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A book by Ian MacDonald generally considered, along with Mark Lewisohn's Complete Beatles Chronicle, to be one of the most essential books on the Beatles.

Subtitled The Beatles' Music And The Sixties the book consists of essays (ranging from a paragraph to several pages) on every Beatles track released during the band's career, along with selected 'non-canonical' tracks (ie tracks from the Anthology and Live At The BBC sets).

The book also contains a longish essay at the beginning setting the Beatles' music in the context of its times, talking about the various sociological factors that allowed the sixties to happen when they did. But the main bulk of the book is the analyses. The songs are treated in chronological order by recording date, and the personnel, recording dates, engineers etc are detailed, following which an analysis of the recording and the song is attempted where appropriate.

MacDonald is a very opinionated writer, and can't resist letting the world know his negative views of Timothy Leary, The Illuminatus! Trilogy etc in passing; and his views on some of the songs are downright bizarre (how anyone can think Across The Universe dull while praising Yellow Submarine I will never understand], but he seems extremely knowledgeable about music, and the musicological analyses add much to one's enjoyment of the music while still remaining readable to the lay reader.

Far better than most rock journalism and well worth getting.

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