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Book Thoughts: Solid State (Kenneth Womack)

Womack, Kenneth - Solid State


Title: Solid State: The Story of Abbey Road and the End of the Beatles
Author: Kenneth Womack  
Genre: Non-Fiction/biography/music
First published: October 2019 by Cornell University Press
Edition: NetGalley e-ARC coursey of Netgalley and the publisher

Solid State takes readers back to 1969 and into EMI’s Abbey Road Studio, which boasted an advanced solid state transistor mixing desk. Womack focuses on the dynamics between John, Paul, George, Ringo, and producer George Martin and his team of engineers, who set aside (for the most part) the tensions and conflicts that had arisen on previous albums to create a work with an innovative (and, among some fans and critics, controversial) studio-bound sound that prominently included the new Moog synthesizer, among other novelties.

This book took me way longer to read than it should have done, because I found it tremendously interesting. Like everyone, I grew up with Beatles songs all around me and of course I knew that they split up due to various personal differences, but I never looked into the how and why.

But before it looks at the end of The Beatles and their reasons for splitting up it takes us on the journey of the ins and outs of the making of the Abbey Road LP. Here the author goes into tremendous detail of what techniques were used and how the individual tracks came to be and how exactly they were recorded. I thought it was a fascinating insight into the world of recording an album at the tail-end of the sixties.

I got taken on a journey that goes deeper than I expected and I really enjoyed the intricate details and getting to know a bit about each individual Beatle at this end stage of the band.

If you have little interest in music, this may be a little dry and geeky for you, but as a person who is a self-confessed music geek, this was just wonderful to read. And if you have no interest in music, you probably would not pick this up anyway…

6 out of 7 stars