BOOK STEW REVIEW: ‘Revolution in the Head: The Beatles’ Records and the Sixties’ by Ian MacDonald

Below is the latest Book Stew Review from Eileen MacDougall, the host of the 80+ episodes of Book Stew, a 30-minute video and podcast devoted to writing in all forms, featuring authors, playwrights, voice artists, and journalists.

‘Revolution in the Head: The Beatles’ Records and the Sixties‘ by Ian MacDonald

For true fans only, this encyclopedia of all recorded Beatles songs 1962-1970 will send you running to wherever you keep your memories and your music.

The writer has very strong opinions (specially as regards the many favorites of mine that he dis-regards as lightweight) about the influence of weed and LSD on the group, especially Lennon, and he goes back and forth about who he thinks is the better songwriter.

Harrison is given relatively short shrift, with little credit for his guitar mastery but more for his songwriting and his perseverance in the face of domination of Lennon and McCartney.

Ringo is given props for his drumming but fades deeply into the background as his influence seems minimal, at least until he gets fed up and walks out the first time, disgusted with the disarray within the group.

The primary message here is that the strong competition between Paul and John, for both influence, songwriting credits and leadership, is what made them so singular and successful. Their love and appreciation for each other also shines through brilliantly.

Missing is essential appreciation for the pure and always remarkable harmony of the two and sometimes three voices.

“With the Beatles, the music is the point. Not the Beatles as individuals.” — John Lennon

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