Book Reviews - Beatles In The News

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Reviews of 'In the News' books

Two new books that look back at Beatles' press archives are must-haves

From Steve Marinucci

Steve Marinucci's website, Abbeyrd's Beatles Page, is widely regarded as the most accurate Beatles news source on the internet. 

A former journalist for over 30 years at the San Jose Mercury News, he has interviewed celebrities including Yoko Ono, Pattie Boyd, Mark Lewisohn, David Bedford, Bruce Johnston and May Pang.

"The Beatles in the News 1962 - 1963"
"Paul McCartney in the News 1969 - 1973"



Going back and reading the various books retelling the Beatles' story is nothing compared to looking at the original press clippings, which Colin Barratt has compiled in two fantastic just-published books, the first in a series of volumes that will feature scans from British music papers of original press clipping the author told Beatles Examiner June 1. “The Beatles In the News 1962 - 1963” features many long forgotten (and for Americans probably never seen) clips of the day along with original ads.

One of the earliest items in the 70-page Beatles volume includes a one-sentence report of the Beatles recording “Love Me Do.” What's interesting is that the item is buried in the third paragraph of a story of “New Disc Signings” that's headlined by a group of schoolgirls, Susan McGowan and Mary McGlynn, who signed with Decca. You've heard of them, right? Also included is a scan of the Oct. 26, 1962 debut of “Love Me Do” in the NME Top Thirty at #27, an ad for the first issue of the Beatles Book,

A companion volume, “Paul McCartney In the News: 1969 – 1973,” at roughly 86 pages, covers the end of the Beatles and the early years of his solo career. It includes clips of his marriage to Linda McCartney; Paul, wife Linda McCartney and newborn daughter Mary; his split from the Beatles and some of the press, both good and bad, that Paul received when he went solo. One clipping tells of a dispute with Northern Songs over Paul's claim that Linda wrote half of “Another Day” and should be compensated for it. According to the clip, “Northern Songs chairman Jack Gill is seeking proof that she is capable of composing such music.”

There have been other news item compilations, including “The Beatles: The Press Reports,” but this one does that one better with the actual scans and not just text. “The Beatles in the News: 1964: Volume 1” is due later this year. The McCartney volume will be followed by a book covering 1974-1978.

Ebook and print versions are available from Amazon in the U.S. Print versions are also available from Amazon in Great Britain. Barratt and Tony Parish are also co-authors of “Around the Beatles,” a book on the Beatles' appearance on that TV show that's available digitally through Apple's Newsstand.

The Beatles in the News: 1962-1963
By S Riaz (HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE) on 2 May 2015

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase


As a Beatles fan, I am always drawn to primary sources – so this book of news clippings, taken from various magazines and newspapers from 1962 – 1963 seemed irresistible. 

Compiled by an author, who first became a fan in 1963 at the age of seven, this is really just a personal collection of press cuttings. However, the author makes no suggestion this is anything more than something he wishes to share with fans and it certainly is not definitive, even though it is very enjoyable to read through. Mark Lewisohn has suggested the first time that the Beatles appeared in the press was when they were involved in a minor traffic accident during their tour of Scotland with Johnny Gentle, when their van crashed and hapless, then drummer, Tommy Moore, was taken to hospital – only to be dragged out of it some hours later by an irate John Lennon who expected him on stage.

So, what is included in this collection? It is a shame that so many of the clippings do not have the date or publication shown – although, from the dates shown on some of the papers, you can follow the timeline. 

The pieces begin with mention of Tony Sheridan and the Beatles making their debut on Polydor and are later followed by tiny ads for, “Love Me Do.” Sadly, “Love Me Do,” later received only a three star review in one paper, with “P.S. I Love You,” (the B-side) described as having a “poorish arrangement.” Yet, one newspaper later expresses surprise that they, “wrote their own hit,” (sending an ominous warning note to Tin Pan Alley) and there is some exaggeration with the quote, “they had several discs released on the Continent.”

As time goes on, the tours get bigger and so does success. By November of 1963, newspapers are reporting on stories of Beatlemania, sweeping the country, being shown on US television – while one lone letter from a British Beatlefan warns that the Beatles will be pushed into seclusion, “like Elvis,” if the mania goes on (as they later would, indeed, retreat to the studio). 

The press also reports not just on the Beatles, but Merseybeat, such as Cilla’s debut, and there are copies of tickets and flyers. However, one of the interesting thing about this collection, is that there are still links from the early days – including an interview with Cavern DJ, Bob Wooler, who sings their praises – calling them, among other things, “musically authoritative and physically magnetic,” and demonstrating that Beatlemania had been seen, in a smaller and more local form, for a long time before it hit nationally.

Although I really enjoyed this collection, there were some small problems with the Kindle edition. 

Firstly, I would have liked each clipping to have been dated, although I accept that may not have been possible. However, what was difficult was problems in reading all the text. You can zoom into the news clippings, thankfully, but still some of them are hard to read. If you zoom in on the smaller pieces, just a column or two, they are clear and I could read them. However, if you zoom in on some of the larger pieces – you lose some of the print and it is not always clear. Sadly, that marred my enjoyment of this collection slightly, which was a shame, as this is an interesting collection. However, having squinted my way through some of the longer articles, I found this interesting enough to know that I will certainly download further volumes and I am grateful that this fan made his collection available for us to read.

Beatles - In The News 1965

Just received 'Beatles In the News 1965' and boy is it good! - I can lose myself for hours in these books! 

For some reason they evoke far more powerful memories than other books about the Beatles, so keep 'em coming!
Thanks Colin

From 'Beatles Examiner' - authored by Steve Marinucci (July 2015)

"A collection of vintage news items on the Beatles' George Harrison will be the next release in author Colin Barratt's outstanding “Beatles in the News” reference book series, the author told Beatles Examiner July 26. 

I'm aiming at getting the Harrison book proofs by the end of this week," he said today. The book will be available shortly thereafter.

See the rest of the article here...!

From 'Beatles Examiner' - authored by Steve Marinucci (August 2015)

The library of Colin Barratt's “Beatles in the News” books has now expanded to 11 with the most recent volumes of vintage newspaper stories for the years 1965 through 1969, and more are planned, the author told Beatles Examiner.

The latest books also feature individual volumes covering Ringo Starr and George Harrison. 

These are in addition to the volumes that were already available – a book covering the years 1962 to 1963, another about 1964, plus “Paul McCartney In the News 1969-1973” and “John Lennon In the News 1969-1975.”

The format on all of them is the same. The books are in a scrapbook format with scans of original clips of newspaper stories arranged on the pages. The attractive thing is that the stories are ones that most people won't remember. And for Americans, they'll likely be ones they've never seen since Barratt usually makes use of British publications.

What's really valuable is finding stories of things that didn't happen, like the news the Beatles turned down an offer to return to the Royal Variety Show in 1965. As Paul McCartney told New Musical Express (NME), “We don't mind doing a show for charity, but we'd rather do it with our kind of audience.” 

A 1969 headline reported that Ringo Starr and Raquel Welch, who was in “The Magic Christian” with him, were both invited to appear in an Elvis Presley TV special.

And it's also funny to read people's opinions of the Beatles back in the day. 
A letter from a Record Mirror reader called “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band” “childish.” “I find it very hard to believe the tracks were written by the Beatles; I'm sure they were written by a four-year-old child.” 
The fan ends her comments saying, “I was a great fan of you Beatles but that was when you were all normal people.”

For anyone interested in archival Beatles material and Beatles history, these are just a blast. 

The next releases will be “Beatles in the News 1970,” “The Early Beatles in the News” and “Paul McCartney 1974-1978,” Barratt says. 

The books can be ordered through,, Lulu, and Beatles in the News.

(See the entire article and images here)

(Amazon 10th August)

"Really enjoyed looking at all the old articles etc"
(Polythene Pam)

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