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Can't Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain, and America (2007)

av Jonathan Gould

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235586,657 (4.13)1
A cultural and musical history of the 1960s in Britain and America captures the pulse of the era through the music of the Beatles, critically analyzing why the group became a trans-Atlantic phenomenon while discussing the evolution of the group's music.
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Visar 5 av 5
If you are thinking this is just another Beatle biography with information we have all heard time and time again, think again. This is the best Beatle book that anyone has ever written.

At the tender age of 11 years old, I heard the Beatles on the radio for the first time and I have never looked back. Beatle records, magazines and yes, even a Beatle haircut followed. I have loved them all my life and I even had the chance to see them in the second to last concert they ever performed. One would think that my Beatle knowledge would be complete having read so many books about them but I have never asked myself why I prefer one song or another. When I am asked what is your favorite Beatle song I will answer instantly without thinking but never asked myself why, why is that my favorite? This book told me why.

The author Jonathan Gould is a former musician who has found a way to communicate with someone like myself who has no musical background. I cannot read music, although my teachers tried, I know nothing about the jargon used to explain the technicality of making music but in reading Mr. Gould’s book I could hear the music in his words. He painstakingly goes through every song and tells me all the reasons I love the song. This is something I have never truly thought a writer could communicate to a musically uneducated reader, how to hear music through the written word. Even though much of the terminology Mr. Gould uses while analyzing a song is way above my head, I heard every note.

If you want to hear music, read this book! ( )
  aussiecowgurl | Aug 9, 2017 |
Yes, I'm that person who "hates" the Beatles. Well, I don't exactly hate them. I like some of their songs, but I've heard them all way way way too many times. If I could not hear them for 20 years or so they might sound fresh again. In fact occasionally I hear one I haven't heard in a long time and like it - that happened last week with "Hey Bulldog". Mainly I hate how people, especially those my age, think they're the be all and end all of popular music. They're good, but there's a lot of music I like much more. I'll admit, there are a lot of their songs I do hate. Mostly ones by Paul.

So they came along when I was 8 or 9 and I instantly loved them and along with my friends obsessively listened to their records and argued over which was the cutest. But then I discovered the Rolling Stones and the Beatles went into the big pile of "other stuff I like". By that time my mom was saying how cute they were, like choirboys, and that kind of put the kibosh on them.

It's been interesting, as an adult, to look back on that time and learn about adult stuff that was going on. I knew Elvis had caused a ruckus but he was old hat by the time I was aware of music. This book describes all of that - the music that influenced the Beatles, the political and social zeitgeist. It has short biographies of everyone involved and how the relationships among the group functioned - how their original presentation of themselves as a group instead of individuals spoke to young people; how for a long time they each felt understood only by the other group members; the breakup.

It has a lot of information about how their songs and albums are structured, and about John and Paul's writing process, which I found really interesting. The author was a working musician and it shows.

I still don't want to hear any Beatles for another 20 years, though.

Things I have learned:
- John was the most middle class one - I'd thought he grew up in a slum, the child of a single mother. He fooled me with that working class hero album.
- Pet Sounds didn't do well commercially, though it made up for it later.
- I thought John sang "I Get By With a Little Help from my Friends".
- Richard Lester is American; Nik Cohn, British.
- The Beatles all admired The Band and their music.
- John was an even bigger prick than I'd though. ( )
  piemouth | Jul 1, 2015 |
The point of the book isn't really to be about the various personalities of the Beatles themselves, but more about placing them and their music in the context of the times, showing how they were influenced and benefited by what was going on around them. And then later on, how that influence worked in both directions.

In addition to that, there's of course stuff about the time in Germany, the making of the albums, the interpersonal issues and the ultimate breakdown of the group. Some of the more interesting things to me were the sections that actually talked about the music - assessing the albums and individual songs thematically and musically. I had never realized that "Eleanor Rigby" has only two chords, or that some of the other songs had lyrics cribbed from other people's songs, or poems.

In spite of the fact that it wasn't about the individual Beatles, I will say that by the time I finished the book, I liked John Lennon a lot less than I had when I started it. I don't know that any of them particularly come out covered in glory, but his flaws certainly show large in the book.

Overall, I enjoyed most of it but occasionally the story got bogged down in seemingly tangential facts, especially in the early parts. But it made me want to listen to all of the songs again and hear the various things Gould talked about, and that's got to be a good thing. ( )
  ursula | Dec 14, 2012 |
Gould’s attempt at theorizing why The Beatles meant (and mean) so much to music lovers makes as much, or more, sense than a lot of other articles, and books, I’ve read. By putting them into the larger context of their time and the world, especially the political uprisings of the tumultuous 60s in America and Britain, there’s much to mull over here. It’s mind-boggling how much was going on then, and how quickly things changed. In a short two years, The Beatles went from nearly completely unknowns to international superstars. In seven they went from best of friends to breaking up and licking their wounds with solo projects. Although the ending falls into the, “and then they broke up The End” sort of category, what happens before is worth reading and pondering. ( )
  AuntieClio | Mar 31, 2010 |
superb book ( )
  bentoth | Aug 21, 2008 |
Visar 5 av 5
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» Lägg till fler författare (1 möjlig)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Gould, JonathanFörfattareprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
O'Neill,TerryRear cover photographmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Ogust, DionAuthor photographmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Ward, MichaelFront cover photographmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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On a gray, blustery Friday afternoon in February 1964, the four young British musicians collectively known as the Beatles arrived on a gleaming Pan American Airways jetliner at Kennedy Airport in New York...
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A cultural and musical history of the 1960s in Britain and America captures the pulse of the era through the music of the Beatles, critically analyzing why the group became a trans-Atlantic phenomenon while discussing the evolution of the group's music.

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