In commemoration of Fab Four’s 50th Anniversary, author Andrew Grant Jackson has announced the release of his new book, Still the Greatest: The Essential Songs of the Beatles’ Solo Careers, from Scarecrow Press, a division of Rowman & Littlefield, now available in stores and online.
You can read exclusive excerpts all this week on John, Paul, George and Ringo only at RollingStone.
Still the Greatest celebrates the high points and often overlooked songwriting and recording achievements of John, Paul, George, and Ringo after each struck out on his own. Jackson creates ongoing, post-1970, Beatles albums mixing together the best of their solo careers, recounting the inspirations, circumstances, players, producers, friends and stories behind the music. Taken together, the chapters add up to an epic odyssey of four musicians who, after changing society, struggled with demons both in themselves and the world outside until finally finding their paths home, each in their own way.
Read stories from the book alongside audio/visual companions, browse conceptual playlists, and check out daily news items, song of the day/clip of the day and immerse yourself all over again in the band that you thought you knew everything about at: www.SoloBeatles.com.
Author Jackson has assessed the over 70 albums and 900 songs collectively released by the Fab Four since since they broke up forty-two years ago (remarkable the group was only together eight years). “There are a dozen brilliant Beatles albums to be carved out of their solo albums,” says Jackson. “We won’t be receiving any new music from the band, but you can create new Beatles albums simply by taking John’s five best tunes from each year, Paul’s five best, and a couple of George and Ringo’s. It’s the same album formula the band employed while together. Everyone from casual listeners to the most well versed of fans can still continue to ‘discover’ The Beatles. And theirs is a story that was only half told at the dawn of 1970.”
In this creative history, the book investigates their explorations of new genres like reggae, funk, disco, and the 80s big drum progressive sound before their later return to their Beatle-esque roots. Lennon brought a new level of soul-searing honesty to the singer songwriter tradition while McCartney filled the airwaves with lushly orchestrated rock operas. Harrison synthesized Indian music, gospel, and Southern blues, mixed it with Phil Spector’s wall of Sound, and conquered the charts with hymns to the Lord while inventing the rock charity concert. And meanwhile, for a stretch, Ringo was second only to McCartney for most consecutive Top 10 singles in the U.S.
Still the Greatest profiles their collaborations with artists like Jeff Lynne, Elvis Costello, Phil Spector, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Joe Walsh, Nashville session masters, their old mentor George Martin, and Radiohead’s producer Nigel Godrich. We see George’s one-two comeback punch of Cloud Nine and the Traveling Wilburys, Ringo’s later albums of sixties-esque jangle pop married to words of hard-won wisdom, and McCartney’s third act resurgence of raw emotion comparable to Dylan and as he turned to music again for catharsis, surprising those who had him pegged as a light pop craftsman.
Both a handy reference and an engrossing cover-to-cover read, Still the Greatest is an invaluable companion for those who thought it all ended with their 1970 album Let It Be.
- About the author:
- Andrew Grant Jackson has written for Yahoo!, music magazines Burn Lounge, Mean Street, and Dispatch, the Hollywood monthly magazine Ingenue, and Baseline’s Studio System, the leading online database and research service for the film and television industries. He directed and co-wrote the feature film The Discontents (2004) starring Perry King and Amy Madigan and served as a Development Associate at actor Jeff Bridges’ AsIs Productions.
Official website: www.solobeatles.com
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