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Beatleness: How the Beatles and Their Fans Remade the World Hardcover – August 26, 2014

4.5 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"This fun and insightful study of pop music fandom is recommended both to older Beatlemaniacs who were there and to younger fans who want to know what it was like to be a part of the phenomenon.” —Library Journal

“A must-have for Beatles fans looking for new insight . . . Leonard uncovers fresh ideas [that] . . . six decades of Beatles literature passed over by shifting attention from the Beatles’ personal and professional lives to their fans’ stories. . . . Leonard’s ability to mesh both a strong narrative style and her research adds concrete scenes readers can enjoy and picture throughout the book.” —Payton Davis, thespectrum.com

“A book like no other . . . Highly recommended to anyone who was alive when the Beatles rocked our world, or for those who came later that want to visit Beatle magic for the first time.” —Lauren Passarelli, guitar professor and Beatles expert, Berklee College of Music

“Explores a vital, yet overlooked aspect of the Beatles’ phenomenon, and the many quotes from fans provide invaluable perspective on the band’s impact on US teens during the sixties.” —The Glass Onion Beatles Journal

“For once, a book about the Beatles that differs . . . from the ones that have gone before. Beatleness is a look at the meaning of the Beatles to the ‘first generation’ . . . Told through numerous perspectives, it traces the five-year journey of these fans along with the Beatles from their debut, their progression and their end in May 1970. . . . A worthwhile and deeply interesting read . . . Highly recommended.” —Rob Ross, Popdose

“Candy Leonard explores new ground in this glorious examination of how the four lads from Liverpool changed our lives. Beatleness is the story of you, me, and millions of other baby boomers that grew up loving the Beatles.” —Chachi Loprete, host of Breakfast with The Beatles, WZLX Radio, Boston

“A fascinating study of the Beatles’ resounding impact upon late-twentieth-century American culture. . . . While hundreds of Beatles books stake claims about being the definitive work, Leonard’s Beatleness finally gets to the heart of the matter, offering readers new insights into the unusual and lasting nature of Beatles fandom.” —Kenneth Womack, author of Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry of the Beatles and The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four

“As a college-level Beatles instructor, I find Dr. Leonard’s work accessible to students new to the fields of sociology and critical cultural studies. This text puts the ‘popular’ back in popular culture studies. What Howard Zinn accomplished in A Peoples History of the United States, Dr. Leonard achieves in Beatleness, a true People’s History of The Beatles.” —David Gallant, Suffolk University, Boston

“There have been many books through the years about the Beatles, but Candy Leonard’s Beatleness stands out. It’s a wonderful analysis of the Beatles and Beatlemania that will make Beatle fans smile because they can relate to it and see themselves in it. There have been many attempts over the years to describe how the Beatles affected their fans and the world. Pick up Beatleness and discover the Beatles all over again.” —Steve Marinucci, Beatles Examiner

“Unique among Beatle books—and I’ve read just about all of them—Beatleness is a heartfelt exploration of the relationship between the lads from Liverpool and first-generation fans, showing how that relationship changed all of us. You will find yourself in these pages, and you will love what you read.” —Jude Southerland Kessler, author of The John Lennon Series

“Leonard manages to find a new angle of approach to the study of the Beatles. . . . A welcome . . . sociocultural study for the Beatlemaniac bookworm.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Candy Leonard’s focus on the way the Beatles’ fans saw them—particularly as they changed, musically and otherwise, during the 1960s—is both innovative and revealing, and adds a new dimension to how we think of the Beatles and their accomplishments.”—Allan Kozinn, former New York Times music critic and author of The Beatles: From the Cavern to the Rooftop

“Beatlemania was a singular force in the history of the world, and it has never been capably explained in all of its dimensions. But Candy Leonard’s Beatleness gets us a little bit closer. This is a soulfully written, genre-defying book that should be of interest to Beatles fans and cultural historians alike.” —John McMillian, author of Beatles vs. Stones

“A new book that’s bound to give even a modest fan a unique look at how the Beatles forever changed the world of music.” —US Airways Magazine

Beatleness demonstrates that the Beatles are an important part of who we are as baby boomers.” —Paul Briand, Baby Boomer Examiner

Beatleness taps into our generation’s collective memory and evokes the sixties through our personal relationship with the Beatles. The Beatles were our troubadours who helped us make sense of a turbulent era, and Beatleness shows us how. . . . For those who want to see how the Beatles helped define a generation, this is the book to read.” —Leonard Steinhorn, and author of The Greater Generation: In Defense of the Baby Boom Legacy

“Candy Leonard’s evocative book is filled with striking insights into the experiences and sensibilities of the young who plunged into Beatlemania, and contributes much to a composite portrait of the sixties as they were lived.” —Todd Gitlin, author of The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage

“An accessible read and an often fascinating journey of how one generation has incorporated the Beatles’ music into their lives. . . . Fills a knowledge gap in the band’s vast history . . . First generation fans will appreciate this look back at a particular time in music history, while subsequent generations will enjoy learning why the band still plays a significant part in music and general history.” —Kit O’Toole, author of Songs We Were Singing: Guided Tours Through the Beatles’ Lesser-Known Tracks

“Leonard connects Beatles fans’ experiences with the tumult of the times, creating a rich and insightful study of what truly has to be one of the most significant phenomena of the twentieth century.” —William Routhier, Boston Music Examiner

“With the sheer number of Beatles-related books available, it seems a fool’s errand to try to write one that offers a fresh perspective. Leonard’s Beatleness, however, does just that, because she goes straight to a vital (and largely ignored) Fab Four source: the fans. . . . She builds a three-dimensional, completely human tale, the likes of which has never before been tackled by a Beatles author.” —Allison Johnelle Boron, Goldmine

“In producing Breakfast With The Beatles for 25 years, one of my greatest ongoing challenges is trying to describe what it was like when Beatlemania was actually happening. For first-generation and new fans alike, Candy Leonard’s Beatleness is the go-to source for exactly that. It goes way beyond the simple chronology of events, explaining why we felt the way we did about The Beatles and their music, and why they were so important to us. In telling the story this way, Beatleness provides a clearer picture of how they changed the world.” —Dennis Mitchell, producer/host of the globally syndicated, award-winning Dennis Mitchell’s Breakfast With The Beatles

“Candy Leonard was ‘possessed’ when she first heard the Beatles, and Beatleness is her story and ours. It’s breezy, smart and openhearted, and everyone who grew up with the band—or wants to know what that was like—will appreciate its insights and feel its emotional impact.” —Anthony DeCurtis, contributing editor, Rolling Stone

“Very impressive. Beatleness not only describes what it was like to be a hardcore fan from the beginning (like me), but explains it in a historical and personal context. For forty years of The FEST we’ve been celebrating our love for the Beatles with thousands of fans. Now we have a word for it.” —Mark Lapidos, president, Mark Lapidos Productions and founder, The Fest for Beatles Fans

“A very intelligent and well-researched book on a phenomenon that has reached the half-century mark and is still evolving.” —Dave Schwensen, author of The Beatles at Shea Stadium and The Beatles in Cleveland

“From ex-employees to ex-lovers, we’ve seemingly heard from everyone associated with the Beatles. Beatleness finally lets us hear from another group: the fans whose lives were forever altered by rock’s greatest band. These are vivid snapshots of people who rode the wave—and suffered through the crash—of Beatlemania as much as anyone who worked for the band.”—David Browne, author of Fire and Rain: The Beatles,Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY, and the Lost Story of 1970

“I love this book! The beautifully written Beatleness will not only bring to life all the excitement for those that weren’t living yet during the Beatle years, it will cause major goosebumps, all over again, to those who were there. It’s an incredibly hip and astute account of all the Beatles’ major happenings that affected so many people around the world who were riveted to their every move. I can’t wait to read it again!”—Will Lee, Grammy Award–winning bass player and studio musician, Late Show with David Letterman and Fab Faux

About the Author

Candy Leonard is a first-generation Beatle fan, intimately familiar with their entire body of work, biography, the commentary on them, and Beatle fan culture. She is also a sociologist with a background in qualitative research, child development, popular culture, and media studies who has written and lectured on the Beatles. She lives in Cambridge, MA.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing (August 26, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 162872417X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1628724172
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #813,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steven Reiser on August 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was born in 1954, the middle of the '50s, the generation most impacted by "The Beatles". I've read many books ABOUT the Beatles, but this was hard to put down as it was a study on the impact of the Beatles on the FANs. The author interviewed many people who roughly fit into the most of the range of the Post-WWI Baby Boom Generation. While the teenagers of the time had more direct access to Beatles events, it's interesting to read about how it was those of us in grade school who were the most deeply impacted. In hindsight, this book even helped me reflect on WHO I AM. Older kids had already been exposed to Elvis and others in the '50s and much younger missed out on the initial Beatlemania. For me and MANY others my age... the key to the Beatles impact is they were the VERY first band to ever even get me to pay attention to pop/rock music. Before seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show, I never even listened to music. After than night, I was PERMANENTLY hooked for life. This is why so many grade school age kids were imprinted so deeply - The Beatles for many of us were the very first venture into the pop/rock world and to have the Biggest name in Rock Music initiate you into the music world, following the Beatles through the rest of the decade was a social-spiritual life changing event. Candy Leonard did a supreme job in sharing the effect of the Beatles by age, gender and how underlying social events and crises at the time were all woven into the whole experience. So well, done that at times it felt like she was writing about me... realizing how deeply so many of my peers were affected the same way.
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What a fun time I had reading this book. The memories it brought back were precious and I will reread this book in a couple of years because it made me feel good. This is a wonderful book for anyone who "grew up with" the Beatles in the 60s and a good book for those who came later and want to try to grasp what those feelings were like. There were several interesting things the author said in the course of her writing, but the one that struck me most was "We grew up listening to the Rolling Stones, we grew up WITH the Beatles". I am paraphrasing her as I don't have the book in front of me at this time, but this got me thinking and that pretty much was the difference. The Beatles grew and we grew with them. We anticipated each and every new song, album, word, idea they produced. They taught us about love, life, relationships and introduced us to new ideas-meditation, "Think for Yourself", "Give Peace A Chance" (though that was John's song all of the Beatles espoused it). If you have any interest in the Beatles and/or the 60s at all you owe it to yourself to read this book.
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I just finished reading this book and I’m amazed at how good it is. First, and foremost, it is a comprehensive historical and sociological study of what it meant to be a Beatles fan. She sets the stage with an excellent review of the early sixties and shows how young people were ready for the Beatles phenomenon. Then she goes through each period of the Beatles history as a band from the point of view of fans. The detail is exhaustive and it brings the entire Beatles era vividly back to life.

The second thing about the book that I like is that it is not a dry analysis. There are noteworthy intellectual conclusions, but the heart of the book is very personal. Candy admits that she was and still is a great fan. That is evident throughout. But she also manages to capture the personal emotions of all of us who were caught up in the music and lives of the Beatles. She does this with a huge number of quotes from the multitudes of interviews she did. The quotes are brief, revealing and always entertaining. And they nicely support the conclusions she draws.

Finally, the book is immensely readable. She has a clear, down-to-earth style and she is not afraid to use sarcasm and wit to make a point. Readers who grew up with the Beatles will gleefully identify with her and all of the people she interviewed. But the book is also academic and comprehensive enough to be used as a college text on fandom and the Beatles era. Kudos to Candy!
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For anyone expecting a sugary-coated 'for dummies' style overview of The Beatles, you are in for a surprise. This is a very intelligent and well-researched book on a phenomenon that has reached the half-century mark and is still evolving. At first I was worried it might read like a Masters thesis on 1960s pop culture, but that notion quickly vanished after the first few pages. What followed was a journey into every Beatles fans memory of, and relationship to, the band that changed and shaped the U.S. baby boomer generation within six short years.

Is this for the kids screaming out that Kanye West or One Direction should ever be compared to the Beatles individually or as a group? No. But should they read it? Yes. For boomers it is a valid explanation on how we turned out the way we did. For everyone else it is good insight into how you turned out the way you did. Give thanks to, or blame it on The Beatles. It is your choice - and your reasons why are what this book is all about.
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