MacDonald considers the Beatles, song by song, and reports on the songwriting process, the stimuli of contemporary pop hits and events, the input from each of the Four, the technical innovations in the studio, and the influence of psychedelic drugs. MacDonald's song-by-song analysis of the Beatles' records takes up the bulk of the book. But it is preceded by an introductory essay, "Fabled Foursome Conversely, many on the Left have long sought explanations for how (and why) the various 'revolutions' and 'movements' of the '60s failed... Ian MacDonald.
As dazzling as the decade they dominated, The Beatles almost single-handedly created pop music as we know it. Today, their songs are cited as seminal influences by stars like Oasis and Blur.