There has been a lot of talk about the Beatles’ rise and fall as a myth over the years. It has also been told in a children’s story, gossip, dry history, detailed diaries, cartoons, and graphic novels. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr have been the subject of a lot of books. There are books about their recording equipment, encyclopedias about all the music and movies they haven’t released, and collections of their old photos. Even if you’re a die-hard Beatlemaniac, you can’t keep up with all the new books coming out. The greatness of the music has also inspired greatness in the authors. The best books about the Beatles are some of the best pop culture writing and criticism that has ever been written or talked about.
As well as having a huge, long-lasting impact on music, the band’s story has a clear, dramatic arc that is broken into three separate acts, each of which deserves a lot of attention. There are a lot of good books about the Beatles, but these are the ones that should be at the top of any library. These books give a lot of information about the history of the band, critical analysis, detailed accounts of the quartet at work, and insider stories that make the band seem less like a group of people who are bigger than life. If you read any of these books, you’ll learn more about a subject that’s often thought of in the broadest terms. Their story is always the same, but it’s always different. This will show why their myth only grows stronger over time.
The Best Overall Introduction
Shout!: The Beatles in Their Generation by Philip Norman (1981)
It was published 11 years after the Beatles broke up and a year after John Lennon was killed. During this time, conventional wisdom began to change. Author Philip Norman didn’t get any help from any of the four Beatles when he wrote the book. Instead, he used research and first-person interviews with people who were close to the Beatles. All of them were ready to settle their differences while keeping the myth of the Beatles alive. In this way, Shout! stands out from Hunter Davies’ official 1968 biography of the Beatles, The Beatles, because it is quick, thorough, and fun. It also helps put the group’s mercurial 1960s output in the context of that tumultuous decade.
The Definitive Origin Story
Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years, Volume 1 by Mark Lewisohn (2013)
A planned three-part biography by a well-known Beatles expert called Tune In is not Shout!, which is what it sounds like. There is a big difference between Norman’s book and Lewisohn’s. In Norman’s book, things move quickly. In Lewisohn’s book, things move so slowly that it looks like things are happening in real time. If you’ve been studying the Beatles for a long time, you might be used to taking your time. Tune In is a great movie because it makes the Beatles’ first act, which runs from before the band formed until the end of 1962, seem like their most exciting time.
The reason for all of this is Lewisohn’s decision to start from the beginning of his study. When he does this, he finds that printing the legend has made the truth more difficult to see. For example, many books say that Decca Records didn’t sign the Beatles, George Martin got the job to produce the group, and John chose which parent to live with. These revelations, combined with Lewisohn’s ability to show how the Beatles didn’t rise to the top by accident, give Tune In a corrective punch. Lennon and McCartney went years without writing original songs. In the end, even if Lewisohn doesn’t finish the other two volumes, at least he set the record straight for what is thought to be the Beatles’ most mysterious time.
The Tales Behind Every Song
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years by Mark Lewisohn (1988)
Mark Lewisohn wrote The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions as a follow-up to The Beatles Live!, a book about all the concerts the Fab Four played. He was given unprecedented access to Abbey Road’s vaults and tape logs. That 1986 book is a mix of fan service and scholarship. The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, on the other hand, is a fascinating day-by-day account of how the Beatles made their music. Alternate takes, overdubs, and unreleased songs are all looked at in great detail. Many of these songs wouldn’t come out of the Abbey Road vaults until the Anthology came out in the 1990s, if ever. Lewisohn’s skills as a recorder make this book a captivating read. The songs come to life in print as he carefully describes them.
The Critical Analysis
Revolution in the Head: The Beatles’ Records and the Sixties by Ian MacDonald (1994)
Revolution in the Head is a book by Ian MacDonald that breaks down every song the Beatles ever made. He puts each one in its cultural context and tries to figure out the reasons behind both the compositions and the covers. As a critic, MacDonald is very strict and not very forgiving. He doesn’t like songs that he thinks aren’t worth listening to, and he sometimes gives the Beatles emotional traits that aren’t entirely based on the text. But these criticisms don’t make Revolution in the Head less important or less powerful. It’s a sobering book that makes you think about things you’ve always thought were true. It’s a book that lives in your head as much as it does on the page.
The Official Story (According to Paul)
Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now by Barry Miles (1997)
It had been a long time since Paul McCartney was thought of as the soft, fuzzy one in the Beatles, but he agreed to help write a biography by his longtime friend, Barry Miles. There were never-before-seen interviews between the two of them. Many Years From Now is as close to a McCartney memoir as we’re going to get.
It’s interesting that the bulk of this book is about the life of the mind. McCartney doesn’t care about the old stories as much as he does getting credit for his work, so Miles spends most of his long book talking about Paul’s thoughts on almost every song he wrote in the ’60s. So, the book is a necessary corrective: It dispels the myth that Paul was just a pop star by proving his avant-garde credentials. This shows how complicated the creative team of Lennon/McCartney was.
What Beatlemania Was Really Like
Love Me Do! The Beatles’ Progress by Michael Braun (1964)
Love Me Do! was written during the last days of Beatlemania, and it is the definitive account of what the Beatles meant during their peak popularity. He was with the band for a long time between the release of Please Please Me and the filming of A Hard Day’s Night. Michael Braun, an American journalist, wrote about the Beatles with a fond but detached view. Open to their charms but aware of their flaws, which the Beatles didn’t hide, because their success came so quickly and they hadn’t yet built up a defense. Since it shows how the Beatles were really feeling at this time, Love Me Do! shows how they were really feeling They spiked their Cokes with Scotch, flexed their muscles, and John said the avant-garde didn’t interest him. Paul couldn’t figure out what Fellini meant. You can tell Braun knows all four Fab Four members by their personalities, and that makes Love Me Do! rare: an act of snap journalism that doesn’t look like it was done in its time.
The Insider Account
As Time Goes By by Derek Taylor (1973)
Derek Taylor was one of the most important non-musical people in 1960s rock and roll. In the 1960s, he worked for the Beatles as a press agent. After Brian Epstein, the band manager, died in 1967, he worked for the band again as a press agent. Then he worked for Apple Corps, the group the band started in 1968. Byrds, Monterey Pop Festival, and Mae West were all places he spent time during the middle of the Sixties. As Time Goes By, Taylor’s memoir, is so great because he was there when Beatlemania was at its peak. Taylor is both a witness and an active participant in the chaos, and that’s what makes it so interesting to read. As soon as Taylor found the Beatles in his 30s, his life changed for the better, but he didn’t think they were gods. If you read the book, you’ll see that he’s grown tired of the group at times. He says he’s never hated anyone like he hated Paul in 1968. Written in 1973, when the group was still alive and he was still mad at them. He wanted to remember how wonderful their time together was.
The Ultimate Hanger-On Tells All
The Longest Cocktail Party by Richard DiLello (1972)
He was known as the “House Hippie” when he worked at Apple Corps between 1968 and 1970. That’s because he was a hippie. This is what Richard DiLello did for Derek Taylor. He clipped press releases and went on wild escapades with Taylor. For example, they went to London and looked for a huge barrel to hold apples for a promotional party. In the end, he was a “fly on the wall” at Apple Records in the late ’60s. He called it the “Longest Cocktail Party.”A year before, it was written.As Time Goes By, this book sometimes seems to be in conversation with its companion. Taylor’s love for DiLello is clear on every page, but the House Hippie was a lucky spectator who saw the Beatles break up.
DiLello gives publicity cover for John and Yoko’s increasingly elaborate art projects, promotes a completely forgotten band called White Trash, and skitters around the Hells Angels George Harrison invited (and then ditched). Then Allen Klein, the American music mogul and impresario who every Beatle but Paul hired as a manager in 1969, decided to turn the flailing group around. Unlike other Beatles books, this one is quick and lively. It’s by far the funniest one out there!