Bill Harry, the founder and editor of the venerable British music paper Mersey Beat that had regular articles about the Beatles before they became a worldwide sensation, told Beatles Examiner Tuesday he is currently at work revising his massive reference book “The Beatles Encyclopedia. The book, first published in 1992 and checking in at almost 1,200 pages in its revised 2000 edition, will be expanded to two volumes. In addition to the revised version, he also produced separate encyclopedias for John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison.
“For the past few decades I have been constantly researching and writing about every aspect of the Beatles, interviewing hundreds of people, tracking down many stories, exposing myths. I placed a lot of this information in my initial ‘The Ultimate Beatles Encyclopedia', a volume so large that the publishers had to cut hundreds of thousands of words out of it,” he told us.
“Immediately after it was published, I began revising it and this edition appeared as ‘The Beatles Encyclopedia’ in 2001. The maximum amount of pages the printers could provide was 1,196 and even this meant around 40,000 words had to be omitted. I immediately continued researching, with almost 150,000 words of additional notes when my computer broke down, losing all my information and I had to start again,” he said. Harry lost five years' work because of the computer problems.
“With the vast amount of information I was collecting, it became obvious that it would have hundreds of thousands of additional words and could never fit into a single volume, so it is to become a massive two-volume work, probably 900 pages per volume,” he said.
But then his original publisher came into the picture.
“I received the rights back from Virgin Books, who later told me they wanted to reprint the 2001 edition. I said ‘no’ at the time because I regarded that volume as out-of-date as far as I was concerned. When Virgin Books was bought by Random House, they announced the re-publication of the 2001 encyclopedia, but I told them I didn’t want it re-published as I had spent several years revising it.
“I was the first person ever to write about the Beatles and have written more about them than anyone else in the world. Even I was surprised by the amount of new information I kept unearthing and I am confident that even the most devoted Beatles fans will find information they were completely unaware of.”
Harry says he's now looking for a publisher for the new book.
“I am now seeking a publisher who can handle such a vast work and have actually been approached by two publishers. Ideally I would place it in the hands of a major British or American publisher. Although I have had 25 books published, I have never had an agent, but I wouldn’t say no to an agent handling this venture as it’s the result of 50 years research.
He said on Facebook he hopes it can be finished within a year.”
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