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Selected as the 2009 “Music Book of the Year” by The Independent
Selected as a Choice Significant University Press Title for Undergraduates, 2009-2010
From Please Please Me to Abbey Road, this collection of essays tells the fascinating story of the Beatles—the creation of the band, their musical influences, and their cultural significance, with emphasis on their genesis and practices as musicians, songwriters, and recording artists. Through detailed biographical and album analyses, The Cambridge Companion to the Beatles uncovers the background of each band member and provides expansive readings of the band’s music and enduring legacy.
“Given its academic pedigree, it is hardly surprising that this tome is devoted to the art of the Beatles, their songwriting, and the recording processes they evolved. Editor Womack has summoned an impressive number of scholars to examine the band’s background, work, history, and influence. They follow the group’s creative arc from its early days in Liverpool and the earliest recordings to the final, often painful recording sessions and each member’s solo output. The groundbreaking Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and The Beatles (The White Album) receive thoughtful consideration for their innovations as well as the lyricism of their pop poetry. In the final section, several pieces scrutinize the band’s enduring popularity, opining and theorizing as to why the music has survived so many years beyond the group’s break-up. A must for serious Fab Four fans, in particular, and probably for music lovers in general, the volume includes a chronology, a general discography of the band’s UK and U.S. recordings, and an extensive bibliography.”—June Skinner Sawyers, editor of Read the Beatles: Classic and New Writings on the Beatles, Their Legacy, and Why They Still Matter
“If you are a Beatles fan looking to study their music and impact, The Cambridge Companion to the Beatles provides an excellent starting point. Chapters will make you rethink what you already know, and perhaps change your interpretations of their music. At the very least, the text spurs spirited discussion about various topics. . . . Researchers and scholarly fans will find The Cambridge Companion a valuable addition to their Beatles library.”—Kit O’Toole, Blogcritcs
“An admirable and largely successful attempt to cover all major aspects of the Beatles as both musical and sociocultural phenomenon. . . . Even in the most well-trodden areas, insights and intriguing reinterpretations are never far away.”—Ian McGillis, Montreal Gazette
“This in-depth compendium is a must read for all who love the band, want to reminiscence, or want to learn almost everything about those four mop tops from Liverpool. This book is ‘toppermost of the poppermost.’ Highly recommended.”—Taylor Emery, Choice