Sixties City presents a wide-ranging series of articles on all aspects of the Sixties, penned by the creator of the iconic 60s music paper  Mersey Beat

Teenagers Guide To The Beatles - Zane Lalani

Zane Lalani is a lifelong Beatles fan, first hearing the group when he was only five years old and finding them to be an influence which remained with him. He began playing numbers such as ‘Yellow Submarine’ to his pre-teen daughter Riyana, who then began to ask questions about the group. Zane found that most books (and there’s a new Beatles book published every two weeks at the current time) were for mature readers and decided to research and write a book which was more accessible to his daughter and her contemporaries. I asked Zane to comment on the book for me and he replied:

“Like any parent that's a Beatles fan, I played Beatles songs for my young daughter. By the time she was a pre-teen, she began to ask questions about The Beatles. The books I found for her were too simplistic and quite limited in the material. Most other books contained material not suited for her age. So I decided to write the Beatles story for her so, by the time she was a teenager, I'd have a book for her".

" Accuracy was very important, therefore I used several books and newspaper articles for my research. I also had several Beatles fans read the manuscript for accuracy. Since I had not written for this age group, I went to Beatles conventions and spoke to several teenagers about what they'd like to see in the book. I also took my daughter's advice. In general, the teens wanted an easy-to-read book with short chapters and plenty of photographs. They also wanted the book to convey how the teenage fans at that time felt so I included interviews and comments by teen fans. The book is suitable for age 10 and above.”

The shoal of facts presented to his readers includes the information: ‘Yesterday’ holds the record for the most-recorded song in history. It’s been covered by other artists approximately 3,000 times. The original title was ‘Scrambled Eggs'. To limit the number of personal appearances promoting new songs and albums, The Beatles agreed to tape promotional videos to be shown on television, paving the way for music videos. ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ was the first album to include all the lyrics to the songs, which covered the entire back of the LP. George’s first solo work, ‘All Things Must Pass’ was the first triple disc pop album. His ‘Concert For Bangla Desh’ was the first of its kind to raise money and awareness for charity. The book also contains information on Beatles fan clubs, internet resources, magazines and festivals.

The author has obviously researched extensively in order to present an accurate story to teenagers, although the inevitable mistakes do occur. He says that a drunk driver killed John’s mother. The driver, a police officer, was late for duty and driving without a licence. He was an inexperienced driver and when he saw Julia he put his foot on the accelerator instead of the brake. He wasn’t drunk.

Zane also writes 'Ringo was born as Richard Parkin'. I know Ringo wrote in ‘The Beatles Anthology’ that his real name was Parkin, but this is not so, according to his birth certificate. He was born Richard Starkey, son of Richard and Elsie Starkey. The Starkey name was one of several associated with the history of the family and those whom the family intermarried, such as Cunningham, Parkin, Bower, Johnson, Parr, Gleave – and Ringo was to name his daughter Lee Parkin Starkey, reintroducing a former family name….but Ringo was definitely born Richard Starkey.

Mentioning their audition for Larry Parnes, Zane writes 'The Silver Beatles found a temporary drummer and auditioned for the national promoter. The Beatles were concerned with the lack of Stuart’s ability to play the bass guitar, so he was asked to keep his back to the audience as much as possible so no one would notice him playing incorrectly'. This is untrue. The Beatles had a regular drummer, Tommy Moore, who turned up late for the audition, so another drummer, Johnny Hutchinson, sat in for a few numbers until Moore arrived. Stuart never played with his back to the audience and was never asked to - this is a myth. I suppose explaining in detail the facts of Beatles history would be too complicated for the young reader, but by simplifying the text, numerous facts are inevitably distorted.

Teenagers Guide To The Beatles. Zane Lalani. AverStream Press. 2005
Teenagers Guide To The Beatles - Zane Lalani

Mersey Beat Magazine Bill Harry attended the Liverpool College of Art with Stuart Sutcliffe and John Lennon and made the arrangements for Brian Epstein to visit The Cavern, where he saw The Beatles for the first time. Bill was a member of 'The Dissenters' and the founder and editor of 'Mersey Beat', the iconic weekly music newspaper that documented the early Sixties music scene in the Liverpool area and is possibly best known for being the first periodical to feature a local band called 'The Beatles'. He has worked as a high powered publicist, doing PR for acts such as Suzi Quatro, Free, The Arrows and Hot Chocolate and has managed press campaigns for record labels such as CBS, EMI, Polydor. Bill is the critically acclaimed author of a large number of books about The Beatles and the 60s era including 'The Beatles Who's Who', 'The Best Years of the Beatles' and the Fab Four's 'Encyclopedia' series. He has appeared on 'Good Morning America' and has received a Gold Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.

Article Text Bill Harry               Original Graphics SixtiesCity     Other individual owner copyrights may apply to Photographic Images

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