An entertaining first-hand account of the pain and the pleasure of working at the core of Apple Corps in those heady years . . . O Dell gives a vivid account of the disparate and conflicting strands within Apple . . . puts flesh on the bones of Lennon s famous remark that Apple s business ventures were like playing Monopoly with real money . . . A must buy if only for O Dell s previously unpublished photographs. Its strength lies in its portrayal of a day in the lives of the biggest band that ever was. --Variety (USA)
. . . gives fans exactly what they crave - an insider's view of the Fab Four at the height of their careers . . . An invaluable edition to the Beatles ever-growing library. --Film Review
With 64 pages of unpublished photos, At the Apple s Core is a sure winner for any Beatles fan. --The Latest
The seeds of At the Apples Core were planted back in March 1996, when I first visited Denis ODell at his home in Buckinghamshire to conduct an interview for an academic book I was writing called The Beatles Movies. I was looking forward to meeting Denis immensely, as few writers or journalists had interviewed him before, and I was aware that this was a rare opportunity to meet a major figure in the Beatles history.
There were, it later transpired, two main reasons why he rarely spoke about his association with the Beatles. The first was that he didnt really enjoy doing formal interviews, and therefore had a general policy of declining to speak to most of the people that tried to contact him about the group. The second was that few journalists and writers really knew that much about his role in the Beatles story. You wont be surprised to hear that reasons one and two are very closely connected. Its depressing, but if you dont talk about your role in Beatles history, it tends to get forgotten very quickly or worse, barely discussed at all. You want proof? Mention the Beatles films to any casual fan and the name that they will most likely associate with them is Richard Lester. Chances are, they wont mention Denis ODell. Yet between 1964 and 1970, Denis associate produced and/or produced A Hard Days Night, How I Won the War, Magical Mystery Tour, Let It Be and The Magic !
Christian, and was one of the original directors of both Apple Films and Apple Corps. It seems extraordinary that somebody who was so important to the Beatles career, a man who was even name-checked by John Lennon on the ironically titled You Know My Name, should be so little known. But thats the elasticity and revisionism of history for you. It should come as a shock to nobody to discover that many of the key people in the Beatles story are not necessarily the ones who have attempted to commercially milk their association with the group for every penny they could.
That interview was, for me at least, electrifying. We talked for many hours, but there were also times when I sat transfixed, listening to some of the most fascinating, funny, and revealing stories and anecdotes about the Beatles Id ever heard. Shortly afterwards, Denis produced some truly extraordinary unseen pictures of the group, many of them taken privately while he was with them in India in 1968, one of the very few occasions in their career when they werent surrounded by photographers. Seeing those pictures for the first time, and being the first outsider to see them was a great privilege and a fascinating eye-opener. These, combined with Denis recollections, amounted to an extraordinary slice of Beatles history that had been hidden for nearly thirty years.
You must write a book of your own, Denis, I told him. There are thousands of Beatles fans who would be fascinated.
Really? he said, looking a little surprised. Im not sure that he had really considered the idea seriously before.
Absolutely, I assured him, Theres no question about it.
Well, lets see how yours does, and if I like it maybe well do something together.
And so we did. The principle aim of the book was not to try and produce a definitive history of the group or Apple or even a critical thesis of their work as such. The aim was really to recount Deniss unique experiences as a genuine insider from a first person perspective in a manner that would afford Beatles fans the unique opportunity to experience what it was like to be so close to the twentieth centurys greatest entertainment phenomenon. To become, through Deniss recollections, insiders looking out rather than (as is the case with most Beatles books) outsiders looking in. As everyone knows, the Beatles were four highly complex individuals that elicited a heady cocktail of emotional responses including exhilaration, frustration, bewilderment, camaraderie, and love. Some Beatles books are so pre-occupied with providing an angle or agenda that this sense of dimensionality gets lost or overshadowed, and this was a trap that we desperately wanted to avoid. At the risk of sounding pretentious, we wanted the book to have the emotional dimension and texture that would be necessary for it to work both as a valuable addition to existing knowledge, and also-and this is vitally important- as a damn good read.
Denis and I worked very well together, had a lot of laughs, and shared almost exactly the same vision of what the finished book would be. Although I physically wrote the book, Denis was heavily involved in all stages of the project, collaborating closely on the final content and editing, and supplying the wonderful pictures that are included. At the Apples Core may or may not prove to be my only co-produced book, but I can honestly say that it was a great pleasure to have worked with Denis and doing so made me realise something that I believe that the Beatles themselves saw in him as a film producer. Like all great producers, he is a mixture of pragmatist and visionary, idealist and realist, businessman and artist. The Beatles liked him immensely. By the time you finish the book, you probably will too.
Bob Neaverson, May 2002