Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Beatles: A Bio-Bibliography

by William McKeen

The career of the Beatles, England's and probably the world's most famous rock'n'roll musical group of the 1960s, has interested a wide variety of people from journalists to rock historians, from popular writers to the American public. In this one-volume reference book, McKeen traces The Beatles' career from the first American appearance in a film clip on the Jack Paar show in 1964 to their breakup in 1970.

The first part of the book contains a biographical essay, and chapters on the group's work--albums, films, performances--their influence on popular culture, and a summary of what happened to John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr after the dissolution of the group in 1970. Part II continues with reference material, a discography, a bibliography and a list of concerts, television appearances, and film performances. The final chapter is a chronology of events from 1940-1970.

This book is an invaluable resource for courses in Rock Music, Popular Music, and Introduction to Music. It is also a priceless reference book for rock historians and will certainly interest Beatle fans.

"McKeen intends to provide a "one-volume reference that attempts to cover a lot of ground" (p. ix), and he does that, although this is not an exhaustive volume. The 52-page biographical essay that begins the work does a nice job of summarizing more than 30 Beatles' biographical sources. Separate, shorter essays briefly discuss their work, the influence they had on the times, and the end of the group and the individuals' subsequent careers. The second half of the book contains a discography, a bibliography, and a listing of performances. The discography covers official releases (no bootlegs), but provides only brief information on each work (the single or album title, the record number, the release date, and the song titles and songwriters from the album cuts). J. Castleman and W.J. Podrazik's All Together Now, The Beatles Again, and The End of the Beatles (1985) supply fuller coverage and much more detailed information about each recording (including illustrations of jackets). The bibliography relies heavily on C.D. Terry's Here, There, & Everywhere, the most complete list of citations currently available. McKeen divides the works by format, covering about 150 books, more than 300 magazine articles, selected newspaper articles, fan magazines, major interviews, and collections. Concluding sections include films (with summaries), TV appearances, concert dates (with city listings but not venue), and a chronology. The index provides access to personal names and titles of works (but not individual songs). This is a good beginning source for anyone interested in the Beatles."

"A reference tracing the Beatles' career: The first part contains a biographical essay, chapters on the group's work and their influence on pop culture, and a summary of what happened to each after dissolution of the group in 1970. The second part includes a discography, bibliography, and a list of concerts, television appearances and film performances. The final chapter is a chronology of events from 1940-1970."
—Reference & Research Book News

"In The Beatles: A Bio-Bibliography, William McKeen traces the fabulous foursome's career from their first American appearance in 1964 on the Jack Paar show to their breakup in 1970. In part one, McKeen summarizes the singers' lives through the early 1980s, the group's work and impact, and their breakup. Part two contains a discography, bibliography, chronology from 1940 to 1970, and lists of the Beatles' films, television appearances, and concerts."
—American Libraries

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