Like Some Long Forgotten Dream

What If The Beatles Hadn't Split Up?

By Daniel Rachel

It might let you down.. First off, let's say what's wrong with this book... Please, Please Me is not the opening track of their debut LP... the B-side of Let It Be is not I Know Your Name... Tony Barrow did not get all 11 songs from Candlestick Park on cassette... it is Eddie Cochran, not Cochrane... Run For Your Life is not on Beatles For Sale... the Hey Jude compilation does not contain 16 tracks... and trust me, there is more where that came from. I cannot believe an author as meticulous as Daniel Rachel could allow so many errors to sip through, so perhaps it's his editor who needs his collar felt. Trivial, yes, perhaps, but then the whole point of a book such as Like Some Long Forgotten Dream is precisely that level of trivia, that attention to detail, which has preoccupied Fab fans since the group split over half a century ago.

What Rachel attempts is the game many RC readers play: what LP could the Beatles have made if they had persevered together after Abbey Road? (The other pub debate of course is how would you distil “The White Album” onto one LP?)

Rachel's earlier books - Isle Of Noises, his interviews with UK songwriters, and thorough accounts of Britpop and Two-tone - demonstrated a detailed researcher and writer capable of evoking a time and place. Sad to say there is little actual evidence of that here, the bulk of the material coming from Let It Be session transcripts, and familiar interviews. The book only really begins on Page 141 as Rachel comes up with ingenious track listings for a single and double LP, taking in the best of the immediate solo Beatles' catalogues, but recorded by The Beatles.

It is a tantalising premise, as he writes: "we catch a glimpse of an endgame where the unravelling of The Beatles was avoidable, where compromise could have trumped confrontation, where negotiation pacified provocation. An understanding of these squandered openings underpins the whole concept of the 'what if...?' fiction and makes the prospect of one more album tantalising in its allure".

Absolutely. Sadly, Like Some Long Forgotten Dream does little to enlarge on what we already know. And regrettably, at the end Rachel finds himself located in Nowhere Land.