‘Paperback Writer:’ The Author Explores The Beatles’ Canadian Connection

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 iconic primary colors on a crosswalk.

Victoria Harbor author John Arnone, 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 do something with them,” says Arnone. “At least a year of research has taken place at the library of Midland, at the Tay Township Library and at my home in Victoria Harbour.

“And then another six to eight months of writing, during which I was able to successfully pitch it to a publisher, which is incredible for a rookie author. The publisher accepted it and published it in November. last, so it’s been out for about four months.

While it’s hard to say whether there are hundreds or thousands of books that have chronicled the Liverpool band, Arnone notes that he was the only author in the world to have linked The Beatles to Canada from this way.

“The book is over 300 pages. There are nearly 40 photographs, many of which have never been seen before,” says Arnone. “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 Toronto area and Quebec, the name of an Elliot Lake police sergeant being the inspiration for 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,” says Arnone. “Maybe it helped them decide that Mi’kmaq is a language worth preserving.

Arnone is in talks with locations in northern Simcoe County in hopes of setting up a one-time-read-or-sign-once book, 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.