My lasting impression of this one is that it is a ‘heavy book’ – in both senses. At 800 pages in hardback, it’s a big one and it weighs a ton but more importantly, it is an intense read.
To really appreciate the book you need three things:
- In-depth technical music knowledge.
- Familiarity with the Beatle’s entire back catalogue.
- An unwavering passion for, or a least an appreciation of, the Beatles music.
As a novice songwriter who can’t read a note of music and grew up long after the Beatles tumbled from fame, I’m ashamed to say I fell short of all three criteria. I bought the book thinking my knowledge of The Beatles’ mainstream hits would be enough to get me through. Within a few tracks I discovered I was frighteningly out of my depth in all three areas.
I soldiered on, listening to racks wherever I could find them to help bring the chapters to life and I’m actually quite pleased that I did. I learned a few small gems which I sometimes feel creep into my songwriting but sadly when I look back a great deal of time was spent ‘trophy reading’ – turning pages which had little relevance or resonance so I could reach the end and hold this sacred tome aloft and claim to be amongst the few to have ever gone the distance.
I’m not taking anything back from Dominic Pedler. This book is clearly a lifetimes work form a true enthusiast and an expert musical musical analyst. It was just too specific and too technical for me.
The book still has a place on my shelf and for very good reason. I know that if I ever hear a Beatles track that I like I have no doubt I will be able to find it within those pages where its musical ebbs, flows and undercurrents will be expertly dissected and explained.
In summary: A book that will be treasured by any committed Beatles fan with a very high level of technical musical knowledge. The average self-taught guitarist will probably end up using it to prop up the broken leg of that old sofa.