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Let's Put the Beatles Back Together Again 1970-2010: How to Assemble & Appreciate the 2nd Half of the Beatles' Legacy Perfect Paperback – October 1, 2010
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“This is the most oddly compelling music book I have read in years, and if you have even a small interest in the Beatles or music from 1970 on, you owe it to yourself to get it. If you are a fan, run, don’t walk. It’s that interesting.
The author conducts a nearly 500-page thought experiment: he imagines an alternative history after 1969 in which the Beatles didn’t stay together, but didn’t exactly split up either. They agreed to release the best of their solo efforts under the Beatles banner. So what he does, essentially, is kill off the weak stuff and the material that just wasn’t very ‘Beatle-y’ and turns what’s left into a series of Beatles albums.
He makes a compelling argument for why a) this isn’t such a stretch b) doing it his way restores the post-breakup material to a place of honor.
I got the book late yesterday and stayed up way too late reading.
[Y]ou can do everything he does yourself, provided you have the music in your library. What I like best about it, so far, is that he finishes the Beatles story as it should have been finished--and even though his conceit is fanciful, his approach is solidly grounded in reality.
Highly, highly recommended.”
--New York State’s WWNY-TV news director Scott Atkinson
“[A Beatles 1970-2010] is what Walker has created, and I agree with him, that you’ll rarely listen to the individual solo albums again. I have a full set of his suggested compilations and they are superb. I suggest that you follow this train of thought, get into the background of each solo track, album and songwriter, and then make your own ‘Beatles’ albums. It’s well worth it. Go on, dig out your back catalogues and Put the Beatles Back Together Again.”
--British Beatles Fan Club Magazine (David Bedford, author of Liddypool)
"[I]t's a pleasure to welcome [a Beatles book] that doesn't tread in the footsteps of what's gone before...[W]hat Walker is proposing...works well...He is both a good writer and a good researcher..."
--BBC Radio Merseyside's Spencer Leigh
"Very interesting new concept based on...the treasure trove of music from the solo Beatles."
-- 'The Fest for Beatles Fans' Mark Lapidos
"The author makes the Beatles breakup a way to revise their catalog...He puts a new spin on [the breakup]...The premise of the book is to replace Allen Klein (which will certainly get the book fans for that reason alone)...Walker's logic behind the [resulting] new albums makes for a 'what if' scenario that creates, at the least, something to consider. "
--Beatles Examiner's Steve Marinucci
“Wow, I’m really impressed. It’s so big and smart and well written...a very great unadulterated pleasure...[Walker’s] really done it.”
--‘Toronto Today Magazine’ editor-in-chief Eric McMillan
About the Author
Pop-culture analyst Jeff Walker's work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, the Financial Times of Canada, Frank, Piranha, Skeptical Inquirer, B.C Skeptic, Free Inquiry, Books in Canada, NeWest, Liberty, Humanist in Canada, Penthouse and Saturday Night. He has also written for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's 'Ideas' and for a pop-music radio station. He previously published The Ayn Rand Cult (Chicago: Open Court, 1999), favorably reviewed in newspapers, magazines and online zines in the the U.S., Canada, Germany and the U.K. The author resides in Toronto, Canada, with his spouse and their two children.
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Mr. Walker's enterprise lies on the border between interesting and pointless. If The Beatles had decided to continue as an organization, it is not far-fetched to imagine that the songs on their albums would have been more or less "solo" projects. After all, starting in 1968, the group's members demonstrated a recurrent preference for generating music as individuals, rather than as a group. But The Beatles albums from 1968 and after are still Beatles albums. Culling a hypothetical album from tracks on their solo releases simply isn't the same. At least I don't think it is. I have to admit that I haven't actually tried Mr. Walker's playlist-creation enterprise, and perhaps never will. We'll see.
The first half of the book includes essays on topics such as the reason for The Beatles' dissolution and the author's belief that the Get Back sessions (which formed the basis for the Let It Be album) were actually a high point in Beatles' career rather than the nadir most knowledgeable fans recognize them to be. Mr. Walker could have used some editorial counsel for these chapters. One problem is undue repetition. I don't need to be told a dozen times over the course of twenty pages that The Beatles' manager, Allen Klein, was responsible for their break-up. I get it.
But move on to the second half of the book, in which Mr. Walker lists and discusses the post-Beatles songs that he includes in his playlists. This is where the book really shines. Mr. Walker reveals an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Beatles. He has assembled a compendium of information mixed in with some really interesting insights. This includes drawing our attention to connections between the songs and events from The Beatles years. I thoroughly enjoyed this half of the book and marveled at the breadth of the information assembled by Mr. Walker. The serving up of seemingly random bits of Beatles information reminded me of "The Beatles' London" by Piet Schreuders et al., itself a particularly entertaining Beatles book.
Take the first half of the book for what it is -- skip it if you like. Enjoy the insights and nuggets of information served up in the second half. A delight to read.
The first part of the book he makes a very plausible argument for how this alternate reality of the Beatles recording solo but releasing their output collectively could happen.
The second part of the book is the first thing I was dissapointed with. He reconstructs the "Get Back" sessions that resulted in the Let It Be Album. I thought this was a book about the Beatles Solo output. Their actual history together needs no reconstucting.
The Rest of the book is spent going through the reconstructed albums. This is the second thing that realy disapointed me. He has the Beatles releasing new material only 4 times (6 if you count an all covers and a live album) in the 40 year span that the book covers. One in 1973, 1982, 2000 & 2010. Three of these sets are 3 disc sets and the other one a 2 disc set. There is no way that the Beatles would have waited so long to release their songs. In the decade of the 70's alone they had enough good material that I could see them easily releasing 6 albums (in 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1976 & 1979).I suspect that the author did not want to be forced to pick songs from such a limited time period of a year or two to construct these albums. His albums read more like a greatest hits collection rather than actual albums. Because of how they are constructed we sometimes have songs from more than 10 years apart apearing on the same album. Remember the Beatles only recorded together 8 years (1962-1969)and look how much their songs changed over that time. As solo artists the Beatles songs also changed dramatically over time.
The last thing that dissapointed me is his assumption that the Beatles would not continue to be the Beatles after John died. The other 3 continued to record some excellent songs. I'm sure they would have continued to release these songs collectively after John's death. The author's solution is to continue to dig deep into John's solo albums and put a lot of sub par songs on these albums. This defeats the whole purpose of the book which is to put just the best of their solo output on these albums. I love John as much as the next person but his solo output was very dissapointing. The author seems to be trying to make out that John's solo output was better than the other 3. Most songs by Paul, George & Ringo have short stories averaging maybe a half page in length, while almost every song by John has an average of 2-3 pages. This obvious slant towards John reminds me of all the nonsense that has been written about John and how he was the lone genius of the Beatles. Paul's solo output was staggering and almost equaled the other 3 put together, so that should be refelcted in these albums. It is not. Many of Paul's biggest hits are left off the albums such as Live & Let Die, Listen to What The Man Said, Junior's Farm, Silly Love Songs, Let 'Em In, Ebony & Ivory, Goodnight Tonight, all of these top 10 hits. The author's solution is to put together some Paul albums at the end of the book where the individual songs are not discussed.
I love books like this one because it aroused my interest in the Beatles solo material and made me realize that the Beatles did not die in 1970 they just grew in other directions and continued to put out some of the best music of the last 40 years.
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