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Here, There and Everywhere: My Life…

Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles (2006)

by Geoff Emerick

Other authors: Elvis Costello (Foreword), Howard Massey (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3031356,956 (4.15)4
The engineer who recorded the Beatles' greatest albums reveals the inside story of how the Fab Four created their best-loved songs.



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I enjoyed this a lot and read it almost straight through. Emerick's recollections of events that happened 35-40 years before seem almost too detailed to believe, but given their importance and the personalities involved, I'm willing to give him he benefit of the doubt. He is definitely in Paul McCartney's camp, showing Paul as the leader and the stabilizing force who kept the Beatles together as long as he could. George Martin gets a lot of credit, but Emerick clearly considers his own contributions to be equal to achieving the best moments in the Beatles' recordings. (I didn't find Emerick to be the modest fellow Elvis Costello portrays him as in his introduction.) Throughout the book, George Harrison's guitar playing comes in for a LOT of criticism, as he fails take after take and, in a few cases, Paul McCartney has to step in to reel off an effortless solo after hours of Harrison's attempts. John Lennon emerges as the conflicted character we expect him to be. Certainly he's the most erratic and ultimately most interesting person here, but Emerick's depiction of Lennon's interactions with Yoko Ono are just plain weird. And I guess they were...

Definitely a book any Beatles fan will want to read. There are lots of details about the recordings that will have you pulling them out again, or streaming them, to see what Emerick is talking about. Most of us will agree with his observations on more modern music when there are unlimited recording tracks and unlimited digital tricks so that what emerges lacks the human element that made the Beatles such a lasting phenomenon. ( )
  datrappert | Aug 31, 2019 |
I have to add a disclaimer on here - I'm a huge Beatles nut, so I'm going to devour just about anything written about them. But I have to say that this book is by far one of the best I've read so far. Geoff Emerick worked on several of the Beatles' early albums, and in 1966, he became their main sound engineer, which meant he helped create Revolver, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Abbey Road, and part of the White Album. This also means that he had a lot of insight into how the Beatles worked together, both creatively and personally.

The book is fairly straightforward: it chronicles Geoff's initial love of music, his first job at Abbey Road studios under producer George Martin, and his first encounters with the Beatles in 1962. While the narration deviates slightly to talk about other side projects Geoff was working on, it always comes back to his time with the Beatles in the studio, and watching their music evolve over the years.

The middle part of the book is where it really starts to get interesting, though, because these are the chapters when Geoff explains how Revolver & Sgt. Pepper were made, and how the tensions between the Beatles began to grow. The stories behind these innovative songs are fascinating, but the true heart of the book is Geoff's account of how the band came together to make music, and how outside pressures and creative differences ultimately drove them apart. There's a lot of emphasis on the Beatles' personalities, both individually and as a group, and it's this perspective that makes the book unique, as there weren't many people allowed inside the studio when the Beatles were recording.

There's a brief account of the work Geoff did on the Paul McCartney & Wings album, Band on the Run, but for me, this wasn't as interesting as his accounts of working with the entire band. The book is also very heavy on the technical details, which are likely to be foreign to anyone who doesn't have a background in music or in sound engineering, but I found it easy to skim over these parts. At any rate, the technical passages are a good representation of how much work went into these songs, particularly in the last half of the Beatles's career.

Despite the jargon-heavy nature of this book, there's a real sense of tragedy and loss when Geoff recalls the last few months before the Beatles dissolved for good. As a reader, I was present from the first energetic recording sessions at Abbey Road, so to see the Beatles grow, transform, and then fall apart before my eyes was heartbreaking. But Geoff's account also breathes new life into these songs; after all, who would have guessed that there was so much stress associated with the production of "All You Need is Love?"

This book is highly recommended for music fans & for Beatles fans, regardless of their familiarity with the technical aspects of music and recording. It breathes new life into the near-mythic story of the Beatles's rise and fall from power.

For an even more in-depth look at the Beatles's career, try Bob Spitz's biography, which tops out at one thousand pages - plenty of well-researched information to satisfy even the most die-hard Beatles fan. ( )
  coloradogirl14 | May 31, 2013 |
Highly recommended. The book is a survey of the recording of many of the major Beatles albums from the recording room's perspective, which is to say from that of Geoff Emerick, the band's longtime engineer. It also provides a peek into some of Paul McCartney's solo work, including an incident when the band was threatened by supporters of Fela, who felt McCartney might be in Lagos to steal his rhythms. The book is valuable for its insight into the creative life of the Beatles (who did what, how they related and — more to the point — didn't relate with each other), but for two other key reasons as well.

The first reason is the extent to which the engineer-as-composer is an underlying theme of the book. Emerick makes negligible claims to any traditional compositional activity — he doesn't suggest himself to have written a major part, or to have penned a lyric — but his role in creating the recordings that we generally think of as the songs is paramount throughout. Initially he's a technological interpreter of John Lennon's mumbled and hazy requests for particular effects, and later he's more of a direct instigator of such things. This book is essential reading for anyone who has a serious interest in musique concrète, in Brian Eno's pioneering ambient work, and in Glenn Gould's studio seclusion.

The second reason is more tangential, but I'll mention it here. In many ways, Geoff Emerick's book about working with the Beatles in the 1960s is the best book I've ever read about manga (Japanese comic books and graphic novels). It is by far the closest thing I've read to my personal experience observing how manga is produced today in Japan. This is because he gives a great presentation of how bands during the 1960s were signed to record labels and then how those bands' music was produced in what was, in effect, a fairly traditionally managed business environment. That old-school business model, as with so many ancient mid-century norms (from workplace suits to institutional sexism to presumed lifelong employment), remains the way much mainstream culture is produced in corporate Japan, manga especially.
  Disquiet | Mar 30, 2013 |
I've read a lot of books about the Beatles, some good, and others not. This was one of the best. It was great to read about how their studio sound was created by their balance engineer: Geoff Emerick. ( )
  landlocked54 | Nov 26, 2012 |
Le meilleur livre qu'il m'ait été donné de lire sur les Beatles ! Que vous soyez musicien, producteur ingé-son ou tout simplement fan des Beatles, ce livre est une vrai leçon de musique !

Au delà des anecdotes incroyables sur l'enregistrements de leurs albums mythiques, Geoff Emerick ébauche le caractère de chacun des Beatles et, même s'il n'est pas tendre avec tous, il nous laisse entrevoir les raisons qui font qu'un groupe marche ou marche pas.

Bref un livre qui va bien au-delà des simples anecdotes d'un ingé-son particulièrement innovant et nous parle simplement de musique.

Personnellement, je l'ai dévoré en trois jours, tellement il est prenant !
  jd.crouhy | Sep 7, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Much basic info on recording sessions—dates, who composed and played and sang what, and studio tricks—has long been available from various sources, but the virtue of Here, There and Everywhere is that it places these facts into the human context: the reader learns which constraints, whose brainstorms, and what tensions led to “the act you’ve known for all these years.”

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Geoff Emerickprimary authorall editionscalculated
Costello, ElvisForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Massey, HowardAuthorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lundgren, RayDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Important places
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To the memories
of my mother and father,
Mabel and George,
and my dear wife,
First words
Silence. Shadows in the dark, curtains rustling in the cool April breeze.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The engineer who recorded the Beatles' greatest albums reveals the inside story of how the Fab Four created their best-loved songs.

» see all 3 descriptions

Book description
From Publishers Weekly, Amazon.com:    

Emerick was a fresh-faced young engineer in April 1966 when producer George Martin offered him the chance to work with the Beatles on what would become Revolver. He lasted until 1968, when tensions within the group, along with the band members' eccentricities and the demands of the job, forced him to quit after The White Album, exhausted and burned out. In this entertaining if uneven memoir, Emerick offers some priceless bits of firsthand knowledge. Amid the strict, sterile confines of EMI's Abbey Road studio, where technicians wore lab coats, the Beatles' success allowed them to challenge every rule. From their use of tape loops and their labor-intensive fascination with rolling tape backwards, the Beatles—and Emerick—reveled in shaking things up. Less remarkable are Emerick's personal recollections of the band members. He concedes the group never really fraternized with him—and he seems to have taken it personally. The gregarious McCartney is recalled fondly, while Lennon is "caustic," Ringo "bland" and Harrison "sarcastic" and "furtive." Still, the book packs its share of surprises and will delight Beatle fans curious about how the band's groundbreaking records were made. (Mar.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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