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BOOK REVIEW: All The Songs – The Story Behind Every Beatles Release, by Margotin & Guesdon

| 21 January 2014 | 3 Replies

BOOK REVIEW: All The Songs – The Story Behind Every Beatles Release, by Margotin & Guesdon
Murdoch Books, rrp $55.00
1 November 2013
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

All The Songs - The Story Behind Every Beatles Release BOOK

A lot of us would be surprised to know how many Beatles fans still obsess over every little thing about the band, some 43+ years after they broke up in a flurry of lawsuits, dope smoke and the sour taste of the Beatlemania hangover on their palates.

All The Songs, compiled meticulously by Frenchmen Jean-Michel Guesdon & Philippe Margotin, reveals pretty much all there is to know (or can be remembered) about every single song the band officially released in their time together.

This could well be THE definitive place to come if you ever wanted to know that producer George Martin and chief engineer Norman Smith “were thinking that I Want To Hold Your Hand might be even bigger than She Loves You”; that Paul played the cowbell on You Can’t Do That; that John wrote Norwegian Wood about one of the many women he cheated on his wife Cynthia with, though he couldn’t recall which one; who played the horns on Got To Get You Into My Life (Eddie Thornton, Ian Hamer, Les Condon on trumpets, Peter Coe and Alan Branscombe on tenor sax); that Dear Prudence was about Mia Farrow’s sister and doesn’t feature Ringo at all; or that George Harrison’s I Me Mine took him 5 minutes to write and features a 35 piece orchestra but no John (who wasn’t interested and instead waltzed around the studio with Yoko while the band rehearsed), and the part starting at 0:31 was re-inserted at 1:20 by Phil Spector to extend it.

It’s exhaustive, illuminating and, in its own way, a fascinating display of how a band of brothers became so disparate and at each other’s throats. It also reminds us of the amazing music the band produced, and whether or not you think it’s worthy that THIS band is still idolised above most others, there are plenty out there who do, and who will lap this heavy tome up.

Category: Book Reviews

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Comments (3)

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  1. Michael Ellis says:

    This review is a classic failure. This is a nearly 700-page book about the details of Beatles songs. And yet you seem to be writing for an audience that doesn’t know people still care about those details. Do you think the audience for this review just … enjoys reading reviews? No. The people interested in reading a review of (again) a 700 page book about Beatle song details are exactly those people who you exclude in the first four words of your review, and the rest of it. Utter fail, you should be a garbageman at least you would know who your audience is.

  2. Shane says:

    Thanks for your cheerily worded feedback Michael Ellis. Obviously I wasn’t writing the review for Beatles fanatics – what would be the point, as they would already know about and perhaps have the book. My interest is always to write a review which will give a lay person some kind of idea whether the book/movie/music is something they would like to investigate further. I stand by the review. As for being a garbageman – does it pay well? In future keep your comments constructive rather than abusive, thanks. Shane Pinnegar, author & editor.

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