The Beatles: An Illustrated Record
Formatted in the same shape as an LP record, the lavishly put-together book contains an extensive discography of record releases by the Beatles, with critical reviews of each release by Tyler and Carr. Sidebars give a concurrent history of the band, with press clippings, quotes, and photos from each phase of the Beatles's career, including their post-breakup solo years.
The book mainly follows the British releases of the Beatles's records, and helped inform an American audience heretofore unfamiliar with that sequencing. It continues, following the group's split, by reviewing each solo album and single. It is highly regarded by Beatles fans due to its entertaining and often amusing style. Also notable is the generally disparaging comment levelled at George Harrison's early solo work, even his debut All Things Must Pass which is now regarded as being among the best solo releases. Even McCartney's Ram does not escape the withering pen of the authors. However, it is so well written and argued (as well as humorous) that Beatles fans will defend this book almost as strongly as they will their favourite album.
The final section of the book includes a United States discography, and notable foreign releases. The first edition also included a list of bootleg Beatles recordings.
An Illustrated Record was a commercial success, reaching number two on The New York Times Best Seller list for trade paperbacks. Its reported sales of 250,000 copies made it the best-selling Beatles book.
Later editions deleted the bootlegs section, stating only that they were of generally poor sound quality, and of interest "only to the most die-hard Beatlemaniacs." The 1981 edition included a tribute section to John Lennon, who had died only months earlier. Also included was a copy of Lennon's own correction to a passage in the first edition, with a copy of an early news clipping to back it up. "Set the 'Illustrated Record' straight!" Lennon wrote.
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