Ken Mansfield has an amazing story to tell, and he has told it twice. His first book, "The Beatles, The Bible and Bodega Bay" featured his recollections of the music business, particularly his work with the Beatles as liaison with Capitol Records and eventually as the Manager of Apple Records in the United States. In the book's chapters, Ken alternated his music business stories with his personal testimony regarding his conversion to Christianity in the late 1980s. His second book "The White Book" could have been re-titled "The Beatles Minus The Bible and Bodega Bay" because much of it overlaps with the previous book, but there are some expanded rock and roll stories and you have to read between the lines to find any references to Ken's religious views.
One particular thing that Ken Mansfield deserves credit for was securing a record deal for Ringo Starr at a point when Ringo's prospects were finally starting to rise after a period at rock bottom. That deal resulted in one of my favorite albums "Time Takes Time."
To this day Mansfield continues to tell his story, including the religious parts, as a paid speaker in Christian-friendly gatherings. He has also been appearing at the Fest for Beatles Fans and was featured in a recent issue (#172) of Beatlefan Magazine. That's not bad for someone who was told about a dozen years ago when he was diagnosed with a rare form of bone marrow cancer that he had only one to three years to live. His non-denominational presentation is honest, humorous and engaging. It was a Pastor that pushed him away from spiritual matters when he was young and George Harrison who awakened his hunger later in life. Eventually he moved from Gurus and the writings of Carlos Castaneda to Jesus Christ. You can see him in action in this video.
His testimony is usually preceded by a band that plays several of the more "spiritual" Beatles songs (e.g. "Let It Be" and "Got To Get You Into My Life" -- Yes, I know that Paul admitted that the latter was about Pot!)
It is an odd contrast to see a band dressed like this playing in front of a Sgt. Pepper-like background (utilizing some of the same images) at a church event.
Despite the fact that he was rarely mentioned in books, Ken was a real Beatles insider. I would rank him in the tier just below Neil, Mal and Derek, in that group with Tony Bramwell, Peter Asher, Peter Brown, and Ron Kass. In fact, Ken claims that other than the "Anthology," his book is the only one approved by the Beatles.
Possibly because of his religious orientation, Ken seems to resist saying anything negative about anyone. He didn't seem to have anything good to say about Yoko Ono (or Linda McCartney) but he didn't disparage them either. His only stinging criticism was directed toward the police officers who shot and killed his dear friend, Mal Evans.
One would think that an individual who so closely aligns himself with Jesus Christ would have nothing to say of a mysterious nature, but there were a couple of things that raised my curiosity. About the "White Album" Ken wrote: Parts of it were about things we will never understand, and there were even bits about things in their lives purposely left to be diciphered, including the sweet, mysterious mixture that comprised their uniqueness and togetherness. I was there during the course of this magic time, and I got the feeling that the White Album project had a lot to do with the things that were shaking the complicated world they were living in.
Iamaphoney fans would be familiar with Ken's chilling description of his last conversation with Mal Evans. In a chapter dedicated to Mal in "The White Book" Ken writes:
I answered [the phone] and it was Mal. I asked him how he was doing, and he started rambling on about how well everything was going. Something seemed peculiar even though he was professing optimism, and in the middle of his good news, I asked him what was wrong. "Nothing is wrong," he said. "Paul and I just worked out some problems, and he is going to give me credit for some of the things I wrote with him--" I interrupted again, asking him what was wrong. "Nothing," he continued, "and besides that, I am signing a production deal with Atlantic Records and my book is going great and because you were left out of all the other books, I am making sure you are all over it and--" I had known Mal too well and for too long, and somewhere beneath all the good news I sensed something I had never felt with Mal before.
Something was horribly wrong. "Mal...Mal," I said. "Stop and listen to me for a second. Something's wrong, isn't it?" There was silence on his end. "We need to talk, don't we?" I asked. Momentary silence.
"Yes," he said softly.
They agreed to meet the following day to talk because Ken was on his way to the Billboard Music awards with an acceptance speech ready just in case Jessi Colter, an artist he produced, happened to win the award for best new artist. Just prior to the announcement that Colter had in fact won, Ken was given the news that Mal had been shot.
In a very uncharacteristic moment of dark humor mixed with anger, reborn Christian Ken Mansfield wrote: "I am told that, for whatever reason, they [the police] shot six warning shots into his head to keep him from hurting himself."
This is a picture of Ken Mansfield and Mal Evans.