The Beatles Discography: Volume One-The 60’s
Stephen E. Donnelly
Outskirts Press (2011)
Reviewed by Joseph Yurt for Reader Views (4/11)
Generally regarded as the “Fourfathers” of the globalization of mainstream pop music, the body of work of the Beatles is immense. It was their prolific output and a fanatical passion for the music that compelled author and Beatles chronologist Stephen E. Donnelly to assemble a concise and complete guide to the songs that the Beatles recorded, with information arranged in chronological order.
“The Beatles Discography” presents US and UK releases side by side with important releases from Germany, France and other countries. Their solo releases are detailed in the same chronological listings, complete with release dates, record labels and numbers, full track listings with composer and producer credits, recording dates, mix variations and song length. Of special interest for the devotee are many rare images of front and back covers, picture sleeves and record labels.
While I have always been a Beatles enthusiast, my interest falls short of that processed by a fanatic. For that perspective, I turned to a colleague, Louisville-based print editor Michael Valsted, who does indeed qualify as a fanatical fan.
He assessed the book as an “exhaustively researched primer for the Beatles collector,” and liked the “easy readability of the text.” We shared the same thought in wishing that the album and single covers had been bigger. Michaels’s final comment was that the book would “most likely be a ‘must have’ for the niche Beatles fanatic.”
In the foreword to “The Beatles Discography,” Mr. Donnelly writes that he has been a Beatles fan his entire life. “I attended the Beatles film debut, A Hard Day’s Night, while yet unborn. The first song I remember wanting to hear was ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ when I was four years old.”
It’s been my experience that such love and passion for one’s subject almost always makes for a good book, such as “The Beatles Discography.”