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Revolution In The Head: The Beatles Records and the Sixties [Anglais] [Broché]

Ian MacDonald
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Description de l'ouvrage

4 décembre 2008

As dazzling as the decade they dominated, The Beatles almost single-handedly created pop music as we know it. Today, their songs are cited as seminal influences by stars like Oasis and Blur. Eloquently giving voice to their time, The Beatles quite simply changed the world.

Fully updated to include material from The Beatles Live at the BBC and the Anthology series, this acclaimed book goes back to the heart of The Beatles - their records. Drawing on a unique resource of knowledge and experience to 'read' their 241 tracks - chronologically from their first amateur efforts in 1957 to 'Real Love', their final 'reunion' recording in 1995 - Ian MacDonald has created an engrossing classic of popular criticism in which the extraordinary songs of The Beatles remain a central and continually surprising presence.


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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

"The finest piece of fabs scholarship ever published" (Mojo)

" The masterpiece The Beatles deserved" (Max Bell Vox)

"The most sustained brilliant piece of pop criticism and scholarship for years. An astonishing achievement" (Stuart Maconie Q)

" No book has ever taken us closer to the actual music of The Beatles...A brilliant piece of work" (Tony Parsons Daily Telegraph)

" Consistently brilliant. The Beatles have never been so discriminately adored" (Robert Sandall Sunday Times)

Biographie de l'auteur

Ian MacDonald was born in 1948. A writer with many interests, he was Assistant Editor of the New Musical Express during 1972-5. He has also worked as a songwriter and record producer, and is the author of The New Shostakovich, The People's Music and The Beatles at No. 1.He died in 2003.

Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 544 pages
  • Editeur : Vintage (4 décembre 2008)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0099526794
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099526797
  • Dimensions du produit: 13,1 x 19,4 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 49.156 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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0 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Très bien 23 juin 2011
Format:Broché
désolé de donner un avis aussi tardif, un oubli compensé par une super note car tout s'est très bien passé
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Amazon.com: 4.3 étoiles sur 5  65 commentaires
54 internautes sur 62 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The best written analysis of the Beatles music, period 18 octobre 2007
Par TheBandit - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
The late Ian MacDonald really nailed it with this book. I try to read any comprehensive analysis of the Beatles recorded catalog that I can - and none even come close to this. Simply put, this book changed the way I listened to the Beatles music. It made me a more attentive, discerning listener. It broadened the scope of my knowledge of '60s music by pointing the way towards other music of the era that I hadn't yet heard. I find it hard to overstate the influence this book has had on me personally - I have read it cover to cover numerous times and still find myself going back to it.

This isn't a history of the Beatles - it is a song-by-song analysis, in the order the songs were recorded, of everything officially released by the group. And make no mistake, it is not an objective collection of facts - there ARE mostly reliable recording dates, release dates, and song credits for every entry, so it can be used as a quick reference. But this is a highly opinionated piece of writing - Mr. MacDonald was not afraid to ruffle feathers by offering critical evaluations of some of the Beatles most popular songs (he is quite harsh, for instance, towards classics like "Across the Universe" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps").

Mr. MacDonald does a great job of placing this body of work within the context of the time it was released - but he also manages to assess each song purely on its own terms, as well. While quite obviously a true-blue Beatles fan, MacDonald maintained a certain level of objectivity throughout - never getting caught up in fanboy idolization. He's tough on this music - when he feels a song isn't up to the band's established standards, he makes it very clear what he doesn't like. In a way, I think MacDonald managed to have a significant impact on certain aspects of popular opinion towards the Beatles music. That may sound like a bit much, but keep in mind that this book was originally published in 1994 and has become (arguably) the standard for critical analysis of the Beatles music.

Throughout the book, MacDonald challenges many of the long-held notions that had gone more or less unchallenged in many, many Beatles-related wiritings. Some of the stereotypes - i.e. John was the intellectual and innovator, Paul was the lightweight romantic - had practically become accepted as facts by music fans. There isn't so much revisionism for it's own sake in this book, but rather a serious re-examination of those popular opinions/theories that often yields a fresh perspective. That's where the value really can be found in this book - you may not agree with every idea MacDonald puts forth, but it is guaranteed you will be forced to take a fresh look at the Beatles music.
26 internautes sur 29 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Terrific Book, But Nothing New in the 3rd Ed 8 août 2007
Par Magnus - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
This is an indispensable book about Beatles music appreciation. MacDonald was one of the most idiosyncratic critics of music that ever lived. This book must be owned by anyone, especially musicians and songwriters, who wants to truly get to the heart of the music of the Beatles.

The only disappointment for me (and for anyone who's been faithfully buying and reading the updates of this book since its release in the mid-1990s) is that the 3rd edition is NOT REVISED. If you own the second edition, you do not need to buy this book. There is not one difference in the text.

Oddly enough, this edition has slightly better quality paper, for some reason, whereas the previous edition uses sort of newspaper/telephone book quality sheets that tear easily. Two other subtle changes are: a different pic on the front cover, and the omission of one of the members of Oasis' profanely worded endorsement of the book.

Happy reading if you've never been inside the book before, but if you have the 2nd revised edition, you can sit this one out.
13 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 All You Need Is (Tough) Love 30 mars 2012
Par Nowhere Man - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
There's a real joy in reading Ian Macdonald's "Revolution in the Head," because even if you disagree with his assessments, you know you're in the presence of an introspective but tough critic. He reads the Beatles against the cultural politics of the 1960s in order to assess the extent to which their music shaped and reflected the changing values of those times. His introductory essay, in fact, is one of the finest and nuanced summaries that I've read on the Sixties Revolution - neither congratulatory nor scornful but rather fair-minded. The individual song assessments presume some familiarity with music terminology (a glossary in the back helps) and non-specialists like me will tend to gloss over descriptions like "...endlessly uncoiling B flat Mixolydian melody around a standard three-cord progression." ("She Said, She Said")

While many people here think that MacDonald is harsh in his assessments of McCartney, on the whole I find his take on both Lennon and McCartney to be fairly accurate. It is true that he takes Lennon's songs more seriously and almost all of his extended analyses - in which he shows how a particular Beatles composition embodied the spirit of its moment - are from Lennon's catalogue: "Tomorrow Never Knows," "Strawberry Fields," and "Revolution 1." yet, he does show a deep appreciation for McCartney's musicianship, his innovative and complex melodic arrangements, and the deep empathy that characterizes his best work. He is hardest, though, on Harrison. His low opinion of Harrison's early songs carries over into a serious under-estimation of his later work, especially "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "Here Comes The Sun."

But this is what makes MacDonald's book so good: his knowledgeable yet pugnacious tone invites you to argue with it and rewards multiple readings. It allows even novices to get some sense of the Beatles' technical achievements in popular music and better understand why they had the cultural impact that they did. Best of all: it's a fun read.
18 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 McCartney found this book inaccurate 10 novembre 2013
Par Batuta - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
This is what Paul McCartney commented on this book in a Pitchfork interview:

"McCartney: ....But I've seen some of the books, particularly about the Beatles, where they'll say, "This was McCartney's answer to Lennon's barb"-- and so on and so on. Like hell it was!

Pitchfork: Like Ian MacDonald's book [Revolution in the Head].

McCartney: Yeah, exactly. You got it in one, exactly. And you know, unfortunately [MacDonald] is no longer with us. He died, and so I don't want to put him down. But while he was around I must say, I would dip into that book and think, "See now, what's he got to say about this song?" And he'd go, "This is McCartney's answer to-- " and I'd go, "No, it wasn't!" It was just, I just wrote a song."

Dismiss the reviews that tell you that this is the definitive book of Beatles lore. Most of it is contrived, speculative and imposes meanings and contexts on to the Beatles' music. Do not mistake Ian McDonald's entertaining and confident style for insight in the Beatles. A far more reliable and readable Beatles expert is Mark Lewisohn.

The interview I quoted from can be found here: [...]
11 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Is The Author Bitter? 13 avril 2013
Par atlbsky - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
I had hoped that this would be an in depth and unbiased review of each recorded Beatles track. Unfortunately, the author seems completely absorbed with proving his own, intellectual musical superiority. When you combine that with the blatant gaffes, the book becomes quickly unworthy of your time.

I finally stopped altogether after having to muddle through his assessments of Timothy Leary's contribution to the LSD movement of the late sixties. He seemed to want to attribute the very existence of LSD to Leary, oblivious to the fact that the drug was created and introduced by the US military. Besides, in a book supposedly devoted to the analysis of each track recorded by the Beatles, what is the relevance of this excursion? It's well known that the group experimented briefly with the drug, and that it influenced some of their music. However, the amount of time that McDonald spends explaining his understanding of the drug took away from the direction the book was supposed to be on, which was the group's music, not Timothy Leary.

He then made the outlandish statement that Tomorrow Never Knows, from the Revolver sessions, was one of the Beatles most socially significant recordings. Nothing could be further from the truth. When Revolver was released, it was a real head scratcher for a lot of their fans, because it was a huge departure from their pop laden previous work. At the time of its release, Tomorrow Never Knows was an interesting track, and over time, as more became known about Lennon's influences at the time, the track is raised in stature....but only in hindsight! Therein lies the greatest failing of this book. Through the benefit of hindsight, the author picks apart many of the early recordings, accusing them of being bland or uninteresting, even suggesting that some borrowed too heavily from other, better songs of the era. He even claims that the song "Wait" from Rubber Soul" was a direct remake of a Four Seasons song.

I'm sorry, but there is not a single recording in the history of the soft, made for radio dribble that was rolled out by the Four Seasons that stands up against even the weakest track recorded by The Beatles.

A far greater study would have been to take these songs, and after providing information about the session, weigh their importance in comparison to the times, and not by looking back so many years later. The Beatles dominated recorded music in their day, and if anyone wants to know how really good their records were compared to other recordings that were being made at the same time, all you have to do is look at the music charts to see the competition for their songs, and in quality, originality, and most importantly, sustainability, there is just nothing that compares.

Lastly, to the author..."I'm Looking Through You" does not begin as a waltz. McCartney s playing triplets in straight four time.

This book was a noble idea, but very poorly executed.
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