The Cambridge Companion to the Beatles

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From Please Please Me to Abbey Road, this collection of essays tells the fascinating story of the Beatles – the creation of the band, their musical influences, and their cultural significance, with emphasis on their genesis and practices as musicians, songwriters, and recording artists. Through detailed biographical and album analyses, the book uncovers the background of each band member and provides expansive readings of the band's music. • Traces the group's creative output from their earliest recordings through their career • Pays particular attention to the social and historical factors which contributed to the creation of the band • Investigates the Beatles' unique enduring musical legacy and cultural power • Clearly organized into three sections, covering Background, Works, and History and Influence, the Companion is ideal for course usage, and is also a must-read for all Beatles fans
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"If you are a Beatles fan looking to study their music and impact, The Cambridge Companion to The Beatles provides an excellent starting point. Chapters will make you rethink what you already know, and perhaps change your interpretations of their music. At the very least, the text spurs spirited discussion about various topics. Those interested in a straightforward history of the group may be disappointed in the book, but researchers and scholarly fans will find The Cambridge Companion a valuable addition to their Beatles library."

"an admirable and largely successful attempt to cover all major aspects of the Beatles as both musical and sociocultural phenomenon. . . . even in the most well-trodden areas, insights and intriguing reinterpretations are never far away." --Montreal Gazette

"...this in-depth compendium is a must read for all who love the band, want to reminiscence, or want to learn almost everything about those four mop tops from Liverpool. This book is 'toppermost of the poppermost.' Highly recommended." --Choice

"Highly recommended for all readers"
-T.Emery,Austin Peay State University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521869652
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/31/2009
  • Series: Cambridge Companions to Music Series
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Kenneth Womack is Professor of English at Penn State University's Altoona College.
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Table of Contents

Foreword Anthony DeCurtis; Chronology of the Beatles' lives and works; Introducing the Beatles Kenneth Womack; Part I. Background: 1. Six boys, six Beatles: the formative years, 1950–1962 Dave Laing; Appendix: the repertoire, 1957–1962; 2. The Beatles as recording artists Jerry Zolten; Part II. Works: 3. Rock and roll music Howard Kramer; 4. 'Try thinking more': Rubber Soul and the Beatles' transformation of pop James M. Decker; 5. Magical mystery tours, and other trips: yellow submarines, newspaper taxis, and the Beatles' psychedelic years Russell Reising and Jim LeBlanc; 6. Revolution Ian Inglis; 7. On their way home: the Beatles in 1969 and 1970 Steve Hamelman; 8. Apple records Bruce Spizer; 9. The solo years Michael Frontani; 10. Any time at all: the Beatles' free phrase rhythms Walter Everett; Appendix: the Beatles' canon on compact disc; Part III. History and Influence: 11. The Beatles as zeitgeist Sheila Whiteley; 12. Beatles news: product line extensions and the rock canon Gary Burns; 13. 'An abstraction, like Christmas': the Beatles for sale and for keeps John Kimsey; General discography.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2012

    "Let it Be" Read!

    The Cambridge Companion to the Beatles. Kenneth Womack (editor). New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009. 316 pages.

    This intriguing collection of essays illustrates the complete life story of the Beatles from the creation of the band and their musical influences, to the tragic death of John Lennon and the collapse of the group in 1970. This book was exceedingly helpful in the creation of my Ethnography project on Young, Aspiring Musicians in high school. I wanted to interview a multitude of different bands for my project, but unfortunately I did not know much about bands at the time. Therefore, I though it necessary to understand what makes young people desire to join a musical group and the troubles that arise as a result. The detailed biographies on each of the Beatles’ members, and the thorough description of how the Beatles formed their band, helped me to create a series of interview questions that allowed me to connect with the band members on a level that I never could have without reading this book. This book, in addition to including information on the Beatles themselves, contains a description of many of their most famous songs and the inspiration behind them; including, Strawberry Fields Forever, All You Need is Love, Revolution, Hey Jude, Sgt. Pepper, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, and a vast number of others. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who craves an extensive account of the Beatles and their road to success; however, it is a difficult read and I advise readers to preview the book before purchase. Overall, this was an excellent and informative book that I recommend for Beatles lovers everywhere.

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