Researched and written during the pandemic, “Us and Them: Canada, Canadians and the Beatles” shares rare photos and unique stories from the Fab Four
This is a book you can judge by the cover; there is a maple leaf and four men in the iconic primary colors on a crosswalk.
Local author John Arnone of Victoria Harbour, 61, wrote Us and Them: Canada, Canadians and the Beatles featuring over 40 stories involving diverse connections, some rare and some unique, between the British musical group and the vast peoples of our home and native land.
From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Arnone found the opportunity to dedicate the majority of his reorganized time to the project.
“I have two passions in this world: my country and the Beatles. And I thought I had to combine the two and make something out of it,” Arnone explained. Midland Library, Tay Township Library and at my home in Victoria Harbour.
“And then another six to eight months of writing, during which time I was able to successfully pitch it to a publisher,” he continued, “which is amazing for a first author. agreed and released it last November, so it’s been out for about four months.
While it’s hard to say if there are hundreds or thousands of books that have chronicled the Liverpool band, Arnone noted that he was the only author in the world to have linked the Beatles to Canada. in this way.
“The book is over 300 pages. There are nearly 40 photographs, many of which have never been seen before,” Arnone said.
“I had fun acquiring the rights to use these photos from rather obscure individuals who attended concerts, other deceased people whose families didn’t know what to do with the Beatles photographs taken by their loved ones, and I was able to acquire these rights”.
In “Us and Them,” Arnone shared stories from every province and territory. These included George Harrison’s immediate family residing in the Greater Toronto Area and Quebec; the name of an Elliot Lake police sergeant inspired a famous album title; and the song To imagine with ties to a Cree elder in Canada.
“I have a teenager from Nova Scotia who sang a version of Blackbird in Mi’kmaq, and it caught the attention of not only Paul McCartney, but also the United Nations,” Arnone explained. “Maybe it helped them decide that Mi’kmaq is a language worth preserving.
Arnone is in talks with sites in North Simcoe in hopes of setting up a book to read or sign once, as pandemic restrictions lifted will allow.
Published by Friesen Press, the 300-page softcover non-fiction book can be purchased from the beatlesandcanada.com website for $35 including shipping anywhere in Canada.