Leasider Jeff Walker was a pre-teen in 1964 when the Beatles were going to perform at the Forum in Montreal. He and his friend rode their bikes to what was then Dorval Airport to see them arrive. Well, the friend saw them, but Jeff was shorter, and didn’t actually see any of them. And he still hasn’t – never went to a concert – but he has now written three books about the group.
Why the Beatles? He says, “I was hooked right off the bat. They are my era. They were a fantastic band and fantastic individually.” His interest waned in the 1970s and 1980s, but when Beatles albums were being remastered, remixed and reissued in the 1990s, he renewed his interest. He listens on a CD player with headphones, saying, “I just got adapted to the CD version, and I’m not an audiophile.”
For his first Beatles book in 2010, “Let’s put the Beatles back together again,” he did a tremendous amount of research. That research then led to his second Beatles book in 2014, “Sex and the Beatles,” and also to his latest – just now printed: “Well I just had to laugh – 1,234 funny things the Beatles said or did.” In this new book, he cites 138 book sources, as well as YouTube clips and magazine articles. The 1,234 reference is a sly one. The first cut on the first Beatles record is “I saw her standing there,” and the first thing you hear is the Beatles counting themselves in – 1,2,3,4. When Jeff realized he was close to this number of tidbits with this book, he made sure he actually got to 1,234.
As well as the writing, there are 64 cartoons by Mike Constable in the book, including the cover cartoon of a walrus, as a nod to the John Lennon song, “I am the walrus.” The only full-page cartoon in the book is John Lennon as Jesus, referencing the quote that “The Beatles are more popular than Jesus.”
At one time, Jeff had dreams of becoming a cartoonist himself – in his mind, he was going to take over from Charles Schulz when he stopped drawing Peanuts, but there were major problems: Jeff could really only draw Lucy, and only from one particular angle, and he had never met Schulz.
As Jeff was working on his second Beatles book, he heard that someone else was coming out with something similar, so he pushed particularly hard to get his book out…which involved a lot of sitting. He ended up with deep vein thrombosis, which gave him a scare. While he was working on his current book, he made sure he did a lot of walking to balance out the necessary sitting, and managed to lose 39 pounds. No medical problem this time.
As a self-publisher, he is the one who has to find a copy editor and a printer. For this book, he wanted thicker paper so the cartoons wouldn’t bleed through. This makes for one heavy paperback book. Jeff is also the marketer for his books. His dream would be to put a copy of any of his Beatles books into the hands of Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr – and then he would finally be able to say that he has met a Beatle, too. Available soon at Amazon.com.