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Beatles for Sale: The Musical Secrets of the Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band of All Time Paperback – March 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Marketed as cynically as any boy band of today, the Beatles may be the most extraordinary music phenomenon of the last century—but not everything is known about their songs. Here, for the first time, their songwriting and recording secrets are disclosed: their studio tricks, their songwriting formulas, the music they “stole” from others, and the commercial compromises they made to achieve hit status. Including a chronological survey that reveals something new about every song released, Beatles for Sale may be the most informative and frank account of their music ever written. Journalist David Rowley writes for numerous publications, including THE GUARDIAN, TIME OUT, and the INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY.

About the Author

David Rowley is an experienced journalist and has written for numerous national papers and magazines including Time Out, The Guardian and the Independent on Sunday. Last year he published his first book entitled Virgin Internet Auction Guide. He is a fanatical Beatles fan and runs the popular Beatles website www.sgtpepper.co.uk. David currently lives in London with his wife and daughter.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 223 pages
  • Publisher: Mainstream Publishing Company (March 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840185678
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840185676
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,110,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By P. J. Walstra on June 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book provides a song-by-song account (in chronological order of release) of everything The Beatles ever recorded and released as a group (although it mysteriously leaves out Anthology 3 and BBC). The author has set himself the task to prove that "The Beatles weren't Gods, but four highly motivated, but otherwise normal, Liverpool lads". Four lads, who in their early career, suppressed their artistic urges in favour of monetary gain and a high media profile. After they had become hugely successful, they could then reap the benefits from all the hard work, and allow themselves to experiment, as EMI didn't have a clue (according to the author) as to where they or the pop music market were headed. The author stresses the point (a lot!) that in order to understand The Beatles' music and thereby deconstructing the myths that surround it, it is important to recognize the influence of the work of other artists on their songs, stating that "Writing music from thin air can be a long and torturous process; it is often far easier to start from the basis of someone else's song and adapt part of it into something new". To prove that The Beatles worked like this, the author quotes George Harrison who once claimed that if you named him any Beatles song, he could tell you the record it was based on, and further quotes John Lennon who once said that he would often take another artist's song and would change it to the point he couldn't be sued for it. Although the author then states that it's not true that all Beatles songs were a result of reworking other songs, he keeps coming back to it in the text that follows in the rest of the book.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is a truly ridiculous attempt to make the reader look a bit closer at the Beatles' canon of songs and realize that the fab four really weren't all that fab after all.
Going song by song, the author repeatedly accuses the band of essentially ripping off other people's music and endlessly uses adjectives like 'lame' and 'mundane' when describing their songs. I really had to stop reading this piece of trash when the author asserted that the song "The End" was good until ruined by Paul's lyric "and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make". What PLANET is this guy from?!!
Terrible. I am returning this book for a store credit this morning.....
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brad Kisling on January 27, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First of all the sub title to this book was musical secrets of The Beatles, which is why I had my wife get this for me for x-mas-that title sure sounded interesting and I was hoping to find out something new musically wise---let me say this, the "musical secrets" are nothing more that this idiot's misinformed and often lame OPINIONS of the songs themselves--which, are given as pure fact, and, like stated in other reviews, have no meritial evidence or explaination offered to back them up. In fact, I wish I had the time to list all the fallacies this guy offers up as indisputible fact, but I don't, so all I can say is this is just another pathetic Beatle Rip Off Book, that proves once again that any book with the words "The Beatles" on the cover is going to sell. It's sad that new fans that don't know much about the band could read this and believe any of it, while hard core fans like myself would waste any of their time and money on it. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone to even waste their spittle talking about this piece of crap. I just wish I could give it a negative star and not be forced to give it 1 star.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
If you are a Beatles fan, find a better book. I'd give this Zero Stars if it was possible. This worthless tome spews all sorts of fantasy that seems to have been made up as it was written. The almost surreal stretches of imagination to connect a Beatle song to some obscure record are preposterous to the point of being laughable! The purported "secrets" mentioned in the publisher's blurb seem to have no basis in fact either, so please find a more worthwhile book if you have any interest in the Beatles' music. A good place to find solid information is Mark Lewisohn's "The Beatles: Recording Sessions," which are the Abbey Road studio notes taken by listening to the actual recording session tapes! There are few minor errors there, too, but nothing near the egregious errors/fantasy in this book! Save your money!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael Cooper on May 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book, Beatles for Sale: The Musical Secrets of the Greates Rock 'N' Roll Band of All Time, is one of the best, most informative books I have ever read. The years of research David Rowley spent on this book really paid off. After reading this book I had to go listen to every Beatles record I owned, and I haven't looked at the Beatles the same way after.
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