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Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties Hardcover – December, 1994
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Top Customer Reviews
The author shows the good and bad, the brilliant mixes, the bad editing and cutting on some songs, especially the earlier ones, and gives credit where credit is due. He can get a bit too overbearing at times, I happen to love the keyboard solo in "In My Life", I hardly notice the little flourish at the end of it which the author dislikes. On certain songs such as "Revolution", the author dispenses with song analysis altogether and starts writing an essay about the politics and culture of the time. This I found a bit annoying. The Beatles were a phenomenon, but as John Lennon once said, "we were just a little band who made it big". The music is meant to be enjoyed, from "Little Child" to "Glass Onion" to "For No One", there's no great social meaning to all this, it's just a rich pop tapestry.
Overall, a fascinating book, well worth it for Beatles fans and for those just discovering them.
Yep--you guessed it: all the tracks from the BBC and the Anthology 1 - 3 CDs are now included in MacDonald's critical analyses, rendering the 1994 edition obsolete.
If you're a Beatles devotee, you must own this book.
Though the book was published before the BBC and Anthology CDs were released, MacDonald examines every Beatles single and album track, not just the popular ones; he does not include photographs, nor does he discuss in great detail the lyrics of the songs, as other Beatles "music critics" have done.Read more ›
Where the book goes a little off the rails for me is that the author has a tendency to state his opinions as fact. As opinions, they're interesting, but to imply that because a song makes a particular impression on him then that's the only way to hear it is taking it a bit too far. Where he sticks to facts, it's a most informative book. Once he starts introducing adjectives, he often loses me as I simply don't hear the song in the same way as he does.
I suppose to some extent we all see what we want to see. I notice some reviewers believe MacDonald was biased towards McCartney, but my impression is that he felt that the more significant work came from Lennon (personally I feel that without the others none of the Beatles work would be as good as it is). Be that as it may, he does have interesting opinions and his technical analysis is first-rate. A book well worth reading.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an excellent account of the songs by the Beatles, one by one, and with great technical detail of the music itself. Read morePublished 1 day ago by William G. Schmidt
One of the best books I've ever read on pop culture. Endlessly fascinating mini essays on every single Beatles recording.Published 8 months ago by DC99
Great book for my "Beatles Fan" son. He loved it. I almost didn't want to give it to him and keep it for myself.Published 12 months ago by Linda Smith
One of the most seriously astute critiques of Beatles music I have ever read. Highly recommended to fans who think that they have read it all.Published on June 11, 2014 by Elizabeth A. Verhoeven
If you're interested in the Beatles, beyond simple fandom, this is a must-have. How MacDonald got all this anecdotal stuff is beyond me, but you'll have a much more nuanced view of... Read morePublished on March 23, 2013 by David Irland
I would have to take issue with "Booklist"'s review opining that MacDonald offers little new insights into the culture of the '60s and that the real value of his book is his... Read morePublished on July 5, 2012 by Dr. Mikey
I respect Ian McDonald and feel very bad that he seemed to have a tough life and am sorry he is gone
but that doesn't take away from his undeserved critical assessment of... Read more