First published in 1969, this reissued collection of illustrated lyrics for 200 Beatles songs will be a treasure for any fan of the Fab Four. Editor and Beatle-buddy Alan Aldridge states in his introduction to the original edition: "What I have tried to do is present a book [that] is as entertaining to the eye and the imagination as a Beatles album is to the ear." Indeed, he more than succeeds, creating a lavish pageant of art and music that embraces not only the Beatles but also the psychedelic spirit of the entire era.
In 320 photos and illustrations, renowned artists offer their interpretations of various songs. "Help" is visualized by Ronald Searle; "Fixing a Hole," by Tomi Ungerer; "Glass Onion," by Peter Max; "I'm So Tired," by David Hockney; and "Oh, Darling," by Ralph Steadman. Aldridge also contributes his own trippy illustrations, which reflect the bold, bulbous, cartoons-on-acid style of 1960s poster art. This rich compilation also has brief quotes from the Beatles explaining the origins of the themes and lyrics of certain songs. For example, despite the buzz that "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is about LSD, according to Paul, "What happened was that John's son Julian did a drawing at school and brought it home, and he has a schoolmate named Lucy, and John said, 'What's that?' and he said 'Lucy in the sky with diamonds.'" Band members also share their thoughts on superstardom, including this now weighty comment from John: "I don't intend to be a performing flea anymore. I was the dreamweaver, but although I'll be around I don't intend to be running at 20,000 miles an hour trying to prove myself. I don't want to die at 40." It can't bring them back, but The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics can take you on a long and winding road of nostalgia. --Brangien Davis [via]