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The Beatles from a to Zed
Cover of The Beatles from a to Zed
The Beatles from a to Zed
An Alphabetical Mystery Tour
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A legendary record producer and performer takes readers on an alphabetical journey of insights into the music of the Beatles and individual reminiscences of John, Paul, George, and Ringo.

Peter Asher met the Beatles in the spring of 1963, the start of a lifelong association with the band and its members. He had a front-row seat as they elevated pop music into an art form, and he was present at the creation of some of the most iconic music of our times.

Asher is also a talented musician in his own right, with a great ear for what was new and fresh. Once, when Paul McCartney wrote a song that John Lennon didn't think was right for the Beatles, Asher asked if he could record it. "A World Without Love" became a global No. 1 hit for his duo, Peter & Gordon. A few years later Asher was asked by Paul McCartney to help start Apple Records; the first artist Asher discovered and signed up was a young American singer-songwriter named James Taylor. Before long he would be not only managing and producing Taylor but also (having left Apple and moved to Los Angeles) working with Linda Ronstadt, Neil Diamond, Robin Williams, Joni Mitchell, and Cher, among others.

The Beatles from A to Zed grows out of his popular radio program "From Me to You" on SiriusXM's The Beatles Channel, where he shares memories and insights about the Fab Four and their music. Here he weaves his reflections into a whimsical alphabetical journey that focuses not only on songs whose titles start with each letter, but also on recurrent themes in the Beatles' music, the instruments they played, the innovations they pioneered, the artists who influenced them, the key people in their lives, and the cultural events of the time.

Few can match Peter Asher for his fresh and personal perspective on the Beatles. And no one is a more congenial and entertaining guide to their music.

A legendary record producer and performer takes readers on an alphabetical journey of insights into the music of the Beatles and individual reminiscences of John, Paul, George, and Ringo.

Peter Asher met the Beatles in the spring of 1963, the start of a lifelong association with the band and its members. He had a front-row seat as they elevated pop music into an art form, and he was present at the creation of some of the most iconic music of our times.

Asher is also a talented musician in his own right, with a great ear for what was new and fresh. Once, when Paul McCartney wrote a song that John Lennon didn't think was right for the Beatles, Asher asked if he could record it. "A World Without Love" became a global No. 1 hit for his duo, Peter & Gordon. A few years later Asher was asked by Paul McCartney to help start Apple Records; the first artist Asher discovered and signed up was a young American singer-songwriter named James Taylor. Before long he would be not only managing and producing Taylor but also (having left Apple and moved to Los Angeles) working with Linda Ronstadt, Neil Diamond, Robin Williams, Joni Mitchell, and Cher, among others.

The Beatles from A to Zed grows out of his popular radio program "From Me to You" on SiriusXM's The Beatles Channel, where he shares memories and insights about the Fab Four and their music. Here he weaves his reflections into a whimsical alphabetical journey that focuses not only on songs whose titles start with each letter, but also on recurrent themes in the Beatles' music, the instruments they played, the innovations they pioneered, the artists who influenced them, the key people in their lives, and the cultural events of the time.

Few can match Peter Asher for his fresh and personal perspective on the Beatles. And no one is a more congenial and entertaining guide to their music.

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About the Author-
  • Peter Asher is a singer, musician, record producer, broadcaster, and writer, and he is the winner of multiple Grammy Awards, including twice being named Producer of the Year. Born in London in 1944, he got his start as half of the duo Peter & Gordon and was the first head of A&R for Apple Records. As a producer he has worked with James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Neil Diamond, Robin Williams, Cher, and many other artists. He continues to perform regularly in addition to his ongoing music production for records and movies. He lives in Malibu, California with his wife, Wendy.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 23, 2019
    In conversational prose, record producer Asher, who met the Beatles in 1963 and became the first head of A&R for Apple records, romps through the Beatles’ song catalogue with glee and an insider’s knowledge about the music and its times. Each section includes popular Beatles songs as well as other topics associated with a particular letter that come to Asher’s mind. The T section opens, for example, with reflections on “Ticket to Ride” and “Taxman,” written by George Harrison, who was lamenting the outrageous tax rates in Britain at the time; Asher then meditates on time signatures, using “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” to demonstrate ways in which the Beatles changed signatures within the same song. Under D, Asher considers drums and Ringo Starr’s drumming—in which the fills were quite specific, with each beat placed in the right spot—as he reflects on “A Day in the Life.” He recalls hearing Paul and John playing piano in his basement one day and being asked his thoughts on a song they had just written—“I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Asher’s inviting prose and knack for storytelling provide an entertaining tour of the Beatles’ music.

  • Kirkus

    September 15, 2019
    A lively firsthand recollection of the Fab Four. British singer, musician, record producer, and host of SiriusXM's radio program From Me to You, Asher makes his book debut with a bright, rambling memoir about his long association with the Beatles, which began in 1963 when Paul McCartney, who was dating Asher's sister, moved into his house. At the time, Asher was half of the duo Peter & Gordon, performing in pubs, clubs, and coffeehouses, and soon under contract with the prestigious EMI Records. Asher eventually quit performing to become head of A&R for Apple Records, where he managed such artists as James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Cher, and Diana Ross. The author's self-described "personal and at times idiosyncratic" take on Beatles music, which follows their playlist alphabetically, is bursting with anecdotes about each song's composition and the circumstances of recording it. He opines on the songs' structure, content, effect, and quality, and he digresses about anyone and everyone associated with the Beatles--collectively and individually--as well as performers connected to his career as a record producer. Reading this memoir is like listening to an entertaining, though nonstop, monologue from someone reprising a golden time, blithely jumping from one memory to another as new thoughts and stories pop into his mind. Halfway through his "alphabetically inspired yet meandering pace," Asher arrives at the letter L, which gives him a chance to comment on "Love Me Do," the Beatles' first single, and also on Sean Lennon and Julian Lennon, whose musicianship Asher much admires. "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," writes the author, was inspired by Julian's childhood drawing of his friend Lucy, "against a sparkly sky"--and not, as some have speculated, about LSD. The letter Q gives Asher pause: He writes about "Queenie Eye," a solo McCartney song, and expounds on the Quarrymen, string quartets, and what he deems is the quietest Beatles song ("Blackbird"). A gift for Beatles fan.

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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    Henry Holt and Co.
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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