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The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics Hardcover – May 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157912058X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579120580
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

First published in 1969, this reissued collection of illustrated lyrics for 200 Beatles songs will be a treasure for any fan of the Fab Four. Editor and Beatle-buddy Alan Aldridge states in his introduction to the original edition: "What I have tried to do is present a book [that] is as entertaining to the eye and the imagination as a Beatles album is to the ear." Indeed, he more than succeeds, creating a lavish pageant of art and music that embraces not only the Beatles but also the psychedelic spirit of the entire era.

In 320 photos and illustrations, renowned artists offer their interpretations of various songs. "Help" is visualized by Ronald Searle; "Fixing a Hole," by Tomi Ungerer; "Glass Onion," by Peter Max; "I'm So Tired," by David Hockney; and "Oh, Darling," by Ralph Steadman. Aldridge also contributes his own trippy illustrations, which reflect the bold, bulbous, cartoons-on-acid style of 1960s poster art. This rich compilation also has brief quotes from the Beatles explaining the origins of the themes and lyrics of certain songs. For example, despite the buzz that "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is about LSD, according to Paul, "What happened was that John's son Julian did a drawing at school and brought it home, and he has a schoolmate named Lucy, and John said, 'What's that?' and he said 'Lucy in the sky with diamonds.'" Band members also share their thoughts on superstardom, including this now weighty comment from John: "I don't intend to be a performing flea anymore. I was the dreamweaver, but although I'll be around I don't intend to be running at 20,000 miles an hour trying to prove myself. I don't want to die at 40." It can't bring them back, but The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics can take you on a long and winding road of nostalgia. --Brangien Davis

About the Author

Alan Aldridge is an award-winning graphic designer and artist based in London. He was also a colleague and friend of the Beatles. This extraordinary collection is the result of his idea to have artists illustrate their songs in any and every way possible for print.

Customer Reviews

Also featured throughout the book is a selection of fan art - all of it pretty good.
Ziggy, the Last of the Space Cowboys
The illustrative art works show thought and talent as each song is visually interpreted.
csmith8354
I've actually owned this book for years and was suprised to see it is still available.
Billie Jo Gray

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Todd M. Pence on February 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Overall, this is a nice volume which augments the lyrics of the Beatles with striking and memorable illustrations, particularly from editor Aldridge, which very well capture the spirit of the Beatles' music. However, the book contains one serious shortcoming: its inexplicable (and unexplained) leaving out of almost all of the Beatle numbers not written by Lennon/McCartney. This means that such indispensible songs such as "Here Comes The Sun", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Something", "Old Brown Shoe", and "Octopus's Garden" (among others) are conspicously absent from this collection. Why? Instead, we get at least a dozen Lennon/McCartney compositions that were never actually recorded by the Fab Four, as well as Lennon's three most famous songs from his early solo career.
Another drawback is that the lyrics are presented in a seemingly random, haphazard order as opposed to any kind of a chronological or even thematic one.
A wonderful concept well-executed, but must be docked points for incompleteness because of the missing Harrison and Starr songs.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Studebaker Hoch, billythemtn@geocities.com on December 1, 1998
Format: Paperback
No reviews, no bios, just great lyrics and good art. This book was originally published during the late 60s, and so the art reflects the time. My only complaint: "Two of Us" is not about Paul and Linda (as the picture suggests), it's about the friendship of John and Paul (lines like "you and I have memories, longer than the road that stretches out ahead" make little sense in regard to Linda; Paul had only recently met her at the time of the song's writing, and he went on to spend the next 30 years with her). That aside, I say no Beatle library is complete without it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ziggy, the Last of the Space Cowboys on February 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
"The Beatles: Illustrated Lyrics" is a must-have for Beatles fans everywhere. This book features the lyrics from most Beatles songs, each song paired with anadventurous illustration capturing the mood and theme/s of that particular song. Many of the illustrations are brilliant works of art, especially those for "Eleanor Rigby", "I Want You", "I Saw Her Standing There" and "Dear Prudence" and are great to look at when listening to the songs. I found the illustration for "She's Leaving Home" - a comic strip of the story told in the song to be ecceptionally neat. Some of the pictures are interesting to say the least: "Cry Baby Cry", "Blackbird" and "Tomorrow Never Knows", whereas others are just darned weird, such as "Dr. Robert", "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Within You Without You" - but hey, even some of the weird illustrations are fun to look at. Also featured throughout the book is a selection of fan art - all of it pretty good.
In conclusion, if you are a die-hard Beatles fan, you shouldn't be without this book. Sure, it's not for everyone (some of the art may be a little too much for some people), but if you love the Beatles and if you love poetry, by all means grab a copy.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Huska Ivan on January 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
I am comparing this book to an older version published 1969 by a different publisher. As The Beatles fan and maniac I was literally hypnotized watching the pictures of Alan Aldridge, Peter Max, and others when I saw it for the first time. It so perfectly creates an image of the 60s and atmosphere of that time.

I was holding the same expectations for this version but it was a kind of disappointment to see the low quality of the pictures - prints.

Let's make one point clear here: This book is NOT about The Beatles lyrics, this is ABOUT the ILLUSTRATIONS-pictures to each of the lyrics that make this book so valuable.

You can download lyrics anywhere on the net for free so I was devastated to see why the publisher Mariner Books DOES NOT GET IT?! How can they cheat us in such deceptive way?! Hey, this is not fair really. People who buy this book are doing so mainly because of the pictures, not for the lyrics!!!

If you pay cash for something, it should have more value in it than the cash you pay for it. This is not rocket science and suckers just don't seem to get it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "raedrenn" on November 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I love this book - I don't have the original copy but I'm not such a purist that it really matters.
The art is fantastic and it is great to flick through or read at length. Full of ideas for any budding artists it has also made me well into Alan Aldridge whose designs are mind-boggling.
Suggest also checking out Phantasia by Alan Aldridge - it is out of print but can be found in the usual places...
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By BeatleBangs1964 TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I was delighted to see this book is still in print. The illustrations, ranging from line drawings to wonderfully Psychedelic Sixties from artists such as Beatle John Lennon to Peter Max add a touch of whimsical charm to the written lyrics. The songs are not arranged in alphabetical order or chronological order, which gives the entire book a free-formless and free-flowing feel.

I was highly displeased that Harrison and Starkey tunes were not included; rather, this book should have been more aptly titled "Illustrated Lyrics of Lennon & McCartney." There is just no excuse for omitting masterpieces such as "I Want to Tell You," "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "Here Comes the Sun," to name three.

As much as I enjoyed the book, the omission of Harrison and Starkey and the seemingly random placement of song lyrics has cost this otherwise excellent book one star.
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