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Reference Library: The Beatles by Allan Kozinn

From: (saki)
Subject: "The Beatles" by Allan Kozinn
Date: 11 Nov 1995 17:41:15 GMT

Great news! Throw out your Hertsgaard. Put MacDonald on the back shelf. And make a space in your Beatles book collection (right next to Lewisohn) for Allan Kozinn's new book "The Beatles".

I just got my copy this week, and it's a stunner. Beautifully printed by Phaidon Press in England (and available in the States through Chronicle Books in San Francisco, 415-777-7240), "The Beatles" is decidedly an introduction to the Fabs, but an intro that even old veterans will enjoy.

The focus is the Beatles' music, and thankfully even those of us without a degree in the field will be able to fathom Mr. Kozinn's insights. The book avoids the wilder hypotheses that Ian MacDonald ("Revolution in the Head") seems to adore, and is so carefully researched and fact-checked (unlike Mark Hertsgaard's "The Beatles: A Day In The Life") that it can be used as a basic primer in Beatles history.

There's a bonus in in the richness of its interpretation. Even lacking any schooling in music theory, you'll find yourself comprehending details about the songs that suddenly reveal their heretofore hidden complexity...and this happens without compromising the intuitive passion of the songs themselves. Mr. Kozinn also takes care to mention significant finds from the bootleg pantheon and provides historical and critical revelations of the Fabs' unreleased gems.

If you're an enthusiast of Beatles scholarship, you'll still appreciate having a basic analytical history of the group's accomplishments; and if you're just starting out or coming back to the fold---and in search of dependable guidance---Mr. Kozinn's book is a welcome starting point.

The photos are particularly nice as well---many alternate shots from familiar photo sessions, plus some real surprises (I'd never seen the one of George and John from their Hamburg days, brilliantly composed by either Jurgen Vollmer or Astrid Kirschher, page 34). The bibliography is extremely fair and helpful, and the discography and videography will be a welcome reference point for readers and scholars.

I understand that the book will shortly be available from bookstores such as Rizzoli and Crown, probably other entities too, but you can order directly from the distributor (Chronicle) and they will ship your copy to you. The book is priced at $19.95.

It's also worth mentioning that Mr. Kozinn's major article on "The Anthology" will appear in this Sunday's (November 12) "Arts and Leisure" section of the New York Times, for those who want some pithy, enlightening reading tomorrow.

"While it lasted, everything they did astonished. Long hair! Talking funny!
Cheeky to the Queen! Going to America! Moustaches! Indian music! No more
concerts! Taking ages to make a record!..."

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