Bonus Book Review: “Pop Charts: 100 Iconic Song Lyrics Visualized” by Katrina McHugh

Pop Charts: 100 Iconic Song Lyrics VisualizedI love when I unsolicitedly get on a publisher’s mailing list to receive review copies of books.

Pop Charts: 100 Iconic Song Lyrics Visualized by Katrina McHugh showed up on my doorstep last week from Harper-Collins. As I was deep into another book, it took a day or two to pick up, but what a fun book it is! This 7.5″ x 7.3″ books is 216 pages of pictorial descriptions of lyrics from popular song from the sixties to present day with the answers on the back of each picture page. And yes, there is a Beatles song and a Lennon song contained in this visual version of Name That Tune.

Some of these songs are going to jump right off the page at you, while others are going to leave you stumped (I admit to not knowing anything about Beyonce’s lyrics). I handed the book to my 28 year old son and his girlfriend to look at and was surprised when they got lost in it’s pages trying to figure out the images. If I could express one issue about this book, it’s that I wish the pictures were in deeper colors instead of the washed out pale images. I’ve uploaded 3 of the pages below for my readers to look at and see for themselves. I put black borders around them because they got washed out even more on this page. Still, this is a fun book to have or to gift to a friend who’s a music freak. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: “Tune In: The Beatles – All These Years” by Mark Lewisohn

Tune In The Beatles All These Years Mark LewisohnPublished in 2013, Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years comes in at a whooping 932 pages (803 without the bibliography and index). One would think that’s a lot of pages for the first of three books that author Mark Lewisohn has planned for this series, until you realize that Tune In: The Beatles – All These Years – Unedited/Extended Special Edition has 1728 pages! So…why did I wait so long to read this book? Well, over the past 5 years I’ve probably said at least 5 times, “I will never read that book. It’s just too long!” And what changed my mind? Well, it was you, dear readers. The guilt of not posting anything of real substance over the past several months finally made me take this book down from my bookshelf.

I thought I could sit down and read the entire book in a weekend, but it proved to be just too much information coming at me all at once. And even though I’ve read dozens of books about the Fab Four, Mark Lewisohn’s in-depth research left me with so many more questions that I actually wonder if I should pick up the unedited edition some day. Eegads folks…what kind of introverted, anti-social monster has he turned me into? So many details and yet so much more to learn, Lewisohn turns his readers into Fab Four junkies before hitting the halfway mark in this book. The Beatles are my sugar of choice and Mark Lewisohn is my candy man!

One thing about the book that left me scratching my head, though, was that throughout, Lewisohn goes into great detail to describe pictures that were taken during the early stages of the Beatles career, yet these pictures are not contained within the book. Some of them are, but the majority is not. Whether or not they’re in the extended edition, I don’t know. Hopefully, one of my readers can enlighten me on that fact. Also, the author really did his homework when it comes to the women that John, Paul, George, Pete and Ringo dated in their pre-fame days, mentioning so many of them by name and even providing details and quotes from them. Yet, Cynthia Powell seems to not be as prominent even though by the end of the book she’s 4 months pregnant and living with John’s aunt Mimi. I’m not sure if Lewisohn is just downplaying her part in John’s life (since it is a book about The Beatles and not John), or maybe so much has already been written about her, or maybe no one close to Cynthia (including Cynthia) would talk to Lewisohn during his research. It’s a question I’d love to ask him.

Still, I can’t blame Mark for the faults in this book when I obviously took the easy way out and read the shorter version. Maybe all of my questions would be answered in the unedited edition. Maybe someday I’ll read it! LOL More likely, I’ll buy the audio version (if it’s ever made available). Never the less, this book is the bible for all Beatles fans and leaves me with one final question…why would anyone need to read another book about the Beatles after reading this one? And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: “Klaus Voormann – It Started in Hamburg” by Klaus Voormann

I took several hours away from reading a 900+ page book about the Beatles to read something new that showed up in my mailbox. Klaus Voormann It Started in HamburgIn April (in conjunction with Klaus Voormann’s 80th birthday), a pre-order for the Exclusive Signed Edition of Klaus Voormann – It Started in Hamburg became available, so I placed my order. Over this past weekend, it finally arrived! This book is only available through Klaus’ website. It’s listed for €39 ($45.19 or £34.49) + shipping. There’s also the Limited Deluxe Edition with a special contribution by Ringo but it’ll cost you €480,00, and well, most of us can’t afford one of the just 80 copies, so we’ll move on. This book was released on June 11, 2018.

It Started in Hamburg is what is commonly referred to as a ‘turnaround book’. One cover is in English and continues on in English as you turn the pages, but if you flip the book over, the cover is in German and you can read the same book in German. The book is a softcover that is a little over 8″ x 10″ and 224 pages long (only 113 pages for either German or English side). Also, being the Beatles freaks that I am, I’m going to save the packaging the book came in because it’s obvious from the signature on the declaration form, that Klaus himself mailed it.

This book is filled with over 200+ images of Klaus’ artwork. And though I would have preferred to have read about his life’s work in chronological order (he presents it in categories), the story is none the less very impressive. He’s done so much more than I ever imagined, including the producing of the song “DaDaDa” by Trio.

As I said earlier, this book is a turnaround book, but what makes it even more interesting is that after your done reading it in your preferred language is that when you turn the book over, even though the text is the same (but in a different language), the pictures are all different from the flip side. And for that reason…

I rate this book, 4 out of 4 Beetles!

 

 

 

 

 

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Bonus Book Review: “The Cats Came Back” by Sofie Kelly

The cats came back sofie kellyI’m finally somewhat caught up on my First to Read books after posting this review (I have two more books on the docket, but the reviews aren’t due until August), so I’m going to pour myself back into my stack of Beatles books as soon as I step away from the keyboard today.

I guess I should have paid closer attention to the details of The Cats Came Back before signing up to review it. I didn’t realize that it was the 10th book in a series called A Magical Cats Mystery by Sofie Kelly. This would explain why I got so lost in some of the characters and their back stories. Still, it was an enjoyable read just like I had hoped it would be and provided me with a nice break from reading books about the Beatles and other biographies.

It’s always nice to dip into some light fiction and a couple of cats to take one away from the harsh realities of today’s world…and Hercules and Owen are just the cats to do it! Though, I get the impression that the fictional small town they live in has a very high crime rate if the author is on book ten.

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Bonus Book Review: “The Darker the Night, The Brighter the Stars: A Neuropsychologist’s Odyssey Through Consciousness” by Paul Broks

Another book from my list of First to Read list, The Darker the Night, the Brighter the Stars: A Neuropsychologist’s Odyssey Through Consciousness by Paul Broks is due to be published on July 3, 2018.

What an amazing story! I’m actually honored to be able to have read this book before it was released. Paul Broks does a fantastic job of combining the tragedy of his wife’s death from cancer with his beliefs as a neuropyschologist. As a man who doesn’t believe in an afterlife, the author opens up about his internal struggle of knowing that he will never see his spouse again. At the same time, he justifies his atheistic point of view by sharing some of his work with his patients and scientific studies done on consciousness. But he doesn’t stop there in his explanation or self-exploration. Broks also discusses the beliefs of the great ancient philosophers of Greece and Greek mythology to enforce his point of view.

If there is one downside to this book, it’s that about midway through, the author gets a little to technical in his explanation of brain function for the layman to understand. Still, this book is a must for those that enjoy philosophy, psychology and the afterlife.

Well done!

Note: Anyone who enjoys reading can sign up at First to Read. You get the privilege of reading early releases of various genres of books in exchange for your reviews.

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Bonus Book Review: “Long Players: A Love Story in Eighteen Songs” by Peter Coviello

Long Players A Love Story in Eighteen Songs Peter CovielloLong Players: A Love Story in Eighteen Songs by Peter Coviello is a book that wasn’t even close to what I thought it was going to be about when I anxiously volunteered to receive an advanced copy for review from First to Read. Here I thought I was going to get a book/study about music and relationships and how they intertwine and effect each other. Instead, I got the story of a man who cries at the drop of a hat and likes to make mixed tapes/CDs for people he knows. I’m not sure where I went wrong, but less than 100 pages into this book, I had to stop reading it because I just didn’t care. And the fact that if you took away the author’s adjectives, adverbs and prepositions, this story would have ended a lot quicker! Way too many words… But really, it’s not you…it’s me!

Just sayin’…

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Old Beatles News: On The Skids

Last week, I got wrapped up scanning old newspapers online trying to research a topic about The Beatles for some future use. I don’t know what I’ll do with the information I’ve collected on the topic I chose, but it’s now stashed away in a folder should I ever need it.  

While perusing, I came across this wickedly funny article that appeared in the Editorial section of The Post Star in Glen Falls, NY on September 10, 1964. I clipped it and saved it to share with you all…

It’s kind of hard to imagine that anyone in the U.S. hadn’t heard the Beatles music by September 10th of that year considering that The Beatles had already made two visits to America and had toured 25 cities from February 9-16 and August 19-September 20. And let’s not forget that they had already appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show four times. From 1962-63, The Ed Sullivan Show averaged over 12 million viewers and over 14 million in from 1963-64 (there were just 51 million TVs in the U.S.).

The worry over the Rolling Stones was a little premature, I think. It was in July 1964 that the Rolling Stones scored their first #1 song in the U.K. (It’s All Over Now), but they wouldn’t make it to #1 in the U.S.  until 11 months later. In June of 1965, that the Stones hit number one with Satisfaction on the U.S. charts. And truth be told, the Stones were from the upper-crust of London, while the clean cut Beatles heralded from the lower-middle class of Liverpool. Obviously, you couldn’t judge a bad boy musician by the length of his hair…just look at Beethoven or Liszt!

And let’s not even get into trying to compare The Kinks to the Fab Four! I’m just not even going to try to go there…

Anyway…enjoy the article! I hope you get a couple of laughs out of it. I know I did.

Until next time…

 

 

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