THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
Bay City Author Kristofer Engelhardt Releases Definitive Biographical Opus About All the Artists Who’ve Worked with the Fab Four
03rd November, 2022 0
While in the world of popular music Bay City is perhaps most widely distinguished as the birthplace of Madonna, few people realize it also has a writer within its midst earning widespread acclaim for his encyclopedic knowledge about The Beatles, garnering praise from none other than George Harrison himself.
An avid fan of popular music, back in 1966 at the tender age of fourteen, Kristofer Engelhardt was fortunate enough to attend both Beatle’s performances in Detroit, which inspired him to begin seriously collecting their records and writing about Rock music. From 1996 through 2006 he was a regular contributor to The REVIEW, and in 1998 he published a book titled Beatles Undercover, which was voted one of the top five best books on Rock music in 1998 by UK’s Record Collector magazine.
What made this work unique was that Kris had managed to pull together a definitive anthology about all the musicians, artists, and composers that the individual members of The Beatles had collaborated and performed with outside of their own band over the expanse of their career.
The year it was published, George Harrison sent Kris a handwritten note saying, “What a book! A massive job.” Moreover, the producer of Ringo Starr’s All-Star Band tours said, “It was my guidebook for the All-Starr Band concept.” Jeff Lynne of ELO said, “Well done. The book is amazing.” Discoveries magazine called it, “The definitive look at the Fabs’ extracurricular work.” And Goldmine magazine noted how “it deserves to be added to the library shelf of every serious fan of the group.”
Twelve years later, Kris produced a follow-up book titled Beatles Deeper Undercover in 2010; and now in 2022 he is poised to release a truly encompassing and definitive version of Biblical proportions titled Beatles Fully Uncovered.
The past thirty years, Kristofer has appeared on numerous radio and TV shows including CNN’s Showbiz Today, PAX Channel’s Treasures In Your Home and Fox News, to talk about The Beatles. By gaining the trust and friendship of some of the world's best-known musicians for his accurate and positive writing, in 2001 he was assigned the task by Mark Farner, the driving force behind the hugely successful early ‘70s band Grand Funk Railroad, to write his biography From Grand Funk To Grace, which also received rave reviews.
Recently, I had the change to reconnect with Kristofer to discuss the upcoming release of Beatles Fully Uncovered, and discuss some of the revelations revealed through his ongoing quest to leave no stone unturned when it comes to The Beatles and the collaborative work they have engaged in with so many artists ranging from the obscure to the well-known.
REVIEW: Why did you decide to revisit this project and how does ‘Beatles Fully Uncovered’ differ from your earlier work?
Kristofer: The first book was more disco-graphical, listing all the artists, albums, and songs that the various Beatles worked on or collaborated with outside of the group. This latest book still has all the data, but focuses more upon the stories of how the Beatles connected with these various musical peers, and how they contributed with so many divergent artists.
It consists of 90 new chapters and has a total of 375 chapters about groups or artists that The Beatles have worked with; plus there were about a half dozen new names that I missed from the first installments.
I would say this work is less of a collector’s guide and more of a story-oriented work, betting deep into the personalities of how these people came together and worked together, or didn’t work together, because without the stories behind these hundreds of collaborations, it’s just raw data. This latest book is comprehensive and edited in a way that the data is more condensed and the stories much more expanded.
REVIEW: With 90 new discoveries in this latest edition, can you give us a little taste and tell us about one of them?
Kristofer: Sure - a perfect example would be Glenn Aitken. He’s originally from New Zealand and a musician who took a job at the Hilton hotel down in the Maldives Islands and one night he was out on the beach playing his guitar to guests at the hotel. In the middle of a set he looks up and standing in the front row is Paul McCartney, who was with Heather at the time.
Paul says that he really enjoys Glenn’s music and then asks if he knows where he can get underwater video equipment, because he wants to out diving in the morning and videotape it. Glenn says ‘I’m your guy because I also work in the guest services department here at the Hilton for underwater equipment. I take people out dives all the time and videotape them.
He and Paul go out diving and shoot the video and come back and Paul decides this little DVD they made needs a soundtrack - it needs some music. So Glenn and Paul sit down and start writing music together. Paul is so impressed with one of the songs Glenn had written, that he dies to put one of them on an album. Years ago McCartney did an album for Uncut Magazine called Glastonbury Grooves, where artists were asked to pick their favorite 15 songs by other people - so he picked one of Glenn’s songs to put out there, and also offered him a publishing contract on MPL.
He also showed up at the court house the day Paul divorced heather and afterwards came over to the recording studio and laid down a bass track for his album. While they were in Maldives the two got up and played Beatles songs together for the beach crowd.
I loved discovering this story - it was complete serendipity. You can’t make stories like that up.
REVIEW: Of the four Beatles which one would you say did the most collaborative outside work with other artists?
Kristofer: Most of it was McCartney and Ringo. John, of course, died four decades ago, but even when he was alive he didn’t do that much collaborative work in the ‘70s in terms of contributing to other artist’s recordings. George was very active, but Ringo’s been the most active - he plays on everybody’s stuff.
With George Harrison we found a few gems: one was an unreleased track he did in his recording studio with Al Kooper the night after Lennon was killed. It’s an old Phil Spector song that The Crystals did called, He Hit Me. George plays slide guitar on it.
Another thing I learned is that the Tribute song George wrote for John, All Those Years Ago, had completely different lyrics that were not that flattering but rather bitter. Al Kooper talked George into changing the lyrics into a more favorable context only to have him killed the day later, so George changed the lyrics into a tribute. But apparently it started as a rather bitter song.
Beatles Fully Uncovered is currently available online at amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and all the online retailers and is available for $40.00. In addition to serving as a comprehensive chronicle of all their remarkable work with outside artists, it showcases how generous The Beatles were with their time and talent for other artists.
Additionally, Kristofer will be holding a special Beatles Fully Uncovered Book-Signing Event on November 15th from 5:00 - 8:00 PM at Old City Hall Restaurant in Bay City.
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THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)