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100 Best Beatles Songs: A Passionate Fan's Guide Paperback – October 10, 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael Lewis is the author/Co-author of seven books, including A Guy Walks into a Bar..., The Films of Harrison Ford, The Films of Tom Hanks, and The Cheapskate's Guide to Walt Disney World. He works as an editor, primarily of books about popular culture.  He lives in New Jersey and his favorite Beatles song is "A Day in the Life."

Stephen J. Spignesi is the author of more than 30 books, including The Beatles Book of Lists and She Came in Through the Kitchen Window: Recipes Inspired by The Beatles and Their Music.  He is the co-author (with Michael Lewis) of Pilgrim's landing, a screenplay about John Lennon.  He lives in Connecticut and his favorite Beatles song is "Nowhere Man."

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal (October 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579128424
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579128425
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #624,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book certainly gives the reader a comprehensive view of the authors' choices of the Beatles best music. Like every ratings list there are arguments to be made for placement and personal favorites that are missing. One thing that struck me in this book were the number and quality of songs by George Harrison. From Revolver to Let It Be many of the strongest songs are by George. The other point of interest in this book are the recording information, who played what instruments, how particular sounds were made and the inventiveness of George Martin and the boys. You can see the disintegration of the band by what was happening in the studio where many of the last recordings were by individual members as all were missing at one time or another. I would recommend this book to those interested in the history of the Beatles and the 60's.
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Format: Paperback
If you've ever wanted to get some background on Beatles songs and sought out Ian Macdonald's `Revolution in the Head' or Tim Riley's `Tell Me Why' for that purpose, you may have have come away more irritated than enlightened. While their technical knowledge of pop music definitely does illuminate, their opinionating and superior airs can often be insufferable. Did they start out their careers as professional embalmers? Let us be glad that neither served as a George Martin assistant and had a chance to influence what the Beatles actually did in the studio because I'm sure we'd all be the worse for it.

In sharp contrast, the backgrounders of Spignesi and Lewis in `100 Best Beatles Songs' illuminate without irritating. The co-authors allow themselves to get carried away by enthusiasm worthy of their joint `passionate fan' moniker. They're obviously musically knowledgable but they don't go over the top with it as do Macdonald and Riley. And there's even a bit of bantering disagreement between the two friends, whch certainly contrasts to the more dogmatic tone of Macdonald and Riley.

One only wishes that Spignesi and Lewis had doubled the book's length and covered the whole Beatles canon. Of course, then, by definition, they'd be examining all the Beatles songs that aren't their favourites and they might be as critical as Macdonald and Riley. Anyways, to fill out one's deep background knowledge of the rest of the Beatles' works, the Macdonald and Riley tomes ARE good to have kicking around as supplements.

One more thing on Spigesi and Lewis: Their book is a visual and organizational treat. For each track you get a relevant photo, a fitting quotation, an intro to the song, a `Why it made the top 100', a `What the song is all about', a `Did you know?
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fun book. Even if you don't agree with their order of greatness, it's fun to listen to the song first, read what they had to say second, then listen again. This has given my wife and me hours of enjoyment. It's even better if you have the other studio recordings they mention, the outtakes that were not used on the albums. Very inspiring and educational for the musician/music lover.
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Enjoyed the behind the scenes story of how the different songs were created and other artist the Beatles hung out with. Learned about the Abbey Road Studios where most of the music/songs were created. Did not know the connection of the famous photo of the Beatles walking across Abbey Road. From the book I learned that the Beatles music studio is on Abbey Road. What makes it even more interesting is the fact I own a copy of the poster of the Fab Four crossing Abby Road. I have it hung up on the wall up north at our cottage right next to a poster of the Rolling Stones. Enjoyed the book very much. Learned a lot about the life of the Beatles and the journey they were on making sensational music. Truly enjoy the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band CD. Play it all the time.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I love this book! I had a close friend who died several years ago who was also a Beatles connoisseur. (Face it, he was the connoisseur, I am an absolute fanatic!) He understood the musicality; I look more to the feel, the effect, and the cultural impact of The Beatles' music.

Having said that, this is the book we would have written, if we'd thought about it. Steve is the music, Mike is the feel and the soul. Together they have carefully analyzed all of the group's original songs and somehow managed to rank them. For each of their top 100, they explain the reasons for their ranking; tell us what they think it means (No easy job in itself.); then provide some pertinent trivia, tidbits, and other fun stuff and follow that with recording details and their personal comments. Overall, it's a fun read for both new and old Beatle fans which also succeeds in imparting a fairly complete history of the group, controversies and all.

Brand new fans might find it something of an information overload, and those not intimate with The Beatles' music will probably need to read this book with CDs or digital music at the ready. But those like me who have this music burned into their consciousness will find it possible to read without having their stereos a'ready. Still, their were times when I ran to the music cabinet with a clear, "I've never heard that!"

Part of the fun is that there's plenty of room to quibble over the authors' choices. (What's the point if everyone agrees on everything from the start?) There are songs ("Rain," "Helter Skelter," "I Want You," "Within You, Without You," "Dear Prudence," and others) which I would have ranked much higher. And there are songs ("The Long and Winding Road," "Eight Days A Week," "This Boy," etc.
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