By Tim Hatfield
The last two years have been incredibly difficult for us all with the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated political and economic challenges that have beset the world. Tim Hatfield’s book ‘When We Find Ourselves In Times Of Trouble’ was born out of these challenging times, representing his own distributed daily servings of positivity and wellbeing messages that he was able to extract from the music of The Beatles. This was originally presented to family and friends in regular postings but have now been compiled in a full volume. It is for this fundamental concept that we should welcome the author’s unique contribution to The Beatles publishing space.
The author compiles a viewpoint on 260 songs from The Beatles catalogue with a few optional extras that may have a particular resonance with an event or personal association. The songs are drawn from the official catalogue including Anthology, Decca, BBC and Box Set selections. Each song selection is accompanied with a brief narrative of its writing, performance or recording significance that may highlight the related message. Clearly the author has deep affection for the music and this is conveyed in the writing and the extracted theme from the song in question.
There are, however, significant factual errors that more dedicated fans will detect rather than the more casual reader who may have been the intended original audience. Amongst some of the errors found was that “Eight Days A Week” was a potential title song for the film Help! but it had already been released on Beatles For Sale. “I’m Happy Just To Dance With You” was not the first Lennon & McCartney composition that George sang, he’d already sang “Do You Want To Know A Secret” on Please Please Me. Most noticeably the rooftop concert of January 1969 did not take place on the rooftop of Abbey Road studios but the Apple offices at 3 Savile Row. Rather bizarrely there is also a reference to John performing a duet with Chuck Berry of “Memphis, Tennessee” for a TV show in 2007. A more assiduous checking and research process would have eliminated these factual inconsistencies.
“When We Find Ourselves In Times Of Trouble” can not be considered as a source of factual Beatles history and I would assume that it was not intended to be, however, the premise of the book and its message can be welcome to those readers who may need a welcome lift and reassurance in dark times.
Review by Gwyn Jenkins.
“When We Find Ourselves In Times Of Trouble” by Tim Hatfield is available now from Amazon.
A response from Tim Hatfield
I owe a debt of gratitude to Gwyn Jenkins for the careful read and review of my book When We Find Ourselves in Times of Trouble: The Beatles. The Beatles continue to inspire and sustain me and countless others, and although I’ll stand by my reference to “Eight Days a Week” as a potential working title for what eventually became the “Help!” movie, the other factual errors pointed out in the review are indeed my errors, most egregiously the transposing of the actual date John Lennon and Chuck Berry played Berry’s “Memphis” on TV (1972) with the year the performance was posted on the internet (2007), 27 years after John died. I regret those errors, and hope that they won’t scare off potential readers.