Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Messages from John, Paul, George and Ringo -- a book review

Cover of the book Messages from John, Paul, George and Ringo by Chris Hutchins.   John had drawn Stu in between the Beatles on a postcard and mailed it to Chris.


I ordered the book Messages from John, Paul, George and Ringo by Chris Hutchins from Amazon right after I saw it on the Wogblog.  It had the makings of my type of Beatle book---written by someone who was there (Chris Hutchins from the NME who toured with the Beatles) during the touring years.  

However, I found myself after reading the book feeling disappointed.   Overall I just felt like the tone was a negative one and when I put it down, I felt terrible.   There is a lot of how John was foreshadowing his death and so much talk about John's death in general is what I think gave this book such a "dark" feeling about it. 

I also am confused about some of the information in the book.   The story Hutchins tells about John and Jayne Mansfield and the Whiskey a Go-Go is way different from the other first hand accounts that I have read.   Chris has George and Ringo already at the Go Go when Mansfield and her boyfriend show up and see John.   John makes her a cocktail with his own urine in it (huh?) then there is a Tarot card reading that says both of them are going to die a terrible death and John gets mad and Jayne leaves.   John then decides to go to the Whiskey and Jayne happens to show up and George throws the drink.     I thought Jayne had been in the car with the Beatles on the way there.   I don't know what is true since I wasn't there, obviously, but Chris is the only person that tells this alternate story.   Also something that I find curious is that the photo of this event in the middle of the book has the watermark of "The gilly" in the lower corner.    Now I know "The gilly" as a reader of this blog who had an amazing blog that I am thankful that she hasn't deleted.   So I contacted her and she knew nothing about this book or the use of that photo and she pointed out that it isn't HER photo.  She scanned it, like she does all of the photos on that blog and put her small watermark on it.    I find it extremely strange that this has made it's way into a book.   Maybe because I am writing a book myself and working my tail off to get clearance from the right people to publish photos in the book.  Here is the photo taken from The Gilly's blog.


The big part of this book, and the part I absolutely enjoyed was about the meeting of The Beatles and Elvis.   Chris has known the Beatles in Hamburg and promised them that they would arrange a meeting between Elvis Presley and the Beatles.    And he was true to his word, even though it took several years to make it happen.   Chris Hutchins did arrange the 1965 meeting in Bel-air and he was the only reporter allowed to report on the scoop.   He was told not to take notes, so he snuck a notepad in with him and made frequent trips to the loo to jot down notes.   He used those notes to write this part of the book, and it is very detailed and I believe it is the only place you are going to find the complete and true account of what happened that night.    Chris says that George, Paul and John DID jam with Elvis (what on earth was that talk on Anthology all about?)  Meanwhile Ringo played pool while Coronal Parker and Brian Epstein gambled.    He also goes into why Elvis became against the Beatles, especially John Lennon and why he didn't want him in the country.   It was very interesting stuff.

Chris Hutchins in the guy behind the car.  You can see Paul in the car as they leave Elvis' home in Bel-air


Hutchins again tells the fable of John Lennon taping a tampon to his head (really----he found tape and taped a tampon on there??)  and the same night the got kicked out of the Smother's Brother's show.  Oh dear....it was two different nights!   Seriously....someone has got to put this story to rest and I am not doing a good enough job of it.


If you want to read a book about an insider that traveled on tour with the Beatles, I suggest Ivor Davis' book or Larry Kane's book.  If you want to read about The Beatles meeting Elvis in detail, I recommend this book.   You can get it from Amazon here.

4 comments:

  1. Very helpful review, Sara!

    The thing with the Gilly pic is bizarre! Especially because there are multiple photos of that incident, surely he could have gotten the rights to use one of them! It's not as if The Gilly is the only place you see photographs of that day!

    Sounds as if maybe he had to pad some stuff out for his Beatles meet Elvis book. That alone does sound interesting!

    Perhaps he is confusing Mamie Van Doren, who "showed up". Didn't Mamie Van Doren show up and was trying so hard to get photographed with them (wasn't it her photographer?) and hence George's "baptizing" the photographer?

    The urine cocktail is just gross....and no offense, Mr. Hutchins, but how could he possibly know something like that. You'd have to believe that not only would Lennon do that, he would go snickering about it to a reporter. So Lennon is going to take her drink....go the rest room - in a crowded club - do the deed and bring it back? Or are we supposed to believe he just does it under the table?

    G-R-O-S-S.

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  2. I remember reading this Hutchins recollection somewhere else. I don't remember where, maybe one of Larry Kane's books, but this story has been floating around for a while. I seem to remember John fixed Mansfield's drink while they were still at the house, before they went to the Whiskey. According to Hutchins John went behind the bar and urinated in it. It does sound farfetched but John was pretty crazy. He could have been high on speed too. None of them wanted Mansfield there. They felt she was an opportunist. As far as this story being true, we can never know of course. It could be that John merely told Hutchins that he urinated in her drink just to see his reaction. John also told people that he used to work in a sandwich shop at Liverpool Airport and he used to spit in the sandwiches. Sometimes I think he said things to get a reaction from people, just to be funny. Maybe he wanted to do these things to people he didn't like but didn't have the nerve.

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    1. Hutchins is the only source I know I have read this take of the story. There is a story by him that is online (and I think even on this blog) that tells a similar tale, but instead of urine it was cocaine in the drink. Yes---Ringo and George already were at the Whiskey when Jayne and her boyfriend stopped by the house and met up with John who didin't want to go to the Whiskey a Go Go. Jayne asked for a cocktail and John gave her one. Then John kicked them out of the house and decided to go to the club and Jayne and the boyfriend showed up. The whole story has always been somewhat of a mystery (including the exact date).

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  3. In one of the interviews from the '64 tour.....in fact, I think it may be backstage in Philadelphia, but don't quote me....John and Ringo go into detail about the story. They talk about an actress who "showed up" and had brought her own photographer, and that she was so desperate to be photographed with the Beatles but weren't. They kept mentioning this, how it's not the actress everyone THINKS it is (ie: Jayne Mansfield, who had been photographed with them). I believe Larry Kane is the one who says that it was Mamie Van Doren in the "Ticket To Ride" book, which gibes with the original 1964 interview.

    I agree with Girl's comment, regarding the Liverpool Airport story. Pissing in someone's drink ('scuse my French) isn't just gross, it could potentially get someone sick....and now that there's an alternate version with John dropping COCAINE into the drink, that's got to be complete fabrication. They hadn't even smoked pot yet, and cocaine was a VERY esoteric drug, until the late 60s. Paul even mentions how he started doing coke during Sgt. Pepper and that the other Beatles were wary, so.....so, obviously Chris Hutchins can't even keep his story straight about this incident, and seems to be gravitating towards "what could be the most sensational way I can tell this story".

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