Meet the Beatles: A Cultural History of the Band That Shook Youth, Gender, and the World

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Harper Collins, May 31, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 344 pages
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Here they are—John, Paul, George, Ringo—the band that inspired and changed popular culture forever. In this revealing and provocative new account, Steven D. Stark puts their impact into unique perspective by revealing both the personal details and the larger events that made them into the twentieth century's greatest cultural force.

"They were magic," said their producer George Martin, and most of us would agree. But the band has become so shrouded in cultural mythology that it is difficult today to really understand how or why. This book explains that why—unpacking the legendary band's aura and examining the ways in which the Beatles' own lives were inextricably tied to the cultural, youth, and gender revolutions they helped create and lead during the 1960s.

Based on extensive research and more than a hundred new interviews, Meet the Beatles offers a compelling fresh interpretation of their story, beginning with their childhoods in England and the profound effect on their outlook and music caused by the deaths of Paul's and John's mothers when they were young. It documents their subsequent special bond with women—from their teenage fans to the mothers of their friends to close partners Linda and Yoko. It illustrates the central importance of drugs, both for them and the youthful counterculture they led; why their unusual hairstyles set off a cultural revolution; how the band came to create a new vision of the role of women; and the unique conditions that allowed these four to conquer America faster than any other cultural phenomenon in history. It explains why the group's popularity has never faded—even now, more than four decades after they first hit the charts.

From Liverpool and Hamburg to Ed Sullivan and Shea Stadium, it's all here—from the improbable decision to fire their original drummer and bring Ringo into the band to why they broke up and who was responsible. After reading Meet the Beatles, you'll never think about the Beatles or listen to their songs the same way again. Live the magic once more.

 

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Meet the Beatles: a cultural history of the band that shook youth, gender, and the world

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With so many Beatles books published each year, it's refreshing when a title emerges that sheds new light on the Fab Four. National Public Radio commentator Stark (Glued to the Set ) has written such ... Read full review

Contents

introduction
1
The British are coming
9
Roots and regrets
39
A COMMUNAL GANG OF ARTISTS
60
ASTRID HAMBURG AND THE GREAT TRANSFORMATION
79
MONA AND BRIAN
90
RESHUFFLING THE BAND WITH HUMOR
105
FIRST RUMBLINGS OF A GENDER REVOLUTION
122
HAIR DRUGS AND ROCK AND ROLL
170
SGT PEPPERS COSMIC COUNTERCULTURE
195
OUT OF SYNC
211
LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED
227
GROWING OLDER LOSING FAITH
251
POSTSCRIPT
268
SOURCES
275
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
329

ENGRAVED UPON THE HEART OF ITS NATION
138
here there and everywhere in 1964
148

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About the author (2005)

Steven D. Stark is a writer and cultural commentator. He has been the popular culture analyst for National Public Radio's Weekend Edition Sunday; a contributor to The World, a daily public radio show coproduced by WGBH and the BBC; and a commentator for CNN's Showbiz Today. The author of Glued to the Set and Writing to Win, he has written extensively for the Boston Globe, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and the Atlantic Monthly. He has been a Beatles fan since he was a boy and the Beatles first hit America on February 7, 1964.

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