1. David Fricke, "Beatles Maniacs," Rolling Stone 980 (August 11, 2005): 22.
2. These are the figures provided by the Fab Faux's "resident Beatles statistician," guitarist Frank Agnello, although I'm not sure how he comes up with the number of 211. By my count, if we consider the "official canon" to consist of every song recorded and released by the Beatles during 1962-70 (as documented in the so-called Wise scores, to be discussed below), the total should be 213. That number rises to 215 if we also include the two "posthumous" singles from the mid-1990s Anthology sessions, "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love."
3. Paul du Noyer, "Remembering Shea," TV Guide 53/33 (August 14-20, 2005): 27. Ironically, of course, despite their paving the way for stadium rock, the Beatles themselves were to abandon live performance altogether barely a year later (the group's final stadium show was at San Francisco's Candlestick Park on August 29, 1966).
4. See, for example, the reviews of the first volume by Yrjö Heinonen in Music Theory Online 6.2 (2000), by Steven Block in Notes 57/1 (2000): 157-59, and by Jonathan W. Bernard in Music Theory Spectrum 25/2 (2003): 375-82; the reviews of the second volume by Daniel Beller-McKenna in Notes 60/1 (2003): 614-15, and by Ian Inglis in Popular Music and Society 27/3 (2004): 373-74; and the review of both volumes by Kenneth Gloag in Music Analysis 22/1-2 (2003): 231-37.
5. See Everett, "Fantastic Remembrance in John Lennon's �Strawberry Fields Forever' and �Julia,'" The Musical Quarterly 72/3 (1986): 360-93; and "Text-Painting in the Foreground and Middleground of Paul McCartney's Beatle Song �She's Leaving Home,'" In Theory Only 9/7 (1987): 5-21.
6. While I will focus only on these three musical parameters in this review, I do not mean to suggest that Everett ignores other equally important parameters--such as rhythm and meter--in his analyses of the Beatles' songs. Everett declares in his preface, for example, that in this book "Ringo [Starr]'s drumming will at last be given the close attention it has always been due." (ix)
7. Richard Middleton, "Introduction: Locating the Popular Music Text," in Middleton, ed., Reading Pop: Approaches to Textual Analysis in Popular Music (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 6. This description by one of the leading U.K. scholars in popular musicology forms part of what is probably the most scathing published attack launched thus far against the "North American music theorists" who work on pop and rock music. Middleton goes on to suggest that "characterized by a taken-for-granted formalism, [the work of the North American music theorists] rarely broaches the issue of pertinence, or demonstrates awareness of the danger of reification." I'll have more to say about Middleton's criticisms later in this review, but I should note here that Everett himself has launched a convincing (if somewhat overblown) counter-attack on Middleton in his review of Reading Pop in Music Theory Online 7.6 (2001).
8. For a detailed study focusing exclusively on those Beatles songs that oscillate between two tonal centers--a feature which would become increasingly prevalent in their later compositions (e.g., "Good Day Sunshine," "Doctor Robert")--see Naphtali Wagner, "Tonal Oscillation in the Beatles' Songs," in Beatlestudies 3: Proceedings of the BEATLES 2000 Conference (Jyväskylä, Finland: University of Jyväskylä Press, 2001), 87-96. See also Peter Kaminsky's review of Beatlestudies 3 in Music Theory Online 11.1 (2005).
9. As Everett explains in his accompanying discussion, the verses of both songs feature "root-position triads [that] descend [through] the natural minor scale from I to V, ... followed by a mixture-produced I# chord." He goes on to say that "[w]hereas Shannon's chorus ... repeats I#-VI several times, Lennon's ... begins there and immediately moves on to II," and also that "[b]oth songs ... feature a major-major chord on IV ..., unusual in a minor context."
10. Despite my quibbles here, I should say that Everett understands the harmonic language of pop and rock music better than any other writer. Indeed, in a probing recent article, Everett has attempted to account for all of the various tonal systems that together comprise the rock universe, ranging from traditional major and minor systems through diatonic modal systems, "blues-based minor-pentatonic-inflected major-mode systems," and "triad-doubled or power-chord minor-pentatonic systems" (i.e., I-bIII-IV-V-bVII, which, as Everett notes, is "unique to rock styles"), ending with systems based on "chromatically related scale degrees with little dependence upon pentatonic[ism]"; see his "Making Sense of Rock's Tonal Systems," Music Theory Online 10.4 (2004).
11. Everett continues by explaining how the G-F#-E motive is recast in three different harmonic guises during the intro to "She Loves You," where the accompanying lyric "yeah, yeah, yeah" is set against Em, A7 and C chords respectively, as if the singer wishes "to get his simple message across in as many ways as possible, by exploring the common-tone functions of G and E." (178) For a more extensive analysis of this song, accompanied by detailed Schenkerian graphs, see Everett's earlier article, "Voice Leading and Harmony as Expressive Devices in the Early Music of the Beatles: �She Loves You,'" College Music Symposium 32 (1992): 19-37.
12. Until just recently, the only commercially available CD versions of the Beatles' corpus have been those based on the original U.K. Parlophone LPs, yet it is well known that the Beatles' albums up to and including Revolver were repackaged--"butchered," as the Beatles put it--for the American market, reducing the number of tracks on each LP and using the leftovers to create additional product, before being released on EMI's U.S. Capitol label. The U.K. Parlophone singles and albums are still generally considered by Beatles aficionados to represent the "official canon" the way the Beatles themselves intended; accordingly, Everett's song-by-song analysis follows the order of the original Parlophone releases (grouped by single, EP, or LP, and arranged chronologically by recording date rather than track listing). However, in response to increasing popular demand (fueled no doubt by pure nostalgia), EMI has now started to release the original U.S. Capitol albums in CD format, beginning in 2004 with the quartet of 1964 records: Meet the Beatles!, The Beatles' Second Album, Something New, and Beatles '65. ("She Loves You" was originally released in the U.K. as a single only in August 1963, where it hit #1 the following month; on the contrary, U.S. record buyers in 1964 would have known "She Loves You" both as a single and as the final track on The Beatles' Second Album.)
13. As Everett notes in his preface, the Wise scores "are not without faults, but they will certainly not be replaced in the near future." (xii) In fact, the Beatles remain the first and only pop or rock group so far to have had their entire corpus transcribed from the original studio recordings and published in full score.
14. Mark Spicer, "(Ac)cumulative Form in Pop-Rock Music," twentieth-century music 1/1 (2004): 30.
15. Regarding form at the local level, Everett introduces the acronym SRDC to account for a typical phrase design that often occurs within a verse, which he defines as follows:
SRDC: an abbreviation for Statement-Restatement-Departure-Conclusion, the designation for periodic functions, as well as motivic or tonal correspondences, among phrases of certain verses, as in "I'll Cry Instead." Individual phrases may be referred to as a D-gesture or -line. (365)
16. For a fuller account of this formal scheme as it is used in pre-1950s American popular song, see Allen Forte, The American Popular Ballad of the Golden Era, 1924-1950 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995), especially 36-41.
17. John Covach, "Form in Rock Music: A Primer," in Engaging Music: Essays is Music Analysis, ed. Deborah Stein (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 70. In this lucid survey of the most common formal schemes used in rock music, Covach later correctly points out that "[a]s the 1960s progressed ... there was a trend away from the AABA form ... and toward versions of the verse-chorus form." Accordingly, one finds significantly fewer examples of AABA form in Beatles songs recorded after 1965. On the Beatles' use of AABA form, see also Jon Fitzgerald, "Lennon-McCartney and the Early British Invasion, 1964-6," in The Beatles, Popular Music and Society, ed. Ian Inglis (London: MacMillan, 2000), 53-85.
18. Middleton, "Introduction," in Reading Pop, 6.
19. David Brackett, Interpreting Popular Music (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995; repr. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000). For a useful discussion of the pros and cons of using transcriptions in popular music analysis, including his own use of spectrum photos to represent aspects of timbre graphically, see Brackett's "Introduction," 27-29.
20. Kevin Holm-Hudson has recently explored this very notion--which he calls "sonic historiography"--in a wide range of pop and rock repertoire; see his "The Future is Now ... and Then: Sonic Historiography in Post-1960s Rock," Genre 34/3-4 (2001): 243-64. See also Brian Robison, "Somebody is Digging My Bones: King Crimson's �Dinosaur' as (Post)Progressive Historiography," in Holm-Hudson, ed., Progressive Rock Reconsidered (New York and London: Routledge, 2002), 221-42.
21. Retailing for just under $2,000, the Yamaha DX7 quickly became the most popular synthesizer on the market after it was introduced in 1983, and remained the industry standard for some years following. The DX7 featured the then brand-new technology of digital FM synthesis, yet since this required some advanced understanding of physics, it was notoriously hard for musicians to program their own sounds. Most keyboardists, myself included, relied mainly on the stock factory timbres that came packaged with the instrument, and one therefore hears these distinctive sounds all over pop and rock records from 1984 to c. 1987. For the consummate example of a recording dominated by Yamaha DX7 timbres--including the bell-chimes and bouncy electronic bass, among others--one need only listen to Band Aid's 1984 U.K. #1 single "Do They Know It's Christmas."
22. The unmistakable jangly sound of Harrison's Rickenbacker Electric 12-String will probably forever be associated with the striking, ametrical opening chord to "A Hard Day's Night" (1964), which Rolling Stone has recently declared the "most famous chord in all of rock & roll" (see "The Beatles--Inside the Hit Factory: The Stories Behind the Making of 27 Number One Songs," Rolling Stone 863 [March 31, 2001]: 33; I should note that the staff writers of this article have misidentified the chord as having been played by John Lennon). Everett's discussion of the "Hard Day's Night" chord can be found on pp. 236-37, while Dominic Pedler devotes no less than an entire chapter to it in his The Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles (London: Omnibus, 2003).
23. Despite its rigorous, academic style, both volumes of The Beatles as Musicians apparently have sold more than 10,000 copies so far--not enough to make any top ten lists, to be sure, but certainly a remarkable achievement for a music-scholarly book.
24. Bernard, review of Everett, The Beatles as Musicians: Revolver through the Anthology (1999), Music Theory Spectrum 25/2 (2003): 381.
25. Rolling Stone 983 (September 22, 2005): 102.
End of footnotes