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Read the Beatles: Classic and New Writings on the Beatles, Their Legacy, and Why They Still Matter Paperback – October 31, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; English Language edition (October 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143037323
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143037323
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #879,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Someone saying that they don't like the Beatles is like saying they don't like babies or sunshine. Anyway, it's not true: everybody knows and loves the Beatles (or else they hide their indifference away). With such familiarity, is there really any need for a collection of old and recent journalism celebrating the four fabulous ones? Don't we know these guys already? Well, sure, but this assortment of more than 50 articles reminds us of Beatle things forgotten and lends insight into Beatle things remembered. Gloria Steinem's sardonic 1964 article for Cosmopolitan reiterates how absurdly intense was countless teenage girls' devotion to the lads. Geoffrey O'Brien's essay, "Seven Fat Years," describes how many people thought the music was speaking directly to them--which explains not only the swooning teenagers but also Charles Manson. Writings by Allen Ginsberg and Philip Glass show the extent of the Beatles' influence on other artists, and interviews with individual Beatles themselves reveal their own bewilderment. But Chicago Tribune pop music critic Greg Kot provides the ultimate synopsis when he writes, "The Beatles had it all, the bastards." Jerry Eberle
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

June Skinner Sawyers is an editor and journalist who writes frequently about music and the arts. She is a regular contributor to the Chicago Tribune, for which she wrote a nightlife column for two years, and is the editor of several literary anthologies.


Astrid Kirchherr is a photographer and artist who was a close acquaintance of the Beatles during their early career in Hamburg, Germany.

Customer Reviews

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See all 11 customer reviews
Keep this book on a table and just pick it up from time to time.
Glenna M. Meredith
Some really interesting articles and book excerpts are included in this tome, including many appearing for the first time in decades.
Andru J. Reeve
This is a collection of some of the finest writers of our time, writing about the finest group of our time.
Beatlefansincethen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By R. Morris on June 10, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an extremely well-put-together anthology of writings about the Beatles, spanning their entire career as a group and then following each in their post-Beatles years. It includes most of the seminal reviews, interviews and articles about the Beatles from beginning to end (such as the Maureen Cleve/Lennon interview, the William Mann London Times reviews legitimizing the Beatles as serious musicians and songwriters, sections from the Playboy interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, excellent writing on the elusive George Harrison and his musical contributions by David Simons, and much more) and essays on why the Beatles still matter.

The book is set up in three distinct parts

I. Articles written during the Beatles years, in chronological order.

II. Articles written about individual Beatles post-Beatles, arranged by individual.

III. Articles and essays about the Beatles legacy.

I knew quite a bit about the Beatles before reading this book, but I learned much that was new and interesting that has heightened my appreciation of these fine musician/songwriters and their legacy.

Five stars, and then some. A+
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Beatlefansincethen on August 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
I loved it. This is a collection of some of the finest writers of our time, writing about the finest group of our time. It's divided into two parts; 'Together' and 'Apart', with sub headings under each of those. Each piece is either an expose', piece of poetry, newspaper article or magazine article.

The first story is appropriatly titled, 'The Afternoon Hours',from the book, 'The Day John Met Paul'. It goes from there, with a varied selection of writings from every concievable type of writer from Gloria Steinem to William Mann. Some of the writings are quite controversial like one piece by a journalist named Paul Johnson called, 'The Menace of Beatlism'. This appeared in a British journal in 1964, and it's very interesting to see how people were divided along the generational lines at that time. This leads me to the famous, William Mann article from 1963, which established the group as serious musicians and song writers when everyone over a certain age was saying they were a gimmick with no talent. Mann who was certainly over 30 was a visionary, ahead of his time. He was also a musicologist who knew what he was talking about, even if John Lennon did think he was talking about "Exotic birds". I loved that article and was glad it was included. Another facinating piece stands out. A Gloria Steinem expose' which appeared in Cosmopolitan in 1964. Most of her piece is about trying to get close enough to John Lennon to interview him during the boys' '64 North American tour. Even though she was given permission to do the interview, she finds it impossible to penetrate the Aspinall, Evans, Taylor shield that was erected around them because of their growing distrust of the media. I don't know what she had been planning to ask John because she never really gets to do a proper interview.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Andru J. Reeve on December 8, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although I may be a bit biased (I'm the author of one of the books excerpted here: "Turn Me On, Dead Man: The Beatles And The Paul-is-Dead Hoax"), I thoroughly enjoyed this compendium of Beatles writings, past and present. Some really interesting articles and book excerpts are included in this tome, including many appearing for the first time in decades. My only gripe: no photos. However, for the price of a movie ticket, it's a real bargain. Andru Reeve sez check it out.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By BeatleBangs1964 TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is a delightful Beatles' smorgasbord of their writings; articles about them and a plethora of anecdotes. Although I wish photographs of the Fabs had been included, I still really like this book and heartily recommend it. Five Stars plus and a resounding "yeah, yeah, yeah!"
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ricca on November 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
A treasure-trove of writings about, & interviews of the Beatles. Insightful in many levels--as those who have experienced the rock'n'roll rebirth that took over the world almost half a century ago, as well as those that only lived to see the remnants of the glory that was the music of the Fab Four, deconstruct what made this band bigger than any other group (and even bigger than themselves) in the heyday of the 60s and 70s, and stretching still into the 21st century. The book holds a certain appeal as it also attempted to present less-than-complimentary essays about the Beatles, the Beatlemania, and their songs, particularly that of the Sgt. Pepper's album.

Worth savoring are excerpts of interviews that showed an altogether different, and, dare I say it, more vulnerable side of Lennon and of McCartney, their love-hate relationship post-Beatles, as well as a look into the mystery that is Yoko Ono.

However, like Philip Norman's "Shout!", there was still a distinct lack of (though not entirely missing) attention attributed to Harrison and Starkey, which is really a shame, as both are intensely interesting persons by themselves, and have certainly left their own signatures in the unprecedented and certainly never-again-to-be-imitated hold that the band unconsciously commanded all over the world.

Definitely worth reading, this is a treat for any fan, and even for someone who wishes to know just what makes a musical icon transcend the boundaries of pop and rock'n'roll, then to be forever hailed as indubitable legends.
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