In Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry of the Beatles, Kenneth Womack brings the band’s story vividly to life—from their salad days as a Liverpool Skiffle group and their apprenticeship in the nightclubs and mean streets of Hamburg through their early triumphs at the legendary Cavern Club and the massive onslaught of Beatlemania itself. By mapping the group’s development as an artistic fusion, Womack traces the Beatles’ creative arc from their first, primitive recordings through Abbey Road and the twilight of their career.
“Any music library strong in Beatles surveys and references will welcome Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry of The Beatles, which takes quite a different approach than most biographical focuses. The one maps the group’s evolutionary trends from their first recordings to the height—and then fall—of their career. The Beatles’ body of songs—not their lives—are considered on an analysis which does include some biography, but doesn’t make this the focal point. The result is more well-rounded than most Beatles coverage with an emphasis on music over inspirational influences.”—James A. Cox, The Midwest Book Review
“Kenneth Womack’s Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry of the Beatles is the latest entry in the growing field of academic work on the Fab Four. Womack’s volume, however, distinguishes itself both by concentrating on the Beatles’ narrative art and in relating the by now familiar story in a fresh, highly entertaining, but always insightful, way. Comprehensive in scope, Womack’s book manages to avoid the uncritical pap of the cultist without resorting to the antiseptic jargon of the pedant. He truly enjoys the music, yet he seeks to discover why it transcends the work of lesser groups and how the Beatles transformed from a competent, even inspired, pop band into an artistic force.”—James M. Decker, Style