Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Here There and Everywhere by Geoff Emerick -- a book review

This evening's Wednesday Review is of the somewhat controversial book  Here There and Everywhere:  My Life Recording the music of the Beatles  by Geoff Emerick.      This book was published in 2006, and I borrowed a copy from the library back then and read it.   Recently I obtained an autographed hardback copy of the book and I decided to give it another read.

I know that Geoff Emerick's book has some controversy with it.   Some say that Geoff thinks Paul can do no wrong and that George is a terrible guitarist.    They say that Geoff made up some things that he was never even present for and the book is full of lies.    I always read these type of books with a grain of salt.   This is Geoff's book and they are his memories they way he saw it and the way he remembered them.   He admits that he became friends with Paul McCartney and did not bond with George Harrison.   After reading that, I expected that he was going to say nice things about Paul  because he still is friends with him.

Geoff Emerick was one of  the Beatles' recording engineers at EMI studios on Abbey Road.   He started working with them occasionally from 1963-1965.  He was just starting out his career in the music recording business and wasn't always given the opportunity to work with the Beatles.   That all changed in 1966 when he worked with the Beatles' on the Revolver album.    He continued to work with them on Sgt. Pepper, Magical Mystery Tour, Yellow Submarine, part of the White Album and Abbey Road.      Geoff was extremely innovative.  He came up with creative and unheard at the time ideas, especially on Sgt. Pepper, to get the sound the Beatles were looking for.     Some of what he did broke the rules at EMI and pushed bounds that were unheard of before.  Geoff and George Martin are who made the Beatles Sgt. Pepper's album (along with the Beatles) what it is today.    And they continued to work their magic on the other Beatles albums.   Geoff won several Grammy awards for the engineering work he did on the Beatles' albums.

George Martin and Ringo give Geoff Emerick the Grammy for what he did on Sgt. Pepper. 

Geoff is very hard on George's guitar playing and there are times when you think that Geoff's lips must have gotten tired from kissing Paul so much.    However, it really doesn't take away too much from the story he tells.   Some of the interesting stories he told included how the break-up of the Beatles began.   You really sense a change in the guys after Brian died in 1967.   His stories about Yoko are interesting and you see a change happen in Yoko has she attends more and more recording sessions.   The story of Yoko and George and the biscuits is a classic and funny story.

I especially liked the part that was about when Geoff traveled to Lagos and worked with Wings on "Band on the Run."   I didn't know a whole lot about these sessions and it was really neat to read more about them.

Geoff during the Band on the Run sessions in Lagos

I am happy to report that this book was way better than what I recall from 10 years ago.   I didn't notice any HUGE glaring mistakes--just a few little nit-pick things.    While I did think Geoff was a little too nice towards Paul, I didn't think the things he said about George was awful.  He complimented him just as much as he criticized.  

If you have never read, "Here There and Everywhere,"   it is one of those books that every fans should read at least once, because it helps you realize just how awesome the Beatles' music really is.


  1. Hi Sara

    Isn't that Ken Scott in the colourful shirt? Been a few years since I read the book, but from my recollection I thought he was pretty fair on George. (LeftyBass)

  2. Yes, I remember the book that way too. I doubt GH could be That bad a guitarist. but never did complex solos. His catchy riffs are mostly picking and,later,bending. But GH participation is as big a contention in the band's split as YO. Can't recall which book, but one recounts PM stopped GH accompanying every line of 'Hey Jude' with an echoing riff, & GH resentful of that. Imagine how awful "He-e-y Jude" (twang, tang) "Don't make it ba-ad" (Twangy twang-twang) would sound. PM composed it, wanted the recording to sound like it did in his head: fair enough. GH felt redundant as lead guitarist: fair enough. Had they toured, GH could've experimented more, & my guess is PM would've been fine, because a tour is ephemeral; a recording is forever. Stopping touring did much to break their solidarity even before YO took the biscuit.

  3. George will be remembered forever while Geoff fades away

  4. Replies
    1. No---unfortunately there are just a few tiny photos on the back cover.

  5. I seem to remember some interviews with Ken Scott being critical of Emerick and saying many things in his book were not true

  6. That book is a load of crap. I think Paul gave him money for that book. He is insane, you read and say 'hey, this is not right' instantly. He lies and he's such a fool for letting that book out with his name on it. He did great work on beatles records but doing that crappy book, really, he made a fool of himself. The only good author is Mark Lewisohn.

  7. JPG&R are forgiven for major memory lapses and forgetting things over the years (just watch Anthology), but Lord forbid if a sound engineer does the same. If people wanna get unnerved by books like this, than they can show me a person who can go back and accurately remember things that happened 30 years ago...that person doesnt exist. But that doesnt mean he should be forbidden from doing a book, either. If I blame Geoff for anything, it's his failure to get a better editor. His stories are absolutely priceless. And his anecdotes about many of the sessions (Hey Bulldog, SFF, I Want You SSH) are fascinating. People upset that he was harsh to GH in the book? Well, John, Paul, & GMartin were pretty hard on George, too.