Home / Books / Book Reviews / Book Review: Fab Four FAQ – Everything Left to Know About the Beatles … and More! by Stuart Shea And Robert Rodriguez

Book Review: Fab Four FAQ – Everything Left to Know About the Beatles … and More! by Stuart Shea And Robert Rodriguez

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There's still time.

Although you're probably a little too late if you plan on getting it done online at this stage of the game, most of the mall stores should still be open until midnight on this, the "real" busiest shopping day of the year. Forget about Black Friday. December 23rd is the day when the real last-minute scrambling takes place.

And if you're stuck for ideas, what better gift to give this holiday season than the Beatles?

Now there's something nearly everyone can agree on, right? The only problem there is that if you're anything like me, the Remasters box may be a bit out of your price range. As far as CDs and books go, the Beatles fan in your life has also most likely already heard and read it all.

Fear not, procrastinators. We have the perfect gift for both the casual and the most obsessed Fab Four fanatic. Because if you think that everything that could be possibly said about the Beatles has already been written, think again.

Fab Four FAQ is an easy-to-read, 500-page book that is absolutely crammed to its bindings with just about every obscure factoid you would ever want to know about John, Paul, George and Ringo — not to mention Stu, Pete, Brian, Linda, and Yoko. This book covers just about everyone who has ever been associated with history's most celebrated band.  They don't miss a single groupie here.

The book is broken down into five distinct sections, and comprises some 50 chapters that really are more like a series of lists. You get pages and pages of the sort of stuff that even the most knowledgeable Rockologist or Beatles buff in your life might have either forgotten, or most likely never knew in the first place.

A random sampling of the chapters here includes such fascinating trivia as "Ten Acts Knocked From The #1 Spot By The Beatles," "Try Thinking More: The Original Titles Of Beatles Songs," and "Ten Mistakes That Slipped Onto The Vinyl."

Even if you don't know the Beatles, this book is packed with the sort of information that will transform you into an instant expert, or at least make you the most popular guy in the bar on trivia night.

The book also runs down the most common myths associated with the Beatles, (such as John Lennon's rumored trysts with Brian Epstein and Stuart Sutcliffe). Fab Four FAQ likewise addresses all the people associated with the Fabs, from girlfriends and wives, to business associates and even various hangers-on. You'll learn about everything here from the Beatles studio innovations, to who really played what, to all the other acts produced by Sir George Martin.

Fab Four FAQ is also a great reference guide for fact-checking those Beatles questions floating around in your brain you may have forgotten. Remember Mark Shipper's semi-fictional book Paperback Writer from 1978? Neither did I until I was reminded of it here, complete with a picture of its cover.

However, lest you think this is a scholarly work of encyclopedic knowledge — well, it is. But authors Shea and Rodriguez present this treasure trove of information in an entertaining and easy-to-read style. More often than not, the facts are presented in the form of short entries that are more like a series of lists. It is also augmented by lots of rarely seen photos of book covers, album jackets and the like. As a friend of mine put it, this is a great bathroom read.

Fab Four FAQ is a great book for the Beatles fan in your life, whether a casual one or a self-proclaimed authority. Because if you thought you knew the Beatles, this will make you think again.

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About Glen Boyd

Glen Boyd is the author of Neil Young FAQ, released in May 2012 by Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard Publishing. He is a former BC Music Editor and current contributor, whose work has also appeared in SPIN, Ultimate Classic Rock, The Rocket, The Source and other publications. You can read more of Glen's work at the official Neil Young FAQ site. Follow Glen on Twitter and on Facebook.
  • Thanks Kit. Yeah I was really surprised by this…there was a lot of stuff here that even the ol’ Rockologist was unaware of. Proof that even a self-professed know-it-all like me can be stumped.

    -Glen

  • Well-written review, Glen! I have this book (and met the authors at the Fest for Beatlefans conference last August), and also find it packed with very interesting information. It’s not your typical Beatles book with information that’s been published ad infinitum.