John Harris

Journalist & Author

As Time Goes By by Derek Taylor review – life in the Beatles’ magic circle

A new edition of the memoir by the band’s amiable press officer who witnessed Beatlemania and took notes as the breakup happened

“Spring is here and Leeds play Chelsea tomorrow and Ringo and George and John and Paul are alive and well and full of hope. The world is still spinning and so are we and so are you. When the spinning stops – that’ll be the time to worry. Not before.” So ran the press release that announced the end of the Beatles on 11 April 1970, some time after they had actually broken up. It was written by Derek Taylor, a loquacious native of the Wirral who had served as their press officer in 1964, and again from 1968 until the end, when he headed the press department of Apple, their record company and doomed experiment in “western communism” .

Alongside their manager Brian Epstein and producer George Martin, Taylor – who was born in 1932 and died in 1997 – was one of the group’s inner circle whose comparatively advanced years and very English urbanity added to the sense that, however exotic their outward appearance, the Beatles kept one collective foot in a world of tea, biscuits and impeccable manners. He was working for the Daily Express when he and his wife Joan first saw the band, on a UK tour shared with Roy Orbison in 1963. “Though maybe at the ‘wrong’ end of that generation,” he later wrote, “we were nevertheless open thereafter to the possibilities of being truly young in heart.”

In the late ​19​60s and early ​​70s, Taylor recorded ​memories that evoke his dazzling working life

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