Sunday, April 13, 2008


It Could Make a Million For You Overnight

Bookseller Barry Miles in yesterday's Times on London recalls the origin of Paperback Writer:

PAPERBACK WRITER WAS written by Paul McCartney in the early spring of 1966. “Penguin paperbacks was what I really thought of, the archetypal paperback,” McCartney reflected when I asked what his inspiration was. Penguin was almost a generic term for paperbacks in the early Sixties: they had such market dominance that people used the word to mean any paperbound book.

The kind of Penguin that McCartney was thinking of was The L-Shaped Room by Lynne Reid Banks, published in 1963. The working-class novels of the late Fifties and early Sixties had an immediate relevance to a group of youths down from Liverpool. McCartney: “We would be staying in Gower Street. It was like ‘digs'. You could read The L-Shaped Room and totally associate. ‘This is what I'm doing! This is about me.' It's true. It was an exact parallel; young professionals in a rooming house.” In the days before they stopped touring, and before they moved to London, the Beatles clocked up enormous numbers of hours in vans and buses, going from concert to concert, TV studio to recording studio. Cassette tape recorders were not yet in use, so they passed the time with books and magazines, unless a pirate radio station was within range.

Idly Youtubing the song brought up a transfixingly awful Beatles cartoon series that aired in the mid-Sixties. John and George were voiced by the same guy that did Boris Badenov. (Seriously!)

From the UK site Television Heaven:

Brian Epstein, the Beatles manager, was so horrified of what the British public may have thought that he banned the series from being shown in the UK....When The Beatles cartoon series premiered on ABC's Saturday morning line-up at 10:30 am EST on September 25th 1965, it captured an unprecedented 52 per cent of the audience. The show proved to be extraordinarily profitable.... But in the early 1990s the series' rights were purchased by the Beatles own company Apple Corps. Ltd. Since then they have been kept firmly out of sight.

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