Another Beatles book has come into the collection. It is an impressive one which we are surprised we missed when it was released just last year. Maybe it became overshadowed by Lewisohns’ massive Tune In, and Howlett’s Beatles BBC Archive books – also released last year and both with great publicity and much fanfare.
All The Songs – The Story of Every Beatles Release is up there with them as a reference work and a piece of research. Principally the work of two Frenchmen, Philippe Margotin and Jean-Michel Guesdon (assisted by American Scott Freiman, and with a Preface by the legendary Patti Smith), this book huge and is pretty much as it states in the title – each album and each song on that album dissected and explained in great detail.
It is a big, heavy book – 671 pages in all – and with a great layout, lots of photos, memorabilia, and artistic flair in the design and layout:
There is a good amount of detail too, plus lots of snippets of information if you just want to casually browse:
Some background on All the Songs from the official press release:
Drawing on decades of research, the authors recount the circumstances that led to the composition of every song, the recording process, and the instruments used. Organized chronologically by album release and illustrated with 600 black & white and color photographs, this information-packed book provides readers a comprehensive look at how The Beatles changed music forever.
Throughout the song-by-song recording history are informative details such as John Lennon’s purchase of a 1958 Rickenbacker 325 Capri for £100 in Hamburg, in 1960. Diving into The Beatles’ song and album recording process, readers discover that The Beatles’ first album, Please Please Me, was recorded in one epic 12-hour session in 1963 for £400. In contrast, they spent month after month in 1967 layering sounds on a four-track recorder to create their masterpiece, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Praise for All the Songs:
“Enough technical tables to please everyone’s inner nerd” — The Wall Street Journal
“[This] doorstop collects a galaxy of Beatles song data into impressively simple and digestible form. Beautifully illustrated.” — SPIN
“If you’re looking for yet another attractive book to place with a Beatles coffee-table tableaux, there’s Jean-Michel Guesdon and Philippe Margotin’s ‘All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release’ ”— Chicago Tribune
“[All the Songs] should delight casual listeners and make even hard-core Beatlemaniacs smile.” — The Dallas Morning News
There are more reviews here, and here, and there’s an interesting Q&A with the authors here.
You can see the first 21 pages in high quality on the publishers (Black Dog & Leventhal) website, and Amazon has a “Look Inside” if you would like to see more.