Finding His Way - Ken Mansfield
written by Shauna Sessions
Between Wyomings-My God and an iPOD on the OPEN ROAD is the much anticipated book in a trilogy written by Ken Mansfield. The trilogy began with The Beatles, the Bible and Bodega Bay in 2000 and was followed by The White Book in 2007.Mansfield is a self- proclaimed "hopeless romantic" who just so happened to have spent 30 years in the entertainment industry as a top music executive. He witnessed first hand the rising of some of the biggest stars in the music business. From his life with The Beatles...to his new life with God, Mansfield tells it all in his books.
He began writing The Beatles the Bible and Bodega Bay in 1995 without even realizing he was writing a book at all. "I was more or less journaling, writing down my thoughts and remembering things. And it became a book quite by surprise," claims Mansfield. "I put it together and showed it to someone...next thing I knew I had a book deal."
"It's the only book that The Beatles have ever officially signed off on the stories and the pictures being used. I took those stories and pictures and put them in The White Book. They knew everything that I was doing. It was really cool because Ringo was the first to approve the book. When Ringo said he gave the book his blessing, it really opened the door for everybody. The Beatles never approve anything by anybody; they never give permission for pictures or anything. I think the fact that Ringo signed off on it right from the start made things easy to fall into place. Yoko held out until the end, but finally said "Yes, no problem!"
Becoming an accidental overnight author is only one of the most recent accomplishments on a list that is quite extensive. In January 1965, at the age of 27, Mansfield set out for an interview and landed a job at Capitol Records in Los Angeles, CA. He would oversee the recording careers of dozens of well-known artists including Glen Campbell, Buck Owens, The Beach Boys and of course, The Beatles. Being one of the youngest executives at Capitol Records during that time, he was promoted quickly. His age also gained him access to The Beatles inner circle. The young stars John, Paul, George and Ringo trusted him as a close and personal friend, as well as a business partner.
In 1967, The Beatles decided to start their own record label. It seemed only natural for Mansfield to be invited by the Fab Four to become the U.S. Manager of The Beatles, Apple Records.
Throughout the years, Mansfield has experienced extreme ups and downs in his career. From being an executive at major record companies, a songwriter and producer to stars like David Cassidy, Don Ho, as well as Number One Hits with Waylon, Jessi and The Outlaw Movement to a stagehand at Nashville's own Starwood Amphitheatre. "Yeah I worked at Starwood," says Mansfield. "When it started, we did the first shows out there, and I worked as a stagehand. I would say it was humbling. But what was interesting, I wasn't the only one...there were a few of us that were just struggling. It is just part of the business. As high up as I had gone in the industry, to end up unloading trucks and building stage sets was a little extreme. I had never worked down that deep in the trenches while working my way up to the top. I had spent time paying my dues, but I'd never paid those kinds of dues. So working at Starwood kind of rounded out my education in the long run."
After Starwood, Mansfield went back into management and production. "I ended up representing Ringo for his Time Takes Time album, producing the Flying Burrito Brothers and managing David Hungate from Toto. I also produced the legendary Imperials, and got a Grammy and a Dove Award for producing The Gaither Vocals Band's Homecoming album. I spent a few years with offices on Music Row. Then, I had an offer to come back to the west coast to run a music company here. I left Nashville in 1993, and I've been out here ever since. I'm a Californian...That's a hard thing to break yourself from, being a Californian."
"When I was with Waylon and those guys, I spent five years commuting back and forth between L.A. and Nashville. The only thing about Nashville is I don't know how to find my way around. It's the single most complicated city! I lived there for nine years and still get lost!"
Quite honestly, anyone who has ever driven the streets of Nashville, a true Nashvillian or a traveling tourist, would have to agree with his statement about our "complicated city." Mansfield says he now has a GPS and couldn't live without it! It seems he managed to put that GPS to good use in January of 2009, when he found his way to Seattle to commemorate the 40th anniversary of The Beatles last live performance. The band who recreated the rooftop performance there, was a local cover band named Crème Tangerine. Over 3,000 people crammed the blocked streets for the event.
"Thing about it was," said Mansfield. "I almost didn't go! But I knew the guys and they'd done a lot of work setting it up. When I got there, I actually had more fun on this one because the original one in 1969, I was working! I never thought about it being historical. I knew it was special, but I never thought too much about it. This one we were celebrating, and really just enjoying it. It was a lot of fun! The people down below were so much closer to us and the crowd was so large that it caused downtown Seattle streets to be closed. Just to see, after 40 years, how much people still care about The Beatles, and how excited they were. It was really neat! It was such a fun time!"
Ken Mansfield is the man who helped launch The White Album, the man who wore the white coat on the roof in London and the man who wrote The White Book. And now the long awaited Between Wyomings is available everywhere books are sold. Look for it today at Borders, Barnes and Noble, or Amazon.com and visit Ken at www.fabwhitebook.com