Terry’s Book Club

Welcome to my book club. Every month I’ll make a recommendation and tell you why I think it’s worth reading. You can also recommend books to me below. Let’s share.

double-feature

Maximum Volume 1926-1966 & Sound Pictures 1966-2016

by Kenneth Womack

This month’s book selection is a two-volume set.

If you are a Beatles fan or if you are fascinated by biographies of people who put a dent in the world, this series on producer George Martin is one of the best.

And I have read virtually ALL the books about the Beatles and Mr. Martin.

Not only does author Kenneth Womack track George Martin from his childhood to his time with the Fab Four, but also his success past the Beatle years. Which is impressive.

There are so many riveting stories found in these pages. Including the fact George was having an affair with someone at EMI Studios (Judy Lockhart Smith – who would become his second wife). Martin’s boss was so appalled by this inter-office scandal that – as punishment – he assigned Martin to oversee the Beatles audition.

Which Martin did reluctantly.

He didn’t think the Beatles’ song writing was much good, but he was mesmerized by their personalities and humour.

The rest is music history.

The books also explore how Martin helped shape the Lennon/McCartney alchemy, calling Lennon’s soulful voice and McCartney’s sweet vocals as “the lemon juice against the virgin olive oil.” Womack picks out the sometimes hidden aspects of Martin’s technical wizardry in the studio. As well as his ability to translate and implement the Beatles’ often vague and psychedelic musical requests.

As Womack says, a fist is stronger than five fingers.

And that was the magic of George Martin and the Beatles.

Top three reasons to read these books:

1

It’s the inside stories – like how McCartney was amazed at how Martin immediately recognized the genius of Lennon’s Tomorrow Never Knows before he did. And Martin’s take on George Harrison – explaining how he had more than power in the group, he had influence.

2

The interesting story behind the decision to issue the double-A sided single containing Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane – a record Martin says was the best single in history and why he calls it the biggest mistake of his career.

3

And – the accumulation of George Martin’s successes before, during and after the Beatles – including producing three James Bond theme songs, producing the band America and Elton John’s Candle in the Wind for Princess Diana – the last single Martin would ever produce.

Bookstream

Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story
by Chris Nashawaty

Any Caddyshack fans out there? The idea for this 1980 movie came from Bill Murray’s brother, Brian Doyle-Murray. It was based on the Murray brother’s childhood summers spent working as caddies on the snootiest golf courses along Chicago’s wealthy North Shore. The slobs versus snobs premise bubbled with comedic possibilities. Nashawaty also places an interesting […]

The Castle on Sunset: Life, Death, Love, Art, Scandal at Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont
by Shawn Levy

This month’s book selection was recommended by listener Peter Blackmore. Thanks Peter. I directed hundreds of commercials over the years in Los Angeles and while on those many trips, one of my favourite spots was the infamous Chateau Marmont hotel. One day on the way to the airport, I was notified my flight was cancelled. […]

Dream Teams: Working Together Without Falling Apart
By Shane Snow

I have been a member of teams over the entire course of my career. The creative departments of advertising business are structured to be team-focussed. Writers are teamed with art directors. As a writer, I worked with a number of very talented art directors over the years. Some partnerships were better than others. So much […]

The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible
by A.J. Jacobs

Here’s a book to beat the February blahs. A.J. Jacobs was an editor at Esquire magazine in 2007 when he wrote this book. As an experiment, he wanted to see if he could go a full year trying to live by all the rules in the Bible. And he wanted to follow those rules literally. […]

Last Train To Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley
By Peter Guralnick

Aside from the subject of advertising, the largest category in my book collection is biographies. I’ve read hundreds of them. My favourite genre by far. So when I say the Last Train To Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley (1994) is one of the best biographies I have ever read – maybe the best – […]

How To Fly A Horse:
The Secret History of Creation, Invention and Discovery

by Kevin Ashton

This remarkable book mines the mysterious process of creativity. It’s one of the best books I’ve read on the subject and I would recommend it as a perfect bookend to Creativity, Inc by Ed Catmull. Ashton’s basic premise is this: There is no magical shortcut to creativity. No get-creative-quick schemes. Creators spend almost all of […]

The Gift of Fear
by Gavin de Becker

This month’s book recommendation is something a little different. Anyone who listens to our show or podcast knows I am endlessly curious about human behaviour. And I firmly believe that kind of learning can come from any discipline. Gavin de Becker is widely regarded as the foremost expert on the protection of public figures. He […]

You Can Negotiate Anything
by Herb Cohen

For this month’s selection, I’m going to recommend an book I read many years ago. It was written in 1982 and spent nine months on the New York Times Best-Seller List. It’s still easy to find online. Author Herb Cohen was one of the world’s top negotiators. He was brought in when corporations needed to […]

Creativity, Inc.
by Ed Catmull

Managing a creative business is never easy. I did it for 25 years and I can say firsthand that a creative company is all about culture. And that creative ideas are as fragile as soap bubbles. But what if you could spend a few hours extracting the wisdom from the CEO of one of the […]

The Man Who Sold America: The Amazing (But True!) Story of Albert D. Lasker and the Creation of the Advertising Century
By Jeffrey Cruikshank & Arthur W. Schultz

A few seasons ago, we did an episode on Albert D. Lasker, possibly the most fascinating adman of the 20th century. It was our most listened-to episode of the year. Lasker changed advertising for all time. He brought the concept of “salesmanship” to advertising, which up until then had only been used to deliver news. […]

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