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Stephen E. Donnelly's The Beatles Discography: Volume One - The 60's [Paperback] Reviewed By Dr. Wesley Britton of Bookpleasures.com
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Dr. Wesley Britton

Reviewer Dr. Wesley Britton: Dr. Britton is the author of four non-fiction books on espionage in literature and the media. Starting in fall 2015, his new six-book science fiction series, The Beta-Earth Chronicles, debuted via BearManor Media. For seven years, he was co-host of online radio’s Dave White Presents where he contributed interviews with a host of entertainment insiders. Before his retirement in 2016, Dr. Britton taught English at Harrisburg Area Community College. Learn more about Dr. Britton at his WEBSITE

 
By Dr. Wesley Britton
Published on April 10, 2011
 

Author: Stephen E. Donnelly
Publisher: Outskirts Press
ISBN-10: 1432769243
ISBN-13: 978-1432769246  


Author: Stephen E. Donnelly
Publisher: Outskirts Press
ISBN-10: 1432769243
ISBN-13: 978-1432769246 

Click Here To Purchase The Beatles Discography: Volume One - The 60's
 

Print discographies of The Beatles catalogue, of course, are nothing new.  I still have a 1981 or so price guide that’s still useful as it lists the value of the standard recordings according to the rarity of the release and pressing. I still have a price guide from the same period called You Can’t Do That which listed all the then available vinyl bootlegs on the market.
 
Decades later, such discographies are long out of print but one would think the internet would contain all the answers to any questions a collector might have.  It does if you’re willing to hunt down the details you might seek—recording dates, production notes, who played what, the variant versions in mono and stereo, U.S. and U.K. versions etc. etc. etc. So what would be the value of a rather pricey new listing of Beatles records that repeats widely available information?
 
Surprisingly, the first of Stephen Donnelly’s discographies provides a complex list of information that even the most knowledgeable Beatles fan should have on their shelves.   Volume 1 covers recordings made between January 1st, 1962 and December 31st, 1970. The first list in this volume, that of all the published releases of that period, at first glance, merely covers territory anyone can find anywhere. But I know of no other source that pulls everything together in one place like this, albums, 45s, EPs, U.S., U.K. and occasionally other country’s releases integrating both group and solo projects. For me, the biggest surprise in this section was just how many packages recycled and recycled the Tony Sheridan sessions in compilations of various artists.        A number of record companies milked those cash cows for far more than they were worth.
 
I found it more enjoyable to skim the second section listing all the songs as recorded chronologically in the studio. What we heard on record, especially in the states, was far different from the order of the tracks as laid down before and during the Abbey Road years. Again, there’s no new information here and other sources provide much more detail in terms of production history. But it’s interesting to see the songs in the order they were produced along with the variants in the different versions that were released—what was edited, song lengths, “fake stereo” versions etc. Donnelly doesn’t get it all in—for example, he mentions the German version of “All My Loving” is the only “untrimmed” release of the song; he doesn’t specify this means Ringo’s five beat  hi-hat count doesn’t appear on any other version. But you really gotta be a specialist to care about such minutia.
 
I’d suspect the main audience for this compilation would be younger collectors who don’t already have a basement full of Beatle vinyl. For Boomers, it can serve as a trip down nostalgia lane if you’d like to review the historical flow of the Fab’s evolution in a simple, easy-to-follow format. In addition, the color photos of LP and single covers make this effort well worth leaving out on the coffee table. For all audiences, it can be a checklist of what you have, what you don’t, and what you might want to look for.         Me, I’m glad to see, once again, that no list to date includes 16 Beat Groups from the Hamburg Scene—one of those compilations with the Beatles and Tony Sheridan doing “My Bonnie.” It must be so rare that I’m one of the very few to have a copy.   
 
Click Here To Purchase The Beatles Discography: Volume One - The 60's