The Beatles and Their Revolutionary Bass Player

Rated 4.60 out of 5 based on 15 customer ratings
(15 customer reviews)



April 20, 2014   |   354 pages


How would the current economic state or all of the sorrows of the world compare to going through life never hearing “She Loves You” or “A Day in the Life”? Instead, we were able to live vicariously through a story that would make a great novel (if someone ever chose to write it as such). It has everything you need: desire, early failures, bleak moments, heartbreak, love affairs, dragon women and helpless maidens, martyrs, incredible characters—some dark and some light—coming and going just when they were most needed, insecurity and loyalty, triumph against all odds, the world held in the sway of four men who changed it all, a breakup that was viewed with more despair than Charles and Diana and—finally—four figures, four separate Phoenixes, stumbling to their feet and learning for the first time how to stand up without their three mates at their side.

The intention of this book is to capture some of that story with a focus on the evolution of the bass playing of Paul McCartney. The book’s genesis was a website devoted to his bass guitar work (still online at but it became clear that any discussion of one aspect of the Beatles leaves the rest of the story wanting. For example, to talk only about McCartney’s most famous bass line—the one in “Come Together”—ignores the innovative drumming of Ringo Starr, the swampiness of Paul’s electric piano, the quality of John

15 reviews for The Beatles and Their Revolutionary Bass Player

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Eugene Belmont

    Beatles Explained for Everyone

    Just got this book a few days ago and have been reading, reading, reading. Dennis explains in the first few pages what to expect as you read on, and it’s all true. He promises not to overwhelm with music theory, and he doesn’t (thank goodness, my musical training ended with “my dog has fleas”). And to those folks who just simply love the Beatles and don’t know why, this book will help you to understand the “why.” The Beatle anecdotes are wonderful and skillfully narrated. And, although the book provides great coverage of Paul McCartney and his evolution as a bass player, the other members of the Fab Four are given their due, as well. It’s very obvious right from the first page that Dennis is deeply steeped in Beatle lore, and is a loyal and devoted fan; he doesn’t mind giving a little back o’ the hand to those that presented problems to the Beatles’ progress to stardom on the world stage. All in all, “The Beatles and their Revolutionary Bass Player” is a great read. Great job, Dennis!

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    Alex B. Macdonald Jr.


    Excellent, fascinating analysis of McCartneys bass playing! Great insight into the Beatles music thru the POV of the bass! Recommended!

  3. Rated 5 out of 5


    A good buy!

    Definitely worth buying. A bit amateurish and Internetish in places, but very insightful.

  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    T. Bowen

    Very good book on Paul and the Beatles.

    I have read many, many books on the Beatles. I’m also a Bass player who loves Paul. It’s fortunate that Beatles fans have had access to a lot of really great books over the years. I wasn’t sure about this one…I saw it in the store and thought the cover looked kind of…well…cheap. Bought it anyway and was happily surprised. Mr. Alstrand has done a great job of not only looking at Macca’s playing but gives an overview of the band as they moved through their years together. His writing style keeps things moving right along and interesting while providing some great information and insights. Good stuff here!

  5. Rated 5 out of 5


    Five Stars

  6. Rated 3 out of 5

    W. Belangeron

    A good read in need of editing.

    Well organized and generally engaging, but somewhat poorly edited; sentence fragments, grammar/punctuation errors (e.g., improper use of “it’s”) are not uncommon. Recommended, but with this in mind.

  7. Rated 3 out of 5

    Paul Seranoon

    A fun read, but the author’s comments about chords and …

    A fun read, but the author’s comments about chords and some facts are contrary to other reported facts and known song chords. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but I’m a musician who taught himself bass by listening to the Beatles and Paul McCartney.

  8. Rated 5 out of 5


    Dear sir or madam you need to read this book!
    Well written, informative, and a bargain. If you are a bass player that is interested in one of the best bands that ever existed, if not the best, buy this, you will be happy!

  9. Rated 5 out of 5


    A tribute to Paul!
    Really great book! I love it!

  10. Rated 5 out of 5

    Charles R. Gaineson

    The Bass Art of McCartney
    Great insight to the music and bass style of McCartney.

  11. Rated 5 out of 5

    Franklin E.

    Five Stars
    I am a lifetime Beatles fan and I learned a lot of new things.

  12. Rated 3 out of 5


    “Readable” is about as good as I can give.

    As a Beatles fan, I’ve read most of the books about them. I know the whole story pretty well. There was nothing in this book that a fan wouldn’t know. The book reads like one fan’s synopsis of the group’s music in general, and McCartney’s bass playing, specifically. Along with his own views and opinions, the author (himself a bassist and musician) brings in other “musicologists” or experts to analyze Paul’s bass playing in a more formal, academic way. While I found the book readable, it was not very interesting. I found some of the author’s attempts to elevate Paul’s playing to stratospheric heights to be a stretch, and not well supported with anything other than subjective statements. Nothing wrong with that of course, but it was unconvincing to me.

    This book reads like it was written by a great fan of The Beatles, someone who had no personal involvement with them, but was hugely influenced by them throughout his life nonetheless. But he has no further insights than any big fan might have. He offers his own spin on their careers and their significance, but that’s as far as it goes.

  13. Rated 5 out of 5


    Five Stars

    Great book and amazing Paul.

  14. Rated 5 out of 5

    mystifying mind

    And i thought i knew it all…

    If you are as reverential as I am of Mac then of course you will be drawn to and love this book. The author immediately and shamelessly gets it out of the way that he is in the same boat. However the author consciously strives to not come across as gobsmacked. He succeeds well at keeping it under control and in no way is this intended to be a book which fuels criticism or controversy. Over the course of years, I have read about 13 comprehensive analyses, reviews and critiques of the Beatles, I still found quite a bit interesting material here that was new to me. The unique angle with this book is that it takes us on a historical tour and regularly interjects fresh insights regarding the structure and approaches in compositions, rhythms and melodies, innovative playing styles and recording techniques from the perspective of someone who is a bass player himself. He also includes contributions from other bass players, musicologists and biographical authors to expand and add diversity to perspectives on various compositions, forging new roles for the bass guitar in recordings by Sir Paul. Entertaining and enjoyable reading and of course only added to my respect for Mr. McCartney.

  15. Rated 5 out of 5

    Steven M. Morrison

    Five Stars

    Great book that finally give McCartney his due as one the best bassist!

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