by Geoff Emerick and Howard Massey
Gotham, 400 pp., $26
As a 15-year-old recording assistant at EMI's Abbey Road studios in London, Geoff Emerick was fortunate enough to be assigned to the first Beatles recording session there in 1962. Making the most of serendipity, he replaced Norman Smith as the Beatles' regular recording engineer at 18, winning the group's fealty during the Revolver sessions by running John Lennon's vocal through a Leslie speaker to effect the sound of "the Dalai Lama chanting from a mountaintop" on "Tomorrow Never Knows." Although Emerick's autobiography isn't much of a dirt-disher, his allegiance to the McCartney-as-Mastermind school is clear throughout (no surprise given his ongoing association with Sir Paul). Lennon is described as an oft-brilliant songwriter who couldn't convey his vision in musical terms, while George Harrison is portrayed as a neophyte who took hours to overdub lead guitar parts in the beginning. Meanwhile, Ringo Starr quietly played chess in the corner while waiting to do drum parts. Aside from quitting the White Album sessions after a nasty remark from Lennon, Emerick followed McCartney and producer George Martin's example of quiet, steady diplomacy a demeanor that carries over to his prose. This renders Here, There and Everywhere somewhat dry in comparison to more salacious biographies that follow the Beatles through jellybean showers, acid trips, and legal acrimony.
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