17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Beatles by numbers,
This review is from: The Beatles: Day-by-Day, Song-by-Song, Record-by-Record (Paperback)
The website is terrific, but the book version is a real disappointment. As an entry point into the Beatles it's a decent first purchase, containing as it does a chronology, a discography, and a song-by-song breakdown, but the same money would be far better spent on Revolution In The Head and used copies of Lewisohn's Chronicle and Recording Sessions.
There's a lot here, but little that's new, no fresh insight, quite a few errors and a lot of gaping holes. For instance, most of the song summaries trot out the usual background info, yet for some there's not even that. Several entries just list the number of takes. There are four lines on Carnival Of Light. Not a word about the origin or recording of Old Brown Shoe.
So, if you're picking up the book knowing little about the major songs, then you're decently-served here. But if you already know about Penny Lane (and it's an area informally named after a street, Craig, not just a street), then you'll be disappointed by what this offers on the likes of Junk or If You've Got Troubles.
And that's the biggest disappointment about this book: that it spurns the opportunity to go where predecessors like Stannard's The Long And Winding Road couldn't, by giving equal weight to the previously unreleased songs on Anthology. Most of those get just a brief para acknowledging their belated release.
Last and least, the writing style, which could have used the guidance of an experienced editor. For instance, exclamation marks are used with abandon! Which makes for a very trying read! And the text is littered with profanity. There's nothing wrong with that, per se, but here it seems pointless and immature. Go ahead and use "f---ing" if the context demands it, but when you just mean "very", or "really", then "very" or "really" will probably do. Think Teddy Boy is bad? Then don't just say "it's s--t!" tell us what's s--t about it, whether it made it to any version of Get Back, and what McCartney ended up doing with it.
So is it a bad book? No. It's a two-star that would make a three-star if better written, a four-star if truly complete, and a five-star, must-have if only it would offer something new.