Ken Mansfield has worked with some of the biggest giants in the rock 'n roll and the country music genres. As the former U.S. manager of the Apple Records label, he was invited by his bosses, The Beatles to be among only a handful of eyewitnesses to catch their last-ever gig on the rooftop of their London headquarters on January 30, 1969. He was a loyal employee and companion to John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr both during the band years and well after their breakup in 1970. He was present when they composed some of their most enduring tunes. As a record label exec and Grammy Award-winning producer, he also worked on the marketing, promotion and production of dozens of top-selling artists, such as the Beach Boys, and was also a major player in country music in the 1970s as producer of choice of the groundbreaking Outlaw movement, whose impact is still felt in the genre to this very day.
Now, Mansfield's experiences with the Fab Four and the music industry -- many of which are told for the first time -- are recounted in his first all-music tome, "The White Book - The Beatles, the Bands, the Biz: An Insider's Look at an Era" (Thomas Nelson/ISBN 1-59555-101-8, $22.99) to publish October 30, 2007.
Through exclusive, never-before-seen photos and personal stories, Mansfield -- one of the very last Fab Four insiders to pen a book -- offers a compelling memoir that delves into his life in the 1960s and '70s and his unique partnership with The Beatles and other musicians who had orbited their world, from James Taylor to Harry Nilsson. It also includes fleeting, yet unforgettable encounters with Mama Cass Elliott, Eric Clapton, Donovan, Glen Campbell and Dolly Parton. As observer, friend and colleague, Mansfield attended Beatles recording sessions, partied in their swimming pools, took their irate calls, witnessed the madness of Beatlemania, and publicized their success. Entertaining, historically accurate, and illuminating a side of the Fab Four known only to a few like Mansfield, The White Book shines fresh light on the true characters behind the cultural phenomena that revolutionized a generation.
"The White Book" will be packaged in a limited, numbered edition, a la the original copies of "The Beatles" highly influential double album from 1968, also nicknamed "The White Album." As the former head of Apple Records, Jack Oliver, has said of Ken, "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."Mansfield was an insider to Beatles history in the making, yet still retained a wide-eyed amazement and excitement about his involvement with these events. In addition to aggressively promoting the various artists in the Apple Records stable like James Taylor, Badfinger, Mary Hopkin and Jackie Lomax, he became a trusted member of his bosses' inner circle and got to know them intimately - he was among a small, privileged audience as the four Beatles played a casual cocktail set at noontime in London during a break from a meeting, he would join them at local boutiques or cafés, and was around when they composed their songs.
Even after Mansfield resigned from Apple Records in 1970, he would still be a key personal liaison and friend to them, either mailing them copies of the latest U.S. country albums or being their escort for them and/or their wives when they visited Los Angeles. These stories shed new insight into their personalities: McCartney surprised the author with an all-expense, first-time-ever trip to Europe; Lennon clashed with him about matters surrounding Apple's sister, yet short-lived electronic label, Zapple; Harrison gave veggie cooking lessons in Mansfield's kitchen, and the author accompanied Starr to Elvis' comeback show in Las Vegas in 1970.
This book also details other fascinating highlights of Mansfield's career. As a record-label executive, he had also worked with artists as diverse as the The Four Freshmen, Judy Garland, Buck Owens, Lou Rawls, Andy Williams, David Cassidy, Dolly Parton, and the Flying Burrito Brothers. He helped popularize the Outlaw movement in country music by producing Waylon Jennings' top-selling album, Are You Ready for the Country in LA in 1976. Uniquely this was one of the first country albums recorded outside of Nashville, and its success spurred interest from other Music Row artists to create their own albums in Hollywood. He also helped ink Ringo Starr's deal to Private Music/RCA, which led to the release of the drummer's first pop studio album in a decade, the critically acclaimed Time Takes Time from 1992.
Some of the great stories in the book include:--
Spending hours with the Beatles on the floor of the yet-to-be-furnished Apple offices in London mulling over whether "Hey Jude" or "Revolution" should be the A-side of their first 45 with Apple Records in 1968. Ken was assigned to visit top rock radio stations in the U.S. and have the DJ's vote for their favorite; naturally the consensus was for "Hey Jude," which was then ultimately chosen and became one of the most successful singles in their career.
-- Ken was among the very few of the Fab Four associates to witness the historic last Beatles concert on the rooftop of 3 Savile Row, Apple's headquarters in London, on January 30, 1969 - spot him in the Let It Be film wearing the white raincoat, sitting next to Yoko Ono and Maureen Starkey, Ringo's wife. Because it was bitter cold, they were huddled together against the smokestack; for a while Ken stood a few feet away from Harrison holding up four lit cigarettes, so that the guitarist could reach over and warm the tips of his fingers in order to feel his guitar strings.
-- Being snubbed for life by Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson in 1965, when Mansfield, then the National Promotion Manager at Capitol Records, tried to discourage Brian from releasing the band's loose, party jam, "Barbara Ann" as a single - Brian gave him a furious glare and ignored his advice, and the record eventually became a worldwide smash.
-- A once-in-a-lifetime superstar "guitar pull" in late 1968 in LA at a house that Mansfield had rented for George Harrison, where Harrison, along with Jack Casady from Jefferson Airplane, Eric Clapton (during the last days of his supergroup, Cream), Donovan and Jackie Lomax sat together around a circle performing songs on their guitars.
-- Being invited by McCartney to join in with suggestions as he was composing "Back in the U.S.S.R." and "Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da" from the nicknamed "The White Album"
-- John Lennon and Yoko Ono protesting Mansfield's decision not to release a single on Apple Records called "The King of Fuh" in the U.S.. After Ken stated that the lyrics would be blatantly objectionable by American standards, Lennon said, "we thought you were one of us, Ken...but it looks like you are just one of the establishment like everyone else, after all... we thought we could trust you of all people to understand the concept behind the whole Apple enterprise... we didn't know you were sent over here from the 'land of the free' to act as Apple's personal tight-assed censor!"
-- The last few tragic moments in the life of Beatles' roadie Mal Evans in 1976, who was killed repeatedly by police gunfire - Ken said he was one of the last people he had spoken to; he couldn't meet with Mal because he had to accept an award at the Billboard Music Awards.
With ringing endorsements from such rock 'n roll legends as top producers Peter Asher and Alan Parsons, and former Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham, as well as Beatles historians, "The White Book" transports readers through a long and winding road of new stories that shed insight into their icons and favorite musicians of rock's greatest era.