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 www.robsheffield.com.

For more information regarding Dey Street Books (@deystreet) please visit www.deystreetbooks.com.


on-bowieTitle: On Bowie

Author: Rob Sheffield

Pages: 208 Pages

Publisher: Headline

The Blurb

On Bowie is a thoughtful and loving meditation on the life of the late David Bowie that explores his creative legacy and the enduring and mutual connection he enjoyed with his fans

Innovative. Pioneering. Brave. Until his death in January 2016, David Bowie created art that not only pushed boundaries, but helped fans understand themselves and view the world from fantastic new perspectives.

When the shocking news of his death on January 10, 2016 broke, the outpouring of grief and adulation was immediate and ongoing. Fans around the world and across generations paid homage to this brilliant, innovate, ever-evolving artist who both shaped and embodied our times

In this concise and penetrating book, highly-regarded Rolling Stone critic, bestselling author, and lifelong Bowie fan Rob Sheffield shares his own feelings about the passing of this icon and explains why Bowie’s death has elicited such an unprecedented emotional outpouring from so many.

The Review

Let’s face it folks, 2016 has not been kind to out celebrities. Out of all of the celebrity deaths that have happened so far David Bowie was one of the harshest for me. I loved Bowie. I couldn’t tell you exactly when I discovered my love for David Bowie but being a child of the 80s my introduction to him must have come from the movie Labyrinth. From then on my love grew.

My love and indeed obsession with music came (like most) in my teen years and it was then that I discovered Bowie the musician not Jareth the Goblin King. Bowie wasn’t and still isn’t someone that you can listen to passively. His music dictates that you give him your full attention. Likewise this is what I gave to Rob Sheffield when I read his book On Bowie. The book was written in light of Bowie’s death in January and released a few months after and what I loved about it is that the biography (I feel weird calling it this) mixes moments from David Bowie’s life and shows the resonance that Bowie had on his audience. How what he did and how he did it impacted people. That is what, in my humble opinion, makes Rob Sheffield’s writing really exciting. You see it in his previous books and you definitely see it in On Bowie. It is the book that makes you shout “Yes! You get it. That is exactly how I feel.”

If you love Bowie then read On Bowie. If you love music then read On Bowie. And if you love it when an author just gets it then read On Bowie.

On Bowie by Rob Sheffield is available now.

For more information regarding Rob Sheffield (@robsheff) please visit www.robsheffield.com.

For more information regarding Headline (@headlinepg) please visit www.headline.co.uk.


Talking to GirlsThe Review

Having previously read Rob Sheffield’s debut Love is a Mixtape (Piatkus Books, 2010) I already had a feeling that I would like Talking to Girls About Duran Duran (Dutton, 2010). You see, Sheffield has what appears to be an effortless way of revealing himself without being over the top or boring. The quality of his writing is warm and endearing. In Love is a Mixtape he writes about the loss of his wife and whilst doing so offers the reader a raw piece of himself through not only his words but the words of the artists that feature on the series of mixtapes that accompany each chapter. I implore anyone to read that book and not be moved.

Talking to Girls About Duran Duran has less of the heartache featured in Sheffield’s debut yet it is no less special. Sheffiled takes you through key moments of his life and how the soundtrack to these moments has stayed with him and has resonated enough for him to associate the memories to the songs.

It would have been easy for Sheffield just to compile a silly list of songs i.e. the number one when he was born or his first slow dance (incidentally for me Karma Chameleon by Boy George was number one when I was born and I had my first slow dance to Never Ever by All Saints) but he goes deeper than that. These are songs that remind him of long hot summers in Spain or looking after this grandfather, or the girl he met whilst working as a garbage disposal man. His stories are gloriously charming, off the cuff and completely engaging.

For all intents and purposes, no matter how self indulgent it may seem, this book is an example of one man’s lifelong love affair with music. Sheffield just gets it. He gets how loving a silly little piece of music is such a wonderful thing, but ultimately how it can be a lonely thing, yet with the closing of each chapter that gap of loneliness seems to get a little smaller as you realise that there are other fans out there like you.

This is a glorious book that makes you examine the impact of music on your own life. And what makes it all the more compelling is that as you read it you feel Sheffield’s love of music drip off the each page. There is one downside. Much like most of my favourite songs, it ended far too soon.

Talking to Girls About Duran Duran by Rob Sheffield is available now.

Follow Rob Sheffied (@robsheff) on Twitter.

4 Stars