Dreaming the Beatles

A Love Story of One Band and the Whole World
Narrated by: Rob Sheffield
Length: 9 hrs and 8 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (139 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone columnist and best-selling 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 50 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.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2017 Rob Sheffield (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Enjoyed it so much I bought it again

Loved it. Fascinating structure, full of interesting details. I loved the audiobook and, when I finished, bought the hardcover so I'd be able to thumb through it at my leisure.

1 person found this helpful

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Pop Storytelling Standout

If you are like me, especially on this 50th Anniversary of Sgt Pepper, you've read some, possibly many books on my favorite subject, The Beatles. And like the escape they provided in the early 60's after the Kennedy assassination and since, this book and the journey it provides functioned as yet another escape in these most difficult political times. Worth spending time together.

3 people found this helpful

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Wonderful ramble

This isn't so much a history of the Beatles as a loosely chronological collection of essays. It's engaging, well-informed, and highly opinionated; it covers the group, the individuals in the group, the music, why many of the songs are brilliant but a few are rubbish, and why and how the world bowed down in homage. If you're a Beatles fan, get it. If you're a Stones fan, get it too - you'll find some useful information here.

Sheffield does a great job narrating his own book, with one exception. His occasional attempt at a British accent (usually in a quote from a Beatle) is pretty bad. Aside from that, he's one of the best writers-as-narrator I've heard. His passion for the subject comes through in his voice.

1 person found this helpful

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If you love The Beatles, this is a fun read!

Are you a Beatlemaniac? Listen to them every week? Taught your kids The Beatles? Think The Beatles? Then this is your book. Fun, insightful, educational, arguable and more. Wonderful narration by the author. Love to John, Paul, George and Ringo (and George Martin).

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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lists of lists

if you're a fan of lists this book is for you. I found myself easily distracted when each Beatles tune made me start singing the song rather than following the text. The loosely connected comparisons were farfetched and numerous. instead of reading this book you would be much better off listening to the Beatles.

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it isn't about The Beatles but ABOUT the beatles

This is the book I would have written if I could, not so much a history of the band, though that is used as a framework, but instead a love letter to the band and the fans.

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Faded toward the end

I really enjoyed the first half, three quarters of the book. I learned a lot and will looking for the boots he speaks of. Minus one star for saying at one point Dylan was trying to keep up with the Beatles and for the comment on Neil Youngs’s Tonight’s The Night.

1 person found this helpful

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An informative and wild adventure with The Beatles and Rob Sheffield

This is a fun and telling book about The Beatles. I recommend this book to any and every Fab Four fanatic out there. It is also for everyone who just likes music and it's history through one band. The author and narrator, Rob Sheffield, paints a vivid picture of not only The Beatles throughout history but why certain things happened in their lives i.e. The Paul is dead theory. Maybe that is real, maybe it's not. If you are the least bit curious about The Beatles or if you want to find out if you are more John or Paul this audiobook is for you. So have fun, sit back, and let the wild adventures with The Beatles and Rob Sheffield wash over you.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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If you're a long-time Beatles fan, skip this one

This guy has done his homework, and is obviously a lifelong Beatles fan and wallows in his fandom in this book. He's got his facts right, most of which have been written about at least several times before. But he seems to think that we're interested or that his opinions should matter on the quality or not of specific songs. When he called The Long and Winding Road one of the worst of their songs (can't remember the exact quote -- I listened to the audio version and can't go back to check it), yet sung the praises of Misery -- really??? Okay, we all have our opinions. Then he goes on and tells us their rationale for why they made certain decisions about their music, how they wrote it and why. How could he possible know that? But the coup de grace was when he declared that Dylan was inspired to write Visions of Johanna after hearing Norwegian Wood. I know there was some speculation about Fourth Time Around from the same Dylan album being a retort to Norwegian Wood, but Visions of Johanna? Where does this guy get this stuff?

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Irritating, self-indulgent, sometimes infuriating

This book is not badly written. The author is actually a pretty good writer in some ways. The problems, however, are many. To name just a few:

- The author narrates his own book, and his voice is somewhat irritating.
- He is mind-numbingly self-indulgent in so many ways. It’s obvious he has spent too much time in the kind of circles where mental masturbation and witty lines matter more than making a substantial point that matters.
- He makes claims about the Beatles as though they’re his best friends and he knows exactly who they are, when he really doesn’t know. The comments come across like a middle schooler trying to make himself sound cool by talking about things that are a little above his head.

I’ll note that I really do like the Beatles a lot. They’re not my favorite band of all time, but they’re great. But honestly, if anything, this book detracted from my experience of the Beatles. I wanted to like this book, and I am sure somebody is going to love it, but it was really not my thing. Maybe I just picked the wrong book.