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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
The Beatles: The BBC Archives: 1962-1970
Format: Hardcover|Change
Price:£41.34+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 3 January 2016
I thought this would have been an update of the previous, with slip-case and all (and much more expensive of course!) but no. Be warned if you are considering this purchase! It does not mention the second of the Beatles' BBC Recordings! I thought that the publishers and EMI/Apple could have worked together. Now we'll have to wait a further release ....
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VINE VOICETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 18 October 2013
These next few weeks are going to prove expensive for Beatles fans, what with a quartet of releases fighting for your money. Paul McCartney's `New' is out now, and both `On Air' and the remastered `Live at the BBC' are coming your way. A companion to those two releases is Kevin Howlett's history of the group at the BBC. (Moreover, it is not just of their radio performances, as it also covers their television appearances for Auntie.) Nevertheless, is there room for another book on the Fab Four? Other than his slim line look at the Fab Four on radio back in 1996 - and both Lewisohn's 'Complete Beatles' and Ritchie Unterberger's `Unreleased Beatles' looked into the subject - as Howlett had unreserved access to the BBC vaults, yes there is.

Though what is included here was in that previous paperback, not only is this double the number of pages, it is not simply a book per se; it also includes a photo of the group and six reproductions of various documents (one from John Lennon) within a replica paper file. It all comes in a box meant to look like a tape reel box.

Inside, there are plenty of photos of the boys, many of which you will never have seen (the one on page 10 is superb, the three on page 88 need a double take), along with yet more copies of BBC paperwork and photos of the records of the songs the group covered (mostly singles in their original paper sleeves). The BBC Audience Research Reports make interesting reading; the first edition of Pop Go The Beatles had an index of 52 whereas Magical Mystery Tour's was just 23, but their appearance on Juke Box Jury garnered 63.

There is plenty of text regarding the history of their appearances on both television and radio from March 1962 until April 1970, with plenty of interviews to digest. Listed at the back with brief text are the 96 songs and six, of seven, oddities (though it's mentioned in the main body of text, 'Whit Monday To You' is missing) performed on both mediums. What will be surprising to many is how few times the group appeared on BBC television (and very little of those few remain). The most unexpected of these all too infrequent appearances is their return from America in February 1964. Deemed so important by the national broadcaster, the event took over 15 minutes of Grandstand on a Saturday afternoon and has one of those laugh out loud moments. When the reporter spotted a lone male amongst the thousands, he was asked why he was there; "I'm just trying to get on television". Also remarkable is how many documents and letters still survive - now we can all read them.

The only aberration was with one of the names mentioned. The BBC's boxing commentator was Harry Carpenter, not Humphrey Carpenter.

If you are at all interested in the subject, buy this. It is well packaged and presented.
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on 19 November 2014
In most respects this is a good, interesting and well researched book however i believe that Kevin's failure to detail the surviving recordings from the BBC Radio sessions is a major and perhaps fatal flaw. OK not really fatal but pretty serious. The reason why anyone would want to read a book about The Beatles (or any band for that matter) is because they like the music and yet there is no detail anywhere about which of the unique recordings made at the BBC still exist. Maybe someone reading such information might have thought "oh i think i might have taped that show i've got it somewhere on a reel to reel in my loft" or something similar and another historic recording would have been found - yet another previously not thought to exist track did indeed emerge earlier this year in very good quality in a private collection so i'm not being far-fetched. While i commend Kevin for the work he put in i have to ask why on earth there is no reference to surviving recordings - it couldn't be more relevant. He wouldn't even have to use the dreaded B word . That's not Beatles all you Stones fans, i mean BOOTLEG.
For those interested, Doug Sulpy has obliged in his excellent 910 Master Guide to the Beatles Radio Performances. If you want to know about the music recorded by The Beatles for BBC Radio, that's the place to go. It's not pretty but it is about the music, what it's like and where it is. If you're gonna be trainspottery you might as well do it properly.
If you want to actually hear all the music then you'll need CrApple to pull their finger out and issue the Complete BBC Recordings Box Set these historic sessions deserve instead of the "Czechoslovakian Albums Re-Channeled Stereo Box" and Limited Edition White Album ballpoint pen they seem more interested in putting out.
Other than that i quite liked it.
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on 10 May 2017
Accurate and interesting, a piece of history, not only about the Fab4, but how was the recording system and the BBC at the time, not only how it worked but also how it thought. A clash of culture and world, on one side the musicians and on the other one tec in white coat and suit&tie perfect british accent interwiever. But despite everything in some way it worked. By the way the book is a carefully curated collection of the Beatles’ appearances on BBC Radio and Television from 1962 to 1970, an in-depth account features transcripts of broadcasting that that shows which was the national radio and television role for The Beatles’ initial breakthrough and subsequent global domination. The book with a commentary by Kevin Howlett, adds rare photographs and memorabilia from the BBC and comes with a vintge looking beacuse it's boxed in a wonderfull hard cardboard box looking as a tape shell.
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on 8 October 2014
This was very good value costing about a fifth of the original price. Mr Howlett has written books on the Beatles' broadcasts before, and has written the booklet notes for Beatles 'BBC' CD releases. He has also produced programmes about the Beatles' work for the BBC.
This book runs to 336 pages. It is a luxurious package designed to resemble an audio reel to reel tape box. The box contains the book, with a photo of a 10" tape reel on the front cover. to accompany the book in the box, there is a reproduction of a 'Television registry' folder containing copies of The Beatles' initial application for audition, two letters, two audience research reports, a rehearsal and running order for 'It's the Beatles' and a 1965 b&w photo of the group.
The book itself is arranged chronologically with chapters covering each year from 1962 to 1970. followed by supplementary material from page 310.
The book is well designed and richly illustrated with many full page photos of the Beatles in colour and black & white. There are also reproductions of documents, letters and publications included to enhance the text.
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on 7 June 2014
The dimensions and retro design of the box is an attention grabber, and these factors along with the weight of the book can't fail to make an impact on anybody coming to this set for the first time. Other family members were drawn to it as it sat on the lounge table, and people are impresed by the quality of the photos, as well as the novelty extra items: BBC memos and reports, etc.

Should you buy it? Obviously Beatles addicts will gobble it up, but ordinary people might well feel that they'll be content with the related CD sets, especially because they contain excellent notes from Kevin Howlett. For many, that will be sufficient, and they will decide that they do not need the fascinating, but blow by blow detail that Howlett provides in this book.

Am I happy I acquired it? Yes, and especially at Amazon's lower price, coupled with my Amazon gift voucher! Would I pay the £45 list price? No, I wouldn't. As always you pays your money and you takes your choice!
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on 18 October 2013
Over the last three decades CD several series and/or CD box sets have boastfully purported to be the "complete" BBC Radio Sessions. No such collections can possibly be complete: This book, written by BBC Producer and Author, Keven Howlett documents all of the Beatles BBC Radio and TV appearances from 1962-1971, showing sadly how much of the original BBC material was erased, lost, stolen. Most of the BBC Sessions that are in existence are because they were home-recorded by dedicated fans using primitive remote microphone recordings of the radio broadcast. Thankfully much video material has been saved, this book goes into more detail than Jon Winn's "Lifting Latches." This book also works as a companion to the 1st and forthcoming 2nd BBC Radio sets.

I like these sort of reproduction books, with removable documents, ticket stubs, mini-flyers and posters. This was an aspect of Beatles history that well deserves a magnification, and the fan will get it here! Wonderful stuff for us Beatleholics these days!
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on 19 December 2013
What can you say about this writer?
How did he put it all together, where did he or how did he get all the info, because he would have to check the sources, cross check and check again as not all the information is in circulation. Great photos, great info, enough to get the Beatles at the BBC out to listen again.
Kevin did a great job the first time, he has excelled himself with this publication, he is up there with Mark Lewishon!

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on 9 December 2014
Kevin Howlett's book is a good companion to the two Beatles Live At The BBC (Volumes 1 & 2) albums, which I would recommend to Beatles' devotees as being THE reference book for The Beatles BBC performances. The book contains a detailed record of all the BBC recordings, set in a very clever "boxed" presentation, with excellent Beatles photos & memorabilia as well.
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on 31 March 2015
Very interesting to read the BBC story and a lot of nice photographs , especially the one with Cassius Clay/Mohammed Ali ! Are The Beatles "knocked out" ?The special package of this book looks like the box of an old recording tape ! Also a good supplement to all the records and CD's .
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