Thursday, October 17, 2013

Review: 'All The Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release'


Philippe Margotin and Jean-Michel Guesdon tell quite a few familiar stories but wrap them an irresistible package called All The Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release. This heavy-duty, 700-page collection is beautifully illustrated and nicely organized. Each Beatlesong is broken down by basic credits (chief songwriter, musicians, recording and mix dates, number of takes, technical team), genesis (what inspired each song and how it was written), production, and technical details with interesting trivial nuggets tucked in the sidebars.

As I feel compelled to remind you in every Beatles-book review on Psychobabble, there are a lot of Beatles books, and their chroniclers are running low on previously unprinted information. In their foreword, Margotin and Guesdon indicate they’ve uncovered new data that sheds new light on the creation of these songs. I must admit that I was already well familiar with the majority of details in All the Songs, so it will probably be of most use to either those who haven’t read very many Beatles book or those who’ve read almost all of them but simply cannot live without knowing every last trivial crumb. As someone who might fall in the latter category, there were enough of those crumbs to recapture my interest after reading about the Aeolian cadence of “Not a Second Time” or the meditating tiger hunter who inspired “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” for the zillionth time. New to me were such tidbits as David Gilmour’s ownership of Julian Lennon’s original “Lucy in the Sky” drawing, the influence of “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” on Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android,” the fact that “Flying” was edited down from a nine-minute jam, and quite a few other bits and pieces I’ll allow you to discover yourself. None of these new-to-me details were exceptionally earth-quaking, but they were fun, and the whole lovely package—complete with a cool preface by Patti Smith— is such a gas to flip through that I can confidently recommend it regardless of your current Beatles education.

Get All The Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release at Amazon.com here :

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