Thursday, December 22, 2011

Here, There and Everywhere

I just read the book Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles, by Geoff Emerick. Geoff was the recording engineer behind most of the Beatles' music from Revolver through Abbey Road. After the Beatle break-up he went on to work with Paul McCartney and Wings. He also helped John, George, and Ringo with some of their solo projects. I wasn't as interested in that phase of Geoff's career. But the book is a fascinating expose of the wizardry and drama behind the Beatle albums that I love as much as ever.

When Geoff was just 15 years old, he was an assistant on some of the Beatles' early hits like "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and "She Loves You." The book starts there and moves on through the Beatles' career, sharing inside stories behind the best-known Beatle songs.

Much of the book focuses on the technical aspects of audio engineering. What I liked best was Geoff's recounting how, take after take, Beatle songs evolved into the finished products we listen to today. He also shares a lot about the relationships among the Beatles. It is clear that Paul McCartney was (and is) his favorite. Emerick did not care for George Harrison at all, and is often critical of George's guitar playing and voice. John and Ringo also get their share of jabs, especially when Geoff writes about the Beatles' late career. But you can tell Geoff Emerick loved the Beatles' music, loved playing a key role in their recordings, and grieves still over the world's loss of John and George.

The book illustrates common grace. God gives gifts to all, even to those who are his enemies. Some of the world's greatest musicians are people who deny that there is a God. Such seems to be the case with the Beatles (notwithstanding another book I read recently titled The Gospel According to the Beatles, by Steve Turner). Geoff Emerick is an incredible artist. His ear is precise, his hands careful, his mind quick and alert. Yet he apparently has yet to bow the knee to Jesus. This proves the truth of Acts 17:25, "[God] himself gives all men life and breath and everything else," including artistic gifts. Why is God so generous and patient? " that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 'For in him we live and move and have our being'" (Acts 17:27-28).

In other words, God is here, there, and everywhere.

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