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Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles (2006 original; edició 2007)
de Geoff Emerick (Autor), Howard Massey (Autor)
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Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles de Geoff Emerick (2006)
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Just when I thought I had nothing more to say about the Beatles:
I haven't read a book on the Beatles in nearly ten years at least. In fact, I can't think off the top of my head that I've read any book--at least cover to cover--chronicling a music artist since I graduated high school. Perhaps it's because I did it to death as a fanatical teenager, and I'm sure working at record stores plus this crazy, new contraption they call "The Internet" where you can just read snippets here and there PLUS having many musically-minded friends and family has sufficed in the meantime as well. And indeed, this book has been lying around my apartment for a year before I finally figured, "Huh. Maybe I should give this one a whirl."
Let me start by saying that it's been a while since I've read a book that I had so many qualms with and yet really ultimately enjoyed. Anyone who's spent a little time with me knows my history with the Beatles. To say I was (am?) obsessed is an understatement. I learned the word "monomaniacal" at the age of 13 when used by my parents to categorize my behavior (and appearance) after the anthologies first aired. To this day, of course decades after the group was together, I have yet to meet anyone personally, other than of course my dear friend Erin (who recommended this book), who have taken the obsession to such an extreme (which, yes, I feel qualified to say, especially experiencing the Event that is Beatlefest many times). I say all this because I already know a lot about the group with the addition of having so much of my life tied up with my experience of getting into the Beatles--it absolutely resounds a deep chord within me.
So I found reading Emerick's account at times quite frustrating. For one, the writing was not top-notch even with a music journalist in tow (although this makes me think of the Zappa quote: "Most rock journalism is people who can't write, interviewing people who can't talk, for people who can't read"), and Emerick occasionally adds some details of his own personal life that seem irrelevant and disrupt the flow at times. I mean, really--we're reading this book to find out about the Beatles. Also, I found his attitude a little off-putting when it came to addressing the albums he wasn't involved with...especially dismissing Rubber Soul, which, though it doesn't contain as much experimentation as Revolver, to me stands out as their point of departure in both musicality and songwriting from their earlier work.
My primary beef, though, was the rather heavy-handed idol worship of Paul McCartney. Granted, this is Emerick's story, Emerick's experience, but it really got hard to stomach at times. There were several points within his recollections where he made the other three Beatles seem little more than bumbling idiots who had no business being in the music business at all (and George Martin to be nothing short of a tyrant). They all had their problems, but Paul certainly was no exception. Besides, having read/watched/listened to so much of the Beatles and so many of the people they've ever associated with, I wasn't reading this to get another character analysis of the band--I wanted to get the technical side of the recording process, which is certainly not as frequent a commentary to be found. This reflection on character subsequently seemed to reveal inconsistencies in Emerick's approach to recording the Beatles. Take, for instance, the Sgt. Pepper sessions. If I read this correctly, to get the rich sound, he mentions how he put Paul's bass on a separate track--different from before when bass and drums were often heaped together--which was a bigger deal since they were recording on EMI's notoriously behind-the-times four-track machine. Yet, a little later he bemoans not being able to separate the distinct guitar styles of George and John...why not give them a chance then and record them on separate tracks, and putting the bass and drums back on the same track? He also complains about Lennon's abstractions, but seems blind to it when Paul speaks in them. Similarly, John's attention to detail--when it occured--was unwelcomed, but he bent over backwards for Paul. I actually started making a list of the bias, but got tired of keeping track.
To be fair, he has become close with Paul over the years in both their musical and personal lives, which makes his assessments a little easier to understand. I also realize that Paul had the most musical ability and variety of the group when first coming into the studio, which I'm sure that makes a sound engineer's job a lot easier to develop an overall sound, plus he's obviously the most pop oriented of the four. Additionally, his attitudes towards all four Beatles seemed fairer towards the end of their career. And for any egotism I found unsettling, I just reminded myself, "Well, it IS the Beatles we're talking about, and this IS the guy who helped develop some truly fantastic and innovative albums..." It's hard to live that one down.
Above all, though, I truly got a lot out of this memoir. Some of the more flamboyant recording tricks are pretty well documented (e.g., the whole of "Tomorrow Never Knows") so I already knew plenty about a lot of it. However, I've also forgotten a lot, too, as my rabid mania has calmed a bit over the last decade or so (or perhaps simply found different avenues) and delighted in refreshing my memory. I reveled in learning about the normal aspects of the recording process as well as the details pertaining to the laborious creativity of having to work with EMI's limited equipment. Ultimately, I truly appreciated the inspiration I got to go back and pour over the Beatles' albums once again (and am gearing up to watch the Anthologies over again). Unlike other things I've obsessed over, I've never really had a phase where I got burnt out on the Beatles, but it's definitely been a while since I've paid extra close attention to the nuances of the songs. And in listening so closely to the songs once again, I found myself completely overwhelemed. I am reminded of what the Beatles mean to me in the context of my life--how these sounds have shaped, influenced, and inspired me and will continue to do so. And so, in spite of the issues I had during the reading, I am grateful to have had Emerick's account provoke an awareness within of my connection to music.
Geoff Emerick was the recording engineer on many of the Beatles records, such as Revolver, Sergeant Pepper and Abbey Road (and parts of the White Album). The book has a ton of interesting details on how the records were made, and about the personalities of the four Beatles.
In particular it was extremely interesting to learn how they experimented and developed new sounds on Revolver and Sergeant Pepper. There is also a lot of information about John, Paul, George and Ringo, and many other people in their orbit, including many interesting anecdotes. The book is well written, and easy to read.
If you are interested in the Beatles, and want to learn more about how their music was developed and recorded, this is an excellent read.
I enjoyed this a lot and read it almost straight through. Emerick's recollections of events that happened 35-40 years before seem almost too detailed to believe, but given their importance and the personalities involved, I'm willing to give him he benefit of the doubt. He is definitely in Paul McCartney's camp, showing Paul as the leader and the stabilizing force who kept the Beatles together as long as he could. George Martin gets a lot of credit, but Emerick clearly considers his own contributions to be equal to achieving the best moments in the Beatles' recordings. (I didn't find Emerick to be the modest fellow Elvis Costello portrays him as in his introduction.) Throughout the book, George Harrison's guitar playing comes in for a LOT of criticism, as he fails take after take and, in a few cases, Paul McCartney has to step in to reel off an effortless solo after hours of Harrison's attempts. John Lennon emerges as the conflicted character we expect him to be. Certainly he's the most erratic and ultimately most interesting person here, but Emerick's depiction of Lennon's interactions with Yoko Ono are just plain weird. And I guess they were...
Definitely a book any Beatles fan will want to read. There are lots of details about the recordings that will have you pulling them out again, or streaming them, to see what Emerick is talking about. Most of us will agree with his observations on more modern music when there are unlimited recording tracks and unlimited digital tricks so that what emerges lacks the human element that made the Beatles such a lasting phenomenon.
I have to add a disclaimer on here - I'm a huge Beatles nut, so I'm going to devour just about anything written about them. But I have to say that this book is by far one of the best I've read so far. Geoff Emerick worked on several of the Beatles' early albums, and in 1966, he became their main sound engineer, which meant he helped create Revolver, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Abbey Road, and part of the White Album. This also means that he had a lot of insight into how the Beatles worked together, both creatively and personally.
The book is fairly straightforward: it chronicles Geoff's initial love of music, his first job at Abbey Road studios under producer George Martin, and his first encounters with the Beatles in 1962. While the narration deviates slightly to talk about other side projects Geoff was working on, it always comes back to his time with the Beatles in the studio, and watching their music evolve over the years.
The middle part of the book is where it really starts to get interesting, though, because these are the chapters when Geoff explains how Revolver & Sgt. Pepper were made, and how the tensions between the Beatles began to grow. The stories behind these innovative songs are fascinating, but the true heart of the book is Geoff's account of how the band came together to make music, and how outside pressures and creative differences ultimately drove them apart. There's a lot of emphasis on the Beatles' personalities, both individually and as a group, and it's this perspective that makes the book unique, as there weren't many people allowed inside the studio when the Beatles were recording.
There's a brief account of the work Geoff did on the Paul McCartney & Wings album, Band on the Run, but for me, this wasn't as interesting as his accounts of working with the entire band. The book is also very heavy on the technical details, which are likely to be foreign to anyone who doesn't have a background in music or in sound engineering, but I found it easy to skim over these parts. At any rate, the technical passages are a good representation of how much work went into these songs, particularly in the last half of the Beatles's career.
Despite the jargon-heavy nature of this book, there's a real sense of tragedy and loss when Geoff recalls the last few months before the Beatles dissolved for good. As a reader, I was present from the first energetic recording sessions at Abbey Road, so to see the Beatles grow, transform, and then fall apart before my eyes was heartbreaking. But Geoff's account also breathes new life into these songs; after all, who would have guessed that there was so much stress associated with the production of "All You Need is Love?"
This book is highly recommended for music fans & for Beatles fans, regardless of their familiarity with the technical aspects of music and recording. It breathes new life into the near-mythic story of the Beatles's rise and fall from power.
For an even more in-depth look at the Beatles's career, try Bob Spitz's biography, which tops out at one thousand pages - plenty of well-researched information to satisfy even the most die-hard Beatles fan.
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Much basic info on recording sessions—dates, who composed and played and sang what, and studio tricks—has long been available from various sources, but the virtue of Here, There and Everywhere is that it places these facts into the human context: the reader learns which constraints, whose brainstorms, and what tensions led to “the act you’ve known for all these years.”
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Wikipedia en anglès (23)
An engineer who worked with the Beatles during the productions of "Revolver," "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," and other albums describes his innovative recording techniques, and shares his insights into the band's creative processes.
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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)782.42166092The arts Music Vocal music Secular Forms of vocal music Secular songs General principles and musical forms Song genres Rock songs History, geographic treatment, biography Biography
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)
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After his descriptions of Revolution and Sgt. Peppers I had to stop reading and go listen to the albums so I could hear for myself what Emerick is describing. ( )