All The Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release [NOOK Book]



Every album and every song ever released by the Beatles—from "Please Please Me" (U.S. 1963) to "The Long and Winding Road" (U.S. 1970)—is dissected, discussed, and analyzed by two music historians in this lively and fully illustrated work.

All the Songs delves deep into the history and origins of the Beatles and their music. This first-of-its-kind book draws upon ...

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All The Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release

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Every album and every song ever released by the Beatles—from "Please Please Me" (U.S. 1963) to "The Long and Winding Road" (U.S. 1970)—is dissected, discussed, and analyzed by two music historians in this lively and fully illustrated work.

All the Songs delves deep into the history and origins of the Beatles and their music. This first-of-its-kind book draws upon decades of research, as music historians Margotin and Guesdon recount the circumstances that led to the composition of every song, the recording process, and the instruments used.

Here, we learn that one of John Lennon's favorite guitars was a 1958 Rickenbacker 325 Capri, which he bought for £100 in 1960 in Hamburg, Germany. We also learn that "Love Me Do," recorded in Abbey Road Studios in September 1962, took 18 takes to get right, even though it was one of the first songs John and Paul ever wrote together. And the authors reveal that when the Beatles performed "I Want to Hold Your Hand" on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, John's microphone wasn't turned on, so viewers heard only Paul singing.

All the Songs is the must-have Beatles book for the any true Beatles fan.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

From the psychedelic-like playfulness of "Penny Lane" to the sexual insistence "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?," the songs of The Beatles stick to us decades and decades and decades after they were first sung. All the Songs backs up its title claim by in-depth stories about each and every Beatles record release, but also background information about the boys, their instruments, their studio sessions, and more. Hundreds of photographs, including publicity stills and candid shots, grace this instantly collectible coffee-table magnet.

Richmond Times-Dispatch
Since they burst onto the scene 50 years ago, millions of words have been written about every aspect of the Beatles' music and career, from books aimed at teenage female fans to scholarly works deconstructing "The White Album."

Now comes "All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release," an exhaustive tome that gives the inside scoop on every song on every album from their debut, "Please Please Me," to their swan song, "Abbey Road," as well as all the singles, EPs and B-sides they produced between 1963 and 1970.

The book, which is arranged chronologically, is a collaboration between French music writer Philippe Margotin, who has penned books on U2 and the Rolling Stones, and musician Jean-Michel Guesdon, who has spent 30 years collecting information about the Fab Four.

"All the Songs" is a trove of trivia for even the most ardent Beatles fan, featuring facts ranging from who played which instrument on each song to when and where each song was recorded. Margotin and Guesdon also include how many takes each song required as well as who was in the studio when the songs were recorded.

While many of the stories behind the songs will be familiar to Beatles fans — the classic "Yesterday" originally was titled "Scambled Eggs," the title for "A Hard Day's Night" came from a Ringo Starr malapropism, Eric Clapton played the blistering guitar solo on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" — there are plenty of others that are obscure enough to keep fans reading.

Among some of the more interesting revelations:

• Several of the songs on "Help!" — "You're Going to Lose that Girl," "Ticket to Ride" and "Yesterday" — required only two takes, while the band got "Another Girl" right on the very first one. In contrast, the album's title tune took 12 takes while the band's cover of the Buck Owens' "Act Naturally" needed 13.

• Paul McCartney wrote the ballad "Michelle" when he was a student at the Liverpool Institute of Art, inserting French phrases into the song as a ploy to attract women.• Members of Pink Floyd, who were recording their first LP "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" at Abbey Road studios at the same time the Beatles were recording "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," sat in the control room while the Beatles mixed the song "Lovely Rita" in March 1967.

• There is a discernable burst of profanity at the 2:59 mark in the song "Hey Jude," although there is disagreement about whether it was uttered by John Lennon or McCartney.

• One of Lennon's favorite guitars was a 1958 Rickenbacker Capri, which he bought on a whim for about $150 when the Beatles were cutting their musical chops in Hamburg, Germany, in 1960. He played the guitar, which he had repainted black, on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and used it in the studio until 1965. His widow, Yoko Ono, said he also used it on "Double Fantasy," the last album Lennon recorded before his death in 1980.

In addition to the stories behind the songs, the book also contains hundreds of photos from all phases of the Beatles' career, many of them rarely seen.

Added together, "All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release" is an engaging journey through the band's canon that should easily satisfy both casual and die-hard fans.

The Wall Street Journal
Fifty years ago, the Beatles released their debut album. So many commemorative books have appeared recently that it's hard to keep count, but if you're a fan and All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release (Black Dog & Leventhal, 672 pages, $50) makes it onto your coffee table, chances are that it'll be the one least likely to leave. Music historians Jean-Michel Guesdon and Philippe Margotin dissect, discuss and analyze every song, from 'Please Please Me' (1963) to 'The Long and Winding Road' (1970). There's a well-written 'Genesis' and 'Production' section for each song, as well as enough technical tables to please everyone's inner nerd, not to mention 600 photographs.
Fun facts about every one of the Fab Four's creations, with photos. Yeah yeah yeah."
Everybody has a Beatles fan in their life, and you'll make them very happy if you give them a copy of All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release
[This] doorstop collects a galaxy of Beatles song data into impressively simple and digestible form. Beautifully illlustrated.
New York Post
A perfect giftt for the Fab-Four fanatic
The Nation
Impossible not to like for Beatle-types
Library Journal
French musician Guesdon and music writer Margotin take an exhaustive look at the Beatles' repertoire in this meticulously researched title. Arranged chronologically by album, the book includes for each song basic information (songwriter, track length, number of takes, etc.), a brief discussion of how it was written and recorded, and an overall assessment. While the authors include thorough technical details about sound engineering and production, numerous anecdotes and quotations from the group keep the book entertaining and accessible even to more casual music fans. The design further enhances this title's appeal: yellow boxes with trivia for Beatles fanatics are interspersed throughout, and an array of photographs features images of the group over the course of their career. Biographical information is incorporated where relevant; however, the emphasis here is on the group as they functioned within the studio, and readers will come away with a rich and rewarding appreciation of the Fab Four's innovative and evolving work. VERDICT Although some of the content may be familiar to die-hard Beatles aficionados, most pop music fans will enjoy this engaging and comprehensive guide. Highly recommended. [See Q&A with the authors on p. 114.]—Mahnaz Dar, Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
Quick: What's the last cover the Beatles ever recorded? If you answered "Maggie Mae," from "Let It Be," then you're likely to inhabit the same geeky, completist universe as French Beatleologists Margotin and Guesdon. Their thoroughness, not to say obsessiveness, yields all sorts of surprises, even for the initiated. Consider, for instance, that "Please Please Me," the group's first official album, was recorded in a single day, February 11, 1963--well, many readers may know that. But who knew that the band took three hours to record two songs, then broke for 1 ½ hours, then recorded three songs and overdubbed three more, then took another 1 ½–hour break, then recorded six songs between 7:30 and 10:45? Well, now you do. And who knew that Eddy Thornton, Ian Hamer and Les Condon played trumpet in the 1966 session that yielded the canonical cut of "Got to Get You Into My Life"? (Thornton, by the way, was a member of Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames, while the other two were in-demand jazz players.) There's all sorts of spinoff trivia in these wonderfully well-illustrated pages, from the fact that Humble Pie copped the sound of "Paperback Writer" to the circumstances surrounding John Lennon's "Ballad of John & Yoko" and the eventual tensions that tore the band apart. There are a few modest missteps--it's not particularly useful to know that George Harrison's song "Piggies" was "a social critique light-years away from the Eastern philosophy of which he had become a fervent devotee"--but, for the most part, this is rock-solid stuff. Essential for Beatles fans and a pleasure to read.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781603763714
  • Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/4/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 250
  • Sales rank: 201,882
  • File size: 10 MB

Meet the Author

Philippe Margotin has written numerous books on music, including biographies of U2, Radiohead, and the Rolling Stones.

Jean-Michel Guesdon is a producer and musician. Over the past 30 years he has been compiling an exceptional collection of information and documentation about the Beatles. His talents as a musician, composer, and sound engineer allow him to have a realistic and precise approach to their work. He lives in Paris.

Scott Freiman combines his career as a composer, producer, and educator with his in-depth knowledge of the Beatles to create Deconstructing the Beatles, a series of multimedia presentations about the composition and production techniques of the Fab Four. Freiman presents his lectures to sold-out audiences throughout North America and at colleges and universities. He lives in Irvington, New York.

Patti Smith is a writer, performer, and visual artist. She has recorded twelve albums, including Horses, which has been hailed as one of the top 100 albums of all time. She has written numerous books, including Witt, Babel, Woolgathering, The Coral Sea, Auguries of Innocence, and Just Kids, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction. In 2005, the French Ministry of Culture awarded Smith the prestigious title of Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, the highest honor awarded to an artist by the French Republic. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. She resides in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2013

    All the Songs is excellent. Barnes and Noble is not.

    I ordered the book online at Barnes and Noble and had it shipped to my home. The book arrived on the day before I needed the book as a gift--so i was pleased. Unfortunately forever, the book arrived damaged--including a 4 inch tear and bend in the front cover. How could Barnes and Noble's team pack this, ship this and not notice (or not care) that the cover was damaged? I drove to Barnes and Noble store more than 20 miles away. My whole purpose of ordering the book for home delivery and paying the shipping fee was to avoid driving 20 miles RT to my nearest store and deal with the busy holiday season. My nephew was THRILLED with the book; I was NOT THRILLED with Barnes and Noble--its online service, packing for online orders and the lack of care and concern of its employees where unacceptable.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 6, 2013

    The absolute best Beatles book ever written related to telling t

    The absolute best Beatles book ever written related to telling the stories behind their songs- ALL of their songs! If you're one of those Beatles fans (like myself) who never tires of reading the fascinating stories behind the creation of the greatest catalog of music by the best rock band in history, this is the book to get. Without a doubt, my new Beatles bible!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 7, 2014

    Great book, the best of its kind. It's amazingly detailed. All t

    Great book, the best of its kind. It's amazingly detailed. All the facts are annotated on every page and attributed 
    to the credible sources [The Fab Four, George Martin, Geoff Emerick(engineer), Mark Lewisohn (Abbey Road 
    session researcher and author), The Beatles Anthology, etc.]. It lists all musicians and instruments played. It even
    names the makes and models of the instruments played by The Beatles on each track. Each track is broken down
    into categories:  Genesis - historical and personal details, Production - studio and recording facts,  and Technical
    Details - compressors, microphones, ADT, guitar capos, slowed tape speed during recording, edits, mixing, etc.
    There are lots of unreleased photos and trivia facts "For Beatle Fanatics". I thought I knew most everything about
    The Beatles and their recordings, but I found this book to be most enlightening.  :-)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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