Solid State

9781501746857: Hardback
Release Date: 15th October 2019

5 b&w halftones, 7 color halftones

Dimensions: 140 x 216

Number of Pages: 288

Cornell University Press

Solid State

The Story of "Abbey Road" and the End of the Beatles

Written by
Kenneth Womack
Foreword by
Alan Parsons
Hardback / £22.99

Acclaimed Beatles historian Kenneth Womack offers the most definitive account yet of the writing, recording, mixing, and reception of Abbey Road.

In February 1969, the Beatles began working on what became their final album together. Abbey Road introduced a number of new techniques and technologies to the Beatles' sound, and included "Come Together," "Something," and "Here Comes the Sun," which all emerged as classics.

Womack's colorful retelling of how this landmark album was written and recorded is a treat for fans of the Beatles. 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.

As Womack shows, Abbey Road was the culmination of the instrumental skills, recording equipment, and artistic vision that the band and George Martin had developed since their early days in the same studio seven years earlier. A testament to the group's creativity and their producer's ingenuity, Solid State is required reading for all fans of the Beatles and the history of rock 'n' roll.

Kenneth Womack's previous books about the Beatles include Long and Winding Roads and The Beatles Encyclopedia. He is also the author of the acclaimed two-volume biography of Sir George Martin, Maximum Volume and Sound Pictures. Womack is Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at Monmouth University, where he also serves as Professor of English. Follow him on Twitter @KennethAWomack and visit for more Beatles history and insight.

"One of the world's foremost Beatle scholars takes a fascinating tour through the band's final masterpiece. Kenneth Womack sheds light on the struggle and strife behind 'that magic feeling,' as four artists on the verge of splitting apart somehow came together to make some of their best-loved music. Solid State is a brilliant and essential trip."

Rob Sheffield, author of Dreaming the Beatles

"Womack takes us on a journey through 1969, providing an engaging chronicle of the recording of this landmark record. It is a must-read for anyone who knows the album—and the better you know Abbey Road, the more you'll enjoy Solid State."

John Covach, Eastman School of Music

"Solid State takes readers on a memorable walk across Abbey Road and into the hallowed halls of EMI Studios as Beatles expert Kenneth Womack explores the recording of the group's swan song LP. A fab job as always from Womack."

Chris Carter, Host of Breakfast with the Beatles, SiriusXM Radio

"Womack humanizes and demystifies the mythic status of the album and of the four Beatles, but not by diminishing their achievements... Solid State is as fine a tribute to the Fabs as one could hope for in 2019"

Spectrum Culture

"In the enjoyable deep dive Solid State, Kenneth Womack tells a detailed story of how the album came to be."


"Music writer Womack delivers a fascinating, in-depth look at the creation of Abbey Road, the Beatles' penultimate album released 50 years ago.... Womack displays a detailed and insightful analysis that fans will hope he applies to the band's other albums."

Publishers Weekly

"Womack has created an account of the Abbey Road sessions that is extremely well-researched and well-written. The timing of the publication is perfect, given the recent success of the 50th Anniversary Reissue of the album. It is well worth a read for die-hard fans, and even casual fans, who are interested in how this work of art was created."

Spill Magazine