Beatles Monthly Book No.1 August 1963

JOHN­NY DEAN GIVES THE BACK­GROUND TO THE LAUNCH­ING OF THE BEA­TLES' OWN FAN MAG­AZINE The idea that the Bea­tles should have a mag­azine of their own first came to me when “Please Please Me” topped the charts in Febru­ary 1963. Al­though Bri­an Ep­stein liked the idea and want­ed to go ahead as soon as pos­si­ble, it seemed ages be­fore ev­ery­one had agreed the de­tails and the first is­sue of the Bea­tles Book hit the news-​stands on 1 st Au­gust 1963. Even in those ear­ly days Bri­an would not do any­thing “un­less the boys agreed”, be­cause he re­alised that hav­ing their own fan mag­azine was not just an­oth­er venue to be played but an im­por­tant step which would af­fect them for years af­ter­wards. It took sev­er­al ex­changes of let­ters to sort out the deal be­cause in 1963 Bri­an al­ways start­ed busi­ness ne­go­ti­ations by ask­ing for 50% of the prof­its. As the fa­mous SELTAEB mer­chan­dis­ing deal in the States proved a cou­ple of years lat­er, it was a very bad ap­proach to any mer­chan­dis­ing or pub­lish­ing ven­ture. Most man­agers in­vari­ably asked for a roy­al­ty on ev­ery copy sold. That way the artists got their mon­ey and if the pub­lish­er made a loss on the deal that was his bad luck. But the prime con­sid­er­ation back in those heady days was that the Bea­tles had to like you or, at least, be will­ing to put up with you if you were go­ing to work with them. Edit­ing their mag­azine meant that I would have to be at most im­por­tant events and lots of mi­nor ones too, sit­ting in on record­ing ses­sions, stand­ing around the dress­ing room on tour and watch­ing from the wings while they per­formed on stage. So we would have to get on with each oth­er. Bri­an said he'd ar­range a meet­ing so that I could dis­cuss ev­ery­thing with John, Paul, George and Ringo. My very first meet­ing with the Bea­tles took place in the BBC Play­house The­atre on the Thames Em­bank­ment in Lon­don where they were record­ing a Sat­ur­day Club ra­dio show for the BBC. Any­one who has ev­er been near a the­atre or cin­ema when a re­al­ly big celebri­ty is ap­pear­ing will know the kind of at­mo­sphere that is cre­at­ed by their mere pres­ence, and the Bea­tles were cer­tain­ly gen­er­at­ing a lot of elec­tric­ity by the spring of 1963. Small groups of girls were all over the place hud­dled to­geth­er in quick con­fer­ences to de­cide the best place to see the Bea­tles. Sud­den­ly a lit­tle group would break up and rush off hav­ing re­ceived one of those mys­te­ri­ous ru­mours that “they were just get­ting out of a car round the front” or “were just about to emerge from a side en­trance”. When I en­tered the foy­er a BBC door­man viewed me with the great­est sus­pi­cion. Giv­ing me a 'you're do­ing a very bad job of hid­ing those cou­ple of fans you've stuck un­der your jack­et' look he fi­nal­ly agreed to let me pass. A few quick en­quiries re­vealed that the Bea­tles were sit­ting up­stairs. I walked up the side stairs and emerged in­to the gloom at the back of the cir­cle. The four Bea­tles were in the seats down on the right. FLASH­LIGHTS Fa­mous peo­ple sel­dom look like their pub­lic­ity pic­tures. The Bea­tles cer­tain­ly didn't. Per­haps it was the lack of flash­lights glint­ing in their eyes or the fact that I had a chance to com­pare them with oth­er peo­ple stand­ing around. What­ev­er the rea­son, they were a bit small­er and thin­ner — no, a lot thin­ner than I had ex­pect­ed. And they all looked very sub­dued and solemn. There was ab­so­lute­ly no trace of the smil­ing, lark­ing, wise-​crack­ing boys from Liv­er­pool that I had read about. It quick­ly be­came ob­vi­ous that Paul was go­ing to do most of the talk­ing. I'd ob­vi­ous­ly passed the 'John test' which con­sist­ed of a quick once-​over from be­hind his glass­es. Paul sug­gest­ed

that we all go off and have a cup of tea to talk about the mag­azine thing. De­spite the acres of pic­tures and copy that ap­peared in mag­azines and pa­pers al­ready, Paul was not con­vinced that there was enough ma­te­ri­al to fill the mag­azine ev­ery month. “What on earth are you go­ing to put in it?” he asked me. I told him that there were enough pho­tographs of the Bea­tles and sto­ries go­ing round to fill sev­er­al mag­azines each month. I as­sured them that, al­though I would have to keep in reg­ular touch with them, I would make sure that it was not over­done. I think that the point they liked most about hav­ing their own mag­azine was that it wouldn't colour or dis­tort any of the sto­ries about them. They al­so wel­comed the idea that their fans could im­me­di­ate­ly be in­formed about any­thing that was about to hap­pen like a record re­lease or a new tour. Hav­ing met quite a few pop stars who seemed to find it dif­fi­cult to put a sen­tence to­geth­er I was im­pressed by the Bea­tles. They seemed to be in­tel­li­gent peo­ple who knew what they were do­ing and where they were go­ing, and their Liv­er­pool ac­cents would charm the fans any­where. A short time lat­er we all shook hands and off they went to do their Sat­ur­day Club ap­pear­ance, while I went off to think about the first is­sue. My very first pho­to and in­ter­view ses­sion with the Bea­tles took place at EMI's Abbey Road Stu­dios on Ju­ly 1st 1963. I de­cid­ed to use Philip Got­lop be­cause, al­though he was in his ear­ly fifties, he was the doyen of pop pho­tog­ra­phers, tak­ing nice, clear, sharp shots which were re­pro­duced in all the week­ly news­pa­per and pop mag­azines. I al­so knew that he had al­ready pho­tographed the Bea­tles and he told me that they had got on to­geth­er very well. ABBEY ROAD I had been to EMI's Abbey Road stu­dios sev­er­al times be­fore — in fact, I'd made a record in No. 2 stu­dio a cou­ple of years pre­vi­ous­ly. When we heard that the Bea­tles were about to ar­rive we wait­ed out­side and as they drew up in their cars about twen­ty fans — all girls — rushed in­to the fore­court to get au­to­graphs. George Mar­tin turned up in his lit­tle white Tri­umph Her­ald, John and Paul in a Jaguar, then Ringo and George. The Bea­tles signed a few au­to­graphs and then dashed in­to the main en­trance. Once in­side, we ex­changed quick greet­ings but it was ob­vi­ous that the Bea­tles' minds were on the record­ing ses­sion. I found out af­ter­wards that the Bea­tles had on­ly just fin­ished writ­ing the songs the day be­fore. As soon as they walked in­to the stu­dio and took out their in­stru­ments, John, Paul and George went in­to a hud­dle with George Mar­tin and mu­sic pub­lish­er Dick James in the far cor­ner, and start­ed play­ing through the songs they were go­ing to record. Bath­rooms are mar­vel­lous places to sing to your­self be­cause your voice sounds so much bet­ter when it echoes off the bare walls. Record­ing stu­dios are just about the worst place to lis­ten to any­thing be­cause the walls, ceil­ings and ev­ery­thing else are de­signed to mop up the echoes so that none of them come through on the mikes dur­ing a record­ing ses­sion. It makes ev­ery­thing sound dull and thin. I dis­tinct­ly saw Dick James nod­ding his head in ap­proval af­ter a few bars; but I didn't find “She Loves You” very im­pres­sive on first hear­ing. The lyric was very ba­sic and sim­ple and the first few run-​throughs made me feel that it was not quite up to the same stan­dard as “Please Please Me”. When I hear peo­ple now say­ing that they 'knew' a cer­tain song was go­ing to be a big hit and that they were in­cred­ibly im­pressed by it the very first time they heard it, I do won­der if there isn't a bit of the old hind­sight at work. Maybe they were, but I can on­ly tell it as it ac­tu­al­ly hap­pened. SES­SION I was en­cour­ag­ing Philip Got­lop to shoot any­thing and ev­ery­thing, of course, but once the record­ing ses­sion re­al­ly got un­der­way we left. Record­ing ses­sions are rather long-​wind­ed

af­fairs and the con­stant play­ing of the same num­ber over and over again of­ten gets rather bor­ing to ev­ery­one apart from the peo­ple in­volved. You cer­tain­ly can't take pho­tographs dur­ing them be­cause the clicks of the cam­era shut­ter would be picked up by the mikes. The next day, I got a call from Bri­an. It was ob­vi­ous he wasn't hap­py about some­thing but he was nev­er a per­son to punch you in the teeth. Fi­nal­ly he said what he had to: “The boys would rather you didn't use Philip any more. They don't want him to be the Bea­tles Book pho­tog­ra­pher.” I got the mes­sage: the boys want­ed some­body more their own age, so I had to find an­oth­er pho­tog­ra­pher. I didn't want to use one of the peo­ple who worked a lot for the pop pa­pers be­cause the temp­ta­tion to take a roll for some­body else would have been too great. Fi­nal­ly, I went for Leslie Bryce who be­came the ‘of­fi­cial’ pho­tog­ra­pher of the mag­azine for fifty-​one edi­tions, lat­er re­placed by John Kel­ly, Mal Evans and oth­ers. John­ny Dean ed­itor

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Comment by BeatleBob on October 1, 2014 at 12:54pm

Rocky Racoon,

The Theme of This Site will be changing to "John's Birthday" soon. "IF" you can find anything in the Beatles Monthly Magazines about John's Birthday or a Birthday Party that was held for John or something similar, it would be Great if you can post it in your Blog!! If you Can find something like that, post it in your Blog between October 6th and the 9th. October 9th is John's Birthday.

If you Can't find anything about John's Birthday on the CD-ROM, maybe you could just post a couple of Pictures of the "Front Covers" of the Beatles Monthly Magazine that has "John's Photo" on them. Anything you can find like I mentioned here would be Great!!

Have a Great Day!!  :-)

Comment by BeatleBob on September 30, 2014 at 12:08pm

Rocky Racoon,

First off I have to say your Blog is Perfection!! The way you set it up is Awesome!! Thanks So Much for this! :-) So Glad you understand about the Space Limitations on the site! If BeatleGirl has any thoughts about the Space Limitations for your Blog or recommendations other than what I said, I'm sure she will let you know. In the meantime I guess going ahead with your Blog as I suggested would be Great!! I Appreciate what you did here with your Blog!! I Think It's Awesome!! Thanks!! :-)

I don't know of a specific Site about Beatle anniversaries, maybe BeatleGirl does? But the following information will help you:

Beatles Birthdays:

John Lennon was born on October 9, 1940
Paul McCartney was born on June 18, 1942
George Harrison was born on February 25, 1943
Ringo Starr was born on July 7, 1940

The Albums we Usually celebrate:

A Hard Day's Night - June 26, 1964
Help! - August 13, 1965
Rubber Soul - December 6, 1965
Revolver - August 8, 1966
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - June 2, 1967
Abbey Road - October 1, 1969
Let It Be - May 18, 1970

We also, celebrate the Movies along with the Albums.
A Hard Day's Night - Help! - Let It Be
Information about the Movies would be Much Appreciated Too!

If you want to add some other content to your Blog such as: the Magical Mystery Tour Album and Movie, the Yellow Submarine Album and Movie, the Meet The Beatles Album, the White Album, and the Beatles' Second Album would be Great Too!!  :-)

Hope this Helps!! You're So Welcome!! And a Super Thanks to You for doing this!! :-)

BeatleBob  :-)

Comment by Rocky Racoon on September 29, 2014 at 8:23pm


 OK, but I will have to rely on your advice as to Beatle anniversaries. Would you help me there, unless you know of a site that will take care of that. Super Thanks!


Comment by BeatleBob on September 29, 2014 at 12:27pm

Rocky Racoon! Great Blog!! :-) I Loved this and loved seeing the Pictures Too!! And I also Enjoyed the Letter you posted from The Official Beatles Fan Club!! Awesome Information!! I'm sure the other members Here will Enjoy this too!! Thanks So Much for sharing this with us!!

Please read what I wrote in the "Random Beatles Thoughts" discussion.

Have to sign off for today. Have a Great Day!! :-)

Comment by Rocky Racoon on September 28, 2014 at 8:23pm

Beatles Monthly Book 1 pg3-4

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