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As long as popular culture exists, the music, image and legend of the Beatles will never fade away. The Beatles: Literary Anthology is a unique volume, containing a comprehensive selection of interviews, articles, reviews and essays, ranging from accounts of the groups' mercurial rise in 1962, to analyses of their cultural legacy. The band's influence on the youth culture of the Baby Boom generation, and its descendants, is acknowledged in a wide range of writings by figures from both sides of the pop-cultural divide: mainstream reporters, rock journalists, cultural commentators, acquaintances and friends. The Beatles: Literary Anthology recounts the group's mercurial rise from the British Merseybeat scene; and their role spearheading the "British invasion" that made them iconic figures in the USA. It details the experimentation with song structure and sound-recording technique that re-defined pop music forever; and the embracing of psychedelic drugs, hippie utopianism and pacifism, all set against the social changes of the mid-to-late 1960s.
The book also focuses on the band's acrimonious split, and the disparate, sometimes tragic, post-Beatles paths followed by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. The strange extremes of a pop sensation virtually unparalled in terms of mass media fame are also examined in thought provoking articles. These explore the American Far Right's conspiracy theory marking the Beatles as agents of Communism; and the "Paul is Dead" myth, alongside the cryptographic reading of Beatles trivia that inspired it. Also examined are Lennon's attempts to live with his absurdly messianic status; the insane "messages" that the Manson Family girls deciphered from the lyrics of The White Album; and finally the obsession of disturbed Beatles fan Mark Chapman, culminating in his tragic attempt to steal a little of Lennon's celebrity. The Beatles: Literary Anthology serves as both an essential purchase for any serious Beatles fan, and as a fascinating introductory overview of a band who continue to exert a huge influence on music and popular culture.