A day in the life: the music and artistry of the Beatles

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Delacorte Press, Mar 1, 1995 - Biography & Autobiography - 434 pages
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They are the most popular and accomplished musical artists of this century. But for more than three decades, the secrets behind the Beatles' unparalleled artistic evolution were beyond reach--sealed in a locked room at London's Abbey Road Studios. In this comprehensive and brilliantly rendered book the only "outsider" to gain access to these invaluable musical archives provides a new, fascinating look at the music and artistry of the Beatles, revealing how four untrained musicians merged their collective genius into a single creative force, how they came together to paint pictures with sound...and how album by album, the Beatles transformed the landscape of popular music forever. Combining literary analysis and investigative reporting with page-turning storytelling and musical explication, author Mark Hertsgaard has written the first serious biography of the music of the Beatles. A Day in the Lifetakes readers inside the Beatles' creative process as never before, from the first tentative run-throughs in the studio of such classics as "Eleanor Rigby" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand" to the final master tapes. Here we learn how George Harrison's stirring composition "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" was completely transformed from an achingly meditative acoustic masterpiece to a hard-rocking hit--in forty-four takes. We recall how the fantastic final mix of "Strawberry Fields Forever" opens the door to a psychedelic utopia, but discover it is the haunting solo version that takes us down to the core of John Lennon's disillusioned soul. And only here do we see how the Beatles' audacious ability to reinvent themselves stamped the group's unfolding ingenuity on each album like a fingerprint. With rare insight, Mark Hertsgaard unlocks the mystery of the century's most dynamic musical collaboration: the competitive and creative partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. A Day in the Lifetraces the way Lennon and McCartney worked together and paints an intricate picture of the composers as we have never seen them before: Paul, the optimistic foil who made John's ominous fragments whole...John, the natural poet who injected raw sexuality into "I Saw Her Standing There" by making a simple five word change. Smart, fresh, compulsively readable,A Day in the Lifereveals John, Paul, George, and Ringo not as celebrities or cultural icons but as musicians whose work will be remembered as some of the most important art of the twentieth century. From the Trade Paperback edition.

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A DAY IN THE LIFE: The Music and Artistry of the Beatles

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Oddly imperial prose limns the music of the Fab Four, concentrating on the band rather than individual personalities. Journalist and author Hertsgaard (On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan ... Read full review

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I must have read this work literally dozens of times: it is the most accurate, well-written honest, and fascinating book about the Beatles I've ever read (even better than their authorized biography or the Anthology). It provides numerous and wonderfully enlightening insights about their incredibly innovative musical recording history, as well as faithfully detailing important moments of The Beatles' progression from young lads in Liverpool to becoming the biggest band in the world. There are also many intriguing stories of all the creative talented people who brought the Beatles' ideas to fruition such as producer/arranger George Martin, recording engineer Geoff Emerick, manager Brian Epstein and many more. Mark Hertsgaard is only one of two "outsiders" that gained access to the infamous Abbey Road Studio Master Tapes, listening to over 50 hours of their recordings and documenting them masterfully. Truly a must-read for any student or fan of the Beatles' music. 


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