Author Jonathan Gould has pulled off the near impossible.
With hundreds of books published about The Beatles, his new tome, “Can’t Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain and America” offers a compelling slant at the group’s by-now all-too-familiar story, applying rigorous parallels between the band’s rise explained via the filter of social, political and cultural movements.
There have been so many Beatle books published. What makes yours different?
Jonathan Gould: I would say two things. The first thing is, my general impression of the comprehensive biographies I’ve read about them is there’s a pretty strong tendency to take the music for granted.There’s a tendency to approach the music on the level of “We all know these songs.”
Therefore, most of the biographies tend to reference the records and the response to the records, but very, very few have really tried to put the music at the center of the story.
My own background is in music. I’m a drummer. I’ve spent a lot of time playing music in bands and in studios. I wanted to try and present The Beatles themselves as the way they saw themselves, which is as musicians. After all they didn’t set out to be world-famous celebrities. I wanted to focus on them in that way. Their presence in the book is very largely as musicians. But the other dimension that has not been dealt with to the degree that I’ve dealt with it is what I think of “the real outside story,” examining the influences on them in the world, in culture and society in Britain and then the world that they encountered when they became world famous. I wanted to be this whole social context deeply into the story.