Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Here, There and Everywhere: The 100 Best Beatles Songs

by Stephen J. Spignesi and Michael Lewis

The Beatles recorded 206 original songs over the course of the band's existence, most of them enormous hits, all of them memorable, many of them ascending, overtime, to the level of enduring classic. "Blackbird" ... "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" ... "Let It Be" ... "Revolution" ... "Eleanor Rigby" ... "Hey Jude" ... "Help!" ... Just repeating the names of the Beatles' great songs is enough to set the tunes and lyrics spinning through our minds and send us wandering down Penny Lane, along Abbey Road, through Strawberry Fields, or into Norwegian Wood. The best of them are great works of popular art by what many consider to be the best band that ever was. As a body of work, they form a kind of soundtrack to our lives, whether we grew up right along with them or weren't even born yet when they broke up.

Stephen J. Spignesi and Michael Lewis have been listening to, studying, and writing about the Beatles for years. They decided to set themselves a task that they now admit was even harder than they had anticipated: They decided to select the top 100 Beatles songs and rank them in order, from 1 to 100. They culled. They wrangled. They argued. They compromised. They cut-and-pasted. (You might even say they obsessed.) And ultimately, they came up with a ranking of the Beatles' 100 best tunes, based on merit, songwriting, musicianship, fun, and a host of other ineffable factors that only they understand. Then they went to work describing, discussing, and defending their choices, along the way providing an unparalleled reference for Beatles fans at every level.

Here, There and Everywhere is full of fresh information, research, facts and figures, historical context, quotes from the band members and others, blow-by-blow descriptions of the writing and recording processes, backstage gossip, song explications, and more. Generously illustrated throughout with photos of the band at work and play, posing and in unguarded moments, in character and taking a break, this book is a definitive guide to the best of the best, and a boon to Beatles-lovers everywhere. It is sure to provoke lively conversation about the songs' relative merits--but, as the authors point out in their introduction, "Ask a Beatles fan which of the Beatles' 206 songs are his or her favorites and the answer will probably be, 'all of them!'"

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