Top positive review
5 people found this helpful
Thought-Provoking, Informative and Funny
on 11 September 2013
'The Beatles In Mono' is probably the Beatles book I dip into most often. There are others written by insiders with access to which other musician played exactly which trombone, but that doesn't excite me so much as someone who can make me hear something different in songs I've heard a hundred times. And Andrew Hickey's book does that. Each time I open it up there's something to listen to again and go 'Wow': the reverb on the mono 'Paperback Writer'; the Beatles versus Beatles play-off in the stereo 'Think For Yourself'; the swearing in 'Hey Jude'...! Some people don't like that Andrew's opinionated. He is, but he also loves all four of the Beatles as well as being critical of some aspects of each of their work. I just don't believe reviews that say 'Every single thing is equally brilliant!' That's not a review. That's a total surrender of all critical faculties. I like his reasons for raving about some songs and his occasional putting the boot into one, so I can go 'He's wrong!' or less often, 'Oh dear. He's probably right'. Either way it makes for a much more interesting read, and he's unnecessarily self-deprecating about it too. Oh, and he covers the stereo-only LPs to for completism, just in less detail.
I mostly listen to songs on headphones and am prejudiced to the sound being different in each to keep me diverted, so my instinctive preference is stereo. But I also wanted to hear what the Mono mixes that were often meant to be the 'important' ones sounded like, and this book is a great companion and champion for them to challenge my prejudices. Mr Hickey thinks mono is best and eloquently says why for most tracks, and I like a point of view that's not mine to make me appreciate them more! As well as the music, though, he's funny. He has a witty turn of phrase ("being grumpy in minor chords" made me laugh even about a song I like) and also loves the Beatles songs that are wittier than lots of people notice, pointing out the jokes. He even made me listen to some Wagner to compare famous chords... But the music is his big thing, and it's worth buying just for his enthusiasm about the Ringo-Paul drum'n'bass combo, where you think, yeah, they really did have an amazing groove. Fascinating choice of favourite Paul song as well - I'd not have thought of it, but I can see why. It's not perfect, obviously, because he has opinions and there's something in it for everyone to disagree with, but few actual mistakes (the only one I can think of is saying 'Eight Days A Week' is the Beatles' only fade-in intro, forgetting George's fab 'I Want To Tell You'). But overall it's a great read that I keep coming back to because it makes me find interesting, new sides to songs I love. What could be a better recommendation for a music book than that?