The Stage, Britain's newspaper for the entertainment industry, has published a great review of Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth.
The text is below, or you can read it here.
Just as you thought you knew almost everything there was to know about The Beatles (if that’s your special interest) along comes a sparky new book linking them to a rather unlikely Dorset seaside resort.
Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth by Nick Churchill claims to contain “rare and previously unpublished Beatles pictures” — and the one on the cover certainly lives up to that claim. It shows the Fab Four in all their furry, wholesome youthfulness, each brandishing a stick of Bournemouth rock and pretending to bite it. Not exactly an image we’re used to.
And I bet you didn’t know that they played more gigs at Bournemouth’s Gaumont than at any other UK concert venue outside London or that Bournemouth was where John Lennon eventually bought his beloved Aunt Mimi a home?
The Beatles arrived in Bournemouth (in their new Ford Zephyr car) for the first time on 19 August 1963. They were there to do a week at Gaumont Cinema in Westover Road, playing two sets a night for six nights before moving on to a Sunday show in Blackpool. Harry Taylor was in the vanguard of the local press corps and it is predominantly his photographs - provided by his daughter Sandra who managed both his diary and his dark room - which make this book so fresh. There are lots of good backstage shots of the Beatles, and others, in their dressing room, reading the local paper, having dinner and so on. Also interesting is the archive material such as posters, handwritten notes and letters and newspaper articles.
The text, immaculately written by journalist Nick Churchill who has covered music and other topics for The Bournemouth Echo for over 25 years, gives a detailed account of the development of pop music in the Bournemouth area and the coverage of the Beatles’ work there. And it comprehensively follows through all other connections such as Aunt Mimi’s funeral in 1991 which was attended by Lennon’s first wife Cynthia as well as by Yoko Ono and Lennon’s five year old son, Sean. The other three Beatles and their families all sent flowers. I love the photograph (not by Taylor) of Lennon with his elder son Julian wearing his famous Afghan coat, looking magnificent… and clutching a bucket and spade.
Churchill is especially good at putting Beatles history into context. For example, he carefully traces Bournemouth-related links with other groups such as The Kinks and Billy J Kramer with whom they appeared at The Gaumont and elsewhere. There are also insights into sixties fans’ behaviour and management. The book includes many interviews with, and comments by, people who were there when the Beatles came to Bournemouth.
It is all this information which makes Yeah, Yeah, Yeah: The Beatles in Bournemouth a useful new contribution to Beatles study and a good read for anyone researching the development of post-war pop music in Britain. One for recommended reading list for any course which covers this ground, I think.
Copies of Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth can be ordered here.