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Best Beatles Book?
28 April 2018
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ewe2
Inside the beat
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Ludwig said
Hi all

Three questions re: Beatles books

2. I love Revolution in the Head so have been surprised to read on here that there are many errors. Can anyone tell me just what these errors are and how we know them to be errors?

Revolution is one of those books, if you are new to Beatles books in general, seems amazing. It had the good fortune to be one of the earlier investigations of Beatles music and tries to be a critical and artistic appreciation of the songs. But unfortunately, it fails to live up to the higher standards of today's Beatle scholarship. The errors are simply too numerous to list, and range from guesswork as to who played what instrument and what instruments are there, to outright myths about songs and the songwriting. It is neither objective nor accurate and is often contradicted in better works like Lewisohn's. To add to the mess, MacDonald died and the last revision of the book published after his death; the publishers had a vested interest in many of the worst excesses of the book remaining, particularly his character assassination of Lennon and Harrison. The book also tries to place the Beatles within the culture of the time with an involved essay on the matter that isn't bad reading but still so opinionated that it's worthless as scholarship. And when MacDonald decided that a songwriting method called 'random' is to blame for half the Beatles output and it all went downhill after Sgt Peppers and it's all that druggie Lennon's fault, well, what conclusion are you likely to reach about his "scholarship"? Compare earlier entries to the later ones: there's simply no consistency, and he completely loses interest in even the semi-musicological approach he started with.

These days we expect a lot more of our Beatles books than we did then, and although Revolution was a step in the right direction, it is still a misstep and unlikely to be revived. Go get the Complete Beatles Chronicle by Mark Lewisohn and read about the songs by someone who actually cared to get it right and backs it with sources.

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Does anyone have Harry Benson’s On The Road book?

1.The Beatles 2.Sgt. Pepper 3.Abbey Road 4.Magical Mystery Tour 5.Rubber Soul 6.Revolver 7.Help! 8.Let It Be
9.A Hard Day’s Night 10.Please Please Me 11.Beatles For Sale 12.With The Beatles 13.Yellow Submarine

2 August 2019
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Tony Japanese
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I was just typing up a new topic where we could recommend/discuss the definitive Beatle books witihn a number of categories and a Google-search lead me to this thread.

I guess I'll go back and look through these 10 pages. I'm mostly on the lookout for an critical study of the band's music, but one that's accesible for even non-musicians/ isn't particularly weighed down by technical terms.

20 August 2019
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Timothy said
Does anyone have Harry Benson’s On The Road book?

  

Yes, I have the Taschen edition.

"This Beatles talk bores me to death.” —John Lennon 

22 August 2019
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ewe2 said

Ludwig said

Hi all

Three questions re: Beatles books

2. I love Revolution in the Head so have been surprised to read on here that there are many errors. Can anyone tell me just what these errors are and how we know them to be errors?

Revolution is one of those books, if you are new to Beatles books in general, seems amazing. It had the good fortune to be one of the earlier investigations of Beatles music and tries to be a critical and artistic appreciation of the songs. But unfortunately, it fails to live up to the higher standards of today's Beatle scholarship. The errors are simply too numerous to list, and range from guesswork as to who played what instrument and what instruments are there, to outright myths about songs and the songwriting. It is neither objective nor accurate and is often contradicted in better works like Lewisohn's. To add to the mess, MacDonald died and the last revision of the book published after his death; the publishers had a vested interest in many of the worst excesses of the book remaining, particularly his character assassination of Lennon and Harrison. The book also tries to place the Beatles within the culture of the time with an involved essay on the matter that isn't bad reading but still so opinionated that it's worthless as scholarship. And when MacDonald decided that a songwriting method called 'random' is to blame for half the Beatles output and it all went downhill after Sgt Peppers and it's all that druggie Lennon's fault, well, what conclusion are you likely to reach about his "scholarship"? Compare earlier entries to the later ones: there's simply no consistency, and he completely loses interest in even the semi-musicological approach he started with.

These days we expect a lot more of our Beatles books than we did then, and although Revolution was a step in the right direction, it is still a misstep and unlikely to be revived. Go get the Complete Beatles Chronicle by Mark Lewisohn and read about the songs by someone who actually cared to get it right and backs it with sources.

  

A very scholarly reply......

Gosh I love 'Rev in the head'...Read it twice and learned a lot.

I have Lewisohn's The complete Recordings and like that too........Have to admit I've not gotten into Tune In yet.....Keep saving it  and never getting round to it.....

However, can you point out the actual worst, most erroneous and undermining to his credibility gaff in RITH in your opinion? 

 

Thanks for the recomendation......I must get hold of the Complete Chronicles I feel like a good catch-up..Always sends me to the songs.

22 August 2019
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One error that really grabs my attention is that he claims that John plays acoustic guitar on Strawberry Fields Forever , even though there's no acoustic guitar part anywhere in the song.

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23 August 2019
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Lewisohn states guitars being used on the basic track before all the overdubs were added and Joe lists acoustic guitar.

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23 August 2019
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I'm currently reading RitH again. There may be times where I disagree with MacDonald's opinions, but that doesn't spoil my enjoyment of the book and his 'errors' no doubt based on the evidence he had available to him at the time.

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meanmistermustard said
Lewisohn states guitars being used on the basic track before all the overdubs were added and Joe lists acoustic guitar.

  

Yes I always thought the rough demo version which was spliced together with the studio version had acoustic guitar on it because all the early demos were on acoustic and it was also written on acoustic guitar in Alicante.

Pivotal Moments in Beatles History No.118:  Yoko helps herself to one of George's digestives. 

26 August 2019
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Leppo said

meanmistermustard said

Lewisohn states guitars being used on the basic track before all the overdubs were added and Joe lists acoustic guitar.

  

Yes I always thought the rough demo version which was spliced together with the studio version had acoustic guitar on it because all the early demos were on acoustic and it was also written on acoustic guitar in Alicante.

  

Wait (it's not been that long)! What demo? It was the finished take 7 along with take 26.

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26 August 2019
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Leppo said

meanmistermustard said

Lewisohn states guitars being used on the basic track before all the overdubs were added and Joe lists acoustic guitar.

  

Yes I always thought the rough demo version which was spliced together with the studio version had acoustic guitar on it because all the early demos were on acoustic and it was also written on acoustic guitar in Alicante.

  

Not in Alicante. It was written in Almería indeed john-lennon-salute_gif

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6 September 2019
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Wait (it's not been that long)! What demo? It was the finished take 7 along with take 26.

Yes I guess you're right. Perhaps it was a rough take which I was thinking was a demo.

 

Not in Alicante. It was written in Almería indeed john-lennon-salute_gif

Yes I guess you're right. I meant to say "In Spain".

 

Why is everyone picking on me? paul-mccartney

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7 September 2019
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I don't recall the title of the book. It was a reference book of Beatles material. I believe it had a yellow cover.

When I was a teenager, I sat with that book in the morning and when I got back from school—reading every word, letter and punctuation; rinse and repeat, over and over.

After a couple years, the binding was having a difficult time keeping up with me.

11 September 2019
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Leppo said

Wait (it's not been that long)! What demo? It was the finished take 7 along with take 26.

Yes I guess you're right. Perhaps it was a rough take which I was thinking was a demo.

 

Not in Alicante. It was written in Almería indeed john-lennon-salute_gif

Yes I guess you're right. I meant to say "In Spain".

 

Why is everyone picking on me? paul-mccartney

  

Sorry, didn't mean to bother you or be rude. apple01

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I really enjoyed Cynthia's original autobiography "A Twist of Lennon" which basically ended just after she broke up with John. Clever book title as her married name when she wrote it was Cynthia Twist.

 

The Beatles: An Illustrated Record as a great source of info on the original song / album releases and other info. It was expanded just after Lennon's murder, but I don't think it's been added to since.

 

I found John's own books a great read into his twisted humour.

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