The Beatles Are Coming!
Book by Bruce Spizer
Review by Ronnie

With all the hoopla in the press about the 40th anniversary of the Beatles arrival in the U.S. there is one single book that will answer all your questions. Whether you are a first generation Beatles fan that would love a scrapbook of the events of February, 1964 or simply a new music fan that wants to know what all the fuss is about, THE BEATLES ARE COMING! (THE BIRTH OF BEATLEMANIA IN AMERICA) by Bruce Spizer will satisfy your desires. And following the tradition of Spizer's books, there are photos and documents aplenty.

Mr. Spizer, a.k.a. the Beatles "myth buster", is back with his 5th Beatles book, this time telling the true story of the Beatles first visit to America in February of 1964. Over the decades, as each new Beatles book comes out, there have been many stories accepted as gospel truth - repeated in each book until they are regarded as fact. This book shatters many of these myths, presenting an exact, informative narrative of this crucial time in the Beatles career. A board certified tax attorney by day - Spizer is Beatles author extraordinaire by night, approaching each new book as if he is preparing a lawsuit. His unique style makes his books not only thorough documents, but vital to those who want the true story of the Beatles.

One of my favorite parts is the many "myth" sections that are spread throughout this volume. Each takes a Beatles "myth" and documents the truth. Such as:

True or False? :

  • Introducing The Beatles was released by Vee-Jay on or about July 22, 1963?
  • The Beatles first American television appearance was on The Ed Sullivan Show?
  • The Beatles vowed that they would not go to America until they had a number one record in America.
  • During their first American visit, the Beatles shared the bill with their American rivals, the Beach Boys?
  • Capitol Records recorded the Beatles performance at Carnegie Hall?
This booked is just filled to the brim with Beatles information and I will only touch on a couple that really interested me. The biggest revelation was the blunder that cost Vee-Jay records the right to produce Beatles records in the U.S. for 5 years! It seems that one of the leaders of the company had a little gambling problem and used company funds to pay off some of these debts. Unfortunately, Vee-Jay couldn't afford to then pay its own bills, which included back royalties owed to the Beatles for records that they had already released. The failure to do so voided Vee-Jay's agreement of right of first refusal of Beatles records for 5 years. What was the amount owed? A mere $859!

I was also surprised at the role played by Capitol of Canada. Canada embraced the Beatles long before Capitol in the U.S. releasing the first Beatles album in North America (Beatlemania! With The Beatles). Also a shocker - The Washington Coliseum, the site of the Beatles first U.S. concert, is now literally a garbage dump, i.e. waste management facility. Spizer also gives the true story of Capitol's marketing campaign in regards to the Beatles. There are also fascinating sections on: how records are made. Plus, histories of Capitol and Vee-Vay records are given. The first two Beatles concerts in America at Carnegie Hall and Washington Coliseum are covered with pictures and stories.

Other fascinating sections of interest include: "FAB FOUR FIRSTS IN AMERICA" and a hilarious fictional parody of "What if Capitol Records released 'She Loves You'?" Spizer also narrates the often-confusing tale of why there were so many labels releasing Beatles records in 1964. At one point, the top five 1964 chart in the U.S. consisted of Beatles records on the following label: Capitol, Tollie, Swan and Vee Jay! One Beatle actually visited the U.S. way before the 'invasion of 1964'. In 1963, George Harrison visited the U.S. to see his sister. During his visit, he sat in with a band called The Four Vests. Afterwards, he was told, "You know, son, with the right kind of backing, you could go places." Now THAT'S an understatement!

After the years of being bombarded by lackluster and incorrect Beatles books, it is refreshing to see an author of the caliber of Bruce Spizer putting out Beatles books on a regular basis. Mr. Spizer has done it again and it's easy to see why his books are the standard which all other new Beatles should measure books. And I hear he is already started his next Beatles book! Why can't Apple be as prolific as Mr. Spizer?

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