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In their lives : great writers on great Beatles songs
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Publishers Weekly Reviews

More than 50 years after the Beatles conquered America and unleashed Beatlemania upon the world, the Fab Four still exert an influence on popular music that even ex-Beatle Paul McCartney finds "astounding." As in his previous collections, such as The Good Book: Writers Reflect on Favorite Bible Passages, Blauner asks a range of writers to examine famous works; here, he requeststhe stories of their favorite Beatles songs, including "what the songs mean to them, the how and why of it all." The 29 essays by artists such as Rosanne Cash, Rick Moody, and Jane Smiley are arranged chronologically by the songs' release dates, so the collection serves as a miniature history of the Beatles. The author selection is somewhat arbitrary, but the authors all clearly care about the influence of the songs on their lives, and the essays are uniformly excellent and informative. Most fascinating is how often the authors address childhood and aging; cartoonist Roz Chast writes, "When I think about ‘She Loves You'... and how happy it made me feel to hear it, I think about how much it represented the mirage of a possible future." This theme is echoed by novelist and music writer Bill Flannigan discussing "Two of Us" from the Beatles' final album: "They showed us the way to go out into the world and get lost and they showed us the way to get back home." (May)

Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.


An anthology of essays from a chorus of twenty-nine luminaries singing the praises of their favorite Beatles songs. - (Baker & Taylor)

A collection of essays from thirty authors, actors, and musicians explores each's favorite Beatles song and discusses the enduring impact of the most popular band of all time. - (Baker & Taylor)

This collection of essays from 30 authors, actors and musicians has each list their favorite Beatles song and explore and reflect on why they selected their song and discuss the enduring impact of the most popular band of all time. - (Baker & Taylor)

The perfect gift for any Beatles fan, In Their Lives is an anthology of essays from a chorus of twenty-nine luminaries singing the praises of their favorite Beatles songs.

The Beatles’ influence—on their contemporaries, on our cultural consciousness, and on the music industry ever after—is difficult to overstate. We all have a favorite song from the band that made us want to fall in love, tune in, and follow our dreams. Arranged chronologically by the date of the song’s release, these essays highlight both the Beatles’ evolution as well as the span of generations their music affected. Whether they are Beatlemaniacs who grew up listening to the iconic albums on vinyl or new fans who stream their favorite songs on their phones, all of the contributors explore that poignant intersection between Beatles history and personal history.

With contributions from twenty-nine authors and musicians—Roz Chast on “She Loves You,” Jane Smiley on “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” Rosanne Cash on “No Reply,” Gerald Early on “I’m a Loser,” Rick Moody on “The End,” Maria Popova on “Yellow Submarine,” David Duchovny on “Dear Prudence,” Chuck Klosterman on “Helter Skelter,” David Hajdu on “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number),” and more—the breadth of the band’s impact is clear. From musings on young love and family strife to explorations of racial boundaries and identity, these essays pay tribute to a band that ran the gamut of human experience in a way no musical group has done before or since.

Timed for the fiftieth anniversary of the release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, this anthology captures the full spectrum of reasons fans still love the Fab Four after all these years.  

In Their Lives is full of pleasant surprises.”—New York Times - (Penguin Putnam)

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