Connect with us

Book Reviews

The Glorious Corner



MORE MAL —Any Beatles-fan worth his salt knows the name Mal Evans. Bouncer at The Cavern Club where he be-friended them (with Neil Aspinall) all before they even became The Beatles. He and Neil became their team roadies; and eventually both worked at Apple Records. In today’s par lace, they were their street team. He also played the infamous anvil on “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.”

Mal worked for The Beatles till the very end and then worked for them all individually. He was also a producer (Badfinger; Keith Moon) and worked with the group Splinter, who would ultimately sign with Harrison’s then-fledgling label Dark Horse.

Mal was killed in a police accident; the gun he was waving was really an air rifle and he was shot nonetheless.

His diaries, which he had long worked on, were lost, then found and have now been fashioned in a book, by Ken Womack, Living the Beatles Legend. Having read dozens of books on The Beatles, this has to rank in the Top 5.

With all these so-called biographies, you have to wonder is this true or that? Were they actually there … or not? Mal was, and in vivid details describes people and the events so wonderful: from their Let It Be sessions, including the now infamous rooftop concert. Sure, he was wrapped up in the Beatles-world, but what a world. As he offers when approached to do his own book, I only had a good time.

In tone, the book often reminds me of Derek Taylor’s stunningly good As Time Goes By. But the memories and personal revelations are stunningly good. I can’t recommend this book enough.SHORT TAKES — 50 years ago: The Sting -starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford- came out and scored 10 Academy Award nominations … That 3-part Run-DMC doc we’ve referenced (Kings From Queens) is on Peacock come February 1. Here’s the trailer:

I haven’t seen it yet, but apparently not interviewed is Cory Robbins, then operating Profile Records and the label that first introduced the group with “It’s Like That” in 1984. I see that as a major mis–step. Don’t you? … Roger Friedman reports that the numbers for HBO’s True Detective: Night Country last week -its premiere-were down dismally so. Too bad, as it was brilliantly done. Kudos …

ou Reed/Hudson River Wind Meditations

There’s a Lou Reed album, Hudson Wind River Meditations that was just re-released. Here from Pitchfork is a fascinating article on its construction:

…Author Mark Bego was beautifully interviewed by WOR’s Larry Mendte on his Joe Cocker biography.. Check it out:

And, one of the main clubs back in the day was NYC’s Private Eyes (12 West 21 street) – where Scott Blackwell was the primary DJ. It was just sensational, though quite small club, but had 34 video screens – hence taking care of the then-burgeoning MTV crowd. Madonna appeared there, as did Debbie Gibson. Bette Midler had her launch event there for her HBO event Art or Bust. I just read where its owner Robert Shalom had passed. He was a great, great guy and I wanted to remember him. Adios my friend.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Brian Lowry; Angela Tarantino; Robert Funaro; Tobe Becker; Michael Fuchs; Steve Plotnicki; Bill Adler; Manny Bella; Charlie Minor; David Adelson; Roy Trakin; Rodney Bingenheimer; Art Rutter; Michelle Grant; Alison Martino; Johnny Mathis; Cody and Chloe Gaier; and CHIP!

G. H. Harding is a four decades insider to the entertainment world. He’s worked for record companies; movie companies; video-production He’s worked for record companies; movie companies; video-production companies and several cable outlets. His anonymity is essential in bringing an unbiased view to his writings on pop culture. He is based in NYC.

Continue Reading

Book Reviews

Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents Four Award-Winning Musical Theatre Writers Who Turned to Writing Books



I am so pleased to announce our guest for next Wednesday’s show on April 17th are four award-winning musical theatre writers who turned to writing books.

For a veteran musical theatre dramatist, getting a new musical on is rarely easy, even at the healthiest of times. But when a pandemic stops everything cold—and a restless creative spirit is driven to both keep writing and reach an audience—what can be done? Well, four musical dramatists independently decided to meet the challenge head on with the same answer: Write a book! But their creative paths to near- simultaneous publication would be as unique as the rave-reviewed books themselves. And when they realized that their musical theatre backgrounds cast them as an equally unique quartet…they decided to come full circle back to the theatre community …to tell that story…the story of how their incredible books came to be…which in its way is also a universal story; a story for our time. A story of taking stock, taking a deep breath, taking new steps…and turning the page. Here are our writers:


David Spencer is an award-winning musical dramatist, author, critic and musical theatre teacher, whose work has been produced in the US, Canada and England. His most well-known credits as lyricist-librettist are two musicals in collaboration with composer Alan Menken: The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, based on the novel by Moredecai Richler (original cast album on Ghostlight Records) and Weird Romance (co-librettist: Alan Brennert; original cast album digital-on-demand from Columbia Masterworks). He made his professional debut writing the acclaimed colloquial English-language adaptation of La Bohème for the Public Theatre; and as composer-lyricist wrote scores and orchestrations for Theatreworks/USA’s young audience versions of The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables (librettist-director for both: Rob Barron). His published books are The Musical Theatre Writer’s Survival Guide (Heinemann), the acting edition of Weird Romance (Samuel French)—and, pulpsmith proud, Passing Fancy, an original novel based on the TV series Alien Nation (PocketBooks). He recently completed a draft of his first straight play, Spirit Run (story by him and Jerry James).

David is an ex officio steering committee and faculty member of the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, where he taught for over 25 years, and has also taught at HB Studio, Workshop Studio Theater in New York; and Goldsmith’s College and BML in London.

His book is The Novelizers: An Affectionate History of Media Adaptations and Originals, Their Astonishing Authors—and the Art of the Craft


 Stephen Cole is an award-winning musical theatre writer whose shows have been produced from New York City to London to the Middle East and Australia. His off-Broadway musical with Matthew Ward, After The Fair, was nominated for the Outer Critic’s Circle Award for Best Musical and was subsequently produced in London to great acclaim. The Night Of The Hunter won the prestigious Edward Kleban Award and was produced in New York City, Dallas, and San Francisco, where it was nominated for several Bay Area Theatre Awards. The award-winning 1998 concept CD features Ron Raines, Sally Mayes, and Dorothy Loudon. Saturday Night At Grossinger’s has had successful runs in Texas (starring Gavin MacLeod), Los Angeles, and Florida. Broadway legend Chita Rivera toured in Casper, and Hal Linden and Dee Hoty starred in the world premiere of his musical adaptation of Dodsworth. In 2005, Stephen was commissioned to write Aspire, the first American musical to premiere in the Middle East. This experience resulted in another musical about the creation of that show entitled The Road To Qatar!, produced to rave reviews and awards Off-Broadway, in London, and at the Edinburgh Festival, garnering a Best Musical nomination. Among his other produced shows are Rock Odyssey, which played to hundreds of thousands of kids for ten seasons of productions at the Adrienne Arscht Center in Miami, and Merman’s Apprentice, presented in concert at Birdland in New York City, followed by an all-star cast album on Jay Records, and an acclaimed premiere production in Sonoma, CA in 2019. Stephen’s latest critically acclaimed musical is Goin’ Hollywood. Stephen’s published books include That Book About That Girl and I Could Have Sung All Night, the Marni Nixon story, currently in development as a feature film from Amazon. Stephen has also written several published stories and his real-life friendships with Ethel Merman and Mary Martin resulted in this, his first novel. Visit