The Beatles Forever

by Nicholas Schaffner

The Beatles Forever

The Beatles Forever is a fascinating chronicle of the Beatles as songwriters, performers, friends, enemies, heroes, villains, and most of all, as human beings. The book follows the Beatles' musical development and their impact on the culture. It understands them and appreciates them in the context of their turbulent times.

Mr. Schaffner offers his excellent critical assessments of all the major Beatles recordings. He discusses their transformation of rock lyrics into the most influential form of contemporary poetry; their musical innovations such as the use of the sitar and other unusual instruments in Rubber Soul and Revolver, albums that ushered in the psychedelic movement in rock; their introduction of the "concept" album with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, their shattering of conventional radio programming formats with the 7-minute-long single, "Hey Jude"; their live concerts where the music was utterly obliterated by the shrieking of the fans; and all the other aspects of the "fab four"'s meteoric path through history.

Mr. Schaffner's account combines the recollections of an intelligent fan who lived through it with the solid research of a critical historian. He recounts details of the "Paul is Dead" sensation, John Lennon's early relationship with Yoko Ono, Harrison's infatuation with Indian spirituality, the financial intrigues at Apple records, and the post-breakup song duels of Lennon and McCartney, as well as behind-the-scenes stories of many songs and their compositions, inspirations, and references.

The Beatles Forever also offers frank and comprehensive appraisals of the post-Beatle lives and careers of Paul McCartney and Wings, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band, through 1978 (two years before Lennon's death).

Nicholas Schaffner was the author of six books, including The British lnvasion, John Lennon - In My Life (with Pete Shotton), and A Soucerful of Secrets: The Pink Floyd Odyssey. His work appeared in Rolling Stone, Musician, The Village Voice, and elsewhere. He also composed songs and music for films and Off-Broadway plays, and in 1991 made his debut as a recording
artist with the song cycle Magical Kingdoms. A lifelong New Yorker, Nicholas Schaffner made his home in Greenwich Village.


The Beatles and their music changed the course of popular music and culture forever. Their influence can still be felt today in virtually all facets of the recording industry. They have inspired a flood of books, a Broadway musical hit, and many films. They have become almost mythological figures less than a generation after they ended their official partnership in 1970.
      Of all the books that have been written about the Beatles, The Beatles Forever is the most thoroughly entertaining, invigorating, and best at capturing the immediacy of the Beatles and their era. It is a witty anecdotal telling of the whole amazing tale, from the astonishing excitement and hysteria of The Beatles' arrival in America through the twisting intrigues of the group's dissolution to the divergent paths of the members' separate lives.
      The book is bursting with reproductions of rare and sometimes bizarre memorabilia, foreign and extremely hard to find LP and single jackets (including a reproduction of the infamous banned "butcher block" record cover), unusual photographs, complete discographies, and an extensive bibliography. A total of four hundred illustrations grace the pages of this virtual Beatles scrapbook.
      The Beatles Forever is a delightful book, both as an introduction to the Beatles and their music, and as a revelation to the most advanced Beatlemaniac-it is, in effect a Beatles bible.
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