Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties Paperback – 4 Dec 2008
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"The finest piece of fabs scholarship ever published" (Mojo)
" The masterpiece The Beatles deserved" (Max Bell Vox)
"The most sustained brilliant piece of pop criticism and scholarship for years. An astonishing achievement" (Stuart Maconie Q)
" No book has ever taken us closer to the actual music of The Beatles...A brilliant piece of work" (Tony Parsons Daily Telegraph)
" Consistently brilliant. The Beatles have never been so discriminately adored" (Robert Sandall Sunday Times)
This extraordinary work of popular criticism provides the story behind every single Beatles song ever recorded. Unprecedented and unparalleled.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
MacDonald was a teenager during the sixties and clearly has a lifetime interest in the Beatles, though he is highly critical of their actions and their music, at times. It is this lack of sentimentality and nostalgia, as well as his considerable erudition and musical knowledge, that makes this book such a standout. His opinions, sometimes deviating from the critical consensus, are always objectively reasoned, and his negative judgements of such sacred cows as "All you need is Love" and "Across the Universe", are completely justified, in my opinion, and his contention that the Beatles' quality control and capacity for self-criticism went out the window post-Sgt. Pepper (expanded upon in the entry for "Magical Mystery Tour")is also a key point in considering their later work.
Some have suggested a pro-McCartney bias in this book, but this is a valid recognition of McCartney's greater work ethic and musical technique. He does not fail to recognise McCartneys "patronising" attitude to Harrison and Starr and pours scorn on Macca's "granny songs" like "Maxwell's Silver Hammer".Read more ›
The power of this book is the fresh light it throws on the Beatles as a dynamic unit, their thought processes, their relationships with the other Beatles and the outside world and their general approach to life encapsulated whilst writing and recording songs. Although muscicians will appreciate the detailed analysis of the songs' structure, it is not just a musicians' book, neither is it strictly for Beatles fans. But as it says on the cover, you will want to return to your record collection and hear the songs again in a re-evaluated light.
Although the author includes every song recorded by the band, he quite rightly only concentrates his efforts on those songs worth evaluating. So, for example 'A Day in the Life' covers about 5 pages, whereas 'Baby You're a Rich Man' barely receives a paragraph. McDonald is not afraid to criticise band members as well as the song when required, but his criticisms are always supported with strong arguments and are often even-handed. This is summed-up perfectly in his analysis of the the friction between Lennon and McCartney towards the break-up, by way of his evaluation of 'The Long and Winding Road', which is nothing short of exceptional. Neither Lennon or McCartney come out on top, instead you feel that you have been given a priviledged insight into the minds of two great artists, who had their own agendas for their own reasons.Read more ›
I was more than thrilled to see a "Third Revised Edition" had been published in 2008, this time not by Pimlico but Vintage Books. Ian MacDonald, the author, died after having prepared the "Second Revised Edition" (Pimlico) that came out in 2005. So I wondered if/how another revision could have possibly improved the book. The answer is, not at all.
The only time "THIRD" is mentioned is on the cover. Once you open the book, you get the 100% same content as before. It is here (inside) where they inform you that this is really the "Second Revised Edition", now published by them instead of Pimlico. Not a word was changed from the original second edition.
I would call this bad business practice or, more directly, a rip-off. They lie to you, and to me it doesn't look like an "accident". They've gotten away with this for two years now.
So, if you already own the second edition (same cover design), there is no reason to spend your money on this "third" one. Unfortunately I did, so I found out the hard way (and returned it to Amazon).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A bit more academic than I expect but still a great piece of work, cataloging and commentating on every Beatles track ever relieved.Published 11 days ago by FredJ
Arrived quickly and the book is great with additions made from earlier edition.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
This is the third edition of Ian MacDonald's "Revolution in the Head" - and is the most comprehensive, with 50 additional pages as compared to the second edition (and... Read morePublished 1 month ago by S P Mead
Amazing book. Always something new to find. So erudite and informed you don't even get annoyed when he slates a favourite!Published 3 months ago by blodwynswayze
Every Beatles fan needs this book, great facts that we will all want to remember, but will need to keep referring back to it!Published 6 months ago by Gilly
Whow, there's more to all this Beatles music than just all these nice tunes. Period spirit, changing from year to year, politics, the effects of drugs, Macdonald comes across as a... Read morePublished 8 months ago by PP
If you love The Beatles music, this book will make you listen in a whole new way. Absolutely brilliant in it's song by song detail.Published 8 months ago by Michael Jackson
As a lifelong Beatles fan i wasn't sure if i would get anything from reading this book, but i have enjoyed reading this book and have a new outlook and appreciation for some... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Heggie