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Hedleys Bookshop owner David Hedley with one of the first copies in the world of The Beatles: Get Back. PHOTO/TOM TAYLOR

Beatles book has something special

TOM TAYLOR
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A new Beatles book is set to hit the shelves – and a Masterton bookseller played an instrumental role in helping it all come together.

Earlier in the week, Hedleys Bookshop was the first store in the world to receive copies of “The Beatles: Get Back”.

The store hosted a book launch yesterday – the same day as the reissue of The Beatles’ 1970 album “Let It Be.”

“It’s a special Beatles day,” owner David Hedley said.

“Get Back” featured complete transcripts of the conversations among band members John, Paul, George, and Ringo as they recorded their final studio album.

The book included unpublished photos by Ethan A Russell, whose images featured on the original cover of “Let It Be”, and Linda McCartney, Paul McCartney’s first wife.

“They were there all that time just snapping away, so it’s a pretty cool Beatle-fan book,” Hedley said.

The book and album would pave the way for a three-part documentary series directed by part-time Masterton resident Sir Peter Jackson, who also wrote a foreword for the book.

With a release delayed by covid-19, the series would now premiere on Disney Plus from November 25-27. However, Hedley hoped it would also hit the big screens at some point to make the most of its dramatic sound design.

Beatles holding company Apple Corps published the book alongside New York-based publishers Callaway.

They had asked Hedley to come on board to help with marketing in Australasia.

“It’s a great honour and something I’m really pleased to be doing because I love the music and the history of the Beatles’ music and publishing,” Hedley said. “It’s been a big part of my life over the last 40 years.”

PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

Through his work in the publishing industry, Hedley had formed relationships with former Beatles and rubbed shoulders with many of the music industry’s biggest names.

It all started at an international bookfair where he met Brian Roylance, founder of then-fledgling British publishing company Genesis Publications.

The pair worked together on books about Captain Cook, William Bligh, and the British exploration of the Pacific.

Meanwhile, Roylance was also starting to publish books about music.

The connection led to an invitation in the early 1980s to work on the book “Fifty Years Adrift,” written by Beatles publicist Derek Taylor and edited by George Harrison.

“I was just bookselling in Masterton, and that’s always been my main love. To have this opportunity was pretty much down to luck.”

From this launching pad, Hedley’s work branched into photography books with Beatles drummer Ringo Starr and producer George Martin.

“I’ve become part of an extended group of supporters of the Beatles publishing.”

For the “Get Back” book launch, Hedley had been planning a large-scale event with Universal Music. However, alert level restrictions meant many people could not attend.

Instead, he would host an intimate affair within the bookshop. Customers could wander around the store’s mezzanine, transformed into a Beatles exhibition with photographs, rare books, and music from the Beatles collection.

Over the years, Hedley had collected a range of photographs by Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, and other photographers of The Beatles, including Astrid Kirchherr and Klaus Voormann.

He would give customers guided tours through the memorabilia while music from the reissued “Let It Be” album played on a limited-edition White Album turntable in the background.

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