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The Beatles from A to Zed: An Alphabetical Mystery Tour

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  114 ratings  ·  36 reviews
A legendary record producer and performer takes readers on an alphabetical journey of insights into the music of the Beatles and individual reminiscences of John, Paul, George, and Ringo.

Peter Asher met the Beatles in the spring of 1963, the start of a lifelong association with the band and its members. He had a front-row seat as they elevated pop music into an art form,
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 29th 2019 by Henry Holt & Company
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  114 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars

When I saw that Peter Asher had written a book about the Beatles I pounced on it. Why? He's right in the thick of the best of Beatles history! You might remember him as half of the famous British music duo Peter and Gordon who had a #1 hit with a song called "A World Without Love". If you can't immediately conjure up this tune in your mind, just think of the rather funny lyrics it begins with..."Please lock me away..."! Well, a young Paul McCartney actually wrote that song and gave it
Jim Cooper
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio, music, beatles
Peter Asher takes us on a tour of Beatles history, from Apple Records to zebra crossings (like the one on the Abbey Road cover album). Prepare to read this with a music streaming source nearby as he reminds you of songs you love and informs you about songs you don't (Beatles covers, Beatles influences, etc). There's not a lot of new Beatles stuff here, but it was still really enjoyable for two reasons:

1) It's like driving around town listening to Asher tell you stories about the Beatles (I did
Sam Sattler
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music
No doubt about it. Peter Asher’s The Beatles from A to Zed: An Alphabetical Mystery Tour is a wonderfully comprehensive reminder of what made the Beatles such a unique and influential band, a book to be appreciated by younger and older fans alike. But this is a very special book for those fans who were there to buy the singles and albums as they were being delivered in what we then believed would be a string of never-ending hits. As it turned out, “never-ending” would only last from 1964 to ...more
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable, but a bit rambling, with little deep detail. Didn't learn much at all that I wasn't already aware of.
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Kind of fun backstories about the songs. Not a lot new here, but Peter Asher was in the thick of it and is quite a charming storyteller.
Stewart Mason
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
Well, if nothing else, we can be assured that Peter Asher did not use a ghost writer for this slight but charming collection of anecdotes and digressions: if it weren't for the slightly random sense of order imposed by its alphabetical layout, this wouldn't have any structure whatsoever, and his writing style, non-professional. Asher comes across as a likable, humble man aware that he lucked into a career as a musician, producer, A&R man and artist manager primarily because Paul ...more
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm a sucker for anything Beatles and Peter Asher gives the reader a proper music perspective.
Carsten Hansen
The author, Peter Asher, knew The Beatles personally, was part of Apple Records and spent a considerable amount of time with them while they were in the group as well as afterward when the paths had split.
The book is packed with interesting stories and details, many of which I had never read or about before, which made the read worthwhile.
That being said, the format of the book is awkward, splitting up the material in an alphabetical sequence, and clearly the author seemed to struggle with it.
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fab book about the Fabs! Love Peter's fun way of creatively connecting all sorts of personal, historical tidbits, as well as music info, to The Beatles as he progresses thru each letter of the alphabet. Loved learning new things via this very enjoyable read.
J Earl
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Beatles from A to Zed: An Alphabetical Mystery Tour from Peter Asher is a delightful trip through all things Beatles related.

This is not a dictionary or encyclopedia that might be comprehensive but boring. This is a lot of Asher's recollections and tidbits using the alphabet as a rough structure to give it some organization. And, perhaps more important, to offer new connections between songs, people, and events. This is not about The Beatles and only about The Beatles, but rather about
Teresa Stenlund
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love listening to Peter Asher on the Beatles Station on Sirius XM, and I have listened to his A to Zed and was thoroughly entertained by his insight. It was just as good reading it. There's just so much in this book to satisfy my innner Beatles super-fan, and as I went through listening to their songs after reading this book it made me see their music in a whole new way, which I LOVE! Highly recommended, Peter Asher knows his stuff and I loved seeing his perspective as he was along for the ...more
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review originally published in < a href=" For a Good Book. Rated 4.35 of 5

It surprises me a little bit that publishers are still pumping out books about The Beatles ... but it surprises only a little bit. The lifespan of finding an audience is likely on the wane, as are the people who will have had a first-hand encounter worth telling.

This particular book is unique because it's presented in alphabetical order (sort of), and because it's written by
Patrick Macke
Dec 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: music
This can be a fairly nerdy journey, diving into obscure little song parts and the notes they're played in, but for the most part, it's a fun exploration of songs and other things that begin with the letter A and so on ... For the people that read and dig a lot of Beatles books, much of this is familiar terrain ... Had anyone other than Peter Asher attempted this it would have flopped, but he is so passionate about the subject that you feel his joy ... Peter is a natural storyteller, he ...more
Michael Ritchie
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Very disappointing. I've read dozens of books on the Beatles, so I suppose I'm not really in the core audience for this. There's almost nothing in here that was new information to me, but that's not really the problem. I can re-read tidbits about the Beatles and their music as long as it's presented interestingly and/or well-written. This is neither. Using an A-Z format, for both song titles and general topics (for example, "D" for drums), Asher lets loose with fairly random trivia and insights. ...more
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
While I’m guessing this is basically just a reprint of scripts from his program on Sirius XM’s Beatles channel, for those who don’t subscribe, Mr. Asher provides a scattering of musical tidbits and insider information that even the most devoted fans of the Fab Four may not know about. (Paul McCartney lived with the writer’s family for a couple of years early in his career.) A quick read with short chapters, I found myself picking this book up every time I had a few minutes to spare and was ...more
Oct 29, 2019 added it
What a trip down memory lane! I think any Beatle fan will enjoy reading this book. A-Zed is very loose, as any given letter begins a song title, but covers so mush more. Really A-z didn't seem necessary at all. But the book is filled with lots of trivia, some I recalled, more that was new to me. It's a great book to browse, better than read from cover to cover (my opinion.). AND it's written by Peter Asher! Who could ask for more than that! An insider dishes! Bout time! Kudos to the author!
John Bialas
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Peter Asher might be the sixth or seventh or eighth Beatle.
He could qualify with his longtime connections to Paul McCartney and Apple Records, and this book is new evidence that he could be an honorary member of the band.
The book is an entertaining trip through the alphabet and a fab way to associate letters with what you know or don't know about the Beatles.

Sheila Lord
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
OMG ....... what a great book written by Peter Asher that’s known the Beatles since 1963 and has the insight into their lives and music.....if you love the Beatles you’ll want to read this book ...... and for those that don’t know much about the band you’ll learn to appreciate them and their music .....a must read
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you're a Beatles fan this is a Magical Mystery Tour that is coming to take you away.
There's plenty of information, facts, curiosities and everything you always wanted to know about the Fab Four.
It's highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for this ARC, all opinions are mine
Dan Tillinghast
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful! Felt like sitting across from a friend telling stories about my favorite group.
Kristin Strong
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music, pop-culture
Peter Asher comes across as a nice guy who happened to be in the right place (London-based brother to a pretty, celebrity sister) at the right time (the early-60s emergence of the Beatles) and thus got to hang around with some of the most famous and influential musicians of all time.

When Asher's sister, Jane, was dating Paul McCartney, who needed a place to stay in the city, and Asher's parents offered Paul the use of the guest room at the top of the house (and of the music room in the
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book was similar to reading a letter from a friend rather than from a well known artist, producer, manager, and record executive. Peter Asher's delight in writing about Beatles songs comes through clearly on every single page. He takes the reader off on numerous exit ramps as a way of explaining a song, a related artist, or a recording technique; and then somehow gets right back on track about the particular Beatle song or album that he was discussing at the start. All the while, ...more
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
There has been so much written about The Beatles. So what makes this title different and worth the read? Peter Asher had a rare front-row seat to the evolution of The Beatles, particularly in the mid-sixties when Paul McCartney was living in the Asher household. With this connection to the band, Asher has more insight and anecdotes than many of the other Beatle-related writers out there. What also stands out from this text compared to others is that you may have already heard some of this if you ...more
Buddy Gott
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Knowing what a personal connection Peter Asher has always had with The Beatles, I was excited to learn that he had written a book about them and I eagerly looked forward to reading it. I expected to like it a lot and learn some new things I didn't know about the band.

Well, I loved the book even more than I expected to. What's great about it is that it's not a typical A-Z reference book. Asher goes through each letter of the alphabet to talk about different songs that start with each letter. He
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
#TheBeatlesFromAtoZed #NetGalley. I received an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
I enjoyed this book as an uplifting, upbeat review of the Beatles music. Not being musical myself, I learned a lot as the perspective was on what made their music timeless and classic. I had not looked at their individual talents in this way. In fact, I had formed some of my opinions about each Beatle’s contribution based on collective gossip. The author’s perspective provides a breath of fresh air and
David Meyer
Jan 10, 2020 rated it liked it
When I saw the title, I didn't actually think Asher would go through each letter of the alphabet, searching for anything relating to the Beatles that met each letter. He didn't really use a solid or consistent system for this, and it felt like more of a stream of consciousness technique at times. While some of the shout outs were pretty weak, more than a few were interesting enough to make this worth the read. The most intriguing were the authors memories of having known the Beatles, as Paul ...more
Jay Gabler
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
For each letter of the alphabet, Asher spends several pages musing on songs, people, instruments, and anything else vaguely related to the Beatles that begin with that letter. That's it. An essential read? Certainly not, but if you're a Beatles fan you might enjoy keeping it on your nightstand and knocking off a letter a day. I reviewed The Beatles from A to Zed for The Current.
Feb 24, 2020 rated it liked it
This book ticks the right boxes, interest wise, but for whatever reason it didn't hold my interest much. I'm stopping reading and going on to another book. I like you Peter Asher, as a human and as a writer, but this work didn't suit my current Beatle needs. My Beatle needs, to paraphrase Rob Sheffield, are many and ever changing.
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book but then I love his radio show. He has such interesting stories to tell as he was there when the Beatles were the Fab Four. In addition to his stories, he is very knowledgeable about music and can dissect the songs and tell you how they were recorded. Anyone with a musical background would surely find that fascinating. Highly recommend if you like the Beatles and music!
Gayl Smith
Feb 10, 2020 rated it liked it
The presentation makes for a disjointed flow. Information is repeated as the author jumps from the fifties to the nineties and back to the sixties. I feel like true musicians would appreciate this book more than I did. Still, I gained even more respect for the Beatles and I gained respect for Mr. Asher who has seen it all and remains unjaded and positive.
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