Like Some Forgotten Dream: What If the Beatles Hadn’t Split Up?

Cassell: Octopus. Oct. 2021. 368p. ISBN 9781788403207. $24.99. MUSIC
It’s been 50 years since John, Paul, George, and Ringo sounded their last chord together, yet the hankering for all things Beatles looks to be as strong as ever. The latest Beatles history, by music writer Rachel (Don’t Look Back in Anger: The Rise and Fall of Cool Britannia), is really two books in one, with a somewhat novel approach. The first half of this volume superbly retells the latter part of the Beatles’ career up through their implosion. The second half, firmly in fanboy territory, imagines a reality in which the Beatles stayed together, and speculates as to which of Lennon’s, McCartney’s, Harrison’s, and Starr’s solo tracks might have made the cut as a Beatles project. Rachel envisions a double Beatles album, where each of the fab four has a devoted side. Giving Starr and Lennon an equal number of tracks on a Beatles project is a bit far-fetched, but this is Rachel’s show, so why not? Beatle devotees will have fun with this.
VERDICT A solid synopsis of the Beatles in 1969, though the information won’t be new to die-hard fans. When Peter Jackson’s Get Back movie releases later this year, Rachel’s book will be an excellent backgrounder.
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