I caught up with Paolo Hewitt, author of a fleet of books that collectively manage to capture British culture at its best. His latest book is Love Me Do: 50 Great Beatles Moments, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the start of the Fab Four phenomenon.
This time last year, Paolo published Fab Gear: The Beatles and Fashion and Scuse me while I kiss the sky: 50 Moments that Changed Music. That last one takes moments like the Live Aid concert and the suicide of Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain and looks at the background and the impact of those moments. Publishers Quercus decided the same format would work for the approaching 50th anniversary of The Beatles.
So here we are, 50 years after the start of something truly remarkable with the release of the Fab Four’s first single, Love Me Do. This latest book examines the best bits – and there are loads of them – of the Beatles phenomenon. And it’s one of those books that is difficult to put down. Turn the page and there’s another image or a passage that grabs you.
Paolo said: “For me, the moment that defined the Beatles was their first meeting with Brian Epstein, a middle-class prosperous powerful man who six months later was being ridiculed by John Lennon for trying to dress like The Beatles. Also that point where they start working with George Martin. A band that truly transcended class says a lot about their power that they attracted a man who knew a lot about Sibelius and not a lot about bands in dingy cellars.”
The epiphany for Paolo came with the release of She Loves You. “Suddenly, here was a band talking to boys about girls and it captured my imagination. I clearly remember the extraordinary broadcast of All You Need is Love. It had such a positive vibe.”
And that’s what you get with this book – great research and detail, alongside Paolo’s personal insights. Now there’s an exciting new project in the pipeline, although he won’t be drawn on the subject. For a man whose life is peppered with the prolific publication of books on a combination of music, football and fashion, he promises this will be something new. So, you’ve probably got a few months – but not much more – to catch up on some of his output. It’s definitely worth a few hours of your time.