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Fab Four FAQ 2.0: The "Beatles"' Solo Years: 1970 - 1980 (Faq Series) Paperback – 1 May 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 510 pages
  • Publisher: Backbeat Books (1 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879309687
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879309688
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 66,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Pop culture historian Robert Rodriguez has written or contributed to nine books. His newest, Fab Four FAQ 2.0: The Beatles' Solo Years 1970-1980, has just been published. Like its predecessor, Fab Four FAQ, it too has received critical and fan acclaim. Be sure to check out the website www.fabfourfaq2.com.

Coming in fall 2010: The Beatles - Fifty Fabulous Years

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Format: Paperback
Full and comprehensive account of the Beatles solo careers including recordings, TV,concert,film appearances etc. The author Robert Rodriguez is a fan but it's a well written critical work on a neglected period of the Beatles history. This book is essential for any Beatle fans collection.
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Amazon.com: 24 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Four Long and Winding Roads! 28 Mar. 2010
By Michael OConnor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Beatle fans young and old should enjoy FAB FOUR FAQ 2.0, Robert Rodriguez's newly-published guide to John, Paul, George and Ringo's activities during the 1970s. Like his earlier FAB FOUR FAQ book, published in 2007, FAB FOUR FAQ 2.0 is a wide-ranging, critical yet affectionate chronicle of JPG&R along with wives, lovers, friends, fellow musicians, business associates and others going down their separate long and winding roads. For the four men, musically and personally the 1970s were very much a mixed bag, great musical succcess and personal highpoints being interspersed with god-awful duds and assorted 'I-can't-believe-he-did-that' moments. FAB FOUR FAQ 2.0 has it all. And it's a great read to boot; Rodriquez is a gifted writer!

FAB FOUR FAQ 2.0 is arranged chronologically. The section for 1970 takes up 40 pages, 1971, 51 pages and so on. Though the book is sub-titled THE BEATLES' SOLO YEARS, 1970-1980, Rodriguez actually begins by recounting the solo work - WONDERWALL, SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY, INSTANT KARMA, UNFINISHED MUSIC NO. 1 & 2, etc. - done prior to the breakup and the various examples of Beatles helping Beatles throughout the decade. He goes on to describe and critique the various albums produced by JPG&R, the critical and popular response to each along with chart performance, Rodriguez's picks of best albums/worst albums, the various incarnations of Wings, concert and film work, TV appearances, charity work, the evolving relationship between the four, personal developments (marriages, divorces, drug problems, legal problems, etc.), media coverage during the 1970s, legends/rumors/myths and so on. Dozens of photographs, album covers, record jackets and memorabilia complement Rodriguez's well-done and informative text.

Despite being a long-time Beatles fan, I was pleased and surprised by the new information and insights I found in Rodriguez's book. Younger fans of JPG&R should find FAB FOUR FAQ 2.0 especially useful about "just what were those four up to in the 1970s?" All in all, an interesting and informative book Beatle fans of all ages will enjoy. Recommended.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
When One Became Four: The Beatles in the 70's 2 April 2010
By D. Breaux - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Having been born in 1963, I came of age in the 1970's not with The Beatles as a functioning unit, but with the four separate entities of John, Paul, George and Ringo. While I was very aware of the Fab's pre-ex endeavors, it was their 1970's solo recordings, television appearances and other miscellaneous happenings that my adolescent years are most intertwined with.

Focusing on the decade immediately following their break-up, Fab Four FAQ 2.0 by Robert Rodriguez is an engaging, in-depth, and reflective account of what 1970's-era Beatles fans would have been watching, wondering, listening to or talking about. The book's chapter topics are presented in the same "start anywhere" approach as the previous Beatles FAQ book. As such, this makes for a very conversational and informal read, offered in non-sequential multi-course servings that Beatlefans will love to chew on and dissect with relish.

Having read a lot of Beatles books over the years, I'm aware of two traps that authors often fell into: judgemental arm-chair quarterbacking or fawning revisionism (of which the "my-fave-fab-can-do-no-wrong" altar worshipping could be considered a subset). Happily, this is not the case here.

Robert attentively presents the topics of choice within the context of the times, providing a framework in which he explains - not defends or rationalizes - the ex-Fabs actions or artistic states-of-mind. Interwoven with his own reflections that come with the inevitable 20/20 hindsight of a decade nearly two-score removed, it's a compositional equilibrium rarely experienced in Beatles books: the passion of a life-long fan whose eyes (and ears) opened wide to each well-known, re-discovered or recently unearthed nugget of Beatle-ness, and the diligence of a historical researcher who won't repeat what's erroneously been re-told, sensationalized, or diluted through the years.

Then there are the recordings. The number ones, the bottom rungs, the artistic Everests and the slaughtered lambs; each with a story, setting or frame of reference to enlighten what we Beatles fans thought we already knew; a quadro-dimensional overlay of efforts that often revealed when one was ebbing, another was likely flowing. At one point Robert tallies up their combined quantitative output as solo artists during the decade; the sum is nothing short of astounding, to the extent of cosmically contemplating the alternate universe that could have existed, if only they had...(read chapter 32 to see just how close they often came).

For many of us who grew up with John, Paul, George and Ringo as solo artists, the dream is not over; for as long as we have a shuffle setting on our musical apparatus of choice, we'll always be able to mix our own lost, great Beatles album from the decade when one become four.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The Long & Winding Road becomes a 4-way street ... 8 April 2010
By Tom E. DeShovelle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Having thoroughly enjoyed Rob Rodriguez' previous "Fab Four FAQ" (written with Stuart Shea), I was delighted to hear of "2.0" examining the glorious first decade of the solo Beatle years.

Like the first volume, the book is broken up into diverse chapters (not a straight timeline) making what is a very enjoyable read, a good reference source as well. In this format, topics such as stage appearances, studio cameos, TV appearances, films, etc are neatly grouped. As with the first volume, the fact checking and depth of research are commendable.

Beyond covering the core story, Rodriguez expands into territory such as fandom, with some interesting reading on things such as the Beatlefest phenomenon. It is indeed refreshing to see an author "in touch" with his target audience in a way many writers ignore.

Highly recommended.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A stellar new addition to the Beatles literary canon 2 April 2010
By Pete Pecoraro - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In his latest book, Robert Rodriguez picks up where his first volume Fab Four FAQ left off. His new volume, Fab Four FAQ 2.0 continues the story with the musical activities and ongoings of the solo Beatles from 1970-1980, a decade full of amazing artistic achievements and some crushing lows as well, but with the Fab past not too far in the rear-view mirror, always very interesting.

In short, this book is a triumph in its thorough research, its judicious selection of salient events and moments from the post-Beatles solo years, and its delightful prose style. Readers will find a wealth of information packed in the pages of this sturdy volume, and, to this reviewer's mind, this book even surpasses the first effort. The chronological layout, the stronger narrative thread and the overall thematic organization are all superior, resulting in a rich and entertaining tome.

I've noticed over the past five to ten years that a good many Beatle books have become expanded "lists" or compilations of "data chunk" sections. Not so here. Read straight through (as I did) or as stand-alone subject chapters, Rodriguez's book is an actual narrative that recounts the Beatles' story in the decade after the breakup with an obvious fondness for the subject and masterful attention to detail. Has anyone written this knowledgeably and passionately about the solo Beatles' albums and artistic achievements of the 70's? The only book that readily comes to mind is The Beatles Forever by Nicholas Schaffner, and it is interesting to consider this book in that light.
Like Schaffner, Rodriguez recounts the era with great humor, a collector's heart and a firm grip on the facts. Fab Four FAQ 2.0 brings a fresh point of view and telling to well-known events. Even hardcores will learn something new here or gain a new perspective to a familiar song, album, concert or oft-told Fab story.

The book starts off by recapping the solo efforts that were already starting to surface while the group was still intact. Then, the text moves on to its muscle with core chapters that cover the best albums, worst efforts, hit singles, noteworthy movies and television appearances, near reunions, and songs/albums that merit a critical reappraisal. It succeeds by placing the focus on the music and by fleshing out the circumstances of each release, including the frame of reference for the particular ex-Beatle involved, the prevailing state of the music industry at the time, chart positions, supporting musicians and other pertinent release details. Rodriguez eschews the typical soap opera stuff and tedious technical detail that have sullied many other books and allows the ex-Beatles' music and artistic achievements to tell the story.

I found the sections on the solo Beatles' films (especially Ringo's) and stage presentations to be of particular value. Many of these are quite obscure and float under the radar nowadays, but they were frequently quite illustrative and compelling at the time. To get the facts and supporting details on these underappreciated works is quite illuminating. For example, the theatrical presentation of "John, Paul, George, Ringo and ... Bert" had faded from view before a second-generation fan like myself was even aware of its existence. Being able to read about what made its production unique and special is the type of material that elevates FFF 2.0 beyond "just another Beatles book."

Another feature weaved throughout the entire book is the astonishing number of "six degrees" of Beatles connections there are to the rest of the music industry and also to so many other sidemen, producers, actors, filmmakers, and artists. Rodriguez takes the time to tell their stories too; not in copious, overwhelming detail, but enough to provide the relevant frame of reference and connection to the Fabs' story. Giving these artists and bit-players their due greatly humanizes the group and demonstrates the tremendous "gravitational pull" they had on their generation and its cultural players. The Beatles cast a very long shadow indeed, and this book demonstrates this better than any other volume that I can recall. If the book did nothing else, this achievement alone would make it special.

By way of constructive criticism the chapter on the Beatles wives and lovers confused me a little. It would have been interesting to learn more about Nancy Andrews. And, if Olivia Arias and Barbara Bach get their respective sections, than why not Yoko Ono and Linda McCartney? I would also liked to have seen even more entries in the section on songs worth a "second look." Perhaps a chapter on stellar B-sides? But these are minor quibbles that might very well be addressed by a whole heap of content that did not make the book but will apparently be made available on its website.

A final anecdote: Not long into Fab Four FAQ 2.0, I found myself -- being a Beatle "hunter" -- instinctively reaching for my always handy spiral notebook to jot down albums to revisit, new discs and movies to purchase, and quotes to share with my friends and loved ones. If a book can revitalize the familiar in this way, then I have the felt sense that it "rings true" and has succeeded on its own terms. Such is the case with Fab Four FAQ 2.0. I high recommend it to veteran fans of the group who are well familiar with the broad outlines of the solo Beatles story and also to those who may just be starting to discover and appreciate their solo works.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
They used to be the Beatles 9 May 2010
By David J. Hogan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A much-needed, well-illustrated reference book is always a pleasure--all the more so when the author is a diligent researcher and an engaging, lively writer. Robert Rodriguez, co-author of a superior earlier Beatles volume, FAB FOUR FAQ, may have outdone himself with FFF 2.0, a thorough guide to the Beatles' solo careers, 1970-80. The book succeeds, in part, because it establishes that the "solo work" amounts to considerably more than our casual over-familiarity with McCartney's prolific Wings, George's Concert for Bangla Desh, John's Imagine LP, and Ringo's quirky eclecticism. The boys' solo activities aren't just richly varied but are, in many instances, more worthwhile than we may recall. (Then again, if a solo project is misbegotten, or just plain awful, Rodriguez will say so, and explain why.) The solo years were informed by singles and LPs, yes, but also by concerts and other live appearances, roles in movies, creativity with new bandmates and sidemen as well as with one-off collaborators, soundtrack work, and the variegated influences of the women who inhabited the boys' lives. FFF 2.0 dives energetically into all of this. And then there were the ongoing legal squabbles that followed the dissolution of the Beatles and the demise of Apple, as well as regrettable personal feuds and other maddening stuff (like the McCartney drug bust) that had nothing to do with music--except that these things distracted the boys, sapped their emotional energy, and slowed their creative work. Like the ex-Beatles themselves, the book is first and foremost about the music. Rodriguez is an astute and informed critic; no solo musical activity goes unmentioned here, and the author's thoughtful assessments--album by album, and sometimes cut by cut--are complemented by a wealth of insider information about the composition process, the recording sessions, marketing schemes, the boys' private lives, and the unending interest of the public. Fans waited for the ex-Beatles to come to their senses, soothe each other's hurt feelings, and get back together. But because that never happened, the Beatles' story has a built-in melancholy, as if something transcendent never came to pass. While a reunion, whether short- or long-term, might have been glorious, it might also have been awkward, stilted, or half-hearted. Do I believe things would have gone badly had the band reunited? No. But neither our wishes, nor our opinions about what might have been, have any bearing on the historical reality. FAB FOUR FAQ 2.0 is predicated on the permanency of the breakup, and on solo material that's fascinating precisely because it is NOT the product of the Beatles, but of four individuals who pursued their own muses, looking for artistic meaning and honesty. If you love and appreciate the boys as a foursome or as individual artists, you'll relish this book.
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