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Last updated March 25, 2019

Save the Beatles! The Rescued "New Phase" Albums: 1970-1982

A book of music criticism in which solo recordings become the Beatles albums they should have been

Save the Beatles! The Rescued "New Phase" Albums: 1970-1982

A book of music criticism in which solo recordings become the Beatles albums they should have been

$50
pledged of $28,500pledged of $28,500 goal
3
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Mon, March 25 2019 7:35 PM UTC +00:00
Last updated March 25, 2019

About

“...whenever you listen to too much of the solo stuff, it kind of becomes a drag, you know? But you put 'em next to each other, alright, and they start to elevate each other... and then you can hear it. Huh! It's the Beatles!” Boyhood (2014)

Elevation

From the moment John Lennon met Paul McCartney, the Beatles elevated each other. With each new addition to the team, from George Harrison, to Brian Epstein, to Ringo Starr, to George Martin, the virtuous circle expanded. Each person played a significant role in turning good into great, great into exceptional, and exceptional into defining. By continuously elevating each other, they reached heights together that they could never have reached individually.

And then, in a flash, the circle collapsed. Theoretically, by 1970 they didn't need each other anymore. They were Big Stars by then, and Big Stars shouldn't need anyone to elevate them. Except, the Beatles did need each other. Without the interplay between their voices, the solo years which followed were patchy, indeed.

This new book, Save the Beatles!, written to commemorate the 50th anniversary of their breakup, explores a secret which has been hiding in plain sight ever since: The Beatles still had the power to elevate each other after they split, even without being in the same studio. There are a handful of documented instances when it happened, but there could have been much more. And amazingly, even after all these years, we actually can reanimate their famous chemistry and hear some of what they might have given us as a group in the 70s. Hard to believe, but absolutely true.

The Right Question

Sure, everybody has had this idea. It's been a parlor game of Beatles fans for half a century. You just take your favorite songs from the solo years and string them together on a tape or playlist and – viola! – reanimated Beatles.

That is fun, and if you haven't tried it, you should. But that is not enough. If all you do is string together the hits, you will get something best called Frankenstein's Greatest Hits of the Former Beatles. Nothing wrong with that in spirit, but it bears no relation to what they might have done if they had figured out a way to continue elevating each other without the stresses of being each other's session men.

It's that elevation we really seek because it was at the heart of what made the Beatles great. Bringing it back has never seemed possible, but that changes if you ask just the right question: What would have happened to the art of the Beatles if they had agreed to record separately but release together? The shocking answer is that, even though we'll never know exactly, with the right information, and careful consideration, we can catch a meaningful glimpse of what their albums would have sounded like in the 70s. The results will surprise and delight you. 

The Process

The first step in reanimating the Beatles is developing a deep understanding of how and why their classic albums worked. You may think it was just because the music was great, but that's only part of it. George Martin, who did the bulk of the album sequencing, is on record describing the techniques he used to take what he called "lesser" tracks and surround them with music that made them sound better. The book starts by extracting and understanding Martin's principles so that we can apply them to the solo years. It becomes clear that George Martin played an even more significant role than you may already know, and the most devastating breakup -- for the music -- may have been that between the four artists and their first and best editor.

Next, we need to understand the context in which the former Beatles recorded. Much has been written about their post-breakup biographies, so this book does not dwell there. Nor does it dwell with who played what or traveled where. Instead, it seeks to place all the solo recordings in context with one another, and relative to what all four solo Beatles were experiencing. From that context, we can understand when it would have been natural for the group to pool their recordings for another "new phase" project. We can also see that they held great conversations among themselves that have never been properly heard. 

We also need to carefully consider each and every recording, attempting to set aside the first impressions had by fans and reviewers, some of which have haunted the music to this very day. Many of those impressions were more about the soap opera breakup than the quality of the music. More importantly, we have to identify those tracks which would have been A) good enough to bear the Beatles name, and B) acceptable to all parties. Only through close listening with an open mind can we determine which solo tracks belong on a Beatles project. Not all hits will make the cut, and a few tracks you've probably never heard will rise to glorious prominence.

Finally, we engage in a bit of speculation, trying to figure out how George Martin might have ordered the tracks, and how the resulting albums would have been received compared to what else was on turntables at the time. This is where the rubber (soul) meets the (abbey) road. It is here that we can make meaningful statements about what relevance the Beatles might have had in the 70s, and see how their art grew together, even though they recorded apart. The result is a revelation, and the arc which appears is probably not what you expect.

Unbaking and Rebaking the Soufflé

Through this project, you will see that the Beatles undermined their solo works not by recording with other musicians, not by letting their personal and business conflicts keep them from reuniting in the studio, and not by going off in incompatible stylistic directions, but from two far more important and simple decisions.

First, in addition to breaking up with each other, the Beatles broke up with George Martin. This grand mistake resulted in too many questionable artistic decisions, which otherwise might have been either mitigated or avoided altogether.

Second, they often used fantastic raw ingredients to bake lousy soufflés. On too many projects, weak tracks get highlighted, and great tracks get buried. Albums which contain tons of great music sound depressingly thin and unsatisfying. There are too many cases of potentially classic music being diluted rather than distilled.

Save the Beatles! is about rebaking the soufflés in order to elevate the solo years. Take apart the bad albums, strip them back to their raw ingredients (tracks) and start again. In addition to the seven "new phase" albums, the book includes improved solo albums (and also some left essentially unchanged) which give support to the idea that a few "new phase" years would have better prepared all four Beatles for the solo careers they would eventually need.

Join the Fun!

In addition to all of this, the book will provide the reader with all the information needed to create better "new phase" albums -- at least a step up from the Frankenstein's Greatest Hits versions that have become so common. If you don't like what you hear, you can have a crack at it yourself. A big part of the fun of this project will be seeing what other people would do with the same information. It's all about having fun again with the Beatles.

So, please join in! Your pledge will make it possible to release this project with the quality the Beatles deserve, so that we all can reconsider the solo years in a more positive light. Listening to Beatles (group or solo) should never be a "drag." Let's help them elevate each other once again.

Your participation in this Kickstarter campaign is needed, and greatly appreciated.

About the Project

The manuscript for Save the Beatles! is roughly 95% complete and expected to run approximately 200,000 words. It will be accompanied by multiple appendices which provide detailed information on the solo works of the former Beatles, and important details which help understand the structures of their original classic group albums.

Seven "new phase" albums are assembled and discussed in great detail, including new criticism of all the solo tracks from which these imagined albums were made. In addition, three proof-of-concept projects are described to demonstrate the soundness of the principles being used, along with their potential liabilities.

Though it is hoped that an eBook version will be available someday, the initial publication will be a print edition only, in a large format. This is to accommodate the need to see some information in ways which cannot easily be adapted to eBooks.

Owning the book will grant password-protected access to SaveTheBeatles.com, which will feature digital versions of the appendices, plus additional resources, inevitable clarifications, corrections and updates, while also inviting conversation about the ideas presented in the book. In addition, members will have the opportunity to submit their own "new phase" albums utilizing the book's materials, and whatever principles make sense to them.

The budget for this project was determined based on the pure publication needs of doing it in the way it deserves. This includes final research and fact-checking, copy editing, design, proofreading, indexing, printing, web development and initial marketing.

About the Author

Rick Prescott is a composer, conductor, musician, engineer, photographer, editor and writer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

Risks and challenges

This project is a labor of love that I've been working on, at least conceptually, for about 40 years. I believe that, since the Beatles always gave their very best to the fans, we owe them the same in return.

The primary risk associated with this project is that it will need to be done on the cheap, something I am determined to avoid with this Kickstarter campaign. In addition to high quality printing, I recognize my own limitations as a copy editor, graphic artist, proofreader, indexer, and marketeer. The success of this Kickstarter campaign is central to making sure that the project lives up to what the Beatles deserve, and what fans should always expect in all things Beatles-related.

If sufficiently funded, there are no anticipated obstacles in the way of completing and releasing this book in 2019. Indeed, the goal is to have it on the market when commemorations of the 50th anniversary of the breakup begin in the spring of 2020.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1

    Level 1: "Be Here Now" (George '73)

    Join the fun! With any pledge, you will get updates on the project, notification when the book is ready, and an invite to join the web community.

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    Pledge $19 or more About $19

    Level 2: "Coochy Coochy" (Ringo '70)

    You will receive a PDF containing a short introduction to the book and the "new phase" album process, along with the Save the Beatles! Basic Digital Data Pack. This includes the simplified works catalog, distilled chronologies and discographies. With these tools, you'll be able to make your own "new phase" albums and have some fun with the solo Beatles catalogs.

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    Pledge $39 or more About $39

    Level 3: "Get It" (Paul '81)

    You will receive a PRINT COPY of the book when it becomes available. In advance, you will also receive the Save the Beatles! Standard Digital Data Pack, which includes a PDF introduction to the "new phase" process. All books include access to the "members only" section of the Save the Beatles! web site. This offers conversation, updates, corrections, and extended versions of the works catalogs, chronologies, and discographies -- all of the tools you need to try your hand at creating your own "new phase" Beatles albums.

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    Pledge $79 or more About $79

    Level 4: "Freda Peeple" (John '73)

    You will receive a SIGNED and NUMBERED FIRST EDITION copy of the book when it becomes available. In advance, you will also receive the Save the Beatles! Deluxe Digital Data Pack, which includes a PDF introduction to the "new phase" process, and more detailed background. All books include access to the "members only" section of the Save the Beatles! web site. This offers conversation, updates, corrections, and extended versions of the works catalogs, chronologies, and discographies -- all of the tools you need to try your hand at creating your own "new phase" Beatles albums.

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    Level 5: "I'm the Greatest" (JGR '73)

    In addition to a SIGNED and NUMBERED FIRST EDITION copy of the book when it becomes available, you will be THANKED BY NAME in a special foreword, along with a mention of your favorite Beatles solo track. In advance, you will also receive the Save the Beatles! Deluxe Digital Data Pack, which includes a PDF introduction to the "new phase" process, and more detailed background. All books include access to the "members only" section of the Save the Beatles! web site. This offers conversation, updates, corrections, and extended versions of the works catalogs, chronologies, and discographies -- all of the tools you need to try your hand at creating your own "new phase" Beatles albums.

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Funding period

- (24 days)