On any given day, you can go to the Itunes store online and find out what the top 10 or so downloads of the day are. Alas, on those same days rock n’ roll is largely notable only for its absence. Or you can go and look at the Grammy nominations for 2019 for best album, best new artist, etc and once again rock n’roll is MIA. Larry Norman said it long ago ‘rock n’roll may not be dead, but it’s pretty sick’. I would say we are probably seeing the passing of a musical era. Of course there are still some excellent young artists out there like Ryan Adams from my home state, but at this point they seem to be glorious anachronisms, not harbingers of the future.
There is now out a chronicle by Ken Mansfield, once a Capitol records and then an Apple exec on the last concert of the Beatles in 1968— the famous rooftop concert at which Ken was one of the few non-performers present. You can see him in the white jump suit in the cover picture for the book. Ken has written previous books about the Beatles, in particular the bestselling The Beatles, the Bible, and Bodega Bay, and Ken can really write! He has a real gift of crafting prose and this book reflects it from the outset. This book is not a detailed analysis of that final concert or its songs, but rather a personal reflection by Ken on its significance in his life and in those with whom he worked in record business. It has many interesting features, not the least of which is it is an insider’s look at all things Beatle at the end of their run, and it’s also about Ken’s own search for God. This is not a biopic about the Beatles nor a reporters account— it is a personal memoir and enjoyable as such. This signed copy of the book was given to me by my former student Dr. Tsutserov, who was preaching in Florida and ran into Ken Mansfield in the parking lot of the chapel at Rosemary Beach. Thanks Sasha! And I’m glad that Ken has found the Rock that doesn’t roll.