Phil Rickman’s “December”: Wrestling with Lennon’s ghost

By |2013-12-07T07:50:41-08:00December 7, 2013|1980, Beatle-inspired, Beatles fiction, books, Double Fantasy, John Lennon, Reviews, Uncategorized|

It's hard to write Beatles-related fiction without backing yourself into a corner NANCY CARR * What Beatles fan who was alive in 1980 hasn't wished he or she could have done something to prevent Lennon's murder? And what thoughtful Lennon fan hasn't been troubled by the contradictions manifested in Lennon's personality and life? Those questions drive Phil Rickman's 1996 novel December, a worthy read for this time of year despite its flaws. The book's action starts on December 8, 1980, not at the Dakota in New York City, but at a decrepit abbey in the Welsh countryside where a band fraying [...]

Mark Lewisohn’s “Tune In” Worth the Wait, Says Beatles Blogger

By |2014-08-01T11:57:13-07:00December 3, 2013|biography, books, Mark Lewisohn, Reviews, Tune In|

DEVIN McKINNEY  •  I hope you’ll all toggle over to the arts blog Critics at Large, where I’m a contributor, to read my review of Mark Lewisohn’s Tune In, volume one of his three-part Beatles biography. I know, posting that request here is a bit like asking one’s lover to have dinner at the home of another. But I’m proud to post stuff over there, where it’s in super-fine company. And besides, all of us here in the free-content blogosphere need to help each other out.

The Beatles and Criticism

By |2013-11-19T21:22:17-08:00November 19, 2013|books, Reviews|

"Apparently, we're not a patch on The Shadows." MIKE GERBER • Devin wrote something in an comment regarding The Beatles and criticism that I thought was too well-expressed, and too rich a topic, not to break out for further discussion. First, here's Devin's comment (edited a bit by me; follow this link to get the full version): Something’s been sticking in my craw for some time, and I will take this occasion to extract it. A while past on this blog, I posted a video of myself and a friend debating the best Beatles album. I picked the White Album, [...]

Underrating Sgt. Pepper’s

By |2014-12-23T18:13:47-08:00June 21, 2012|1966, 1967, books, Reviews, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper|

NANCY CARR • “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” is now routinely underrated. I recently read Robert Rodriguez’ new book, Revolver: How the Beatles Reimagined Rock n’ Roll, and the introduction threw this underrating into sharp relief. I highly recommend Rodriguez’ book in all other ways—it's a fascinating look at Revolver’s creation, artistry, and context—but the introduction made me grind my teeth. The path Rodriguez treads in his introduction is now very well worn: people used to think Sgt. Pepper’s was the thing, but now we know Revolver is. Fair enough, to a point. Revolver is excellent, and preferring it to Sgt, Pepper’s is defensible. [...]

All that time

By |2015-09-19T00:06:38-07:00May 7, 2012|1970, Reviews, Rolling Stone|

Greil Marcus "When I became record reviews editor, I made it clear to him after a few months — nobody had done the job before me — that the record review section was an independent republic within the country of Rolling Stone. That meant that nobody else could tell me what to review or what a writer could say. They could argue with me, but ultimately it was my decision. And that worked well. There was one incident where Paul McCartney makes his first solo record and people thought it was wonderful: this rough, homemade one-man-band album. It was accompanied by [...]

Review of "Living In The Material World"

By |2015-04-26T06:17:55-07:00September 14, 2011|Documentaries, George Harrison, Interviews, Reviews|

We're all water Pal o' Dullblog Shirley Wicevich was lucky enough to catch an advance screening of Martin Scorsese's new George Harrison documentary, "Living In The Material World." Here are her thoughts. HD: Where'd you see the movie, Shirley? SW: At the Telluride Film Festival over Labor Day Weekend; I've volunteered there for 6 years. First Ken Burns came out, and gave the prelude to what the audience was about to experience. Then he introduced the film's co-producers, George's widow Olivia and David Tedeschi. That night was the first time that Olivia watched the documentary at a public viewing. HD: [...]

Book Review: “The Beatles’ Second Album”

By |2015-01-16T18:12:27-08:00February 16, 2008|books, Reviews|

The Beatles’ Second Album by Dave Marsh 186 pp. Rodale Books, 2007 DEVIN McKINNEY • I’ve been reading Dave Marsh for many years, starting with his dozens of thumbnail critiques in the first two editions of The Rolling Stone Record Guide and his artist essays in The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll; on through the reviews and journalism collected in Fortunate Son; uncollected pieces in old issues of Rolling Stone; and the massive compendium The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles of All Time (one of my favorite music books, mainly because it anthologizes so many [...]

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