Published: 08:47, 30 October 2019
| Updated: 11:49, 30 October 2019
Historian Mark Lewisohn has dedicated half of his 61 years in pursuit of knowing all there is to know about the Beatles.
He is the globally-acknowledged expert on all things Fab, writes Andy Gray, having written eight generously upholstered books on the band, worked as consultant on their 1995 Anthology TV series and even toiled for the Master Moptop himself, Sir Paul McCartney, as editor and writer for a newspaper the singer and his late wife Linda produced.
In his latest project, Faversham-based Mark turns his forensic talent to Abbey Road, the Beatles’ 50-year-old long-playing masterpiece, which made a listed monument of a plain-old zebra crossing and marked the last time the band would ever record as a four-piece.
Titled, Hornsey Road, for reasons which become delightfully clear during his one-man show, Mark gives full chapter and verse – plus a litany of enlightening footnotes – in telling the back story to the album many fans would argue outshines Sgt. Pepper as the band’s greatest work.
“Abbey Road is on a par with the other Beatles albums, which are equally as audacious and breath-taking in their beauty and longevity,” Mark said. “Knowing The Beatles are brilliant is not a surprise, but seeing how the music can endure and remain fresh, revealing and rewarding is for me the ultimate takeaway of The Beatles now.”
Mark, who wrote for the BBC’s Radio Times magazine before becoming a full-time historian, decided to tour his knowledge of the Beatles after giving a one-night-only presentation on the band’s White Album. Hornsey Road’s two-and-a-half hour running time is driven by his desire ‘to impart a lot of content’. It’s a show unashamedly aimed at Beatle swots who will froth at the astonishing level of detail the Mark’s herculean research has uncovered. Put it this way, if you’ve ever wondered which brand of cigarettes the Beatles – and their engineer – smoked during the making of Abbey Road, the biscuits George Harrison ate, or the fate of the white Volkswagen which appears on the album’s sleeve, this show will ‘Please, Please’ you.
Delicious Beatle tittle-tattle, rare photographs and artefacts aside, Hornsey Road is at its core a high-end celebration of the band’s last musical hurrah. To this end, fans will relish hearing a unique mix of each Abbey Road track with individual vocal and instrumental performances brought to the fore. It strips bare the songs to reveal the genius craft and musicianship which ensured the Beatles became those ‘four lads who shook the world’.
Explaining the band’s enduring appeal, Mark said: “In essence, for me, The Beatles were always about truth, which is fundamental to their longevity. They were truthful to themselves and truthful in the way they went about creating their music. No one is compelled to listen to The Beatles, but for those who want beauty in their life, the Beatles will always be there.”
More by this authorAngela Cole