About Robert Rodriguez
This award-winning pop culture historian is an acclaimed Beatles’ scholar. He is the author of five books on the group, as well as The 1950s Most Wanted: The Top 10 Book of Rock and Roll Rebels, Cold War Crises and All-American Oddities (2006).
Robert has been writing about The Beatles for nearly ten years now, following decades of close study. His first volume, Fab Four FAQ: Everything Left to Know About The Beatles...and More! (2007), simultaneously gave readers a wealth of information while initiating them into the FAQ format: chapters that deconstruct every aspect of the subject’s story into easily absorbable nuggets of information. Said one critic: “Any book that can teach you this much about something you already know a lot about is a very good book.”
In 2010, he followed up with Fab Four FAQ 2.0: The Beatles’ Solo Years 1970 -1980. In it, Robert examined the much-overlooked first decade after the group’s split, detailing how the four ex-band mates established themselves individually while toiling in the shadow of their collective past. One reviewer called 2.0 “...a true work of pop scholarship.”
2012 saw the publication of Revolver: How The Beatles Re-imagined Rock ‘n’ Roll. This
singular work proposed the thesis that The Beatles’ artistic high-water mark came in1966 with the title album and not a year later with the “Summer of Love” and Sgt. Pepper. With original research and a detailed re-contextualization of the times, Robert showed how their leap into the future as a studio-and not performing-band was a triumph gone almost completely unrecognized at the time. In 2013, Revolver was recognized by the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC), who awarded Robert honors for “Excellence in Research-Rock ‘n’ Roll.”
For the past several years, Robert has been a featured speaker at the annual Fest for Beatles Fans in Chicago; in 2014, he was invited to the New York 50th anniversary commemoration to launch his latest book, Solo in the 70s. It takes up the study began in Fab Four FAQ 2.0, widening the lens to examine personas and proteges connected with the four ex-Beatles during that decade.
Robert has made several guest appearances on television, notably the public affairs show, “Chicago Tonight.” He can be heard on any number of Beatle-related radio shows from coast to coast, as well as on his own podcast, “Something About The Beatles”, co-hosted by New York Times best-selling author, Richard Buskin. In addition to the aforementioned titles (and Fifty Fabulous Years, a coffee table book packaged with a DVD documentary in 2010), his writings on the group can be found in the pages of Beatlefan Magazine.
Links to Videos of Robert Rodriguez
Links to “Chicago Tonight”
1 - June 27,2012
2 - August 8, 2013
3 - February 6,2014
Please note that interviews with Robert are also posted frequently on YouTube.
Books by Robert Rodriguez
Solo in the 70s: John, Paul, George and Ringo 1970 - 1980 (2014)
Revolver: How the Beatles Re-imagined Rock ‘n’ Roll (2012)
The Beatles: Fifty Fabulous Years (2010)
Fab Four FAQ 2.0: The Beatles’ Solo Years 1970 - 1980 (2010)
Fab Four FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Beatles...and More! (with Stuart Shea) (2007)
The 1950s’ Most Wanted: The Top 10 Book of Rock and Roll Rebels, Cold War Crises and All-American Oddities (2006)
Programs Offered by Robert Rodriguez
Each presentation includes the screening of rare audio and video, as well as a substantive Q&A session. These can be customized to differing time requirements.
Robert’s command of the subject (and rock history in general) as well as humor and approachability make his presentations more of a conversation and less of a “lecture.”
“The Beatles’ Performing Years 1957-1966"
This presentation traces the origins of the group, from their skiffle days as The Quarry Men through the decision to cease touring in 1966, amidst great controversies as they segued into becoming a studio act. The mini-documentary (50 minutes) includes rare photos, interviews, concert segments and promos-as well as an audio recording made of the Quarry Men on the very day that John and Paul were introduced.
“The Beatles’ Studio Years 1967-1970"
Beginning where the first program (Performing Years”) leaves off, this program shows the Beatles broadening their artistry into uncharted waters by using the studio as a tool to achieve sounds
heretofore only heard inside their own heads. Performance and promo clips, augmented by rare photos and unreleased audio of the group at work, showcase their reaching the apex of their success, just before the split.
“The Beatles’ Solo Years 1970-1980"
This presentation explains the bitter break-up and subsequent efforts by all four ex-band mates
to establish their individual identities while laboring under the giant shadow of their collective past. Rare interviews, concert and promo clips, as well as film and comedy sketches are included in the mini-documentary (48 minutes), which covers everything from the triumphs of “Imagine”, “The Concert for Bangladesh” and Ringo's film career to the darkness of George's "My Sweet Lord" lawsuit and John's 1980 murder, forever closing the door on any reunions.
Comments on Robert Rodriguez, Speaker
“Robert's presentation of “The Beatles: Their Performing Years” was excellent! Robert was a knowledgeable, interesting and engaging speaker. He patiently answered every question asked and made time for each person that waited to speak to him after the presentation. Robert arrived early for set-up and was professional in every manner. We, as a library, hand out program surveys to our program attendees. For Robert's program, every survey received rated the program as "excellent," the first time in my experience that this has happened.”
Doug Ferrini, Adult Services Librarian, White Oak Library District
“We had a full house at the Clarendon Hills Library one evening last October when Robert Rodriguez presented “The Beatles Performing Years 1957-1966.” Our patrons really enjoyed both the documentary and Robert’s talk. It was evident that Robert is very well-versed and passionate about this subject. His presentation was engaging, entertaining and informative. He was also happy to stay and answer many questions from the audience. A great program!”
Lucy Tarabour, Adult Programming, Clarendon Hills Public Library
“‘The Beatles' Performing Years” presented by Robert Rodriguez was an extremely well-attended program. More importantly, Robert exceeded all expectations from our enthusiastic patrons. From his opening remarks to his impressive DVD filled with impeccably clear, sharp behind-the-scenes footage, patrons were transported back in time to Beatlemania. During his Q and A session, Robert answered patron questions in great detail – not an easy task when the subject at hand is the best-selling band in history. Based on feedback I received, Robert achieved a fantastic balance between providing historical analysis and little-known facts and showcasing the group’s lasting legacy--their music! I look forward to Robert’s next presentation.”
Erin Foley, Public Relations and Development Officer, Oak Lawn Public Library
“‘Beatles’ Solo Years” was a great program, filled with entertaining clips and memorable photos of the Fab Four. Patrons of all ages enjoyed this interactive program. Robert is so knowledgeable that patrons would have stayed until after closing to ask questions. I wish I could have scheduled him for a 2-part program: First, the Beatles during their years together and then, their time after the break up. Comments included “spectacular combination of knowledge and presentation” and “not what I expected- much better!” I would definitely have Robert back for another program at the Downers
Melissa Doornbos, Program Coordinator, Downers Grove Public Library
“Rodriguez's presentation was well received by an audience of all ages. He captured their attention from his opening remarks and personal account of getting "hooked on the Beatles" and never let go until the questions waned nearly 2 hours later. As a pop culture historian, a nationally renowned Beatles expert and most importantly, a respected author, Rodriguez's program is a perfect fit for libraries wanting to provide an informative and entertaining event for their community.”
Jill Rodriguez, Library Director, Bensenville Community Public Library
“Robert Rodriguez presented his Beatles program at the Itasca Community Library to rave reviews. Many Beatles fans of all ages enjoyed the sights and sounds of this hour-long program. The interactive question and answer session not only showed Mr. Rodriguez’s extensive knowledge of the Beatles but the audience members love for a musical group that continues to influence the music industry. I look forward to having Robert return to our library in the future.”
Colleen Blanchard , Outreach Manager, Itasca Community Library
“Robert is the 'Fifth Beatle' ...his presentation was not only thorough, but thoroughly enjoyable. Robert didn't lecture, he engaged in a dialogue with the audience that left them wanting, and asking, for more. He is on my list for future presentations.”
Dan Carroll, Adult Programming Manager, City of Blue Island Library
“I learned things that I didn't know about the Beatles before! Visual portion of the program was exceptional. Robert was very knowledgeable of not only what happened and when, but how certain things impacted the group.”
Mary Johnson, Head of Public Services, Palos Heights Public Library
“Robert is an extremely knowledgeable and engaging speaker. No matter what the members of the audience asked, he always had a great answer. Every time he's presented for us, attendees would stick around afterwards to talk to him and each other about the event, which to me is
always a great sign of an excellent speaker and a successful program.”
Rachel Hoover, Adult Services Librarian, Thomas Ford Memorial Library
“Robert presented a wonderful, well researched program. He’s an excellent speaker and provides a wealth of knowledge regarding the Beatles. He received rave reviews from our audience and we look forward to having him return to the library to present the next two programs in the series.”
Cindy Kline, Adult Program Coordinator, Indian Prairie Public Library
“Our patrons loved Robert Rodriguez’s program on the early years of the Beatles. He brought with him invaluable knowledge about the Fab Four, plus rare footage of concerts and interviews that the audience loved. So many persons came up to me commending the speaker and the program; perfect for and Beatles’ fan!”
Courtney Withrow, Adult Services Librarian, Wheaton Public Library
Praise for Robert Rodriguez, Author
Revolver: How the Beatles Re-imagined Rock ‘n’ Roll
“Of the literally thousands of books out there about The Beatles, this one stands head and shoulders above the usual fare. Revolver: How The Beatles Reimagined Rock ‘N’ Roll is one of the more original takes on this band I have had the pleasure to read. My hat is off to you Mr. Rodriguez for telling this portion of The Beatles’ story in a very compelling manner.”
Greg Barbrick, Blinded By Sound
“Of the umpteen books written and published about the Beatles in 2012, this will undoubtedly hold as one of the best. It’s well-written, well-researched, and presented to us by an author with a sense of authority that makes you eager to read--and listen to--that he has to say.”
Jedd Beaudoin, Pop Matters
“For fans like me who have long held the belief that Revolver is the finest album the Beatles made, Rodriguez’s book is essential….If Rodriguez wanted me to appreciate Revolver even more (which I didn’t think was possible), he certainly did his job.”
Daniel S. Levine, The Celebrity Café
“Just when you may have thought the world didn’t need another Beatles book, he has delivered a focused, compelling, and impeccably researched volume that emphasizes the artistry in their 1966 classic.”
The Other Chad, Blogcritics
“Rodriguez crafts a complete and compelling portrait of one of Rock’s key years….In an era when books seem to escape the editor’s desk with any number of embarrassing factual errors intact, Revolver: How The Beatles Reimagined Rock ‘N’ Roll is a true rarity. This is an impeccably researched work. The writer doesn’t let a single question about some of Rock’s greatest music go unaddressed.”
Mike Segretto, Psychobabble
Fab Four FAQ 2.0: The Beatles’ Solo Years 1970-1980
“I love it…great tidbits of info, and I learn something new with each page”
Bart Shore, Time Warp Radio
“Fab Four FAQ 2.0 is a must-own”
Terry Ott, The Pop Culture Connection
“… a fascinating book that filled in more blank spaces than I could ever cover here…a tremendous addition to my collection…”
Barry Rudolph, The Music Connection
“You could easily pick the book up and start reading any page without feeling lost, and you’ll get tons of interesting information in minutes”
BeatleLinks: The Beatles Internet Resource Guide
“A hugely enjoyable, fresh and well researched 500 page book. I loved it.”
Craig Smith, British Beatles Fan Club
“Fab Four FAQ 2.0 is a true work of pop scholarship.”
“…full of original observations, provocative positions, and humor…”
“There will never be an end to the Beatles’ story or probably ways to tell it. Fab Four FAQ and Fab Four FAQ 2.0 find an interesting way amidst all the old ones. And that’s a great reason why these very enjoyable books are welcome additions.”
Steve Marinucci, Beatles Examiner
“A unique perspective of the aftermath of the break-up of the Beatles. Robert offers a thorough analysis not only of the individual band members’ recordings but of the events that shaped their lives and careers through the tumultuous ’70s. A complete overview of the rumors, the scandals, the triumphs and the music that followed the end of the best band ever.”
Dennis Mitchell, Breakfast with the Beatles
Fab Four FAQ: Everything Left to Know about The Beatles…and More!
“I LOVE this book…Definitely one of the better books out there."
Chris Carter, host of the nationally syndicated Breakfast With The Beatles
“Enthusiasts will thoroughly enjoy this extremely well-researched book.”
Keith Badman, author of The Beatles Off The Record 1 & 2
“Gets the grand prize for packing in more obscure and arcane information than any of the dozen books I’ve read on the Beatles--combined.”
Barry Rudolph, recording engineer (Mick Jagger, Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, et al.)
“More than ‘just another Beatles book,’ this one you can pick up, thumb through, and every stop is interesting.”
Eric C. Shoaf, Vintage Guitar magazine
“The kind of book you pick up to skim through, but you end up getting sucked in, and before you know it, half an hour has passed.”
“Finds fresh angles, insightful observations, and delightful Beatlebits…all presented in a delightful writing style that makes me declare--dare I shout it?--‘yeah, yeah yeah’!
Lou Carlozo, Chicago Tribune
“Any book that can teach you this much about something you already know a lot about is a very good book.”
Ari Spool, Seattle Stranger
“If you thought you knew the Beatles, this book will make you think again.”
Glen Boyd, Blogcritics
“Shea and Rodriguez have certainly added to the large body of discourse on the Fabs and done it on the whole very well.”
Terry Ott, Boomer Media View
“Having the information neatly organized in a very well written, thoroughly researched book makes this an enjoyable read, as well as a handy reference tool. Fans who appreciate more serious study should take particular interest in the authors’ selections of notable performances by each Beatle on his respective instruments, and the skillful way they articulate their positions. The authors’ obsessive attention to detail elevates Fab Four FAQ to more than just another book on a ubiquitous subject.”
Ugly Things magazine
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