01 March, 2013

Bruce Pollock

A different way of looking at popular music history; Pollock uses The Beatles to focus a review of fifty or so years of music, looking at it all through the lens of the original -mania band, how they were influenced, whom they influenced, whom they played like, who plays like them, and so on. The result is, though it sounds a bit arbitrary as write this, really quite a clever approach. I'm not sure it could be done again, with another group, meaningfully, but this one book is, for that reason, unique.

The title is a little misleading, as the second, following, phrase is usually, “...then you'll love...”; the sorts of places i have seen it are in advertising for something which is based on and attempting to cash in on a popular brand, perfume, for example, or a series of novels. In this case it is not quite the same, as the basic assumption is that we love The Beatles and, therefore, might be interested in hearing the other artistes mentioned, which rather changes around the basis of the phrase, but Pollock has not changed the phrase itself. Never mind the pedantry, though; the book itself is a good overview of popular music, fairly prosaically told, but by no means unreadably.

Better are the series of appendices, in which Pollock gives lists of various sorts; i'm particularly interested in that which gives a huge number of cover versions of Beatles songs, and the artists who have made them. There are also lists by chapter of songs or albums to listen to in order better to understand the origins and influence of The Beatles. Plenty of information packed into a fairly small space.

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