web site hit counter Can't Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain, and America - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Can't Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain, and America

Availability: Ready to download

Nearly twenty years in the making, Can’t Buy Me Love is a masterful work of group biography, cultural history, and musical criticism. That the Beatles were an unprecedented phenomenon is a given. In Can’t Buy Me Love, Jonathan Gould seeks to explain why, placing the Fab Four in the broad and tumultuous panorama of their time and place, rooting their story in the social con Nearly twenty years in the making, Can’t Buy Me Love is a masterful work of group biography, cultural history, and musical criticism. That the Beatles were an unprecedented phenomenon is a given. In Can’t Buy Me Love, Jonathan Gould seeks to explain why, placing the Fab Four in the broad and tumultuous panorama of their time and place, rooting their story in the social context that girded both their rise and their demise. Beginning with their adolescence in Liverpool, Gould describes the seminal influences––from Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry to The Goon Show and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland––that shaped the Beatles both as individuals and as a group. In addition to chronicling their growth as singers, songwriters, and instrumentalists, he highlights the advances in recording technology that made their sound both possible and unique, as well as the developments in television and radio that lent an explosive force to their popular success. With a musician’s ear, Gould sensitively evokes the timeless appeal of the Lennon-McCartney collaboration and their emergence as one of the most creative and significant songwriting teams in history. And he sheds new light on the significance of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band as rock’s first concept album, down to its memorable cover art. Behind the scenes Gould explores the pivotal roles played by manager Brian Epstein and producer George Martin, credits the influence on the Beatles’ music of contemporaries like Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, and Ravi Shankar, and traces the gradual escalation of the fractious internal rivalries that led to the group’s breakup after their final masterpiece, Abbey Road. Most significantly, by chronicling their revolutionary impact on popular culture during the 1960s, Can’t Buy Me Love illuminates the Beatles as a charismatic phenomenon of international proportions, whose anarchic energy and unexpected import was derived from the historic shifts in fortune that transformed the relationship between Britain and America in the decades after World War II. From the Beats in America and the Angry Young Men in England to the shadow of the Profumo Affair and JFK’s assassination, Gould captures the pulse of a time that made the Beatles possible—and even necessary. As seen through the prism of the Beatles and their music, an entire generation’s experience comes astonishingly to life. Beautifully written, consistently insightful, and utterly original, Can’t Buy Me Love is a landmark work about the Beatles, Britain, and America.


Compare

Nearly twenty years in the making, Can’t Buy Me Love is a masterful work of group biography, cultural history, and musical criticism. That the Beatles were an unprecedented phenomenon is a given. In Can’t Buy Me Love, Jonathan Gould seeks to explain why, placing the Fab Four in the broad and tumultuous panorama of their time and place, rooting their story in the social con Nearly twenty years in the making, Can’t Buy Me Love is a masterful work of group biography, cultural history, and musical criticism. That the Beatles were an unprecedented phenomenon is a given. In Can’t Buy Me Love, Jonathan Gould seeks to explain why, placing the Fab Four in the broad and tumultuous panorama of their time and place, rooting their story in the social context that girded both their rise and their demise. Beginning with their adolescence in Liverpool, Gould describes the seminal influences––from Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry to The Goon Show and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland––that shaped the Beatles both as individuals and as a group. In addition to chronicling their growth as singers, songwriters, and instrumentalists, he highlights the advances in recording technology that made their sound both possible and unique, as well as the developments in television and radio that lent an explosive force to their popular success. With a musician’s ear, Gould sensitively evokes the timeless appeal of the Lennon-McCartney collaboration and their emergence as one of the most creative and significant songwriting teams in history. And he sheds new light on the significance of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band as rock’s first concept album, down to its memorable cover art. Behind the scenes Gould explores the pivotal roles played by manager Brian Epstein and producer George Martin, credits the influence on the Beatles’ music of contemporaries like Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, and Ravi Shankar, and traces the gradual escalation of the fractious internal rivalries that led to the group’s breakup after their final masterpiece, Abbey Road. Most significantly, by chronicling their revolutionary impact on popular culture during the 1960s, Can’t Buy Me Love illuminates the Beatles as a charismatic phenomenon of international proportions, whose anarchic energy and unexpected import was derived from the historic shifts in fortune that transformed the relationship between Britain and America in the decades after World War II. From the Beats in America and the Angry Young Men in England to the shadow of the Profumo Affair and JFK’s assassination, Gould captures the pulse of a time that made the Beatles possible—and even necessary. As seen through the prism of the Beatles and their music, an entire generation’s experience comes astonishingly to life. Beautifully written, consistently insightful, and utterly original, Can’t Buy Me Love is a landmark work about the Beatles, Britain, and America.

30 review for Can't Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain, and America

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ursula

    The point of the book isn't really to be about the various personalities of the Beatles themselves, but more about placing them and their music in the context of the times, showing how they were influenced and benefited by what was going on around them. And then later on, how that influence worked in both directions. In addition to that, there's of course stuff about the time in Germany, the making of the albums, the interpersonal issues and the ultimate breakdown of the group. Some of the more i The point of the book isn't really to be about the various personalities of the Beatles themselves, but more about placing them and their music in the context of the times, showing how they were influenced and benefited by what was going on around them. And then later on, how that influence worked in both directions. In addition to that, there's of course stuff about the time in Germany, the making of the albums, the interpersonal issues and the ultimate breakdown of the group. Some of the more interesting things to me were the sections that actually talked about the music - assessing the albums and individual songs thematically and musically. I had never realized that "Eleanor Rigby" has only two chords, or that some of the other songs had lyrics cribbed from other people's songs, or poems. In spite of the fact that it wasn't about the individual Beatles, I will say that by the time I finished the book, I liked John Lennon a lot less than I had when I started it. I don't know that any of them particularly come out covered in glory, but his flaws certainly show large in the book. Overall, I enjoyed most of it but occasionally the story got bogged down in seemingly tangential facts, especially in the early parts. But it made me want to listen to all of the songs again and hear the various things Gould talked about, and that's got to be a good thing.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brianna

    I was incredibly skeptical about the Baltimore Sun review quoted on the cover ("The best book ever written about the Beatles"), but not any more. Gould is clearly a fan of The Music. I thought I couldn't respect their albums any more than I already did, but the author's technical appreciation gave me a better understanding of just how aptly they accompanied the subtleties of each song's enthusiasm, heartbreak, jest, or sarcasm with chord changes, vocal stylings, or instrumentation. Almost 100% o I was incredibly skeptical about the Baltimore Sun review quoted on the cover ("The best book ever written about the Beatles"), but not any more. Gould is clearly a fan of The Music. I thought I couldn't respect their albums any more than I already did, but the author's technical appreciation gave me a better understanding of just how aptly they accompanied the subtleties of each song's enthusiasm, heartbreak, jest, or sarcasm with chord changes, vocal stylings, or instrumentation. Almost 100% of the time, I agreed with Gould's overall praise or criticism of each song. I've never read such a well thought out documentation of the changes in recording which helped allow the Beatles' transition from albums like A Hard Day's Night to Sgt. Pepper. For instance, Gould explains that George Martin resigned his role as head of Parlophone and, instead of working for EMI, essentially worked as an independent producer for the Beatles themselves. Thus when the Beatles' began to request (demand?) more studio time for each album, no one at EMI dared turn them down. (And Martin, who might have been able to convince them of the financial necessities, was no longer accountable for EMI's expenses) This book is less biographical than others, which has the benefit of making it less sentimental and biased. Still, I learned alot, and not just about the recordings. He dug up quotes I'd never heard before from (presumably British) newspaper archives. Gould doesn't use a lot of quotes but he chooses carefully, often giving powerful insight into John Paul George or Ringo's frame of mind in the 1960s. The only negative I can find to say about the book is that his use of similes is sometimes a bit ridiculous. ("[T]heir songs cavorted atop the pop charts like a pack of playful seals...")

  3. 5 out of 5

    Judith Borgardts

    Fabulous book!!!!! It is several things at once: American & European history, music criticism of the highest order, sociology, industrial sociology, and A history of the socio-economic changes that broke open, then separated the 50s from the 60s generation. One of the best aspects of this book is the author's deep examination of musical structure and how each of the Beatles contributed to making that genius work. Who played/wrote which lines or songs, what each person contributed in terms of Maj Fabulous book!!!!! It is several things at once: American & European history, music criticism of the highest order, sociology, industrial sociology, and A history of the socio-economic changes that broke open, then separated the 50s from the 60s generation. One of the best aspects of this book is the author's deep examination of musical structure and how each of the Beatles contributed to making that genius work. Who played/wrote which lines or songs, what each person contributed in terms of Major vs minor keys, rhythm, beat and so on. Magical book and eminently readable. It totally turned me around from seeing the Beatles As nothing more than a media phenomenon to recognizing the depth, breadth and creative genius of their work.

  4. 4 out of 5

    victor harris

    When it addressed social history, the ascent of the Beatles, and the England-U.S. interaction in the recording industry, it was excellent. Unfortunately, when breaking down individual songs, it got terribly long-winded and pedantic. It could easily have been compressed into a 300 page book. The stories on manager Brian Epstein and studio man George Martin are definitely worth checking, the material on Yoko Ono got tedious. Exactly a 3 rating.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Megan Sanks

    I really enjoyed this book. Gould did a wonderful job of integrating biographical information about the Beatles and the people around them with an analysis of their music, all while providing historical context. No better way to understand the Beatles.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tim Julian

    Less of a Beatles' biography, of which there are dozens, this is an attempt to place the Beatles in their cultural context, both in Britain and America. Gould therefore spends less time than other biographers on the early years, family backgrounds and suchlike and devotes more attention to the cultural scene (teddy boys, the Angry Young Men, the satire boom) from which the Beatles made their meteoric rise to superstardom. This means he gets to Love Me Do by page 135, compared to the thousand-plu Less of a Beatles' biography, of which there are dozens, this is an attempt to place the Beatles in their cultural context, both in Britain and America. Gould therefore spends less time than other biographers on the early years, family backgrounds and suchlike and devotes more attention to the cultural scene (teddy boys, the Angry Young Men, the satire boom) from which the Beatles made their meteoric rise to superstardom. This means he gets to Love Me Do by page 135, compared to the thousand-plus pages it took Mark Lewisohn in his magnum opus to reach the same point. Gould is knowledgeable about music and his analyses of the various songs is always interesting, and, to me at any rate, more accessible than the weightier critiques that make up Ian MacDonald's Revolution in the Head. Obviously Lewisohn's will remain the definitive biography (if it's ever finished) but as a one-stop combination of biography, cultural history and critical appreciation this would be hard to better.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Massively comprehensive look at the Beatles as a group and their songs, largely focused on the music, its creation, and publication. Gould is quite good at music analysis but the exhaustive descriptions of each and EVERY song that the Beatles ever wrote got a bit tiresome to me. I did enjoy greatly the biographical parts and the commentary on the current events of the Beatles era. Being such an iconic group and so influential in American and British culture - if you want to understand the 60s, y Massively comprehensive look at the Beatles as a group and their songs, largely focused on the music, its creation, and publication. Gould is quite good at music analysis but the exhaustive descriptions of each and EVERY song that the Beatles ever wrote got a bit tiresome to me. I did enjoy greatly the biographical parts and the commentary on the current events of the Beatles era. Being such an iconic group and so influential in American and British culture - if you want to understand the 60s, you need to learn about the Beatles. Having read this book during the time of Covid and the 2020 race riots, I was stunned to see the parallels between 1968 and our current time (and, yes, they even had a pandemic in 1968 - although they didn't freak out about it as much as we are today). So, if anyone thinks that this is the craziest America has gotten, think again - we've been through some pretty insane times before. There is hope!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I took a class on the Beatles in college. It counted as a general ed requirement! I still feel lucky. I do like the Beatles and this will be the second book "about them" that I'll have read (The first was "Shout," for the class). I hope I like it. MAY 3 UPDATE This is a great book. The author makes a point early of describing how he wanted this book to differentiate itself from the other books about the band, and his angle was examining the music from a cultural and historical perspective. I love I took a class on the Beatles in college. It counted as a general ed requirement! I still feel lucky. I do like the Beatles and this will be the second book "about them" that I'll have read (The first was "Shout," for the class). I hope I like it. MAY 3 UPDATE This is a great book. The author makes a point early of describing how he wanted this book to differentiate itself from the other books about the band, and his angle was examining the music from a cultural and historical perspective. I love examining things from cultural and historical perspectives! It's like he wrote it with me in mind. He also points out that it is a biography of the band, not the individuals. That is not something I probably would have noticed, but now that I know this it is holding up true. I am really enjoying it, at least the first sixth of it. It could theoretically tank. MAY 14 UPDATE Holy crap! The more I learn about Yoko Ono the freakier she gets. From the few things I had read about the Beatles breaking up I had figured she really was scapegoated but this author is painting an entirely different story and I am digging hating on the ocean child. John Lennon achieved great heights of dickery, too. MAY 15 UPDATE Turns out all the Beatles were dicks at the end. But that didn't really hamper my enjoyment of the book, and I'm sure once they separated they more or less settled back down to the normal, convivial people that they started out as. I don't really know much about them. OVERALL RESPONSE I really enjoyed this book. I thought the close readings of individual songs and album analysis was fantastic, and I wish I'd had the CDs plugged in right next to me as I was reading, but that would have added what? Another 20 hours to my reading? It started to drag after Sgt Pepper. I just really couldn't follow the financial messes that caused so much distress, but that's not why it dragged (because there really only were a few pages of that). And I'm hardly the first person to say it, but once the Beatles started going through the motions of being a band and hardly tolerating each other, the book lost a lot of steam. The format and writing style didn't change at all, but the content ceased to be compelling and you just started watching a bunch of assholes get what was coming to them. Which is sort of sad, because they didn't set out to be a bunch of assholes but the stress gets to you in the end. I can totally understand how being put upon inspires the desire to kick others in the face. Now imagine what I would do with millions of dollars I can't get to, people demanding my time and presence, a lot of testosterone in my system (because I am a guy), and not even having the levelheadedness of turning thirty yet. Oh well. At least they had Hamburg. Man, does that author hate Yoko, though! He was outrageously catty towards her character. I enjoyed every word. EPILOGUE: I found a misspelling in someone's name as I was reading the book but let it slide. I'd only been surfing the net looking for more information about a television personality the author had mentioned: Cathy McGowan. He'd spelled it McGowen. I didn't know if he or the website was correct. Now I learn that he spelled the author Margaret Forster as Margaret Foster. That's pretty sloppy. Dude. How long could it take for an intern to check names online? Less than a day. I may email the publishers just so I can stop fretting about it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    I blame Tuck. He asked me a question about a particular Beatles book on my review of Revolution in the Head, and I sent him an article/discussion of 'best Beatles books'. Of course it made me think, haven't read that one or that one, and I've ended up buying 'Love Me Do', a slim fly-on-the-wall paperback following the Beatles on tour and making programmes like Juke Box jury from 1964, and getting this one from the library, in contrast a massive 700 page tome, published in 2007 and covering every I blame Tuck. He asked me a question about a particular Beatles book on my review of Revolution in the Head, and I sent him an article/discussion of 'best Beatles books'. Of course it made me think, haven't read that one or that one, and I've ended up buying 'Love Me Do', a slim fly-on-the-wall paperback following the Beatles on tour and making programmes like Juke Box jury from 1964, and getting this one from the library, in contrast a massive 700 page tome, published in 2007 and covering everything, including the importance of the scouse accent. Read 50 pages before I knew it... ..enjoyed, more later... I didn’t learn too much that was new about the band (hardly surprising given the number of Beatle books consumed) but the astonishing story of four scousers changing the world still grips. I did learn a bit more about America’s complex relationship with the Bealtes, treating them first as saviours, the fan worship, the Ed Sullivan shows, the distraction from the Kennedy assassination, to the later condemnation (the Maryland Ku Klux Klan burning their records outside the Washington stadium) to their two way influence on West Coast music. Also the psychology of the band – eg their self-reliance, their interaction - and their influence on society is well explored, (possibly overdone) using Weber and Freud to explain the phenomenon. The music comes to the fore in the second half of the book, some songs only warranting a brief mention, others get pages (Penny Lane, I am the Walrus etc). One or two new sidelines on the music for me – And Your Bird Can Sing (my favourite track, despite it being a throwaway according to Lennon) was apparently inspired by Guy Talese’s profile of Frank Sinatra that appeared in the April 1966 issue of Esquire. “Bird,” Talese wrote, “is a favourite Sinatra word.” The article compared the Beatles unfavourably to Sinatra, and this is Lennon’s riposte. I’d always thought (read somewhere) it was about Mick Jagger’s then girlfriend Marianne Faithful (‘bird’ being British slang for ‘girl’) who had a song in the charts at the time. Gould is a good music critic (being a musician might help), eg describing George’s repetitive riff playing on ‘Dizzy Miss Lizzy’ as having the self absorption of a child perfecting his signature, and each repetition seems to affirm some deeply held belief that these eight notes, in this configuration, represents the only conceivable accompaniment to the song. I will stop on the Beatles books now, at least until Mark Lewishon’s three volume magnum opus ‘The Beatles’ comes out in the autumn.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    I really enjoyed this book. I've read quite a few Beatles books and I learned some new stuff from this one. Very thorough. My only complaints, and they are very minor: * I love how "thorough" the book was/is, but sometimes it was just overkill, especially on the early albums. For example there was 45 - 60 mins (I listened to audible version) on the Beatles early haircut and mod outfit, yet the last 30 mins of the book basically covered finalizing Abbey Road, Let It Be and the breakup and post brea I really enjoyed this book. I've read quite a few Beatles books and I learned some new stuff from this one. Very thorough. My only complaints, and they are very minor: * I love how "thorough" the book was/is, but sometimes it was just overkill, especially on the early albums. For example there was 45 - 60 mins (I listened to audible version) on the Beatles early haircut and mod outfit, yet the last 30 mins of the book basically covered finalizing Abbey Road, Let It Be and the breakup and post breakup activities. That felt very rushed but the early part of their career I often felt bored with how in depth it went. * The author was not as objective as I felt he should be with describing some of the albums. It felt his personal distaste for The White Album and Abbey Road and Let It Be really impacted his description of those tracks/albums rather than just focusing on the facts and reception. He would mention they sold over 4M copies sold in a few months but because the collaboration on the tracks by the band had pretty much stopped, he was very negative on most. Overall, very good book and I would recommend it to any Beatles fan or anybody that would want to learn more about them. I would just suggest really power through the early years if you are getting bored because it does get very riveting after the release of Please Please Me.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    This book exceeded my expectations far more than any book I've read in a very long time. In addition to being a biography of the group as a whole, this is also a social history. Everything about the Beatles, from their childhoods in Liverpool to the seedy nightclubs of the Reeperbahn in Germany, from their Scouse accents to the musical arrangements of their most popular songs, is placed carefully within the perspective of Britain and the United States at the time. The writing flows wonderfully. D This book exceeded my expectations far more than any book I've read in a very long time. In addition to being a biography of the group as a whole, this is also a social history. Everything about the Beatles, from their childhoods in Liverpool to the seedy nightclubs of the Reeperbahn in Germany, from their Scouse accents to the musical arrangements of their most popular songs, is placed carefully within the perspective of Britain and the United States at the time. The writing flows wonderfully. Despite a textbook feel to the prose, it never becomes weighted down or abstruse. Short, well-focused chapters keep the pace moving briskly along and I never lost interest. In fact, I often found it hard to put the book down! There is also a good balance between the principal players, with of course the greatest attention paid to John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Decades later, it is still painful to follow the disintegration of such a close collaborative friendship. That the Beatles changed society and popular music and helped lead a generation goes without saying. But this book does say it, laying out the intricate ways in which the Beatles shaped their world and were shaped by it. It is a fascinating read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Its both comprehensive and vague at same time. Quite an achievement Sure he mentions offhandedly how certain Beatles movies (HELP! mostly) looked like modern MTV [or rather, what MTV used to be) - but no mention of their ACTUAL MUSIC VIDEOS? Like.. oh I dunno... Paperback Writer/Rain combo being filmed in the park specifically for sending out as promos? Or Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane hiring a movie director and havin fancy mini-movie editing and even full concepts instead of them just standin aro Its both comprehensive and vague at same time. Quite an achievement Sure he mentions offhandedly how certain Beatles movies (HELP! mostly) looked like modern MTV [or rather, what MTV used to be) - but no mention of their ACTUAL MUSIC VIDEOS? Like.. oh I dunno... Paperback Writer/Rain combo being filmed in the park specifically for sending out as promos? Or Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane hiring a movie director and havin fancy mini-movie editing and even full concepts instead of them just standin around pretending to play Yoko's giant ego would be pleased by how much she and John are mentioned in final chapters. The other boys' family life barely gets a line (especially Ringo. Not even that!), but J/Y relationship and publicity stunts take up pages! Now that their heroin and meth timeline is in proper alignment - no longer feel sorry for her miscarriages. Bitch deserved to not reproduce while that full of drugs! The author also does give a quick rundown of their solo work followups, but wooooow does he downplay the Vicious Vendetta that is John's "How do you sleep?"

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Hamilton

    I have a weird feeling when I read books about the Beatles book that is chronological, I get more and more excited and then about the time they start talking about the White Album, I get sad. I get all swept up in the narrative of their career and then get sad when they break up. That may be why I've only see "Let it Be" once all the way through. I think with the Beatles, reading books about them is the same reason my Dad reads books about WWII: he knows pretty much everything there is to know a I have a weird feeling when I read books about the Beatles book that is chronological, I get more and more excited and then about the time they start talking about the White Album, I get sad. I get all swept up in the narrative of their career and then get sad when they break up. That may be why I've only see "Let it Be" once all the way through. I think with the Beatles, reading books about them is the same reason my Dad reads books about WWII: he knows pretty much everything there is to know about WII and could recite the chain of events from memory BUT there's always some new insight, a new angle on it that wasn't apparent before. I've read Beatle books from a lot of different angles and this one took a bigger picture perspective on why the Beatles blew up the way they did. Its not full of a lot of biographical details, only really the ones that colored what kind of people they grew up to be. Though, it suffers from something I've seen in a LOT of Beatle books: around '68, '69, it starts running out of steam. I dunno. Can't be helped, I guess.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    Rather misleadingly titled, this book devotes only a fraction of its considerable bulk to a study of the titular threesome of subjects, insisting instead on analyzing, album by album, track by track, the music of the Beatles. While this jerky change of topic might be forgiven in light of the (limited) value of the analysis, Gould suffers from delusions of academia and insists on psychoanalyzing the minutest detail, whether lyrical, conceptual or personal, droning on in a snooty monotone that end Rather misleadingly titled, this book devotes only a fraction of its considerable bulk to a study of the titular threesome of subjects, insisting instead on analyzing, album by album, track by track, the music of the Beatles. While this jerky change of topic might be forgiven in light of the (limited) value of the analysis, Gould suffers from delusions of academia and insists on psychoanalyzing the minutest detail, whether lyrical, conceptual or personal, droning on in a snooty monotone that ends only when the last song of "Abbey Road" has been parsed beyond recognition. Not worth it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Julie_ian_curtis

    At first I had. A lot of trouble getting into this. Too much 'what was happening at the time' and I didn't want that I wanted the boys. However stick with it - on the 3rdor 4th attempt I found it picks up and is particularly good at describing the end. Specifically about the demise/break up - although no new revelations, it was very well written in such a way that - it was actually very upsetting to read ! At first I had. A lot of trouble getting into this. Too much 'what was happening at the time' and I didn't want that I wanted the boys. However stick with it - on the 3rdor 4th attempt I found it picks up and is particularly good at describing the end. Specifically about the demise/break up - although no new revelations, it was very well written in such a way that - it was actually very upsetting to read !

  16. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    I wish I could say that I finished it but I didn't. I got bogged down in the middle by the minute details of each song and each album and I gave up. I love the Beatles but I guess I don't love them enough to know all the guitar chords for each song on Rubber Soul. This book is truly well researched though and is definitely for the ultimate fan. I wish I could say that I finished it but I didn't. I got bogged down in the middle by the minute details of each song and each album and I gave up. I love the Beatles but I guess I don't love them enough to know all the guitar chords for each song on Rubber Soul. This book is truly well researched though and is definitely for the ultimate fan.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Carlgatto

    A friend who teaches a college course on the Beatles recommended this, saying it's the textbook for his class. I can see why! It's a terrific book, interesting for both new Beatles fans and first generation fans like myself. A friend who teaches a college course on the Beatles recommended this, saying it's the textbook for his class. I can see why! It's a terrific book, interesting for both new Beatles fans and first generation fans like myself.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ross

    Not just another Beatles book. It recounts the familiar tale of these four individuals, "clearing away the ephemeral, the apocryphal, and the merely anecdotal" in order to focus on the bigger picture, their lives and their music in social and historical context. Fab. Not just another Beatles book. It recounts the familiar tale of these four individuals, "clearing away the ephemeral, the apocryphal, and the merely anecdotal" in order to focus on the bigger picture, their lives and their music in social and historical context. Fab.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Matt Kelly

    Surely the one stop shop if you want a biography on the Beatles. The author not only captures the life and music of the Beatles, but puts them in the context of history. Very entertaining and informative.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jim Swike

    This is a terrific book, for all music lovers and especially if you remember the 1960s era of the Beatles. This is a great history of the Beatles from start to finish. Enjoy!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Int'l librarian

    This book makes me sing. Quietly. Just to myself, really. But still. I was singing. I like the Beatles a lot, but I never knew too much about them, and don’t play their music all that much. So I couldn’t always immediately connect with Gould’s song-by-song month-by-month breakdown of just about everything the Beatles did as a group. But given enough context, it was almost always possible to realize, “Oh, that’s that song!” And then, it was near impossible to keep quiet. Gould makes significant d This book makes me sing. Quietly. Just to myself, really. But still. I was singing. I like the Beatles a lot, but I never knew too much about them, and don’t play their music all that much. So I couldn’t always immediately connect with Gould’s song-by-song month-by-month breakdown of just about everything the Beatles did as a group. But given enough context, it was almost always possible to realize, “Oh, that’s that song!” And then, it was near impossible to keep quiet. Gould makes significant demands with his exhaustive writing style. He sets a high standard for appreciating the Beatles as composers. There are all sorts of details about meter and key changes and instrumentation. It’s hard to imagine how much time Gould spent listening to recordings. And digging up stories about the Beatles. Their interpersonal dynamics are as interesting as their music. I already had some sense of the Beatles as people, but nothing like what I know now. The drug use and in-fighting are a lot to take in. And it’s sad to discover how difficult they could be with the people who tried to help them most. Then there are the cultural asides. Way too many cultural asides. Of course the Beatles were a cultural phenomenon. And they deserve to be understood in context. But Gould pulls in several tangents that could have been left aside. The Prufomo Affair, the censorship debate over Lady Chatterley’s lover, reconsiderations of Freudian psychology. And Gould isn’t very big on transitions. The sidetracks feel like separate articles that Gould or his editors liked, and then debated, “How can we shoehorn this one into the chronology?” They aren’t bad articles, for the most part. And even if they make the book longer, they don’t make it anything less than a revelation. Like it says on the cover of my edition, this must be “The best book ever written about the Beatles.”

  22. 4 out of 5

    Panther Library

    This book makes me sing. Quietly. Just to myself, really. But still. I was singing. I like the Beatles a lot, but I never knew too much about them, and don’t play their music all that much. So I couldn’t always immediately connect with Gould’s song-by-song month-by-month breakdown of just about everything the Beatles did as a group. But given enough context, it was almost always possible to realize, “Oh, that’s that song!” And then, it was near impossible to keep quiet. Gould makes significant d This book makes me sing. Quietly. Just to myself, really. But still. I was singing. I like the Beatles a lot, but I never knew too much about them, and don’t play their music all that much. So I couldn’t always immediately connect with Gould’s song-by-song month-by-month breakdown of just about everything the Beatles did as a group. But given enough context, it was almost always possible to realize, “Oh, that’s that song!” And then, it was near impossible to keep quiet. Gould makes significant demands with his exhaustive writing style. He sets a high standard for appreciating the Beatles as composers. There are all sorts of details about meter and key changes and instrumentation. It’s hard to imagine how much time Gould spent listening to recordings. And digging up stories about the Beatles. Their interpersonal dynamics are as interesting as their music. I already had some sense of the Beatles as people, but nothing like what I know now. The drug use and in-fighting are a lot to take in. And it’s sad to discover how difficult they could be with the people who tried to help them most. Then there are the cultural asides. Way too many cultural asides. Of course the Beatles were a cultural phenomenon. And they deserve to be understood in context. But Gould pulls in several tangents that could have been left aside. The Prufomo Affair, the censorship debate over Lady Chatterley’s lover, reconsiderations of Freudian psychology. And Gould isn’t very big on transitions. The sidetracks feel like separate articles that Gould or his editors liked, and then debated, “How can we shoehorn this one into the chronology?” They aren’t bad articles, for the most part. And even if they make the book longer, they don’t make it anything less than a revelation. Like it says on the cover of my edition, this must be “The best book ever written about the Beatles.”

  23. 5 out of 5

    John

    This is an exhaustive (600-plus pages) history of The Beatles. I've read a few books about them in the past, including Shout!, but this one seemed more complete. The author goes into great detail about the songs themselves, using a lot of musical terminology that mostly went way over my head. (I'm not a musician myself.) Still, though, it was great reading, and fun to listen along to the albums as he was describing them. I was perilously close to giving this four stars instead of five, however, f This is an exhaustive (600-plus pages) history of The Beatles. I've read a few books about them in the past, including Shout!, but this one seemed more complete. The author goes into great detail about the songs themselves, using a lot of musical terminology that mostly went way over my head. (I'm not a musician myself.) Still, though, it was great reading, and fun to listen along to the albums as he was describing them. I was perilously close to giving this four stars instead of five, however, for two reasons. One, Gould tends to theorize and speculate about the various characters' motivations and make connections where there aren't necessarily actual connections. In other words, he's prone to over-analyzing. That was somewhat annoying, but on the whole not enough to detract too much from the overall book. The other reason was that he really gave short shrift to what turned out to be the Let It Be album. He described the internal politics behind it and the reasons it came out when and how it did, but he didn't get into the granular detail about the individual songs the way he did with all of their other albums. And while he described the filming of the movie Let It Be, which chronicled the recording of the album, he didn't actually talk about the finished movie itself. Which would have been nice for me since I've never actually seen the movie—I have to wait for the Peter Jackson recut coming out next year. All in all, though, it's a very enjoyable read, and it catches you up on not only the incredible music created by the Beatles during their relatively short existence as a band, but also on the cultural influences that helped shape them—and likewise, the influences they brought upon the culture in Britain and America and around the world.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    I expected more of a history of the time period than what this was, but instead got a pretty good Beatles book with bits on the time period sprinkled throughout. Not as thorough as the big three: Revolution in the Head, Anthology, and Mark Lewisohn's All These Years series (which at present is only one book long). (view spoiler)[ Notes: Skiffle music (which used washboards and tea chest bass in addition to guitars) had an anyone-can-do-it feel. The second half of 1956 skiffle groups “formed by the I expected more of a history of the time period than what this was, but instead got a pretty good Beatles book with bits on the time period sprinkled throughout. Not as thorough as the big three: Revolution in the Head, Anthology, and Mark Lewisohn's All These Years series (which at present is only one book long). (view spoiler)[ Notes: Skiffle music (which used washboards and tea chest bass in addition to guitars) had an anyone-can-do-it feel. The second half of 1956 skiffle groups “formed by the dozen in every British town.” (31) “When [McCartney] was introduced to John Lennon…the mere fact that he knew how to tune a guitar properly amazed the Quarry Men.” (34) The Quarry Men were banned from the Cavern after playing songs by Elvis and Gene Vincent when rock ‘n’ roll was prohibited. (Paul was away at Scout camp at the time.) (35) The Top Ten Club in Hamburg introduced the Beatles to a decent sound system, allowing them to devote more attention singing together as a group. (106) Whereas Ed Sullivan paid Elvis $50,000 for three performance, the Beatles were paid a measly $4,00 for two performances in exchange for what Epstein demanded: “top billing,” ensuring the Beatles would be featured in network advertising for the show. (196-197) Eight Arms to Hold You was one title considered for A Hard Day’s Night. (268) “In August 1965, George Martin resigned the post he had held for ten years as head of EMI’s Parlophone label.” This was after being rejected a raise. In response he resigned and started an independent record production company, knowing the Beatles would insist to work with Martin as producer, but on now on his terms. (289) “George [Harrison] first encountered…the sitar…as a prop on the set of Help!...His use of the sitar on “Norwegian Wood” had started a minor trend in pop and stirred a new wave of interest in Indian music itself.” (311) “And Your Bird Can Sing” was a response to Sinatra’s mockery of the Beatles. Sinatra used the word bird to describe many things. Lennon felt Sinatra was out of touch with current music. You tell me that you've heard every sound there is And your bird can swing But you can't hear me You can't hear me (360) Revolver was a mere three years since the release of “She Loves You.” (366) The Sgt Pepper cover was not a collage, but rather blown-up, propped-up, life-size hardboard figures with the Beatles (and wax figures of the Beatles) photographed among them. (395) Yoko had two marriages prior to Lennon. (475) “Cut Piece” - Ono appears onstage in an evening dress holding shears. She invites the audience to come up onstage and cut away her dress. (475) At some point when the Beatles had a nearly twelve hour recording session of “Revolution,” Ono of her own volition got up and joined Lennon at the microphone “embellishing his screams with shrieks and moans and muttered phrases of her own.” (480) “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey” “The title was supposedly inspired by some hate mail the couple had been receiving.” (483) McCartney and Jane Asher’s relationship ended in much the same way as Lennon and Cynthia’s: “Jane coming home unannounced to find another woman in the house.” McCartney was quite promiscuous. (484) The four tracks debuting in Yellow Submarine “were all outtakes, recorded over the course of 1967 and early 1968, that had failed to find a place on a single or LP.” (485) Part of why Lennon liked “The movement you need is on your shoulder” was “the play on the political term ‘movement’ and its wry implication of Atlas Shrugged” (491) “Unbeknownst to the other Beatles, John and Yoko had been taking heroin together for several months.” They were likely connected to the drug via Robert Fraser, who owned a gallery John had a show in in 1968. (502) “In the weeks after Yoko’s miscarriage, John and Yoko’s heroin use had escalated significantly, which further increased the isolation of their daily existence and amplified John’s tendency toward lassitude.” (532) A year before McCartney suggested the Get Back project, Jean-Luc Godard had “wanted to film them at work in the recording studio as part of a ovie he planned to make in London. Denied by the Beatles, Godard wound up making the picture…[One Plus One] with the Rolling Stones.” (532) “[McCartney] wanted to use the premise of the Beatles documenting their creative process on film as an opportunity to draw John into collaborating actively with him again.” (535) John Lennon plays the solo on “Get Back” since Harrison had walked out. (554) George Martin “proposed an album that would consist of ‘a continuously moving piece of music,’ which would lead the Beatles ‘to try and think in symphonic terms.’” (563) This became side two of Abbey Road. The recording of “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” “marked the last time that the three founding members of the group would ever sing together on a song.” (566) Lennon was invited to play Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival in Toronto. With Eric Clapton, Klaus Voorman and drummer Alan White (George Harrison denied Lennon’s request), they played “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Money,” “Yer Blues,” “Cold Turkey,” and “Give Peace a Chance.” John forgot words to most of the songs. “The set ended with a screeching number by Yoko, accompanied by feedback from John’s guitar” (568) “On the return flight to London, Lennon told Clapton, Voorman, and Allen Klein that he had decided to leave the Beatles and form a new group.” Klein convinced him to hold off a bit. Around this time, Paul suggested the group return to performing live, to which John responded, “I think you’re daft. I’m leaving the Beatles. I want a divorce.” (569) The cover of Abbey Road was based on a sketch by Paul McCartney. (571) A scene of Yoko and John waltzing to “I Me Mine” appeared in the Let It Be film…so the Beatles had to record the song properly for the soundtrack. George, Paul and Ringo met on the first weekend of 1970 and spent nine hours recording a full-band version. This was “the last time they would ever officially record as the Beatles.” (598) This took place “eight years to the day from the Beatles’ disastrous audition at Decca Records in 1962.” (598) “Shortly after the Beatles disbanded, George’s wife, Pattie, fell in love with his close friend Eric Clapton” (604) (hide spoiler)]

  25. 4 out of 5

    Patrick King

    Mr. Gould's historical information is excellent. His musical reviews are excruciating. When his reviews are complimentary the detail is absurd. When they are not complimentary he seems like an idiot. It feels as though Mr. Gould did not grow up with this music but got a box set and a "complete Beatles" song book and listened to each track consecutively without taking into account the temporal distance and circumstance when each song was written and recorded. He draws parallels between songs whos Mr. Gould's historical information is excellent. His musical reviews are excruciating. When his reviews are complimentary the detail is absurd. When they are not complimentary he seems like an idiot. It feels as though Mr. Gould did not grow up with this music but got a box set and a "complete Beatles" song book and listened to each track consecutively without taking into account the temporal distance and circumstance when each song was written and recorded. He draws parallels between songs whose common thread is that they were written and recorded by the same artists. His comments on Til There Was You, Mr. Moonlight, Within You Without You and its relationship to Sgt. Pepper, and Revolution Number 9 indicate such a lack of insight and understanding they undermine his entire effort. When writing about an iconic entity that completely changed the industry it worked in it is probably better not to criticize it at all. Offer just the facts. Many of Mr. Gould's opinions are incompetent and incorrect. I'd love to see the source for his claim that "most listeners" skip Revolution Number 9. He just doesn't get it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This was a fun one. Obviously I took my time with it because once you’re out of school and read for leisure, you can soak it up even more. That being said, if you are a fan of The Beatles then you can’t go wrong with this. The book is a birds eye view of from their beginnings to their end. I would highly recommend adding this to you collection but don’t make it the holy grail of all Beatles books. Even though I took my time with this book and even though this is a birds eye view, it is still a v This was a fun one. Obviously I took my time with it because once you’re out of school and read for leisure, you can soak it up even more. That being said, if you are a fan of The Beatles then you can’t go wrong with this. The book is a birds eye view of from their beginnings to their end. I would highly recommend adding this to you collection but don’t make it the holy grail of all Beatles books. Even though I took my time with this book and even though this is a birds eye view, it is still a very thick book. I recently found another book about the Beatles called ‘Tune In.’ That one is over a thousand pages long and it’s only covering their childhoods through the night before their lives changers. There is a supposedly a volume 2 in the works for Tune In. But this one was a great read and has a ton of info.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sadie

    dense yet extremely readable. this book moves the beatles and their discography through a swirling mass of current events and cultural revolutions. it helped paint such a vivid picture of why their music was received the way it was and also why the songwriting/instrumentation/arrangement of the records themselves was revolutionary. the beatles were playing in the background almost constantly when I was little so I know many of these songs better than I know most other things. as I read this book dense yet extremely readable. this book moves the beatles and their discography through a swirling mass of current events and cultural revolutions. it helped paint such a vivid picture of why their music was received the way it was and also why the songwriting/instrumentation/arrangement of the records themselves was revolutionary. the beatles were playing in the background almost constantly when I was little so I know many of these songs better than I know most other things. as I read this book, I loved reading the musical analysis of each record and revisiting these familiar songs afterwards. it really did feel like I was hearing them for the first time.

  28. 4 out of 5

    John P.

    I loved this book. The author also wrote a book on Otis Redding which is also great. I will read anything and everything that this author writes. I have read other interpretations of the Beatles’s songs, but that is to be expected. I will continue to use this book as a reference book as I reacquaint myself to the Beatles catalog. I was young (born in 1959) so I had embraced the band halfway into their career (older sisters bought their albums). The Beatles, esp. Paul, will always play a large pa I loved this book. The author also wrote a book on Otis Redding which is also great. I will read anything and everything that this author writes. I have read other interpretations of the Beatles’s songs, but that is to be expected. I will continue to use this book as a reference book as I reacquaint myself to the Beatles catalog. I was young (born in 1959) so I had embraced the band halfway into their career (older sisters bought their albums). The Beatles, esp. Paul, will always play a large part in my memories of growing up in the Midwest. I highly recommend this book.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Paul Jellinek

    I am a die-hard Beatles fan, and have been since the first time I heard "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" in January, 1964, standing outside a bar in Hastings, New York (I was too young to go in). So I have read my fair share of books about the Beatles. This is one of the best. It's well-researched, well-written (no small matter in this field), and best of all, it's one of those books that makes you want to rush to your stereo (or whatever you listen to) to immediately play the song he's writing about. T I am a die-hard Beatles fan, and have been since the first time I heard "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" in January, 1964, standing outside a bar in Hastings, New York (I was too young to go in). So I have read my fair share of books about the Beatles. This is one of the best. It's well-researched, well-written (no small matter in this field), and best of all, it's one of those books that makes you want to rush to your stereo (or whatever you listen to) to immediately play the song he's writing about. That, to me, is always the true test of any book about music, whatever the genre.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

    This book has cemented itself into my top 5 books about the Beatles. Rather than just a biography of the band, Gould focuses on the music and historical-social events happening in England, the US, and elsewhere in the world, along with how those events had a probable influence on the Beatles' music...and vice versa. So interesting, and written very beautifully. I also really love Gould's occasional snarky asides and observations. Fascinating. This book has cemented itself into my top 5 books about the Beatles. Rather than just a biography of the band, Gould focuses on the music and historical-social events happening in England, the US, and elsewhere in the world, along with how those events had a probable influence on the Beatles' music...and vice versa. So interesting, and written very beautifully. I also really love Gould's occasional snarky asides and observations. Fascinating.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.