Author: Bruce Spizer
Publisher: 498 Productions
The first time that this book arrived as a print edition, spanning around 226 pages, there was a audible gasp amongst Beatles fans because of the detail and the broad span of information that this book covered. Bruce Spizer is one of the world’s authorities on The Beatles (he is right there with Mark Lewisohn) and his self-published books, always available as limited editions, are prized amongst the Beatles’ cognoscenti.
Beginning with a forward by former Capitol Records president and CEO, Alan Livingston (1962-1968), Part One specialises on the Beatles’ Capitol Records singles but that description is a massive over-simplification.
In addition to information on those singles, you will also find a host of details that focuses on special releases such as promos and their associated covers and, for collectors, a useful section with colour pictures of all known counterfeit singles that are still out there in the market, tempting the uninformed.
Speaking of pictures, there are high quality, full colour photos of every record label (both sides, of course), picture sleeves/covers and dozens of bonus photos and rarities including in-store promotional displays, custom posters and custom record browser boxes. There are also many anecdotes and an accurate history on every release.
Which is great isn’t it? Want a copy now? Well, you can’t. That is, you can, but you have to pay through the nose to get one because this book is out of print. Part One is currently fetching silly money (I noticed a third party seller on Amazon selling one for £178, for example).
What to do? Well, Spizer himself has come to the rescue and in a quite innovative manner by reissuing the book as a digital edition that can be viewed on all computer media that supports the PDF format. It’s great to read using a tablet, for example (in fact, the book is optimised for the Apple iPad).
So why not just reissue the book? Cost. Spizer decided to expand the information available within the first edition too which would have upped the cost further. In addition to providing new information on all of the Beatles singles issued by Capitol, the revised and expanded digital edition contains the full story behind the Capitol Compact 33 jukebox discs and adds a new chapter on the history of the 45 RPM single and how Capitol quickly embraced the new format. There is also a new chapter titled Capitol of the World, which lists and provides details on all of the British recordings issued as singles by Capitol pre-Beatles from 1956–1963.
This 497 page digital book is a magnificent creation and works well using the generally available, low-cost GoodReader app. The addition of searchable text and associated cross references makes this book a joy to read. Of course, images can be zoomed into to view fine detail, if required.
And it doesn’t stop there because, also out now, is the digital edition of Part Two ($50)! This performs the same job as Part One but focuses upon the albums and includes explanations of why the Capitol albums were different than those issued by Parlophone in England plus session and chart information and pictures of the front and back covers and all label variations of all the Capitol albums, including the most comprehensive coverage ever compiled on the controversial Yesterday And Today album with its Butcher cover.
You can buy both editions as a two volume bundle for $80, HERE.
More than an amazing book, Spizer has created for himself an amazing Beatles’ library. Many Beatles fans will be tempted to buy the lot! Bye bye wallet.