Fab Four FAQ 2.0:
The Beatles' Solo Years, 1970-1980
by Robert Rodriguez
Author: Kit O'Toole
Mar 23, 2010
What were Paul McCartney's most underrated songs? Which George
Harrison tunes failed to reach the top ten? How many times did John
Lennon appear on The Beatles' solo albums? Which songs include Ringo
Starr's best drumming?
Fans who enjoy pondering and debating these questions will find a
kindred spirit in Robert Rodriguez, who discusses these topics and
more in Fab Four 2.0: The Beatles' Solo Years, 1970-1980. A companion
to his previous book, Fab Four FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the
Beatles…and More! (co-authored with Stuart Shea), Fab Four FAQ 2.0
focuses on the Beatles' solo years, jam-packed with history,
little-known facts, and controversial topics. In his introduction,
Rodriguez states that his goal is to create a "quadruple biography"
that would be told in stand-alone chapters. Readers can select
chapters addressing themes of interest rather than reading the entire
book in one sitting. Like its predecessor, Fab Four FAQ 2.0 is best
enjoyed in this manner; reading such massive information at one time
could prove daunting.
Hard core fans will appreciate Rodriguez's attention to detail,
providing background stories on well-known and more obscure tracks.
As a fan, I find it fascinating that I learn new facts about the
group every day, and this book offers such new information. For
example I had no idea that Harrison once played on a Cheech and Chong
single, or that he first offered "It Don't Come Easy" to Badfinger
rather than Starr. A chapter detailing the worst-performing solo
singles reveals some surprises; today, it's difficult to believe that
the 1970 Lennon classic "Mother" peaked at only 43 on the charts, or
that Harrison's pop-friendly "Love Comes to Everyone," released in
1979, failed to chart at all. These revelations make Fab Four FAQ 2.0
an interesting read for any Beatles enthusiast.
One element missing from the book is an extensive bibliography.
Rodriguez obviously underwent a massive research process to uncover
obscure information, but he provides only a brief, selected list of
sources at the end. Although the complete list would probably
comprise man more pages, it would have been helpful for researchers
to locate Rodriguez's sources. In additions, footnotes would have
better distinguished facts versus opinion at times I found it
difficult to discern the author's thoughts from material culled from
other sources. Again, detailed notes would enable Beatles fanciers to
find certain books or articles Rodriguez cited.
Despite these issues, Fab Four 2.0: The Beatles' Solo Years,
1970-1980 serves as a welcome addition to any Beatles library. It
functions as a companion to other reference books in that it fills in
some information gaps. On a lighter note, it should also spark
spirited discussions among fans. Although the fact bookstore shelves
are already packed with Beatles-themed books, Rodriguez demonstrates
that people still have much to learn about the legendary band and the
members' solo careers.
The book's official website contains exclusive material not included
in the book, a blog, a forum, and useful links. For information on
the first book, Fab Four FAQ, visit its accompanying website.