There have been many books about The Beatles, with more coming out all the time. So why another one?
A resident of Barnet for around 30 years, Martin Orkin says his book Rivals of the Beatles says is not simply another retelling of The Beatles story.
Instead, it looks at The Beatles through the prism of some of the other groups of the time, all fighting hard for similar recognition and success.
Groups like The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, The Kinks and The Monkees, each with their own agenda, and their own individual perspective on the famous quartet from Liverpool.
Mr Orkin has always loved 1960s music and has a large record collection from that era.
Following his retirement in 2010 from a career in banking, he reconnected with his fondness of this music. He then came up with the concept for his book, and has spent the last four years writing it – all 800 pages.
Rivals Of the Beatles tells the in-depth tales, one chapter each, of 20 of the many interesting groups who were around at the same time as The Beatles in the 1960s; some of them famous, some more obscure, but what Mr Orkin believes to be music history’s greatest era.
But additionally, and the glue which holds the book together, is that Mr Orkin relates each group’s story to that of The Beatles, and he explains The Beatles’ big influences on the music scene, and indeed the help they gave some of the acts along the way.
He said: “My book is not directly about The Beatles themselves, but about some of the esteemed groups who competed with them in their heyday. That said, because of the linkage I try to show between each group and The Fab Four, I refer to The Beatles regularly within its pages.
“I am particularly proud of my preface, entitled What Was So Special About The Beatles? In this I attempt the difficult task – in just 17 pages – of explaining to the proverbial ‘Man from Mars’ why The Beatles stood head and shoulders above all the other talented groups of the time. So there is quite a lot of Beatles-related content in my book for my readers to get their teeth into.”
Martin Orkin holding his book Rivals of the Beatles
There are some controversial views expressed in places in Rivals Of The Beatles but Mr Orkin assures throughout the book they are his true opinions, based entirely on his love for the music and the era.
He added: “I have read so often over the years about poor records being called fantastic, and vice versa – a particular focus of mine in the book is The Byrds’ contentious 1968 country album Sweetheart Of The Rodeo –– that I felt I had to set the record straight from my own perspective.”
Mr Orkin is delighted to have received some very favourable reviews such as its “well written and thoroughly enjoyable nod to Cliff Richard and The Shadows” and “oozing passion for the subject”.
Rivals Of The Beatles is currently available in a limited edition of 500 numbered and signed hardback copies from Martin’s dedicated website rivalsofthebeatles.com.