Blame It On The Beatles And Bill Shankly was published as a paperback at the end of September 2018. It is also available as an e-book.
The book contains lyrics of some unpublished songs from the nineteen sixties, and by visiting the website you can listen to 'demo' recordings of those songs. The website also has photographs of various locations in and around Liverpool which feature in the story.
These same photographs have now been collected together and published as a high-quality picture book by Bob Books. 'Blame It On The Beatles And Bill Shankly - The Picture Book' can be viewed and purchased on their website - 'bobbooks.co.uk'.
The picture with Kevin Keegan was taken at a book signing at Waterstones in Liverpool. Kevin was signing copies of his recent book, 'My Life In Football' (which I have read and can highly recommend), and he asked for the signed and inscribed copy of 'Blame It On The Beatles And Bill Shankly' which he is holding.
He, of course, was signed for Liverpool Football Club by the great Bill Shankly back in 1971. So Kevin said he would be very interested to read the book - and then give his opinion.
This is a really pleasant nostalgia trip, filled with real-life incidents of the rise of the Betles and Liverpool football club. The fictional story is a little weak and not particularly exciting, but it forms a framework on which to hang a factually accurate account of the exciting times that were the early 1960s, which the author actually experienced. My husband is from Liverpool and was a young teenager at that time also, so it felt very real to me. Thanks, I enjoyed it!
by Annette Forrest (via NetGalley)
I enjoyed this read as a fan of The Beatles, I only knew a little about Liverpool before reading. Good read.
by A D (via NetGalley)
I really enjoyed reading this. I live relatively close to Liverpool so it was good to read about various areas from a bygone era. Quite enjoyed the fiction interlaced with it too.
by Kayleigh Sanders
This made an excellent read for me and proved to be a real page turner. I moved to The West Country 45 years ago, having spent my formative years in Liverpool. I enjoyed the story John Winter has woven against the factual backdrop of the time. It transported me right back to the 60s as I was there & can vouch for the authenticity. Indeed, I can identify in parts both with Sarah & Fiona!
by Rhona Jellicoe
Having loved the Beatles music, played soccer for ten years, and visited Liverpool several times, I am completely enthralled with this book. Winter very effectively takes fictional characters and weaves them into a story that illuminates the history of Liverpool in the tumultuous 60’s. I could feel the vibrations of the Beatles’ music and the excitement of the crowd at the Cavern Club, and was crushed by the fans in the Kop at Anfield as they lived and died with each goal. In addition, the life lessons learned by the main character, Tony, are as applicable today (maybe more so) as they were then. I highly recommend “Blame it on the Beatles and Bill Shankly”
by James Kendig
I have just been transported back in time and place by the book "Blame it on the Beatles and Bill Shankly"! In 1964 I was one of those screaming teens who couldn't get enough of the 4 moppets from Liverpool and only imagined what life was like in the city which spawned the Beatles and the musical groups who followed. As an adult I have been privileged to visit Liverpool where I also have been exposed to the unabashed enthusiasm & loyalty of the fans of the "Liverpool (Soccer) Football Club" .
As an American, my musings fell short of the descriptions and events portrayed in this book. From an adult perspective I have a new appreciation of how music and sport have drastically changed a city. I highly recommend this "coming of age" tale for the impact its events had on a whole generation.
by Karen K Dornan
Remember listening to your first Beatles album? As an American, this book allowed me to experience the very beginnings of The Beatles in their environment of Liverpool. I was able to walk around the city, visiting all of the places where they gained their inspiration, like Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields, and the clubs where they played. It's a story rich in detail of time and place; the fictional characters give the book its emotional tone, from the dullness of post-war living, to the energy of music, and from the success of the soccer team. I highly recommend it.
'Blame It On The Beatles' is a wonderful read for anyone who was a teenager in America in the 1960's and can remember the first time they heard 'She Loves You'. The city of Liverpool features in the story and, as an American who has never been there, I immersed myself in the travels of Tony, the fictional main character, to The Cavern, The Kop, Lennon's Art School, Penny Lane, and the coffee and record shops in the city centre. The author, John Winter, writes with great empathy about Liverpool's bomb sites and post-war deprivations while revealing how the younger generation brought joy to their lives through the sexual energy of their music and the ascendancy of Liverpool Football Club. Tony endures tragedy against this life-affirming background. His story parallels the events of the 1960's and, by the end of the book, he has grown up - as we all have to. His eventual happiness provides an uplifting ending.
by Diane Adam
I loved the fictional story and all the background information about what it was like in Liverpool back in the sixties. Great read. A definite five star book.
by Claire Moss
Loved this book. It is really evocative of the time it is set and, with its twin pronged attack of The Beatles and Liverpool FC, shows how Liverpool rose from the ashes of WW2. The pleasant characters telling the story stop it from being a mere ‘documentary’ and I got really involved with the characters. I thoroughly recommend the book especially to those who remember the sixties, but also to younger people who want an idea of how The Beatles and Liverpool FC became the icons they are today.
I really enjoyed this book. I probably only get time to read a couple of books a year, but this one was easy to leave and pick up again which is essential for me. The intricate knowledge of Liverpool which the author obviously has, the feeling portrayed of the 1960s, and the interesting relationships between the characters, were all blended together superbly. Great title too!
by Nick P
I thought this book was great. If the reader lived through those times first-hand it would transport them straight back to the streets and the clubs - and the dripping ceiling of The Cavern. And if you weren't there, the book will make you feel as if you were! Can't wait for the film version!
I did enjoy reading this book very much. It brought back a lot of memories.
I’ve just finished reading ‘Blame It On The Beatles ... And Bill Shankly’ and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Working out the various threads in the story was really interesting. I was/am a huge Beatles fan and I remember so well the massive impact of their first records, Love Me Do and Please Please Me, as well as the other sixties milestones which feature in the book - the 1966 World Cup victory, the release of Sergeant Pepper and the roof-top concert. The parts of the story which take place in Hampstead and Camden Town brought back memories too as I was a student in the area around that time. A great book to read.
by Doctor Robert
Interesting times with a very good story as a background, recommended highly.
I enjoyed the read, and of course recalling all those memories of the sixties in Liverpool. So many times I thought, "Yeah, I was there", especially the football matches. It was interesting for me that 'the lads' in the book used to meet up at The Liver Pub in Waterloo. I remember it as a great meeting place in those days. Back in the sixties three blokes who were known as 'The Heart of The Kop' were regulars there. People used to say they came up with many of The Kop's famous songs and chants.
by John H
John Winter was born in Liverpool. While a student at Liverpool University in the nineteen sixties he wrote pop songs, several of which were published and recorded by people as varied as 'Diddy' David Hamilton, the BBC Disc Jockey, and Faith Brown, the well-known actress, singer, comedian and impressionist, when she was a member of a vocal group called The Carrolls. As a result of this song-writing he got to know some of the musicians and poets who were making the city famous across the world. These experiences provide the background to what is otherwise a work of fiction.
The photograph on the front cover of the book is of the bronze statue of The Beatles which stands on the Pier Head in Liverpool in front of the iconic Liver Building, Cunard Building, and Port of Liverpool Building. It is used by kind permission of the sculptor, Andrew Edwards, with grateful thanks. The statue was commissioned by The Cavern Club and unveiled by John Lennon's sister, Julia Baird, on the 50th Anniversary of the band's final concert in Liverpool.
John Winter has previously published (in 2014) 'Aiming High - Overland to The Himalayas 1971', a book which describes his experiences as a member of an expedition to the unclimbed West Ridge of Indrasan, a mountain over twenty thousand feet in height which some experts say is more difficult than Everest. He and the team travelled overland to India along what became known as 'The Hippie Trail', a journey which would now be almost impossible to complete because of the dangers which travellers would face in countries such as Afghanistan. As well as indicating how different things were in 1971, the book also describes a personal journey. Before joining the expedition he had no experience at all of mountaineering. He had not even climbed to the top of Snowdon. It is a tale of high-altitude mountaineering as seen through the eyes of a non-climber. It describes the problems and physical dangers which have to be overcome by those who choose to climb the world's highest mountains.
The picture with Kevin Keegan was taken at a book signing at Waterstones in Liverpool.
John Winter can be contacted by e-mail on 'firstname.lastname@example.org'.