The WHITE BOOK
The Beatles, the Bands, the Biz: An Insider’s look at an Era
Thomas Nelson Publishers
Copyright © 2007
Journalism is normally a very inexact science. Many of the countless books about the Beatles have been written by researchers—not by people who were actually there. Everyone has experienced reading a book or article where one’s own inside knowledge about a particular person or event shows up inaccuracies on the part of the writer that totally distort the truth. This book is an exception. I know because I was there for some of it myself. Ken Mansfield and I unknowingly shared the experience of the famous Apple rooftop session where I was nervously adjusting mikes and cables for the sound recording of that unforgettable day. Ken was not only working for the Beatles through their heyday; he was also their trusted friend. There is no one better equipped to tell the Beatles’ story truthfully—and more importantly—factually, from the inside.
I first met Ken Mansfield when Apple Records was originally being formed and contracts were being signed for Capitol Records to represent Apple in the USA. Ken was to be “our man” in LA, the U.S. manager of Apple Records.
Ken was different, from another culture, Californian, bronzed, handsome, laid-back, and very cool. We were crazed, English, rock ’n’ roll people. I visited LA many times, and, of course, he had the house in the Hollywood Hills, a sparkling pool, and a gigantic convertible Cadillac with a stereo radio, unheard of in England in those days; we were very impressed. A real California guy—he worked in our offices in London, and we crashed at his pad in Hollywood.
We all hit it off immediately, and he became an instant member of the team. Even the Beatles took to him straight away, as he was a no-nonsense person and very easy to be around. He did a magnificent job of handling the record label in the good old USA, not an easy task in those days, as the Fab Four were very demanding. Seemingly impossible tasks were always met with a laid-back “No problem.”
Many books have been written about those heady days of Apple in the swinging ’60s, and Ken’s point of view is more astute and accurate than most. His writing reflects his laid-back vision of life back then, and his stories are not only uniquely interesting but also very factual.
Ken has remained a very good friend over the years, and we reminisce often. He is one of the few insiders left that bore witness to the highs and lows of those insane days when we ruled the world.
Ken Mansfield brings us a new and closely personal perspective not only on the Beatles but on a whole cast of musical characters from Brian Wilson to Don Ho. He is an observant and perceptive man in the centre of the storm; a contradictory man, both ambitious and spiritual, but was at the heart of the record industry during its most exciting years and enjoying every minute of it. I lived through those years with Ken, and we became friends. It is a pleasure to experience so much of it all again through the accuracy of his storytelling and the clarity of his memory.
Ken has a unique gift. He can take you in the room and have you sit with the folks he knows and make you one of the gang, part of the plan. And considering these folks include the Beatles, Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings, the Beach Boys, Roy Orbison, David Cassidy, and a whole host more, that is some doing. I really enjoyed sitting in on his world, and I respect the affection he has for our game, and what he brought to it will get you.
Ken Mansfield was the genius Hollywood recording executive who worked with dozens of musical stars for more than thirty years, helping take them to the very top and then keeping them there. He knows all the secrets, the good and the bad, the happiness and the heartbreaks. He did indeed hold the key to the lifestyles of many of the rich and famous pop superstars.
In his White Book, he salutes the Beatles as only a true insider can. He reflects on a period of pop culture and music that set today’s stage of the phenomenal megastar side of showbiz. Be you a fan of the “oldies” or a rocker shouting for today’s hits, this piece of modern history is a must for anybody who appreciates music. Informative, fun, and warm, it will make you want to have been in the “heat and heart” of it all back then. Ken’s book is the time machine that can travel back to that age of innocence that truly changed the world.
In the White Book, Ken proves the perfect memory of a charismatic time and place that will never be repeated.
“Unlike many people claiming a Beatles connection, Ken Mansfield doesn’t have an agenda or try to elevate his role or importance. Ken comes across as a man who knows how lucky he was to be where he was and enjoys sharing his stories with us. Ken was there and that is why The White Book is informative, fresh and entertaining without being ego-driven.”
When I first read Ken Mansfield’s first book, The Beatles, The Bible and Bodega Bay, it absolutely stopped me in my tracks. Not only were his stories funny, heartwarming and insightful, his storytelling, in my opinion, has practically created a new genre of writing. The other thing was, you could see the heart of the man through his words, how he felt about the Beatles and why in turn they felt a connection with him. Ken is one of those gifted creatures who is both an artist and businessman, and it’s no mystery why the Beatles hired him as the first U.S. Manager of Apple Records. With The White Book, Ken has even managed to surpass his first literary offering, expanding his insights into the Beatles and other acts he’s worked with through the years. Sometimes heartbreaking, other times humorous, always instructive, The White Book is a must read for all music fans who want to know what it’s like to climb the rock and roll mountain and the inevitable tumble one takes after the hits stop coming. At times it was painful to read the suffering and humiliation Ken endured after his musical heyday, but he has laid it out there for all to see – the good, the bad and the ugly. But no matter how many times Ken got knocked down, he has always demonstrated a prizefighter’s heart. Ken instinctively got up, dusted himself off and kept going toward his intended target. His story is ultimately one of triumph because he’s in a very good place today. Ken Mansfield is living proof that nice guys sometimes do finish first.