Beatles are back with worldwide book launch

By Paul Majendie

FRANKFURT, Oct 3, 1996 (Reuter) -- The Beatles are back, telling their story in their own words in a book that is to be released simultaneously around the world on the same day.

The three surviving Beatles and John Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, have come together to relive from birth to break-up the story of the biggest group in pop history.

"Beatlemania has hit the publishing industry -- no question of that," said Pavilion Books publisher Colin Webb who is launching the book around the globe next September with an initial print run of 500,000.

"This is the bible on the Beatles," he said on Thursday at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's biggest which has attracted more than 9,000 publishers from 110 countries.

"From the moment we opened here at the fair, all the heads of the publishing houses have been to see us," he told Reuters. "The book is complete. I will be auctioning the rights from November in London, New York, Sydney, Tokyo, Munich and Paris. We will mop up the rest from London," he said.

The Beatles' Apple Corporation opened its archives for the book. Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr provided rare background material.

Editor Brian Roylance spent months interviewing the three survivors and Yoko Ono, whose husband John was murdered outside their New York apartment in 1980.

"We are going for a world simultaneous launch," said Webb. "The Beatles did the first worldwide satellite broadcast with their recording of 'All You Need Is Love' and we are aspiring for another first from London to Lithuania."

Clutching one of the two copies of the book that have been run off to give international publishers a sneak preview, Webb said: "It is all first person stuff. This is a unique book that they have created themselves.

"It is a compelling story of our time. They now appeal to a new generation of kids and are still breaking every record in the book," he said.

Beatlemania was revived with the release of a 150-track Beatles anthology that included two singles in which the Beatles "reunited" with Lennon on songs recorded before his death. A 10-hour television documentary followed.

"The television series was seen by 420 million people in 94 countries. The first album in the anthology series sold 8.9 million in the first seven weeks," Webb said.

The Beatles remain the world's biggest selling group with one billion CD's, tapes and records sold.

"Yesterday" is the most broadcast tune in history and the Beatles still make more money than their old rivals The Rolling Stones even though one of them is dead and they have not played together for 25 years.

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