Wednesday, October 11, 2017
The Beatles and Sgt. Pepper: A Fan's Perspective -- A Book Review
2017 has really been the year of Sgt. Pepper and I have to admit that while I am not tired of the music, I am getting a little tired of hearing about it. However, I decided to give Pepper one more hurrah for the year and bought a copy of Bruce Spizer's newest book The Beatles and Sgt. Pepper: A Fan's Perspective.
If you are hoping to get a new "Spizer" book that is in line with his other books, then this isn't the book you are wanting. It is a completely different book than what he has published in the past. This book is really a bunch of short articles about the Sgt. Pepper album put together in one spot.
Spizer wrote two or three of them and they are very well-written and informative, although there really wasn't any new information to be found in them, they still made you think about how things were in 1967 and what Sgt. Pepper meant in the middle of a changing world. Piers Hemminsen wrote a great piece about Sgt. Pepper in Canada in the summer of 1967, Al Sussman contributed two pieces about his thoughts (both very insightful), Frank Daniels wrote about the influences on Sgt. Pepper and Bill King had a story first published in 1997 included.
The best part of the book, however is not the articles, but the short stories about Sgt. Pepper told from first and second generation fans from around the world. I was surprised to see so many names of people I personal know or have heard of in the book and I really enjoyed reading thier stories about how Sgt. Pepper became a part of their Beatles' life. I was really shocked to see my own story included! I had sent something in many months before the book was published and never heard back if it was going to be in the book, and so I figured that it wasn't. Lo and behold there is my very own Sgt. Pepper story from 1988! And since I figure no one was told if his/her story was included, I thought I would put the names of stories that were included so you can see if your own story or a story of a friend is included:
Kris Spackman Tash, Karen Rothman, Gary L. Anderson, Jeff Mooney, Richard Zahn, Sara Schmidt, Brian Barros, Linda Marshall, Valerie Strand, Sandra Eagleton Venables, May Pang, Peter Tork, Kay Zar Crow, Ten Quinn, Dan Tomaszewski, Timothy Swan, Farrell McNulty, David Raugh, Billy Joel, Mark Lapidos, John Bezzini, Chuck Gunderson, Matt Hurwitz, Karen Duchaj, Debbie Gendler Supnik, Walter J. Podrazik, Dwayne Hicks, Mark Lewisohn, Tim Goodacre, Tony Perkins, Andrew Phillips, Jim Berkenstadt, Mark Alan, Pat Dinizio, Barry Winslow, Brian J. Moran, Terry Thompson, Larry Miller, Gay Linvill, Bob Burris, Michael Rinella, Kit O'Toole, Perry Cox, Stephen Bishop, Fred Young, Thorsten Knublauch, Lou Simon, Nancy Riley, Jude Southerland Kessler, Eddie Deezen, Jennifer Sandi, Leslie Samuels Healy, Ellen Berman, Glenn Murphy, Denny Seiwell, Tim Coulter, Serene Dominic, Scott Korf, Steve Marinucci, Gene Flanagan, Ron Arnold, Lanea Stagg, Tom Frangione, Stan Denski, Sean Anglum, Jim Wilson, Dan Lawton, Garry Marsh, Greg Sinclair, Tom Miller, Thomas Grosh, Rich Tomera Aaron Krerowicz, John H. Auld, Terri Whitney, Rainer Mores, Renato Facconi, Dirk Van Damme, Mikhail Goltsfarb
Those last entries are especially interesting because they talk about the album release in non English speaking countires, including Russia, where Beatles albums had to be sneaked into the country.
The last part of the book is all about the music and recording (date, instruments, how many takes, etc) and has some beautiful Beatle Book Monthly photos.
I am not sure what I was expecting out of this book, but for $30 spent, I think I was expecting a little more than what it was. A bunch of articles and stories by fans is nice, but did it deserve a full hardback book? (Although if I had bought it from Amazon instead of directly from the author, I would have saved some money) The recording information seemed out of place to me. I am not saying that it was a bad book by any means, but I was a bit disappointed and was expecting something of a little more substance from Bruce Spizer.