Book Review: The Beatles A to Z: The Iconic Band – From Apple to Zebra Crossings, by Steve Wide

Steve Wide provides an illustrated A to Z encyclopedia of The Beatles, along with all the key players in their music & discussion about ‘the fifth Beatle’.

By
Do we need yet another biography of The Fab Four? The answer is 'yes'!
Overall
4.5

Steve Wide is back, this time coming at a well-known subject in a unique manner. The question is – did we really need another book about The Beatles?

Fifty years after The Beatles’ final album was released, and hundreds of books later – about the group and the individual members – Steve Wide steps in to provide a succinct biography that is both fun and informative, presented in the way for which he’s become renowned over his four previous books.

It is an interesting choice to go with The Beatles – after Bowie, Prince, Warhol and Grace Jones. Known entities, all – but not as well known as these four.

In an ironic twist, the book begins and ends at around the same point – Apple Records (formed in 1968) and the Zebra Crossing (from the 1969 album , Abbey Road) – while the points inbetween bring us well known facts and rarities, from the distant and the recent past.

It’s a collection of biographies of the Fab Four – George, John, Paul & Ringo – alongside discussion about who was ‘the fifth Beatle’ (several names are considered), plus the key players in the life of the band including: Brian Epstein, George Martin and, of course, Yoko Ono.

In the mix is a selection of tracks and album details, locations and lifestyle choices – the most infamous being the United States of America highs and lows, alongside the influences of India and the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

The book is also Wide’s first collaboration with Chantel de Sousa, an Australian illustrator whose imagery, like those of his previous collaborative illustrators, brings his words to life.

So in answer to the earlier question about the need for such a book – the answer is a resounding “YES!”

It’s a treat for the long-term, die-hard fans; and an appetiser for those who want to know more about the band, and its members. They were – and still remain – one of the most (if not the most) influential quartets of modern music.

Wide will return, in November, just in time for Summer, when we will witness the rise of the Mercury…Freddie Mercury.

Reviewed by Glen Christie

Distributed by: Simon & Schuster Australia
Released: May 2019
RRP: $29.99 hardcover

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