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Read the Beatles: Classic and New Writings on the Beatles, Their Legacy, and Why They Still Matter

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A must-have volume for all Beatles fans-a career-spanning selection of writings about the Fab Four There are, of course, many books on the Beatles, but this is the only one available that is a comprehensive, career-spanning collection of journalism about the legendary band, before and after the breakup. Consisting of more than fifty articles, essays, interviews, record and A must-have volume for all Beatles fans-a career-spanning selection of writings about the Fab Four There are, of course, many books on the Beatles, but this is the only one available that is a comprehensive, career-spanning collection of journalism about the legendary band, before and after the breakup. Consisting of more than fifty articles, essays, interviews, record and movie reviews, poems, and book excerpts-many of them rare and hard to find-Read the Beatles is an unprecedented compilation that follows the arc of the Fab Four's iconic and idiosyncratic career, from their early days in Liverpool through their tragic and triumphant histories after the group's split. The book also includes original essays from noted musicians and journalists about the Beatles' lasting influence and why they still matter today.


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A must-have volume for all Beatles fans-a career-spanning selection of writings about the Fab Four There are, of course, many books on the Beatles, but this is the only one available that is a comprehensive, career-spanning collection of journalism about the legendary band, before and after the breakup. Consisting of more than fifty articles, essays, interviews, record and A must-have volume for all Beatles fans-a career-spanning selection of writings about the Fab Four There are, of course, many books on the Beatles, but this is the only one available that is a comprehensive, career-spanning collection of journalism about the legendary band, before and after the breakup. Consisting of more than fifty articles, essays, interviews, record and movie reviews, poems, and book excerpts-many of them rare and hard to find-Read the Beatles is an unprecedented compilation that follows the arc of the Fab Four's iconic and idiosyncratic career, from their early days in Liverpool through their tragic and triumphant histories after the group's split. The book also includes original essays from noted musicians and journalists about the Beatles' lasting influence and why they still matter today.

30 review for Read the Beatles: Classic and New Writings on the Beatles, Their Legacy, and Why They Still Matter

  1. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Hiland

    There are scores of books available on The Beatles, several of them classics. Multiply that number a thousand-fold and you’re not even close to the amount of articles appearing in periodicals- both from the band’s genesis to their demise, and onward to the present. Well, “Read the Beatles” may be just another brick in the endless wall that is music criticism- but for beginners and fans alike, Sawyers’ book provides valuable insight into the most famous band in the world. More a compilation than There are scores of books available on The Beatles, several of them classics. Multiply that number a thousand-fold and you’re not even close to the amount of articles appearing in periodicals- both from the band’s genesis to their demise, and onward to the present. Well, “Read the Beatles” may be just another brick in the endless wall that is music criticism- but for beginners and fans alike, Sawyers’ book provides valuable insight into the most famous band in the world. More a compilation than anything else, this book is a clever, well-informed work that approaches the Beatles legacy from a different angle than most. For one thing, it doesn’t pretend to be exhaustive about the discography or the band’s history. And it isn’t a tell-all. But it does give the newcomer a place to start, and the fan a fresh perspective- and it’s not a bad reference book, either. Look at the structure. The Foreword is by Astrid Kirchherr, who took extensive photographs of the Beatles during their Hamburg days, and got to know the early band very well. Next is the seventeen-page Chronology. Beginning in 1933, with the birth of Yoko Ono, it runs through to 2006, the year this book was published, as well as marking Paul McCartney’s 64th birthday. It’s a wealth of information and trivia. Two maps follow, showing dates and historical sites related to the band’s Liverpool roots. The author then provides an introduction that lays out the scope and purpose of “Read the Beatles,” explaining, in short form, why the Beatles and their music still matter, over a half-century later. Then comes the meat of the book, in which articles, essays and interview excerpts are shared. What makes this all the more interesting is that fact that every piece is presented in chronological order. In this way we get a sense of how the band progresses, how opinions of the Beatles’ music changed as their music evolved, and how the songs themselves fit into the industry and culture their music both commented upon, and was influenced by. While most articles favor the band and its output, there are a few fence-sitters and detractors, said inclusion adding to the book’s objectivity. But this only adds to the book’s multi-dimensional feel. At the halfway point, the editor spends twenty-four pages sharing several musician’s and writer’s opinions about the band’s legacy. More telling is the second portion of the book, where each member of the band is examined, via their own words and the observations of others. John Lennon’s final interviews; George describing a horrifying home invasion (during which his wife saved his life); Paul’s thoughts about the band- and John, in particular; and Ringo’s place as the perpetual fourth-man. The final section deals with, and answers, questions about why the Beatles still matter. The book ends with a discography of the group and it’s four members’ solo albums. “Read the Beatles” is a fine selection of articles about the band, its overview a great starting and ending point, depending on one’s degree of interest in the Boys from Liverpool, and how they changed the pop landscape forever.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Schlesinger

    After all the books & articles I've read & all the podcasts I've listened to about my favorite rock band of all time, I enjoyed poring through this anthology covering all aspects of the Beatles, from early years to their never-ending impact on popular music & listeners of all ages. Many of the contributors are/were tops in their field, & this collection simply unleashed a cascade of memories from my wonder years & beyond. After all the books & articles I've read & all the podcasts I've listened to about my favorite rock band of all time, I enjoyed poring through this anthology covering all aspects of the Beatles, from early years to their never-ending impact on popular music & listeners of all ages. Many of the contributors are/were tops in their field, & this collection simply unleashed a cascade of memories from my wonder years & beyond.

  3. 4 out of 5

    aurora

    This was really excellent. There are so many books about the Beatles, and this was a great starting place because it pulled all the important interviews, articles, and excerpts from other sources into one tidy, chronological compendium. I especially enjoyed reading the primary source articles from the 60s. A well-compiled, interesting read!

  4. 5 out of 5

    maricar

    A treasure-trove of writings about, and interviews of the Beatles. Insightful in many levels—as those who have experienced the rock'n'roll rebirth that took over the world almost half a century ago, as well as those that only lived to see the remnants of the glory that was the music of the Fab Four, deconstruct what made this band bigger than any other group (and even bigger than themselves) in the heyday of the 60s and 70s, and stretching still into the 21st century. The book holds a certain ap A treasure-trove of writings about, and interviews of the Beatles. Insightful in many levels—as those who have experienced the rock'n'roll rebirth that took over the world almost half a century ago, as well as those that only lived to see the remnants of the glory that was the music of the Fab Four, deconstruct what made this band bigger than any other group (and even bigger than themselves) in the heyday of the 60s and 70s, and stretching still into the 21st century. The book holds a certain appeal as it also attempted to present less-than-complimentary essays about the Beatles, the Beatlemania, and their songs, particularly that of the Sgt. Pepper's album. Worth savoring are excerpts of interviews that showed an altogether different, and, dare I say it, more vulnerable side of Lennon and of McCartney, their love-hate relationship post-Beatles, as well as a look into the mystery that is Yoko Ono. However, like Philip Norman's Shout!, there was still a distinct lack of (though not entirely missing) attention attributed to Harrison and Starkey, which is really a shame, as both are intensely interesting persons by themselves, and have certainly left their own signatures in the unprecedented and certainly never-again-to-be-imitated hold that the band unconsciously commanded all over the world. Definitely worth reading, this is a treat for any fan, and even for someone who wishes to know just what makes a musical icon transcend the boundaries of pop and rock'n'roll, then to be forever hailed as indubitable legends.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    This is an interesting way to try to digest a meal that you have eaten millions of times before. There is practically no way in which the Beatles have not been written about, talked about, or been portrayed numerous times over in countless formats. This book offers a diverting departure from the all the post hoc reverence and instead, allows you to come along as genius emerged and became refined. My personal favorite was reading an early years interview of Ringo Starr from some domesticated groce This is an interesting way to try to digest a meal that you have eaten millions of times before. There is practically no way in which the Beatles have not been written about, talked about, or been portrayed numerous times over in countless formats. This book offers a diverting departure from the all the post hoc reverence and instead, allows you to come along as genius emerged and became refined. My personal favorite was reading an early years interview of Ringo Starr from some domesticated grocery store magazine, I want to say Good Housekeeping or Redbook, in which he openly talked about his sparse drum fills and how they came to be – a southpaw who found a right-oriented kit he could afford and went with it. This wound up starting an interesting conversation with a friend, in which we detailed some musicians’ shortcomings that defined not only their styles, but generations of subsequent artists. Ringo’s simplistic drumming, Dave Grohl’s pounding – a product of teaching himself how to drum on bedroom pillows as a kid, driving Ramones’ melodies – they were unable to play upstrokes successfully, Tony Iommi’s hard Black Sabbath cords that gave birth to heavy metal and other heavy genres – missing the tips of his ring and little finger on his stem hand, the use of prosthetic tips causing him to hold the frets harder, etc., etc… Fans and musicphiles will find diverting pieces here; causal fans may not be as fulfilled.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    If you love The Beatles, then check this book out. It's full of articles, old and new, written about the boys. From the first piece ever written about them (during their Cavern days) to articles written after George died, it's a pretty complete set of articles. It's not for everyone, though. There might be a few articles that could sway people over to the "love" stage of things, but overall it would be a little dry for people who aren't really into them. Among my favorites was the article written If you love The Beatles, then check this book out. It's full of articles, old and new, written about the boys. From the first piece ever written about them (during their Cavern days) to articles written after George died, it's a pretty complete set of articles. It's not for everyone, though. There might be a few articles that could sway people over to the "love" stage of things, but overall it would be a little dry for people who aren't really into them. Among my favorites was the article written by the guy who takes care of John's boyhood home. Definitely one of the articles that explains WHY we all love these guys.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Howells

    I've read quite a few books about the Beatles: straightforward biographies or analysis of the songs mainly. This is slightly different as its a collection of essays & pieces of journalism about the Fab Four, some written at time and some written after they'd split. A lot of the pieces are written by Americans and it's an American centric book. Its funny to read the historical pieces (especially from those who thought the Beatles wouldn't last). Mainly the book is a testament to how and why the B I've read quite a few books about the Beatles: straightforward biographies or analysis of the songs mainly. This is slightly different as its a collection of essays & pieces of journalism about the Fab Four, some written at time and some written after they'd split. A lot of the pieces are written by Americans and it's an American centric book. Its funny to read the historical pieces (especially from those who thought the Beatles wouldn't last). Mainly the book is a testament to how and why the Beatles could unite so many generations into loving them in a way no other band (or person for that matter) has done before or since...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    This compilation of essays about the Beatles, arranged in chronological order, have all been previously published in various books and magazines. The book is a good primer for reading about the band, but if you have read a lot of Beatles stuff already, this book will seem redundant.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    This is a great collection of writings on the Beatles from then and now. I enjoyed a look at the mop tops in the midst of Beatlemania as well as now, reflections on how they have molded pop rock, our culture, etc. I recommend it for any Beatles fan!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cinco

    Excellent overview of critical and biographical articles on the Beatles. Pictures would have been a good addition, but overall this worked extremely well as a sort of large-scale introduction to the history of the Beatles.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    Some of the best pieces in this collection are from 1963-1965--dispatches from the Beatlemania front. But nearly everything here is fascinating and fun. Don't miss this book if you love the Beatles and their art. Some of the best pieces in this collection are from 1963-1965--dispatches from the Beatlemania front. But nearly everything here is fascinating and fun. Don't miss this book if you love the Beatles and their art.

  12. 5 out of 5

    npaw

    Love the fiction, poetry, and essays. The magazine articles would have been fine, but there were way too many of them. Some really great stuff here.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Paul Jellinek

    My guilty pleasure.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Charles

  15. 5 out of 5

    Roxanne

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rick Sadlier

  17. 4 out of 5

    Warlock

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bailey

  19. 4 out of 5

    Colin

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bqueenbandit

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Goray

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mariana

  23. 4 out of 5

    Laura Motta

  24. 5 out of 5

    Richard

  25. 4 out of 5

    Seth

  26. 5 out of 5

    Doris Morgan Rueda

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Magan

  28. 4 out of 5

    Corey

  29. 4 out of 5

    Andy

  30. 5 out of 5

    Drew Duncan

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