles brought to popular music. The Beatles, and Emerick, were creative in their willingness to try new methods of making music. Sometimes, this involved a Beatle saying, as John Lennon did on "Tomorrow Never Knows", from Revolver, "I want my voice to sound like the Maharishi singing from a hilltop far away" (or to that effect). The teen-aged Emerick would be the one to try and turn what was in a Beatle head into an audio rendering. This could involve anything from re-wiring speakers to be microphones, using a recorder meant for an organ, putting blankets in Ringo's drums or raiding the EMI library for snippets that made songs like "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite" the idiosyncratic tune it is. Emerick was a genius at experimentation and was willing to break the EMI rules to allow the Beatles to set new frontiers for their sounds. He was aided in this by George Martin, who gave Emerick a lot of latitude to try new things and the fact that the Beatles were pretty much floating EMI and not a band to be told "no" when they wanted to go off-script in the studio.

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.
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on January 30, 2010
Initially I was very taken by Geoff Emerick's story of his role as recording engineer for some of The Beatles' later albums. There is a lot to like about this book with its bird's eye view of the recording process, sitting elbow to elbow with George Martin, and explaining some of the innovations forced by the creativity of The Beatles and their restless demands for new sounds, especially in view of the stodgy conservatism of EMI. So hats off to Emerick for facilitating some of this great music by breaking rules left and right and experimenting intuitively to get the sounds they were groping for. Clearly he was a very creative sound engineer, just the ticket for this very creative group of musicians. I also enjoyed the story of his coming of age as a recording engineer. However his tone sours as the book goes on, to the extent that I found myself having to push through about the last third. I suppose this is fair enough given the souring of relations among The Beatles, but it doesn't make for very good reading. Apparently Emerick was a sensitive plant who couldn't bear the fall from grace of his heroes into pettiness and quarrelling.

But I was very surprised by how harsh Emerick is on George Harrison. Of course he was there, I wasn't. But if George Harrison's musicianship was really as limited and plodding as Emerick describes, it's hard to see how he would have come this far with this quick thinking, quick witted, musically restless and somewhat impatient bunch of musicians. Emerick describes Harrison as taking hours trying to work out a "Taxman" solo, only to have Paul say let me give it a go, and then rip off that smashing solo in two takes or so. Well, like I said, Emerick was there, but this view of Harrison permeates the book, it's not just about Paul grabbing the spirit of one song more quickly. I find this view of Harrison ungenerous and have to wonder about its accuracy. Sure, I sometimes ask the question "when did George stop being Carl Perkins and become himself?" And I find the tone of superiority that characterizes more than a few of his songs a bit tedious at times. But is it really true that he was so far behind his band mates as a musician that they had to cover for him? He certainly holds his own in the middle spot of that wonderful, single take, 3 guitar stand off in "The End" on Abbey Road.

It seems like every book I read on The Beatles as a group or as individuals, has this same kind of myopia. Is this a requirement of the genre - to establish for posterity which one was the lesser musician, or the odd man out, or the one to blame for whatever you want to blame them for. Geesh - like Lennon said later, "we were just a rock band that made it very, very big." One of the great understatements of all time, but right to the point in insisting that they were just four people making music together. The important words here are people and together. All this talk about which one's the genius (was it Lennon, was it McCartney, was it Martin), is useless and beside the point. What is the point? The point is the alchemy of four people making music together. And in that there will always be an element of mystery.
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on May 13, 2017
Potentially has much to offer. The problems are Emerick's constant lobbying against what Lennon, and his tendency towards a repetitive all-was-lost-until-I-found-the-problem narrative.

The portraits of Lennon and McCartney are extremely split; there is a constant glorifying of McCartney, and diminishment of Lennon that is quite narrow and seems driven by some motive. It is interesting if he can offer some reality on these much mythologized figures, even if negative, but the portraits--composed of a mixture of exactly precise dialogue so often aimed at making a particular point seems both implausibly remembered with such exactitude, and untrue. The portrait of Harrison, for whom he is also sour, but seems to have had less invested in, seems somewhat truer, and his observations on Starkey seem to have a bit less invested in them, and perhaps a bit more actual humanity.

The main points of the book are: He didn't like Lennon; he liked McCartney; he came to the rescue a lot. There is a great deal of humble bragging.

This makes the early pages--before he worked with the Beatles, when he was just coming up--the most interesting.

McCartney is to be admired, and his contributions to the inventiveness of the Beatles were likely underrated. This book does not help in that cause, as Emerick is so repeatedly caught up in pushing this point that it appears to reflect some inner trait or bias, and to the detriment of fuller observations.

Granted, he is a technician, not a writer, and in detailing his work, must adopt some perspective. I think that the pull towards what the Beatles had to offer all of those who worked in their orbit was quite powerful, both in what people hoped for as well as in what they obtained.
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on April 22, 2016
Geoff is obviously a huge McCartney fan.He never misses a chance to mention how great McCartney was(is).If you believe his version of The Beatles, McCartney WAS The Beatles,telling Ringo how to play drums,telling George how to play guitar and taking the lead parts on several songs because in Geoff's words George was "fumble fingers."He never misses a chance to get a dig in at George.I almost stopped reading the book because of his many negative comments about George.All four of the Beatles were amazing artist and as time has shown the four together are much better than any of them as solo artist.Also Geoff never misses a chance for self aggrandizement.From his point of view he basically invented the Beatle "sound" from "Rubber Soul" onward marginalizing George Martin's massive contribution.Having said all of that I did enjoy reading about the Beatle interactions in the studio.That is the only reason I gave it three stars.I finished the book not caring much for Geoff.
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on August 29, 2017
I could not put this book down. At first, I was a little disappointed by the bias that Emerick seems to have towards Paul and against the other three Beatles, as others have commented. However, as I kept reading, I discovered he does not spend the entire book bashing John, George, and Ringo, and he has some great compliments/positive stories to share about them as well. I just loved all the fun facts I learned by reading this book and all the in-studio glimpses that Emerick shares. This book is a must for any Beatles fan who enjoys soaking up knowledge about the Fab Four.
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on January 27, 2013
Quelle surprise, the reviews and comments to Here, There and Everywhere a continuation of the never-ending feud about who was the best Beatle.

So, about the book. I found it an interesting read that became more interesting as it went along. Yes I was a bit surprised at the dismissive comments about George, Ringo, and even John's musicianship. (Although the sketches of their personalities rings true to what I've seen and read elsewhere.) I can accept the fact that George might not always have been capable of rendering the sounds Paul wanted for the lead pieces. This says as much about Paul's authoritarianism (and pride of authorship and creation) as it does about George's ability, at least to me. It would not surprise me at all if Paul could get the sound down he wanted and had conceived faster or better than George could. That George Martin didn't care for Ringo's work on Love Me Do is also well-known. And I'm willing to acknowledge's Geoff right to call it as he saw it. Bear in mind also though, that simply because he was "there" this does not preclude his, or perhaps his coauthor's, possible interest now in stirring the pot a bit to make the book controversial and thus perhaps more worth purchasing. Geoff pointed out the commercial motivations even the Beatles had in rushing out product that he felt might have been done better with more time.

Perhaps I found most interesting the post-Abbey Road material, as it was new to me. Other than Geoff's opinions, most of what went before was not exactly revelatory.

I do suspect that some of the earliest conversations might be what might have been said, rather than what was said, or might have been mashups of bits said in separate conversations. This can be laid off to literary license as well as lapse of time. I would have liked even more technical details. It's interesting that Geoff acknowledges toward the end that he was not someone with a grasp of the theoretical or scientific aspects of recording and acoustics. He certainly did have a native ability to apply what was before him to help create the sounds. I'm grateful for that and that he finally came round to putting it down for a book, before there aren't any of us left who can appreciate what it was like hearing it in the moment.
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on December 11, 2016
As an audio engineer from the end of the analog era I found Emerick's tales very reminicent of my own experiences.
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on May 6, 2016
This is a " take you into the room" look at how the Beatles "team" made recording history. To think that Sgt. Peppers was recorded on four tracks is astonishing. Today's musicians ( I am one whose own career goes back to the late 60's) have every bell and whistle known to mankind on their own laptops but know so much less than these pioneers did about the "how to" innovations that brought multi-track recording into the present era. A fun must read for all musicians, engineers, and producers. I was somewhat flattened by the insiders' view of the personalities of the fab four, but that was in itself enlightening.
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on November 16, 2016
Great and entertaining book if you a re a Beatles fan and interested in recording techniques. Love it
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