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Solid State: The Story of Abbey Road and the End of the Beatles

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  126 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Acclaimed Beatles historian Kenneth Womack offers the most definitive account yet of the writing, recording, mixing, and reception of Abbey Road.

In February 1969, the Beatles began working on what became their final album together. Abbey Road introduced a number of new techniques and technologies to the Beatles' sound, and included "Come Together," "Something," and "Here
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 15th 2019 by Cornell University Press
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Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Solid State: The Story of Abbey Road and the End of the Beatles by Kenneth Womack is a 2019 Cornell University Press publication.

Come together, right now-
Over me

Beatles fans never pass up an opportunity to read a new book about the group, no matter how many others they have read in the past. The Beatles are endlessly fascinating and even after all these years, when one might wonder what there might be left to talk about that hasn’t already been analyzed to death, it turns out there are always
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am a child of the sixties and a lifelong Beatles fan. I also have a substantial library of Beatles biographies spanning the decades back to 1980. Reading as many Beatles biographies as I have over my lifetime, I have become very discerning when picking up a new one. Redundancy and mediocrity are what I'm hoping to avoid. There must be some new kernels of information to make it all worthwhile, which isn't easy on such a well-trodden subject. My interest was piqued when I noticed that Alan ...more
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: via-netgalley
My takeaways from having spent a happy week with this book are these:

The author presents and, as far as I’m concerned, hands-down triumphs, in selling me on his argument in Solid State: The Story of “Abbey Road” and the End of the Beatles that expounds that 1) the Beatles as a group, and 2) Abbey Road as an album are the clear catalyst that moved the entire recording industry forward by leaps and bounds as it relates to Western (and maybe even World?) music.

Kenneth Womack’s knowledge and
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
I immensely enjoyed this book. I can't boast a lot of knowledge about the Beatles, apart from having listened to some of their albums, so I wondered if I'd be able to enjoy a book that details the history of making their last album before they broke up. But as it turns out, you literally don't have to know anything - the book is so detailed and engaging that you'll just enjoy it, no matter how much you already know. I can't say for sure about hardcore fans, but I'm almost certain it would appeal ...more
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Solid State: The Story of “Abbey Road” and the End of the Beatles by Kenneth Womack is full of many interesting facts. For instance, at one time there seems to have been a musical band named “the Beatles”.
The Beatles, in my opinion, should be considered the preeminent artists in the history of all mankind. Influential, innovative, endearing, enduring, and accessible. We should nickname them the Marv Quartet. I feel the Beatles are also always evolving. For instance when I was a young child and
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have always enjoyed the Beatles music and in particular the album 'Abby Road' so this book was a must read for me personally. 50 years ago the Beatles created their last album and this book tells of the arguments within the band, the use of new technology and most importantly the music. I found this book full of fascinating information as well as allowing me to relive the album. I do not have the background in technology to fully understand much of the details when explaining certain tracks ...more
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
You know a book is good when you learn something new on a subject you thought you knew pretty well! I have been a Bealtes fan since the age of 5 and read biographies, technical books, diaries, interviews, watched documentaries and all the films, and Solid State is one of the rare books where I learned something new every single page. I devoured this book, and if I didn't have a day job or play on the weekends, this book would have been read in one sitting. It's just that good!!

I used to joke
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
The story behind my favorite Beatles album. This will probably be a great companion to the 50th anniversary edition of Abbey Road when it comes out. Womack gives an in depth account of who played what and with whom during the recording process. He doesn't go too deep into the issues that plagued the band by this point but that's pretty common knowledge anyways.
It left me super excited to get my copy of the anniversary edition Abbey Road but also a little sad at the reminder that egos, and she
Buddy Gott
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I went into this book with an already very good knowledge of the making of the Abbey Road album. I'd watched multiple documentaries about The Beatles over the years and even read their ANTHOLOGY book. Abbey Road was discussed thoroughly in all of them, so I was a little concerned that SOLID STATE wasn't going to be telling me much that I hadn't already heard elsewhere.

However, I wasn't too far into the book before I realized that there was actually quite a bit that I didn't know about the making
Bent Hansen
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderfully detailed account of the making of The Beatles' album "Abbey Road" - in fact, for a layman like myself, the level of detail is perhaps a little over the top at times, but for true fans - which may be the primary target audience of the book - I am sure that all details are welcome or even necessary.
Any reader of the book will get valuable insights into the creative processes around making such an iconic album, where technological progress allows for even more creative
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Detailed but very readable account of the Beatles final days as they worked to complete their iconic Abbey Road album. A lot of technical information on the recording techniques and equipment that made the album so unique, but also great behind the scenes info on how they were able to pull together even as business, addiction, and a desire to explore life outside the Beatles was pulling them apart. The account of their breakup and how it affected each of them was quite moving at times. If you ...more
Edward Sullivan
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music
A remarkably detailed, fascinating, insightful, and frequently poignant look at the last album The Beatles created.
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've been a Beatles fan for a long time and I read quite a number of books about them.
This one is excellent and I learned a lot of new details about the make of Abbey Road.
I liked the style of writing and found this book a pleasant and engrossing read.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
J Earl
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Solid State: The Story of "Abbey Road" and the End of the Beatles from Kenneth Womack is a comprehensive and well-written account of the period around the making of their final album. For anyone reading reviews here to decide whether to read the book, let me just warn you about reviews on subjects, like The Beatles, that have a strong following. Just as I will do in just a moment, there will likely be a disclaimer about whether we are fans or not fans. Some will give the impression that they are ...more
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great for fans of The Beatles. Highly recommend to all fans of this amazing band... a definite must read!!
Laurie Tell
Aug 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a really good read. It was engrossing to find out so much more about the Beatles and how this album was made. It made me so nostalgic for their music, I've been playing it over and over. This book was really well researched and provides lots of details. This is a must read for anyone who loves music and/or the Beatles.
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I so enjoyed reading this memoir! I remember the Beatles very well from back in the day, so it's very insightful, and entertaining, to read about them from an insiders pov! Beatles fans should find this book very informative and fun.

I received a Kindle arc from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.
Kathi Rauscher
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Solid State is an extremely well-crafted, and enjoyable read, delivering a detailed look at the inner workings of the most famous rock band on the planet during the recording of their swan song album, Abbey Road. Most books in this genre tend to be heavy on technical details and weak on story. Solid State avoids this trap, successfully catering to both sets of interests. Based on original contemporary sources, Solid State provides a look "under the hood" at both the recording process and the
Kay Mcleer
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
That was such a fun read, I love reading Beatles books and usually have the same information. This book was well written and fun to read, the author is able to tell a very interesting narrative.
Jay Amari
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Long One

Kenneth Womack, author of Long and Winding Road, The Beatle Encyclopedia, Maximum Volume, and other books Beatle has continued his explication of the minutia of Beatle worship with Solid State: The Story of "Abbey Road" and the End of the Beatles, detailing the musical, egotistical, financial, and technological influences that led to the culmination of the album Abbey Road and the finale of the fab four.

There are more than a few enlightening gems that come out of the book including
Paul Spence
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Womack begins by solving a mystery that I'd never bothered to contemplate before: *why* did the Beatles' sound change so dramatically with Abbey Road? It is true, the AB Beatles sound much more hushed and mellow, much more controlled, than something like the SP Beatles. They'd always been so explosive and loud and now, at the very end, they became smooth - almost slick. Even for a non-techie, the answer to this riddle - and the journey toward achieving this sonic goal - is fascinating to watch ...more
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music
I was a little too young to have directly experienced Beatlemania and the impact of the band on the music & culture of the 1960’s, but I had older siblings who did. I took ownership of my older brother’s vinyl copy of The White Album (1968) when he left home and for many years that was the only album I owned. It wasn’t until after college that I can became an earnest fan building my collection until I owned all of their vinyl output and then all the first & then remastered CD’s as they ...more
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kenneth Womack's book "Solid State" examines the making of the Beatles' final album "Abbey Road" in a detailed account that describes the background and recording process of each song. The "Solid State" of the title refers to the then new TG solid state mixing console that EMI had just installed at Abbey Road that replaced the tube driven analog console and allowed The Beatles and George Martin a lot of new features to work with. After the lackluster "Let It Be" sessions The Beatles wanted ...more
Lola Et La Vie
This book took me way longer to read than it should have done, because I found it tremendously interesting. Like everyone, I grew up with Beatles songs all around me and of course I knew that they split up due to various personal differences, but I never looked into the how and why.

But before it looks at the end of The Beatles and their reasons for splitting up it takes us on the journey of the ins and outs of the making of the Abbey Road LP. Here the author goes into tremendous detail of what
Zeb Kantrowitz
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-read
What was it like to watch the Beatles putting together an album, which later turned out to be their last. Womack, who is a professor of English at Monmouth University, is considered to be an expert in the cultural influence of the Beatles. Using archival writings, and multiple interviews, Womack gives the reader the feeling that they are there during the production of "Abbey Road".

Originally their time at the recording studio work was being recorded to produce a movie called "Get Back", but as
Well researched and very well written, this is a most welcome addition to the universe of books about the Fab Four and how they recorded their final record during a time of interpersonal antagonism. Womack focuses on the artistic achievement and anyone who loved the band or its last album will come away with heightened admiration for the Beatles and those who worked with them in the studio.The opening chapter is fairly technical but absolutely necessary in understanding why Abbey Road has such a ...more
Michael Ritchie
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've read a whole lot of Beatles books, and this is one of the very best. The author benefits from focusing on a small timeline, essentially late 1968 through the release of Abbey Road in November of 1969 to the breakup in the spring of 1970. He meticulously covers the recording of the Abbey Road album and does it in an interesting way that includes several tidbits of info and trivia I'd never heard before. If you're not already a Beatles buff, this may not be the book to start with, but if you ...more
Harry Fuller
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a must read for any Beatles fan. While much of the content is fairly well known, there are still a lot of tidbits and different perspectives here to make the trip worthwhile.
I especially liked the detail that described the making of the individual tracks like “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” through the masterpiece “Sun King” Medley as it is sometimes referred to or “The Long One” as the book labels it.
As a whole this is the bittersweet tale of the triumphal end of one of the best groups
Patrick Macke
Sep 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: music
Only a full-on Beatles cult member would read this book, so I did ... I'm okay with dissecting songs and the book is really great in the way it captures all of the nuances involved with writing/performing/recording the medley on Abbey Road, but nerding out on the electronics and the recording equipment and electrical theory and synthesizers is an overdose (but the book's title gave me ample warning) ... Still, harkening back to these final recording days and the last civil moments between the ...more
Garth Moore
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you are an audiophile or love The Beatles or love Abbey Road, you’ll enjoy this book. interesting that as the technology at Abbey Road Studios was taking off, the band was falling apart. It’s both amazing and wonderful that they got this album made. It’s also sad to consider what they could have worked on next together and how good it would have sounded.
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Kenneth Womack is a world-renowned authority on the Beatles and their enduring cultural influence. His latest book project involves a two-volume, full-length biography devoted to famed Beatles producer Sir George Martin.

Womack's Beatles-related books include Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry of the Beatles (2007), The Cambridge Companion to the Beatles (2009), and The Beatles