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ALL THE SONGS THE STORY BEHIND EVERY beatles RELEASE review

ALL THE SONGS

THE STORY BEHIND EVERY BEATLES RELEASE

BLACK DOG AND LEVENTHAL PUBLISHERS

2013

 

AN INDISPENSIBLE COMPANION GUIDE TO THE MUSIC

 

You can of course now obtain a Beatles degree from Liverpool University, and we don’t mean one in entomology. All joking aside though, the Beatles over the years have become the most written about musicians on the planet and it’s hard to think that any more material can be written about them, or even repackaged in any interesting ways. Then along comes ‘All the Songs’ which of course proves us wrong…

 


I’ve never really been a Beatles obsessive and to be honest I never really appreciated their early material for many years, preferring the later more expansive catalogue. For me it began at the end with albums like Abbey Road and the White Album and later Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, from there I worked backwards.

 


When you look back, The Beatles story is understandably one of the most remarkable in Rock and Roll and the sense of progression in their career is astonishing. ‘All the Songs’ is both one of the weightiest books I’ve ever read on music and also one of the most fascinating. It’s that good and well put together that if you are a Beatles fan I can’t really see how your life could be complete without owning a copy.

 


Lovingly compiled by two music historians – Philippe Margotin and Jean-Michelle Guesdon ‘All the Songs’ chronicles every song the Beatles ever recorded from 1963’s ‘Please Please Me’ to 1970’s ‘The Long and Winding Road’. It’s so much more than a book of lists though, as each song is accompanied by rare publicity shots, images of instruments used and studio photographs as well as an exhaustive dissection of the music.

 


Studded with quotes from the band, and a smattering of arcane trivia in the ‘For Fanatics’ sections there are plenty of anecdotes by John, Paul, George and Ringo that both reveal specific remembrances (we can’t get away with facts here as the band often recall things differently) and set the context particularly well, for example Yoko creeping into the pages and becoming more prominent as we near the end.  

 


What I like best about ‘All the Songs’ is that it’s the complete visual package – beautifully put together, visually almost anachronistic (is a good way) and brimming with information on both the origins and the production of each song. Some songs of course receive more attention that others as you might expect, but even the tiniest footnote is covered.

 


Of course no book could ever match the wonder of listening to the originals, but I can’t imagine finding a better companion to the music of The Beatles out there.

 

 

Mark Diggins

 

ALL THE SONGS THE STORY BEHIND EVERY BEATLES RELEASE REVIEW 2013