Tune In by Mark Lewisohn…

Michael Gerber
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This cover is what happens when a club flyer has sex with the phone book.

…is coming and I cannot wait!

MIKE GERBER • According to this article, it’s off the press in the UK. According to the author, if you think you’ve seen an advance copy, you haven’t. There are lots of editions—US and UK, mass market (960pp) and Extended Special Mike Gerber Xmas Present Edition (1728pp).

The Super-Duper Obsessive Edition, which is the only one we really will discuss on this site, obviously, is slated for November 14 in the UK, and February (maybe) in the US. Rather odd that it won’t be available in the US for Christmas, which is when 75% of all book sales occur, but they must know what they are doing. Right? Right.

Or maybe not?

Ye gods, the cover design for the UK edition is an utter car crash. In a world full of superb graphic artists, they have created something that doesn’t look like the 60s, or The Beatles, or definitive, or classic—it recalls nothing so much as some rejected packaging from Rockband. This must be intentional, right? Right.

OK, Mr. Grouchy

But don’t let me come off as sour; the publication of “Tune In” is a wonderful thing, Lewisohn’s a treasure, and I can’t wait. I’m hoping Lewisohn can write fluidly enough, but even if he can’t, his scholarly work is without peer, and this book is guaranteed to be a real trove. It would be interesting to compare the Goldman Interview Archive (1981-86 or so?) to the Lewisohn Archive, and see how the stories have changed.

Meanwhile, my wife has been alerted; the slow boat from Milton Keynes (or wherever it’s printed) to Santa Monica will depart on November 14.

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  1. Avatar Devin McKinney wrote:

    Lord, I had no idea there were so many different editions coming of this. I’ve had my “Americanized” edition on preorder for weeks now, and that will have to do until February.

    Lewisohn is one of the few people whose writing I give a critical pass. He writes well enough, and the quality of his access and info, and his care and scruple as a researcher, more than make up for any deficit in flamboyance or poetry.

    • Avatar Craig wrote:

      What, exactly, is the difference between the extended and non-extended versions?

      And Michael, are you inferring you’re going to order from the UK in November? How can that be accomplished?

      I can’t wait for this. It’s almost seemed like it was a mirage, that this book would never actually appear. I actually talked to Lewisohn on the phone a few years ago about this book. He eventually agreed to “get a cup of tea” with me when he was in New York. Alas, I never followed up (neither did he).

      • Either I’ll use Amazon.co.uk, Craig, or (if necessary) I’ll call on an English friend to do the right thing. Is Lewisohn nice? I hope so; and I hope this trilogy does fantastic for him.

        In general, UK publishers (and European ones in general) seem to have a better sense of packaging. We Yanks do flashy/arty reasonably well, but there is an undercurrent of “if-only-this-were-a-television-show” running throughout US publishing that seeps into the design. What appalls me about the UK packaging is that it doesn’t seem tuned to the subject or the prospective audience at all, and that’s really disturbing given the editorial muscle that (I hope) was behind this book. Graphic design is the creation of a mental environment suitable for the subject matter, and nothing about this typography evokes or supports or recasts or enhances the subject matter. It’s really “I thought it would be cool if” design, which is awful.

        Speaking of editorial muscle, Devin, that’s all I’m hoping for: that enough people have gone over the prose so that it is reasonably clear and fluid. I wonder what new he’ll have found?

  2. Avatar Annie McNeil wrote:

    Wheeeee, I’m so excited tooooo! I agree that the release dates/edition decisions seem truly bizarre and that the cover is gross gross gross, but I don’t care! In a month I will have those 960 pages of precious precious data in my hot little hands! After that I think I’ll let the Internet comb through the Extra Super Mega Ultra edition and post relevant bits for online consumption. Because I am poor.

  3. Avatar Beasty Glanglemutton wrote:

    I have spent the past 35 years reading everything about the Beatles I could get my hands on, whether I could afford it or not. I have been seduced by books with great covers and design, only to be disappointed by their contents. I have read talented writers, only to see them get their basic facts wrong.

    I couldn’t care less what this book looks like. It can be typewritten on plain copy paper for all I care. FINALLY, a real Beatles historian tackles the subject, and spends his entire life on the project. I’m ready.

  4. Avatar Karen wrote:

    While Lewisohn gets his facts right, I find the” facts” about as interesting as mud. Why do I care where Beatle X was on a given day recording what song? For this new book, I hope he brings us something of more substance.

  5. […] to alert Greater Dullblogania about something that I am certainly getting for Christmas (with the Lewisohn book, it’s looking mighty Beatle-y this Noel). It’s a new graphic novel about Brian called […]

  6. Avatar Craig wrote:

    “Is Lewisohn nice?”

    He was to me. I somehow managed to track his # down through his publisher or agent, I forget which and then he returned my call. He was generous with his time, answered some questions and even humored me about a possible future meeting. We emailed a few times afterwards but that was now a few years ago.

  7. Avatar Sandy wrote:

    More info from the man. Try to ignore the stickers on his sleeve, I had a hard time. 🙂


  8. […] a bounty this autumn brings us. In addition to the long (as in loooong) awaited first volume of the Lewisohn biography (the multiple iterations of which will blanket like sweet snow our Fall and Winter); Kevin […]

  9. Avatar hologram sam wrote:

    I’m curious how Ringo and Paul react to his scholarship. Do they read the books, fascinated, or do they say “we lived it, not interested.”
    If I were 73 years old, and someone took the time and trouble to document every last thing I ever did in my life, I think I might be fascinated enough to at least skim through parts of it.
    Will Paul and/or Ringo comment on any of this?

    • Avatar Linda wrote:

      hologram sam, what’s interesting here is that McCartney often gets criticized for altering history. To be honest, I am in awe that he, they, anyone involved is able to remember such detail from 50 or 60 years ago. I was in a rock band — all girls — in junior high and high school. Do I remember the first venue we ever played? No. Do I remember the exact date that Ruth, our amazing drummer, was asked to join the band, or when I first placed the ad in the newspaper to find a girl durmmer? No. Do I remember when founding partner, Terry, was asked to leave the group because of creative differences? No way. Do I remember the first time Leni, our keyboardist, played with us professionally? Nah. Do I remember when our bass guitarist, Jeanne, came to me asking to join the group and knowing we needed someone on bass, I told her that if she were really interested, she could buy a bass guitar and amplifier, and I’d teach her to play and if —if being the operative word — she was any good, she could join the band. Nope. I know these things happened, cos they did — and Jeanne was quite talented student, picked up the instrument immediately, and the rest is history — but exactly when, on what day, what I was wearing, or what our set lists were (altho one or two remain), it would be all conjecture on my part. And these were all defining moments for our group. It amazes me the detail that authors are able to extract from Paul, Ringo, and the people that knew The Beatles back then.

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