Beatles Books

A Brief Review of buying Beatles stuff

I have alluded to several books on this blog and so, with Christmas long gone and books, book tokens, book sales and replacements being favoured activities here are some thoughts about books and buying Beatles stuff in. Since I first wrote this blog Mark Lewisohn has published his new meisterwerk Tune-In (2013), which covers everything you ever wanted to know about the Beatles up to Love Me Do. Not only is it a real work of scholarship that moves past the errors in earlier works (by others) to provide both a definitive and balanced account of the flaming pie that gave us The Beatles  but it is a is now the key text for fans as he has interviewed many of them to help contextualise the narrative. I will be rereading it for pleasure.

Records; Of course I am assuming that you will have already gotten the remasters, a key topic of this blog, and they produce a great narrative of Beatle life, but if not I would recommend the following five albums in order.

1) White Album; “the greatest group in the world at the height of their powers” Marmalade Skies

2) Revolver; when then they learnt to play the studio with Geoff Emerick.

3) Hard Days Night; Merseybeat in excelsis 5th Best British Rock Album according to Q in 2000 and composed entirely of Lennon-McCartney songs

4) Rubber Soul; great folk-rock influenced epic by Dylan & Crosby as they lift off (with one last blast of misogyny)

5) Abbey Road; the most polished and 21st century sounding of their albums; White Album Part 2 meets Love Part 1

Acidheads, mellotron-freaks and prog-revivalists (hello Italy!) should head to the Magical Mystery Tour for a breakfast of semolina pilchards and an English tan. A painless MashUp of all things Beatles for the kids is the wonderful Love! The show in Las Vegas is worth seeing too; it feels just like sitting next to Ringo in Abbey Road studio 2 as the music is from the master tapes 🙂

BOOKS

Before I wrote this blog I thought there were only two Beatles book that anyone would ever need and they were both British. Ian McDonald’s “Revolution In The Head” and Mark Lewisohn’s “The Complete Beatles Studio Recording” (now out of print) which both put you at the centre of The Beatles world in the 1960s. Perhaps that is still all that you will ever need to read however recent American scholarship and enthusiasm pretty much trumps those two, in my opinion. Yes I can’t believe it either! So what are the other books worth buying?  Read the rest of this entry »

Beatles Creativity (1) Live

The Beatles Live 1957-1963

In the next six posts I will be looking at the Beatles creativity in terms of the six phases identified in Learning from Learning…With The Beatles. In keeping with the social construction of Popular Music I will tell these stories through six Top Tens of Beatles songs. Consequently, as with many of the posts on this blog, there is an accompanying post with videos on a Beatles YouTube Album; specific videos are linked to from the paragraph headers. The first period discussed here is about how John, Paul, George and Ringo became The Beatles and looks at The Beatles Live 1957-1963. This is the same period as that identified by Malcolm Gladwell when The Beatles were unknown unknowns, or Outliers, and in the process of self-creation.

That’ll Be The Day

The pre-Fab Four were feral and provincial, outlawed themselves to Germany and worked in Hamburg’s red light district to make live music for significant periods in the early sixties. Bob Spitz in The Beatles Biography identifies the Litherland Hall Concert in Liverpool on December 27 1960, after the Beatles had returned from Hamburg in Wild Ones black leather, as the point at which they became legends in their own backyard. Nice short film about Litherland made by their manager of the time Allan Williams, which captures this confusion about their provenance. But even legends started small and the craft collective known as The Beatles started as The Quarrymen. Read the rest of this entry »