Review: Dreaming the Beatles by Rob Sheffield

Title: Dreaming the Beatles

Author: Rob Sheffield

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: Dey Street Books

The Blurb

Rob Sheffield, the Rolling Stone columnist and bestselling author of Love Is a Mix Tape offers an entertaining, unconventional look at the most popular band in history, the Beatles, exploring what they mean today and why they still matter so intensely to a generation that has never known a world without them.

Dreaming the Beatles is not another biography of the Beatles, or a song-by-song analysis of the best of John and Paul. It isn’t another exposé about how they broke up. It isn’t a history of their gigs or their gear. It is a collection of essays telling the story of what this ubiquitous band means to a generation who grew up with the Beatles music on their parents’ stereos and their faces on T-shirts. What do the Beatles mean today? Why are they more famous and beloved now than ever? And why do they still matter so much to us, nearly fifty years after they broke up?

As he did in his previous books, Love is a Mix Tape, Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, and Turn Around Bright Eyes, Sheffield focuses on the emotional connections we make to music. This time, he focuses on the biggest pop culture phenomenon of all time–The Beatles. In his singular voice, he explores what the Beatles mean today, to fans who have learned to love them on their own terms and not just for the sake of nostalgia.

Dreaming the Beatles tells the story of how four lads from Liverpool became the world’s biggest pop group, then broke up–but then somehow just kept getting bigger. At this point, their music doesn’t belong to the past–it belongs to right now. This book is a celebration of that music, showing why the Beatles remain the world’s favorite thing–and how they invented the future we’re all living in today.


The Review

Being from Liverpool it is hard to escape the legacy of The Beatles. They are in all parts of this great city and whilst they were known for wanting to get the hell out of Liverpool (post-war Liverpool wasn’t the thriving metropolis that it is today) the impact of The Beatles cannot be underestimated.

My parents were not fans of The Beatles so I came to develop my love for them independently. I can still remember the year they made their first impact on me – 1992: 30 years after they were first relevant. I watched a brilliant movie called Secrets starring Dani Minogue – sort of like The Breakfast Club but with the Fab Four and set in Australia – as a side not you cannot get this moved and it makes me so angry because I love it – after watching the movie and hearing the music of The Beatles I was hooked.

I love it when I come across writers who talk about the impact that a band I love (from the city I love) has had on them. It is even better when the writer is Rob Sheffield who I have loved since reading Love is a Mixtape. Winner.

Dreaming the Beatles is a biographopedia – did I just make up a word? It is a collection of Beatles stories interspersed with stories of Sheffield’s life and it just works. The reason it works is because music isn’t an isolated medium. Who among us doesn’t have a song that transports us to a time or a place?

One thing you can tell is that Rob Sheffield is no idle listener. His love for The Beatles is deep-rooted and as a fan you need to feel that otherwise this type of book (a biographopedia) would not work.

Another fine piece of writing from Rob Sheffield.

Dreaming the Beatles by Rob Sheffield is available now.

For more information regarding Rob Sheffield (@robsheff) please visit

For more information regarding Dey Street Books (@deystreet) please visit


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