Shake It Up, Baby!: The Rise of Beatlemania and the Mayhem of 1963

Pegasus. May 2024. 400p. ISBN 9781639366583. $32. MUSIC
Scottish Daily Mail journalist McNab (You Started It: Rock ’n’ Roll’s Most Notorious and Bitter Feuds) takes readers on an exuberant roller-coaster ride through 1963, during the Beatles’ journey into stratospheric musical success. Starting in January, when the band was still playing to small audiences in obscure venues, the book shows how Beatlemania momentum built steadily each week. The release of two albums and classic singles, such as “She Loves You” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” set fire to the UK charts and invigorated a youth culture eager for change. McNab gives the band’s astute manager, Brian Epstein, plenty of credit for spreading the gospel of John, Paul, George, and Ringo through relentless touring and a publicity strategy that kept the band accessible to international music journalists and local press. By following the Beatles on their grueling monthly schedule of live shows, studio sessions, and radio and television appearances, McNab leaves readers in no doubt that it was the raw talent, creativity, and stamina of the Fab Four that assured their transformation from Liverpool club rockers to arguably the greatest band in music history.
VERDICT An absolute must-read for music and Beatles fans.
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