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New Beatles book chronicles 100 pivotal moments in their story

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The world of Beatles books is vast and deep. Virtually every aspect of that unprecedented globe-altering musical force has been dissected, analyzed, and disseminated in book form dating back to 1964. A fledgling fan searching for a compelling and accurate entry point could easily become bewildered simply by the sheer volume of options, while a seasoned Beatles bibliophile might feel as though every little thing has already been covered.

Music journalist John Borack has written a book that serves both camps well with “The Beatles 100: 100 Pivotal Moments in Beatles History” (Rare Bird Books) where he ranks and devotes a chapter to each of what he feels are the most consequential moments in their story.

Borack, a self-professed power-pop maniac, says his love of music started with The Beatles. His feature articles, columns and reviews have appeared in Goldmine, the music collector’s magazine, since 1986. When he isn’t consumed with writing about music, he’s playing it with a series of southern California bands, including The Armoires, The Pop Dudes, The Test Pressings, The Used Electrics, and a Beatles cover combo called Let It Be. He is the author of “Shake Some Action: The Ultimate Guide to Power Pop” and “John Lennon: Life is What Happens.”

The Maine Edge: How did you go about selecting the 100 pivotal moments in The Beatles’ story that you selected for chapters in your book?

John Borack: Lots of research, obviously, but it was easy to select many of those pivotal moments. For example, it was a pivotal moment when John Lennon met Paul McCartney, and again when John met Yoko Ono. I also wanted to delve into some of the records that I thought were high points in their solo careers, in addition to the records that I felt were the best ones that deserved special attention from The Beatles’ career itself.

They were strong personalities as well so there are personal moments chronicled in the book, for example when both George Harrison and Eric Clapton were in love with Pattie Harrison, when Paul met Linda Eastman and when Linda joined Wings. A friend of mine who read the book said I could have gone on for another one hundred, and he’s probably right.

The Maine Edge: How do you explain our continuing obsession with The Beatles nearly 60 years on from “Love Me Do?”

John Borack: I think it comes down to the quality of the music. There was no one like The Beatles, particularly in that era, that was writing such quality songs for every album front to back. In the ‘60s, with bands like Herman’s Hermits or the Dave Clark Five, you had the hits, maybe a couple of deep cuts, and some throwaways on their long-players, but The Beatles didn’t really do that. They had their singles, which oftentimes, especially in the U.K., weren’t even on the album. Then you had Beatles albums packed with songs that could have been hits. The quality of the music and songwriting has withstood the test of time.

The Maine Edge: It’s mind-boggling to think about all of the different elements that needed to fall into place in order for The Beatles’ story to unfold as it did. For example, they had to fail the Decca Records audition or they wouldn’t have met George Martin at EMI a few months later. It’s almost as if their incredible story was pre-ordained to occur. Do you have a favorite example of that?

John Borack: Well, the Pete Best situation is one of those moments, and I cover that in “The Beatles 100.” If George Martin hadn’t told them “I don’t like your drummer” after they were signed to EMI, it’s possible they would not have gotten rid of him. I think they were driven to succeed, and they listened carefully to George, and to a lesser extent, Brian Epstein.

I think Ringo joining the band just before they began their recording career was a pivotal moment. They maybe could have made it with Pete Best, but I don’t think they would have ended up being the world-wide phenomenon that they were.

The Maine Edge: In November, we’ll finally get to see the six-hour Peter Jackson documentary “The Beatles: Get Back” based on the January 1969 “Let it Be” film and album sessions. How much are you looking forward to it?

John Borack: I cannot wait to see that, but I do think it’s going to be a little bit of revisionist history, just a touch. I always tell my kids that when you’re looking for the truth, it’s usually somewhere in the middle. The original version of “Let It Be” from 1970 didn’t show The Beatles in the best light. It was sort of sad and dour and there was arguing going on. Now, they’re looking to show people “Hey, it wasn’t bad, The Beatles were having fun, they were pals that loved each other.” They did but I think the truth of those sessions is that there were good times and there were bad times. But I do love seeing the happy Beatles because that brings back happy memories and will make everyone feel good, plus there’s all that great music as a bonus.

Last modified on Wednesday, 11 August 2021 07:12


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