In their heyday, the Beatles were the biggest thing in music. Now, 30 years after their last recording together, their book is among the biggest things on bookshelves.
"The Beatles Anthology" is a hefty volume, weighing 6.6 pounds and measuring 10 by 14 inches. Its 368 pages are packed with text and more than 1,300 illustrations, from family snapshots of the Beatles' childhood days to pictures from their final photo session together, at John Lennon's house.
The Beatles' book is among several new volumes about the entertainment world -- from classical music to life in television's Mayberry, and from James Bond movies to "Peanuts" -- that will earn applause from someone on your holiday gift list.
"The Beatles Anthology"
By the Beatles
For this book, Beatles Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, and Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono Lennon, made available full transcripts, including out-takes, of the TV series "The Beatles Anthology." Also, they provided documents, memorabilia and personal photos, including family snapshots. Stories include their childhood days in Liverpool, how the Beatles was formed, the musical and social changes of the 1960s, their meeting with Elvis, their wild days in Hamburg, and the saga of their breakup.
"The Billboard Illustrated
By Stanley Sadie, editor
Until the Beatles and their ilk came along, the only "longhair" music was classical music. Several writers and scholars contributed to this volume that covers its subject beginning with the simplest music of ancient China, Greece and Rome. Each major period is introduced, then its various aspects discussed -- main composers, musical styles and forms, instruments, representative works, performers, and the social and political climate. Also included are a listening guide, discography, bibliography, indexes, glossary and 900 full-color illustrations.
(Rutledge Hill, $34.99)
By Ken Beck and Jim Clark
The 40th anniversary of the debut (October 1960) of "The Andy Griffith Show" is celebrated in text and more than 350 photos, some in color. The book reunites Sheriff Andy Taylor, Opie, Aunt Bee, Deputy Barney Fife, Floyd the barber and Otis, the town drunk who "arrested" himself when he'd had too much to drink. A chapter is devoted to each of the series' eight seasons. Included are script excerpts, recollections by members of the cast and crew, and plot summaries for each of the show's 249 episodes. Also, chapters about the series' offspring, "Gomer Pyle, USMC" and "Mayberry RFD."
"James Bond: The Secret
World of 007" (DK, $19.95)
By Alastair Dougall
The producers of the James Bond movies authorized this almanac of the master spy's screen exploits. Dozens of color photos and drawings depict Bond's gadgets, gizmos, vehicles, villains, wardrobe and women. Within chapters on each of 19 Bond films, from "Dr. No" (1962) to "The World Is Not Enough" (1999), are detailed highlights of his missions, battles and chases: Bond's attempt to stop a nuclear-armed circus train ("Octopussy"); his raid on a chemical warfare factory in Siberia ("Golden Eye"); and his skydiving duel with longtime enemy Jaws ("The Spy Who Loved Me").
"A Charlie Brown Christmas"
By Lee Mendelson
and Bill Melendez
How many times have you seen "A Charlie Brown Christmas" since its debut in 1965? Ready for one more? This book describes the creation of the perennial holiday TV special featuring Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the "Peanuts" characters. Producer Mendelson and animator Melendez offer recollections and anecdotes about making the film and about "Peanuts" creator Charles M. Schulz. The full script is reproduced, along with 140 color stills. Other illustrations show story boards, sketchbook pages, ads, album covers and production sessions.
Other entertaining choices:
-- "Vanity Fair's Hollywood" (Viking Studio, $60) by Graydon Carter, editor. Hollywood since 1914, in stories and almost 300 photos from Vanity Fair magazine.
-- "The Magic Flute" (Abbeville, $50) by Davide Pizzigoni. A new translation of the popular Mozart opera includes an illustrated libretto and two CDs featuring the rare 1937 recording with Arturo Toscanini conducing the Vienna Philharmonic.
-- "Jazz: The First Century" (Morrow, $40) by John Edward Hasse, editor. A history of "America's classical music," with 300 illustrations of performers, sheet music, album covers and ads.
-- "Hollywood Candid" (Abrams, $35) by Murray Garrett. Brando, Bogey, Bacall, the Barrymores and others from Hollywood's heyday captured in 232 black-and-white photos.
-- "That Broadway Man, That Ballet Man" (Booth-Clibborn, $49.50) by Christine Conrad. Generously illustrated biography of choreographer Jerome Robbins.
-- "I Saw Him Standing There" (Watson-Guptill, $35) by Jorie B. Gracen. Paul McCartney's life and work after the Beatles, with 220 photos, most in color.
-- "Liz" (Running Press, $19.98) by Larissa Branin. The life and career of Elizabeth Taylor as told in 100-plus photos.
-- "Elvis: Word for Word" (Harmony, $29.95) by Jerry Osborne. Elvis quotes from 1954-1977, plus 150 photos.
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