Author: Philippe Margotin, Jean-Michel Guesdon, Preface by Patti Smith (2013)
Every album and every song ever released by the Beatles—from “Please Please Me” (U.S. 1963) to “The Long and Winding Road” (U.S. 1970)—is dissected, discussed, and analyzed by two music historians in this lively and fully illustrated work.
All the Songs delves deep into the history and origins of the Beatles and their music. This book draws upon research by Margotin and Guesdon that led to the composition of every song, the recording process, and the instruments used.
Here, we learn that one of John Lennon’s favorite guitars was a 1958 Rickenbacker 325 Capri, which he bought for £100 in 1960 in Hamburg, Germany. And the authors reveal that when the Beatles performed “I Want to Hold Your Hand” on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, John’s microphone wasn’t turned on, so viewers heard only Paul singing.
Among some of the more interesting revelations:
- George Harrison was relegated to (mostly) maracas during the majority (not all) of the Sgt. Pepper album due to McCartney assuming control of the group… and the guitar.
- Paul McCartney wrote the ballad “Michelle” when he was a student at the Liverpool Institute of Art, inserting French phrases into the song as a ploy to attract women, specifically Michelle Philips from the Mamas and the Papas.
- Members of Pink Floyd, who were recording their first LP “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” at Abbey Road studios at the same time the Beatles were recording “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” sat in the control room while the Beatles mixed the song “Lovely Rita” in March 1967.
- There is a discernible burst of profanity at the 2:59 mark in the song “Hey Jude,” although there is disagreement about whether it was uttered by John Lennon or McCartney.
- One of Lennon’s favorite guitars was a 1958 Rickenbacker Capri, which he bought on a whim for about $150 when the Beatles were cutting their musical chops in Hamburg, Germany, in 1960. He played the guitar, which he had repainted black, on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and used it in the studio until 1965. Yoko Ono, said he also used it on “Double Fantasy,” in 1980.