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on 3 April 2014
Other authors have published more fact based (referenced) accounts of The Beatles recording career, notable Mark Lewisohn in The Beatles Recording Sessions and The Complete Beatles Chronicle. But, even though these are based on the literature, notes and interviews of the time, it is always helpful to get the view of someone who was actually there at the controls.

That view is encapsulated in 'Here, There and Everywhere'. Geoff Emerick was there as a young engineer at the early Beatles sessions and also there at the end, ensconced in Apple Studios (which he helped put together) as well as engineering McCartney's 'Band On The Run' in Nigeria of all places. So you might expect that he's best equipped to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the golden years of The Beatles recorded repertoire and what went on behind the doors of Abbey Road studios.

In one way he does just that, giving a good account of what it was like to interface with, at first, what George Martin wanted as producer and, later, with what The Beatles themselves required as they began to experiment with sound. His description of the primitive equipment at his disposal, for example how he came up with Lennon's requirement that he needed to sound like the chanting of monks on a distant mountain by putting the vocal through a Leslie loudspeaker, is a fascinating adjunct to listening to classic Beatles tracks anew.

And these accounts from the control room are interspersed with his view of the relationship between the members of the Fab Four including the turmoil of their split and how it affected him emotionally. All of this is clearly from the heart and his hurt and dismay shines through during these later chapters.

Another reviewer has pointed out that, factually, this book is not as accurate as one might expect. Two aspects are apparent. One is when cross referencing to other, more fact based accounts, such as Lewisohn where there are slight discrepancies in small details. The other is in the 'who came up with which idea' accounts. The way Emerick describes them in this book you could be forgiven for thinking that he was solely the ideas man for coming up with new sounds for albums such as Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's, whereas it is more likely (referencing accounts from others such as engineer Ken Scott) that it was an accumulation of tossing ideas around the engineering talent available at Abbey Road at the time that led to the final technique used.

But, really, that's just being finicky with the facts and you could pull any book about The Beatles to pieces on this sort of basis. Not even the members of The Beatles themselves could always agree on who was responsible for this, that or the other, as became clear during the Anthology project. So to expect Emerick to be 100% accurate in what really happened is to stretch the limits of human memory recall let alone human nature.

In addition Emerick's accounts of the particular talents, musical and managerial, of the individual members of The Beatles has been called into question by some reviewers. Similarly Emerick's views of the efforts of other studios and other engineers, for example he recounts that the feeling at Abbey Road was that 'Rubber Soul', engineered by Norman Smith, was a lightweight effort doesn't weigh up in the balance of either the music or the recordings. Indeed not even George Martin is given full acknowledgement for his part in arranging and conducting much of the character of what became The Beatles 'sound'. Again, don't approach this book as a 'facts and figures' anthology. It is more than that. It is one man's personal view of what he saw happening and his involvement with it. In fact it's that very involvement that makes this story so interesting and readable.

If I have a criticism it is mainly of the ghost writing character of the early chapters. Howard Massey is a notable studio musicologist, journalist and author and is eminently suited to putting Geoff's words down on paper but, unfortunately, his NY speak is at odds with what one might expect from a London engineer. Thankfully, by later chapters, Geoff's contributions begin to shine through and the tone is more flowing and anecdotal.

Basically if you're at all interested in what made The Beatles the pop phenomenon of the '60s you ought to read this book in conjunction with others such as Lewisohn's The Complete Beatles Chronicle. 'Here, There and Everywhere' is a highly personal account of what went on behind the closed doors of Abbey Road and is a fascinating insight into the progression of recording techniques and how early studio equipment and techniques were pushed to their limits to give sounds that other groups struggled to emulate.
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on 19 July 2017
Brilliantly insightful. He aw the group from day one in the studio and knows all about the way they excelled inghe studio. Absolutely brilliant!!
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on 9 April 2017
I finally got my favourite book. Love it
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on 4 February 2006
This is book is a enjoyable read. Geoff (with Howard Massey) tell the much-told Beatle tale with few surprises but much incidental detail. A good deal is made of how the inter-departmental structures within EMI affected the initial recording sessions but were then subverted by the Fabs . Witty depictions of some of more colourful management types are succeeded later in the text by passing references to them as the sessions progress , thus saving us from copious bio notes to break the flow of the story.
A recent Blog reference tells of Elvis Costello spinning this book as an account of how little Geoff was credited during his time with the Beatles. In the book this is less emotively treated. We are told of how this was more or less the industry standard at the time. We are repeatedly told of George Martin passing on Geoff's opinons, from the control box, to the musicians without attribution. This , surely, could be explained by the producer merely exercising his role of incorporating all elements of his work and condensing for clarity.
We do get oodles of details about technical effects. Geoff is rarely shy about telling us how blinking marvellous he was in doing all kinds of ground-breaking technical things . It helps , I suppose , that the comments are entirely justified. Later in the book we hear about how Geoff and George went through the entire EMI/Beatle archive for the Anthologies project , a exercise which , perhaps , refreshed his memory. I did cross-reference some of the depictions with the Lewisohn/McDonald accounts , finding , in most cases , agreement. The account of the recording of The End ( from Abbey Road) is most interesting. McDonald queries aspects of the finish of the track - Geoff explains it as if responding to that account. Of course , it could be that there was no other way to tell it .
We get opinions on all the Fabs. John is the spiky, acerbic one , George the cagey , distant one , Paul the diplomatic , interested one and Ringo is quiet and does what he's told. So , no surprises there. The accounts of the early sessions are chockful of detail, really making you feel you were there. The account of the later ones , where Geoff was an intermittant presence , are are just as interesting. Between 1966 and 1970 The Beatles were , as he puts it , isolated in the awful building that housed the EMI studios and it was understandable how the pressurised situation eventually helped tear them apart.
This book is , as the title tells, primarily about the Fabs. We get some of Geoff's life story . He tells of how - as a child in Crouch End, London - he saw a UFO from his bedroom window. He knows it's hard believe but he saw it and thats that. Years later , in a break in a late night studio session, he discussed it with John and Paul , getting derison and acceptance in turn. We later learn of the the sad death from cancer of his wife , a few years before Linda McCartney and how that re-inforced the bond beween them. The account of recording Band On The Run in Africa is amusing and had me listening to it again from a new perspective. Incidentally Tug Of War is referred to as being Macca's first 'post Wings' album; what about McCartney II?
A page is given over to Elvis Costello's Imperial Bedroom. Geoff had been a fan of Elvis and was delighted to be asked to work with him etc. Were told of Elvis being 'almost as impatient as Lennon' , 'there was no " We need ten minutes to get a sound together" '. Geoff wanted to make Elvis' vocal stand out more , because his lyrics were so great thet deserved to heard more clearly. An amusing note tells of Steve Nieve composing a orchestral arrangement that required eighteen viola players. Geoff steered him away from that because ' the tricky thing would be finding eighteen top-notch viola players in London !'.
Howard Massey's involvement in the book is evident from the Americanisms that figure throughout. Though Geoff lived ( lives?) in Los Angeles for a while I just cannot believe that a Londoner would use 'gotten' as much is used here. Similarly , he quotes Lennon as saying that EMI should, during the 1967 'Pepper recordings , 'spring' for the cost of the orchestral sessions.
That quibble aside , this is a book well worth reading.
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on 14 April 2008
I found this particular book quite enjoyable to read. I felt envious of Geoff as he discovered at an early age what he really wanted to do and to his credit he set out and achieved a career path that many of us can envy, more so because he is a person who is actually doing what he loves for a living. His development over time is apparent mostly due to his "open musical mind" which allowed him to broaden his skills to a level that made him a much requested recording engineer by so many musical luminaries.
I had read reviews of the book before I bought and read it and will admit to being a little put off about certain aspects. However having read the book I feel more informed. Yeah Geoff does make certain "negative" observations about the various musical talents of The Beatles. However I guess there are many of us fans out there that don't want to read that their idols are less than they are perceived in our own minds. What is apparent is that the Beatles DID develop into better musicians as time wore on. Geoff's criticism of both George Harrison & Ringo Starr's playing at times should be taken in perspective particularly as much praise is lauded upon George especially, later in the book. Remember George Harrison wasn't a "Clapton/Hendrix calibre" guitar player but his guitar style became very distinctive later in his career. I'm also grateful for the fact that Mr. Emerick refrained from commenting about things that he didn't observe. Therefore after his departure during the "White Album" there is a gap to Abbey Road with a slight reference to the "Let It Be" sessions. He does offer some opinions but he prefaces those with "maybe this happened..." type provisos. His revelations about the recording & mixing of "Revolver" LP and particularly "Yellow Submarine" (the random tape experiment) were surprising and had me playing the original Mono vinyl to hear things for myself. His comments about John's impatience and at times caustic manner only confirm what's been written before about the man. We also already knew that Paul was the band's diplomat but also was the man driving the Beatles at the end when some of his other bandmates were distracted by other diverions (John - Yoko, George - India)
His stories about Paul McCartney's "Band On The Run" & Elvis Costello's "Imperial Bedroom" were also nice diversions. Overall The book is recommended to those with an interest in how the music was made and how a man took a boyhood hobby and turned it into an incredible career.
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on 24 July 2006
The story behind this group remains fascinating. It will be retold again and again, each time from a different perspective. This book by Geoff Emerick is great because it offers a candid and detailed insider's perspective. Reading the book is the next best thing to watching a movie of the making of all those legendary albums. You can almost see and hear how they were recorded and you can sense the chemistry of the people involved in bad and good times.
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on 8 June 2008
I've read numerous books and articles about the Fab Four and you tend to hear the same stories retold over and over. Emerick's book comes from a slightly different angle, due to his more technical involvement in the Beatles' story. As a result, there was a lot in here that I'd not heard before.

His story is told suprisingly candidly, and he appears to pull no punches. His criticism of both Georges (Harrison and Martin) being referenced by other reviewers. Although you've got to be wary of the subjectiveness of his account, there's little in the book and isn't confirmed by various bootlegs, demos and actual albums (e.g. George wasn't a brilliant lead guitarist).

Definitely worth a look, even if you think you've consumed everything there is to know about the Beatles.
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on 22 January 2008
It is difficult to take much of this book seriously. I say this because Ken Scott was an engineer at Abbey Road at the time and he believes much of this book is fabricated and has many (i.e. over 100 'errors'. He actually says "Since copies of his book leaked out, there has been a movement from fans and EMI employees past and present; all are shocked at what Geoff is purported to say in this book, as SO much of it is untrue. There are long lists of factual errors being compiled around the world to be released when this book is published. (The last list I saw was well over 100 errors, and climbing as more people read the book)."

He adds "I cannot bring this missive to an end without mentioning the book's relentless tirade against George Harrison. As a second engineer I was on more Beatles sessions than Geoff and saw none of the problems talked about constantly, and as an engineer, the same. Sadly, George is not in a position to defend himself today. I think I know what his reaction would have been anyway... Mine is utter disgust.
This book is NOT accurate, it is not "the truth" and does not deserve to be supported. It is very damaging to the good reputations of such people as George Harrison, George Martin, John Lennon, Chris Thomas, Ringo Starr, Phil McDonald and the list goes on. The only one who is rarely mentioned negatively is Paul McCartney, the only one to have employed Geoff after the Beatles."

So enjoy this book if you are a fan of the Beatles but remember it is seriously flawed!
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on 15 August 2015
Given the price I expected a hard back. Very disappointed.
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on 23 August 2011
A superb book. Thankfully, Emerick doesn't hold back, and just about everyone bar favourite Beatle Paul McCartney gets a bollocking. Is it The Truth? Was Harrison really a lousy guitarist? Was George Martin really superfluous to proceedings from about Revolver onwards? Perhaps not, but I doubt as others have claimed that Emerick's surprisingly lucid recollections are a fabrication - it's simply a subjective, personal perspective, with all the flaws and biases that entails. I'm sure, were we to have the same tale told from others involved in The Beatles sessions, we would get a completely different story, but that doesn't mean that Emerick's point of view should be dismissed as rubbish. At least we didn't get the bland, PC, ass-kissing book this could so easily have been.

As for the other engineers who claim this is all a load of tosh, how about getting together and writing your own book told from your own perspective?
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