Thomas Brothers' "Help! The Beatles, Duke Ellington, and the Magic of Collaboration" released by W.W. Norton

Wednesday, October 10, 2018
The book, which shows how a cooperative dynamic was the primary reason for the success and longevity of both the Beatles and Duke Ellington, was released in October 2018.
Help! cover art

“A historically masterly and musically literate unraveling of some of the most-admired credits in 20th-century popular music....This is musicology with taste as well as ears.”  —The Wall Street Journal

“An erudite, engagingly written history . . . Brothers’s rich analyses make for an engrossing narrative that illuminates some of pop music’s greatest creative collaborations.” —Publishers Weekly

“A sweeping history of 20th-century popular music. . . . A fresh blend of scholarly musical analysis and provocative ideas about creativity and how composers create great art.” —Kirkus

In Help! The Beatles, Duke Ellington, and the Magic of Collaboration, Duke musicologist Thomas Brothers shows why the Beatles and Duke Ellington were two of the greatest examples of collaboration in music history. He argues that a cooperative dynamic was the primary reason for their success and longevity, allowing them to be greater than the sum of their parts. He expertly marshals evidence from critics and authors, academic studies on such topics as the sociology of art, and his own analyses of recordings. He debunks the myths that hover over these artists in pop culture, clarifying who actually did what, with whom, and how. The result doubles as a penetrating history of rock and jazz and of two icons seen from a new angle.  — from the press release

Professor Brothers is the author of Louis Armstrong’s New Orleans and Louis Armstrong, Master of Modernism, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

Read more about Help! The Beatles, Duke Ellington, and the Magic of Collaboration

Watch Professor Brothers' video description of Help!

Listen to the radio interview on WNCU's "The Measure of Everyday Life"