Some of the many amazing stories in the Mark Lewisohn book “All These Years, Volume 1: Tune In,” the first volume of his three-volume Beatles biography, were discussed at a book signing event Nov. 1 at Bloomingdale's in downtown San Francisco that we were privileged to host.
The event featured Lewisohn answering questions and also displaying a slide show of pictures from the book, some from the yet unseen “author's cut” coming out this month so far only in the UK. About 40 people attended the event, which took place, interestingly enough, on National Author's Day.
We started the questions by asking him how long it took him to put the volume together? “This has so far taken 10 years, about six years of research and three years of writing, and a year for production,” he said.
“This is a different book for me, a departure. My other books they were all reference books where you would look something up, instant facts.” he said.
He said, however, the other books wouldn't be rushed.
““I hope the others won't take 10 years as well. They won't be done in a hurry. I've done quite a bit of research for the second one. I've done some of the research for the third. I've done none of the writing for either because I gather all my research first and then I write. I won't be writing volume two for another two to three years and then that's going to take me three years to write it. It won't be before about six years has passed and maybe even seven.”
He said the publisher was very accomodating about the time it took to do the first volume. “Every time I made a prediction on this project, they ended up being wildly wrong. And I keep reading on the internet that this book is late because it was due out in 2008. It's not late. It just took longer than we thought it would take. We announced 2008 because it seemed like a reasonable time it would take four years to do. But it took 10.”
He said among the people he was fortunate to interview for the book was former Apple head Neil Aspinall.
“He wouldn't speak while he was working for (the Beatles). He knew I was doing this book and he helped me with making introductions to people and things like that, but he wouldn't actually do an interview. He never did an interview unless, very rarely for promotional purposes. But when he left working for the Beatles, he phoned me up and said, 'OK, let's do it.' And we had a fantastic first session. This was in 2007. And you'll read in the book some of the great stuff he said that's really all new and it's so strong and immediate and vital stuff. And then he died of cancer a few months later. I never got to do a second session with him.”
(More to come in part 2. Thanks to Sue Marinucci and Michael Franet for the photos.)
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