Artificial Paradise: The Dark Side of the Beatles' Utopian Dream

Artificial Paradise: The Dark Side of the Beatles' Utopian Dream

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by Kevin Courrier
     
 

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There is an epigram in this book from the Phil Ochs song, "Crucifixion", about the Kennedy assassination, that states: I fear to contemplate that beneath the greatest love, lies a hurricane of hate. On February 11th 1963, the Beatles recorded "There's a Place", a dazzling, unheralded tune which was included on their electrifying debut album, Please Please Me

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Overview

There is an epigram in this book from the Phil Ochs song, "Crucifixion", about the Kennedy assassination, that states: I fear to contemplate that beneath the greatest love, lies a hurricane of hate. On February 11th 1963, the Beatles recorded "There's a Place", a dazzling, unheralded tune which was included on their electrifying debut album, Please Please Me. This song firmly laid the foundation on which a huge utopian dream of the sixties would be built. Within that dream, however, also lay the seeds of a darker vision that would emerge out of the very counterculture that the Beatles and their music helped create. Thus, even as their music attracted adoring fans, it also enticed the murderous ambitions of Charles Manson; and though the Beatles may have inspired others to form bands, their own failed hopes ultimately led to their breakup.

The disillusionment with the sixties, and the hopes associated with the group, would many years later culminate in the assassination of John Lennon and the attempted slaying of George Harrison by deranged and obsessive fans. In this incisive examination, author Kevin Courrier (Dangerous Kitchen: the Subversive World of Zappa, Randy Newman's American Dreams) examines how the Fab Four, through their astonishing music and comically rebellious personalities, created the promise of an inclusive culture built on the principles of pleasure and fulfillment. By taking us through their richly inventive catalogue, Courrier illustrates how the Beatles' startling impact on popular culture built a bond with audiences that was so strong, people today continue to either cling nostalgically to it, or struggle — and often struggle violently — to escape its influence.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Courrier has provided a thoughtful alternative to the fawning biographies of the ‘60s and ‘70s, and the myth-shattering exposes of more recent years. . . . A dandy read!"

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Green Man Review

"Beatles collectors and music libraries must have this different approach linking the Beatles phenomenon to social change."

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Midwest Book Review

"The author takes the reader on a tour of the Beatles musical catalogue, almost song-by-song, simultaneously setting the music in the context of the career and lives of the Liverpool foursome and the wider cultural milieu, all while advancing the central conceit of the book, which is that the Beatles' music advanced utopian hope that as often as not turned out to be fleeting and illusionary.' "

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780313345869
Publisher:
ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date:
12/30/2008
Pages:
360
Sales rank:
1,461,653
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author

KEVIN COURRIER is a writer/broadcaster and film critic at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He worked for eight years as co-host of the interview program "On the Arts" for CJRT-FM in Toronto, and also contributed movie reviews to Boxoffice magazine in Los Angeles until 2007. He has written about film and popular culture for The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star. Courrier is the author of four other published books, Law & Order: The Unofficial Companion, with Susan Green (1997), which is now in its second edition; Dangerous Kitchen: The Subversive World of Zappa (2002), which won the Finalist Prize for Best Biography at the 2003 Independent Publisher's Awards; Randy Newman's American Dreams, which also won Finalist Prize for Best Biography at the 2006 Independent Publisher's Awards; and Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica (2007). Courrier teaches part-time film courses through the LIFE Institute at Ryerson University in Toronto.

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