Y’know, the more I think all the way ago about it, the more I realize I must have had the absolute coolest parents on the entire block.
Every May for my birthday, then every single Christmas, I’d joyously receive the latest Beatles (and/or from 1966 onwards Monkees) hot-off-the-presses album …without even asking! In fact, dear Dad actually drove me all the way into Toronto’s gigantic flagship Sam the Record Man store so we could line up for my very own release-day pressing of Sgt. Pepper (and, for him, the almost-as-happening Sounds Like… Herb Alpert TJB LP).
Come May 30, 1970 however, I was birthday-gifted not only the latest – and, for a while, the last – new Beatles album, but right there inside it a luxurious, fully-color picture book; all lovingly boxed in funereal black. And no, not simply some Magical Mystery-style illustrative insert or fold-open White Album poster either: This here was a package of superior magnitude just like those great, grand, available-by-mail-order-only Introduction to the Classics and Big Band Bonanza sets which held pride of place up the tip top of our household’s “serious music” shelf.
Now, when not listening again and again and yet again to “I’ve Got A Feeling,” “Two Of Us,” and especially the utterly ball-busting “One After 909,” I naturally started seriously pouring over that nice slick accompanying book. Of course it took me some time, via each Fab paperback (not to mention bootleg) in the mid-Seventies to understand exactly why the words The Beatles Get Back, instead of Let It Be, appeared on its spine. Or why the snippets of dialogue therein never did correspond in any way whatsoever with the fly-on-wall chatter Phil Spector expertly spliced onto the long-player itself.
One thing which did register right off the literary bat though is how said book for some reason began to immediately split and shed its pages; the result of incongruously shabby/shoddy manufacture somewhere along the production line no doubt. Lamenting such to my fellow neighborhood Beatlefreak (and drummist in my very first rocking teenage combo Pornographic Cornflake) (yes, named from two “I Am The Walrus” lyric) it was suggested I lend drummer Mike the book for a day or three so that his father, a bonafide book binder by trade, could professionally address the printed matter once and for all. Then once it returned safely home, by carefully covering the resultant heavy duty front-to-rear staples with the nearest foot of glossy black electrical tape, I can most proudly proclaim to this day my Get Back book remains even more together now than it did ‘way back on my 15th Birthday.
Come to think of it, the music on that album still holds up pretty damn well as well, doesn’t it?