This is the third in a series of Beatle-themed books that Spizer has written about the record releases of the Fab Four, following books about the bands releases on Vee Jay and Capitol. However, since I consider the Apple years the pinnacle of Beatle-dom and a unique time capsule of the hip '60s, I was really intrigued by this book. Spizer has meticulously assembled a history of Apple records, from its utopian beginnings in 1967-68 to its glorious re-emergence in 1994.
There are interviews with those involved in the business launching and promotion of Apple. Included are rare photos of promotional items, promo ads and press coverage of the day. The book also dedicates two sections each to 45 singles and albums. This is where Mr. Spizer's research gets mind-boggling. Every single variation of labels is noted and listed (making this also a must-have for collectors of Beatle vinyl) along with photos of 45 sleeves, album covers AND preliminary album covers (with all the variations for "Get Back" and "Hey Jude"). There are mini-histories for each album, such as the evolution from "Get Back" to "Let It Be". The reasoning behind the HEY JUDE album is explained. Also, rarities such as the BEATLES CHRISTMAS ALBUM are discussed.
Speaking of rarities, one of the most intriguing stories in the book is the Beatle releases on the "pocket disc" in 1968-69- a 4-inch floppy disc that never really took off despite some strong early sales. There were even picket disc vending machines (pictured in the book). Before this book, I had never heard of the product.
And then there are the photos included in this 300 plus page book. I haven't been this excited bout a Beatles book since I got Nicholas Schaffner's BEATLES FOREVER back in the late '70s. Like Schaffner's book, THE BEATLES ON APPLE RECORDS is loaded with photos; but unlike BF, this book has tons of colour photos.
Spizer's book will appeal to two groups: hardcore Beatle collectors and the average Beatle fans who just love Beatle photos (this book is worth getting for the pictures alone!). I actually gave the book two "picture gazings" before I even read the text, the pictures are that remarkable. Then, when I actually read the text, I was knocked out by the encyclopedic information that was contained.
THE BEATLES ON APPLE RECORDS is definitely a "desert island Beatles book" - if you where hypothetically stranded on a desert island with all the Beatles CD's and could only chose a handful of books, this would be one of my choices.
And, Mr. Spizer is planning the release of THE BEATLES SOLO ON APPLE RECORDS in 2004!