Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy New
$14.19
Qty:1
  • List Price: $18.95
  • Save: $4.76 (25%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Want it tomorrow, April 18? Order within and choose One-Day Shipping at checkout. Details
Trade in your item
Get a $2.00
Gift Card.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties Paperback


See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from Collectible from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$14.19
$10.20 $9.97 $19.50

Frequently Bought Together

Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties + Cards Against Humanity
Price for both: $39.19

Buy the selected items together
  • Cards Against Humanity $25.00

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Big Spring Books
Editors' Picks in Spring Releases
Ready for some fresh reads? Browse our picks for Big Spring Books to please all kinds of readers.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press; 3rd edition (September 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556527330
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556527333
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A triumph—compelling, seductive, delightful.”  —Nick Hornby, author, High Fidelity


“A brilliant electrical storm of a book.”  —Newsweek


“The most astute piece of Fabs exegesis ever published—brilliant on the group’s triumphs, refreshingly scathing about its shortcomings . . . One of the twenty greatest rock & roll books.”  —Blender


“The finest piece of fabs scholarship ever published.”  —Mojo


"Among the few essential commentaries on their music and its meaning."  —Shepherd Express


"Dipping into [this] book will make you want to rush to put on a set of good headphones and really listen to what MacDonald points out. . . . This is a great read both for old fans and younger generations seeking to see what the fuss was all about."  — Law Practice Magazine



"A valuable resource."  —newsblaze.com


"I have worn out three—yes three—copies."  —newscritics.com

About the Author

Ian MacDonald was a songwriter, a record producer, and the author of The Beatles at No. 1, The New Shostakovich, and The People’s Music. He died in 2003.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
5 star
29
4 star
15
3 star
6
2 star
5
1 star
0
See all 55 customer reviews
A good balance of praise and criticism.
IFeelFree
Gets into all the songwriting and studio details for every song the Beatles recorded.
K. Moffitt
Very interesting to read, if you are a Beatle fan!
Kexan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 57 people found the following review helpful By TheBandit VINE VOICE on October 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
The late Ian MacDonald really nailed it with this book. I try to read any comprehensive analysis of the Beatles recorded catalog that I can - and none even come close to this. Simply put, this book changed the way I listened to the Beatles music. It made me a more attentive, discerning listener. It broadened the scope of my knowledge of '60s music by pointing the way towards other music of the era that I hadn't yet heard. I find it hard to overstate the influence this book has had on me personally - I have read it cover to cover numerous times and still find myself going back to it.

This isn't a history of the Beatles - it is a song-by-song analysis, in the order the songs were recorded, of everything officially released by the group. And make no mistake, it is not an objective collection of facts - there ARE mostly reliable recording dates, release dates, and song credits for every entry, so it can be used as a quick reference. But this is a highly opinionated piece of writing - Mr. MacDonald was not afraid to ruffle feathers by offering critical evaluations of some of the Beatles most popular songs (he is quite harsh, for instance, towards classics like "Across the Universe" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps").

Mr. MacDonald does a great job of placing this body of work within the context of the time it was released - but he also manages to assess each song purely on its own terms, as well. While quite obviously a true-blue Beatles fan, MacDonald maintained a certain level of objectivity throughout - never getting caught up in fanboy idolization. He's tough on this music - when he feels a song isn't up to the band's established standards, he makes it very clear what he doesn't like.
Read more ›
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Magnus on August 8, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an indispensable book about Beatles music appreciation. MacDonald was one of the most idiosyncratic critics of music that ever lived. This book must be owned by anyone, especially musicians and songwriters, who wants to truly get to the heart of the music of the Beatles.

The only disappointment for me (and for anyone who's been faithfully buying and reading the updates of this book since its release in the mid-1990s) is that the 3rd edition is NOT REVISED. If you own the second edition, you do not need to buy this book. There is not one difference in the text.

Oddly enough, this edition has slightly better quality paper, for some reason, whereas the previous edition uses sort of newspaper/telephone book quality sheets that tear easily. Two other subtle changes are: a different pic on the front cover, and the omission of one of the members of Oasis' profanely worded endorsement of the book.

Happy reading if you've never been inside the book before, but if you have the 2nd revised edition, you can sit this one out.
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Nowhere Man VINE VOICE on March 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
There's a real joy in reading Ian Macdonald's "Revolution in the Head," because even if you disagree with his assessments, you know you're in the presence of an introspective but tough critic. He reads the Beatles against the cultural politics of the 1960s in order to assess the extent to which their music shaped and reflected the changing values of those times. His introductory essay, in fact, is one of the finest and nuanced summaries that I've read on the Sixties Revolution - neither congratulatory nor scornful but rather fair-minded. The individual song assessments presume some familiarity with music terminology (a glossary in the back helps) and non-specialists like me will tend to gloss over descriptions like "...endlessly uncoiling B flat Mixolydian melody around a standard three-cord progression." ("She Said, She Said")

While many people here think that MacDonald is harsh in his assessments of McCartney, on the whole I find his take on both Lennon and McCartney to be fairly accurate. It is true that he takes Lennon's songs more seriously and almost all of his extended analyses - in which he shows how a particular Beatles composition embodied the spirit of its moment - are from Lennon's catalogue: "Tomorrow Never Knows," "Strawberry Fields," and "Revolution 1." yet, he does show a deep appreciation for McCartney's musicianship, his innovative and complex melodic arrangements, and the deep empathy that characterizes his best work. He is hardest, though, on Harrison. His low opinion of Harrison's early songs carries over into a serious under-estimation of his later work, especially "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "Here Comes The Sun.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Batuta on November 10, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is what Paul McCartney commented on this book in a Pitchfork interview:

"McCartney: ....But I've seen some of the books, particularly about the Beatles, where they'll say, "This was McCartney's answer to Lennon's barb"-- and so on and so on. Like hell it was!

Pitchfork: Like Ian MacDonald's book [Revolution in the Head].

McCartney: Yeah, exactly. You got it in one, exactly. And you know, unfortunately [MacDonald] is no longer with us. He died, and so I don't want to put him down. But while he was around I must say, I would dip into that book and think, "See now, what's he got to say about this song?" And he'd go, "This is McCartney's answer to-- " and I'd go, "No, it wasn't!" It was just, I just wrote a song."

Dismiss the reviews that tell you that this is the definitive book of Beatles lore. Most of it is contrived, speculative and imposes meanings and contexts on to the Beatles' music. Do not mistake Ian McDonald's entertaining and confident style for insight in the Beatles. A far more reliable and readable Beatles expert is Mark Lewisohn.

The interview I quoted from can be found here: [...]
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Search
ARRAY(0xa7c0ae94)