Although Beatles Fair is known for its music, there are many other attractions at the annual event, one of which is getting a chance to meet noted authors in the field of music and more specifically, The Beatles. One such guest scheduled for this year’s edition, taking place at Queen Bee on December 7, is John Borack. Perhaps best known for his work as a contributing editor / writer for Goldmine Magazine, Borack has also authored several books, including John Lennon: Life Is What Happens and Shake Some Action: The Ultimate Power Pop Guide. Coming up next in 2020 will be The Beatles: 100 Pivotal Moments that Shaped a Band, but he is currently promoting, Shake Some Action 2.0: A Guide to the 200 Greatest Power Pop Albums, 1970 – 2017.
Borack’s love of powerpop – ultra melodic rock ‘n’ roll with harmonies and occasional jangle – dates back nearly sixty years. “My first musical crush was the Beatles,” he said. “I’ve always enjoyed any music that has that same sound and spirit. Power pop at its best is music that makes you happy and moves you to want to sing and clap along with it. To me, there’s nothing better.”
What was the inspiration for this book? “Ten years had passed since the release of my first book, Shake Some Action: The Ultimate Power Pop Guide, and I realized two things: there had been a bunch of great power pop records released during that time, and that some of the records I had placed in my original top 200 power pop albums list in the first book had not aged very well,” Borack said. “So I decided to update the top 200 list, adding more than 50 new albums, with a like amount falling off the charts, as it were. We fashioned it like the Billboard charts, with some albums moving up the chart, some moving down, and a bunch of new entries.”
Borack notes the book differs from the earlier edition in more than just listings. “The original book contained some quotes from the artists included,” he said. “But I decided to up the ante this time out and attempt to interview every artist with an album in the top 200. Reaching out to some of the artists via social media was a great help, and I think I was able to acquire quotes from about 90% of the artists who are still with us.” While it was work compiling all the info, there was a nice bonus. “It was especially cool to receive phone calls from Emitt Rhodes and Prescott Niles (The Knack) and to find emails in my inbox from the likes of Eric Carmen (The Raspberries), Joey Molland (Badfinger) and some of the members of The Searchers and Teenage Fanclub.”
While it’s safe to say this book is an essential read for music fans, Borack’s main motivation is simply getting the word out about some of his favorite performers. “It’s my hope that the book provides the reader with some new information, whether it be in the form of an artist quote or reading about an album they might not be familiar with and are compelled to check out,” he said. “As far as the bigger picture, hopefully the book validates the power pop genre in some manner, since there is so much truly great music that the general public is unaware of,” Borack remarked.