This review is by Amy Hughes
It’s not an overstatement to say I was very happy to see not only what one would consider a travel guide about and for The Beatles, but one that is lavishly illustrated and beautifully laid out.
The Beatles: Fab Four Cities: Liverpool – Hamburg – London – New York (ACC Art Books, 2021) provides not only an up-to-date showcase of major touchpoints within their universe but also includes numerous anecdotes and descriptions of how all four cities provided links and support along the way from childhood to present day.
Compiled and written by historians well-versed in all things Beatles, ‘Fab Four Cities’ is educational and informative, while sidebar callouts showcase Beatle facts that connect all four cities from a historical perspective.
If you’re intimately familiar with Beatle background information, you might not want to simply skim over the text. Each section provides a rich history inside locations that helped push the band forward. Augmented by latter-day photos, it’s a printed walking tour and provides a helpful supplement if you happen to travel to any of these places.
One important note that ties these together is that all four cities have ports. Not to be lost on how significant this is to the band, Liverpool gave them music, Hamburg gave them a sense of self, London gave them worldwide recognition and New York gave them the US.
The voice that the authors use is genuine and personal: Bedford is Liverpudlian and intimately knowledgeable in that environment; Porter has been a tour guide in London and Ryan is a lifelong New Yorker and tour guide who knows landmarks galore.
However, my favorite section from Bedford and Porter concentrated on Hamburg. While much has been journaled in the last 60 years, I found the words rich in detail, the photos fascinating and the city map was a nice addition (all four city maps are colorfully illustrated).
Ryan’s expertise in covering events, landmarks, and areas connected particularly to John Lennon is of importance for those not familiar with his deep-seated love of the city and his fight to stay in NYC in the early ‘70s.
In conclusion, with a nicely constructed design and pertinent prose (and some pretty sweet images!),
I rate this book 4 out of 4 beetles!