The Best Beatles Books

biographies Beatles Lennon McCartney

What Are The Greatest Books About The Beatles?

photo (18)

With over eighty nine thousand books* now registered in The British Library that mention The Beatles in one way shape or form, I thought it would be helpful to present a buyer’s guide to the best ones.

Beatles Books A

This list of Beatles Books is the result of many happy hours of reading the best Beatles books – the ones that best told the story of John Paul, George and Ringo.

This was itself the result of many hours of research trying to avoid reading any of the less good books about The Beatles, albeit I have read quite a few of those also. I have filtered out most of these so what we are left with is what I hope is a pretty comprehensive, yet quality-filled list, all of which I have read.

As hard as it may be to believe, there are plenty of folk out there who know more about The Beatles than I do. If that’s you, or even if it isn’t, but you think I have just missed an obviously fantastic read, then please let me know in the comments section below!

The Best Books About The Beatles:

A Recommended Beatles Bibliography in chronological order:


Love Me Do: The Beatles Progress, Michael Braun One of the first Beatles books, this was a first hand account by an American journalist living in the UK of the early years which took The Beatles from Cambridge to the Carnegie Hall via Juke Box Jury and Ed Sullivan. It gets really close to the four protagonists and is fascinating in its account of the ever increasing interest in the band.

Why you should read it: One of the first accounts and one that gets close to the early Beatles.

Cellarful of Noise

A Cellarful of Noise, Brian Epstein (ghost-written by Derek Taylor). This is an interesting period piece that gave insights into Epstein’s life managing the Beatles at the height of Beatlemania. An official account, it ignores any of the more controversial aspects of Brian’s turbulent life.

Why you should read it: It’s Brian in his own words.


The Beatles Hunter Davies

The Beatles: The Authorized Biography, Hunter Davies The first “authorised biography”, Davies visits the Beatles at their homes and provides some fascinating details behind the scenes. Again, it is quite sanitised, but with the benefit of hindsight, the picture of domestic “bliss” between John and Cynthia is easily seen though…

Why you should read it: The first official biography.


Get Back Book Beatles

The Beatles Get Back, Jonathan Cott and David Dalton Released as part of the Let It Be LP package, this features many glossy photos of those album sessions.

Why you should read it: For the glossy photos.


Lennon Remembers Lennon Remembers, Jann Wenner

Lennon Remembers, Jann Wenner – Just a brilliant explosion of John Lennon‘s thoughts and feelings as he looks back on his time with The Beatles. Endlessly quotable – this is the moment Lennon lifted the veil and gave a shocking and honest account of his life.

Why you should read it: It’s Lennon’s greatest interview. Incredible stuff.


The Longest Cocktail Party Richard DiLello

The Longest Cocktail Party, Richard DiLello Consistently amusing account of the last days of Apple by the”House Hippie”. The Beatles are a mere side attraction compared with the arrivals of Allen Klein, Magic Alex…and Hells Angels.

Why you should read it: It’s very funny, and Liam Gallagher wants to make it into a film. The film is unlikely to be as good.

Phil Spector Out of his Head

Out of His Head:The Sound of Phil Spector, Richard Williams Included here because of the details included of Spector’s controversial handling of “Let It Be” and his later sessions with Harrison and Lennon.

Why you should read it: It’s an account of Spector before it all went wrong. A diary of a madman.


As Time Goes By Living in the Sixties, Derek Taylor

As Time Goes By: Living in the Sixties, Derek Taylor Derek Taylor spent six years as press agent for the Beatles. This book is something of a hotch potch of memories and episodes in Taylor’s life, including various incidents both Beatles and non-Beatles related – not least of which was being on the other end of the phone when the police busted the Beatles for drugs.

Why you should read it: A rare insider’s account: you don’t get much closer to The Beatles than being their press agent.


Roy Carr

The Beatles:An Illustrated Record, Roy Carr and Tony Tyler The first of a series of books (Bowie, Dylan) that looked at the career of an artist through their records.

Why you should read it: It’s a discography, (including bootlegs and sings written by Lennon/McCartney but performed by other artists) has great press clippings, photos, concert posters and insights into the records.


The Beatles Forever, Nicholas Schaffner

The Beatles Forever, Nicholas Schaffner

An excellent early-ish career biography in a large format packed with photos of the band and their record sleeves, discography, memorabilia etc. different from the Illustrated Record as it was more than a discography – it actually told the full story of how The Beatles changed the world.

Why you should read it: One of the best books – because of the mix of words and over 400 pictures, including the infamous “Butcher” cover and one of George living in the material world – playing Monopoly.


Shout Philip Norman

Shout! Philip Norman

Perhaps the first successful attempt at a full career biography that really achieved a level of comprehensiveness befitting the band. A classic, written a decade after the band split and released less than a year after Lennon’s murder. NB. Philip Norman admitted in his subsequent McCartney biography he held something of a pro-Lennon bias when writing this book.

Why you should read it: A complete account and a great starting point.


The Playboy Interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, David Sheff A compilation of a series of interviews with Lennon and Ono from September 1980. The interviews culminated in a song-by-song breakdown of who-wrote-what in each of the songs in the Lennon and McCartney canon.

Why you should read it: One of Lennon’s last interviews – and one that uniquely looked back at the music.


The Love You Make An Insiders Story of The Beatles

The Love You Make: An Insider’s Story of The Beatles, Peter Brown and Steven Gaines A thorough insider’s story of the story from start to finish – one of the first books (after Shout!) to attempt to do so.

Why you should read it: Another insider account – it’s revealing about the characteristics of the individual Beatles from Brown’s perspective – and one that is most comprehensive.


The Last Days of John Lennon, Frederic Seaman

The Last Days of John Lennon, Frederic Seaman Beginning with the story of his own arrest for allegedly stealing Lennon’s private journals, Frederic Seaman – who for a time was Lennon’s assistant in New York – gives a serious account of his time with Lennon. An insight into Ono’s protection of Lennon and the level of (often justified) paranoia and suspicion prevailing over the period. See also below – “The Covert War Against Rock” for a critical summary of Seaman’s role in a project to destabilise Lennon.

Why you should read it: A unique story of Lennon’s life – and tragic death – in New York.


The Complete Beatles Chronicle Mark Lewisohn

The Complete Beatles Chronicle, Mark Lewisohn (incorporating 1986’s The Beatles Live and a condensed version of 1988’s The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions). A factual reference book detailing almost Every Day In The Life of The Beatles. Lewisohn worked for McCartney for a while sorting out his archives – and it shows. The bible for Beatle fans.

Why you should read it: Because you literally want a day by day account of The Beatles’ movements. Don’t you?


With A Little Help From My Friends, George Martin with William Pearson.

With A Little Help From My Friends, George Martin with William Pearson. Also known as “Summer of Love” – An account by George Martin of the making of Sgt Pepper. A look behind the scenes at the Abbey Road EMI studios during the summer of love.

Why you should read it: The fifth Beatle tells us what it was like to record one of the greatest albums ever made.


Revolution In The Head, Ian McDonald

A classic of its kind, McDonald dissects every Beatles tune, providing a personal view of every one, and in many cases the background to each.

Why you should read it: It’s all about the music: Every song analysed beautifully. File under “Essential”.

A Hard Day's Write Steve Turner

A Hard Day’s Write, Steve Turner

The story behind every Beatles song illustrated with over 200 photographs.

Why you should read it: It revealed the story behind “She’s Leaving Home” – a newspaper report (reprinted) about 17 year old runaway Melanie Coe.


Many Years From Now, Barry Miles This book was written with the full cooperation of Paul McCartney, so has the advantages and disadvantages of being “official”. What is of particular interest is reading how Paul developed his interests in the counter culture through the Indica Gallery and bookshop. We learn that it was McCartney rather than Lennon who initially showed more interest in the various causes and movements of sixties popular culture.

Why you should read it: It dispelled the myth that John was the avant-garde Beatle.


The Covert War Against Rock, Alex Constantine

The Covert War Against Rock, Alex Constantine There’s a brilliant and well researched chapter in this otherwise rather paranoid book on how the FBI was spying on Lennon and how Goldman tried to trash Lennon’s reputation. Other chapters introduce some interesting theories on how “The Man” has bumped off a number of rock stars. Not all the chapters have quite as good evidence as the Lennon chapter however, which undermines its credibility overall. Fascinating stuff however.

Why you should read it: Because otherwise you might not think they’re all out to get us…


The Beatles Anthology by The Beatles A companion piece to the excellent documentary series. Coffee table style, it eschews controversy, being an “official” account, but a great starting place. Packed with amazing photos too.

Why you should read it: Because it is more detailed than the accompanying DVD and your coffee table looks bare without it.


Ticket-Ride-Inside-Beatles-Changed Inside+The+Beatles%27+1964+Tour+That+Changed+The+World%2C+Larry+Kane

A Ticket To Ride: Inside The Beatles’ 1964 Tour That Changed The World, Larry Kane A reporter’s inside view of the Beatles’ first two US tours in 1964 and 1965. There’s plenty of scandal, all handled with diplomacy: we may never know more about what exactly happened between Jayne Mansfield and John Lennon but this book is as close as we will ever get to knowing what those early mania-filled tours were like.

Why you should read it: I love books that cover tours. It’s like a (slightly) more genteel “Hammer of the Gods”.

Magic Circle The Beatles In Dream and History, Devin McKinney

Magic Circle: The Beatles In Dream and History, Devin McKinney McKinney attempts to deconstruct aspects of The Beatles in a series of essays. I thought the book occasionally threatened to disappear up its own backside. Good if you like that sort of thing…

Why you should read it: Some in-depth essays about the impact the Beatles had on the world.



John, Cynthia Lennon Cynthia Lennon’s first hand account of life with her husband and son, of growing up in Liverpool and of her being betrayed by John.

Why you should read it: An interesting insight into the early years from the lady that knew John best – at the time.

Magical Mystery Tours Tony Bramwell

Magical Mystery Tours: My Life With The Beatles, Tony Bramwell A childhood friend of George, Tony Bramwell got the job of Roadie to The Beatles by offering to carry George’s guitar into a hall so he could get in for free. His book is both highly detailed, appears factually strong and is page-turningly readable.

Why you should read it: It’s very entertaining and is close to its subjects. Excellent stuff.


Here, There and Everywhere My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles Geoff Emerick

Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles, Geoff Emerick Geoff’s account of his time as an EMI engineer – during which he was effectively George Martin’s right hand man – is very readable, often funny and occasionally scathing (especially of George Harrison’s early prowess and George Martin’s claims to the credit for some of The Beatles’ best studio moments).

Why you should read it: In case you thought George Martin was responsible for all that studio genius, here’s his assistant to tell you otherwise.

The Beatles The Biography, Bob Spitz

The Beatles: The Biography, Bob Spitz A huge volume that covers the whole story from start to finish. Very thorough and readable with more detail especially on the early days.

Why you should read it: it’s even more comprehensive than “Shout”.

The Unreleased Beatles Music & Film, Richie Unterberger

The Unreleased Beatles Music & Film, Richie Unterberger A huge reference book of unreleased material – every take and every session. Impressive stuff.

Why you should read it: A take-by-take account of everything the Beatles ever recorded and didn’t release.



Can’t Buy Me Love, Jonathan Gould An excellent book similar in style to Philip Norman’s Shout! with the extra perspective that a gap of eighteen years between books can provide.

Why you should read it: Because Gould is an excellent writer and for that reason it perhaps just pips the other main contenders (“Shout” and Bob Spitz’s book).


The Beatles You Never Give Me Your Money Peter Doggett

You Never Give Me Your Money, Peter Doggett Doggett achieved something extraordinary with this book – fresh perspective on how and why the Beatles split up in an entertaining and readable account of the last year of The Beatles – and the tangles between John, Paul and Allen Klein.

Why you should read it: Doggett found the untold tale of why the Beatles split. Brilliant.


Tune In - Mark Lewisohn The Beatles

Tune In – Mark Lewisohn

I think everyone else can put their pens down now. Lewisohn’s got it covered, with fresh perspectives and sources. The first part of the trilogy spans over 1700 pages and only gets to 1962. Let’s hope we (and Lewisohn!) all live long enough to read parts two and three…!

Why you should read it: Because when the third one is written and published, there may not be the need to read any of the rest….


Beatles with an A Mauri Kunnas cover

Beatles with an A – Mauri Kunnas

Genuinely a Beatles book with a difference – a comic strip that is both factually accurate and very funny. See my review by clicking this link.

Over to you: Have I missed any? I mean, certainly I have. But are there any that are the equal of the ones mentioned above? If so – please let me know in the comments section below.

Best Beatles Books

* Probably. I mean, I haven’t checked or anything, so this number might be nearer eighty eight thousand. Or three hundred and twelve. You get the point….

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53 responses to “The Best Beatles Books”

  1. […] you cry. **** Never fear, and worry not. Not only am I going to give you a top ten list, but on a new permanent feature of the Every Record Tells A Story site I am also going to chuck in a list of other noteworthy Beatles-related reads – because […]


  2. Quirky T Avatar

    Just added the books from this list that I haven’t already read to my “must read list.” Thanks for posting this list.


    1. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

      You’re welcome – glad it was useful.


  3. Joe King Avatar
    Joe King

    I’m looking for a book that ACCURATELY says WHO PLAYED WHAT on each and every song. For example, the times PAUL played lead guitar instead of George, or drums instead of Ringo, etc. Is there a book that does that?


    1. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

      My gut feel for a break down of that sort is to recommend Mark Lewisohn’s The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions. Lewisohn sat down at Abbey Road and listened to the whole lot, and wrote the book. It is very detailed – a day by day account of what tracks were recorded and by whom. Anyone else any views on this?


      1. Phillip Helbig Avatar

        Is this the one which documents who was responsible for having to stop a take, and noting that it was Ringo on only two(!) occasions?

        Ringo is the most famous drummer in the world. He is not the best, but he is much better than most people think and he is one of the most underrated.

        Back when everyone else was playing boom-chick accompaniment, he had unique parts for each song. Just think of the “d d da” at the beginning of “She Loves You”, the breaks between verse and chorus on “Help”, the fills on “A Day in the Life” and “Let it Be”, “Rain”, “Ticket to Ride”. Really head and shoulders above the competition.


      2. Joe King Avatar
        Joe King



      3. Chris Yancik Avatar
        Chris Yancik

        Lewisohn includes many of the actual session logs in the book. I’ve found it to be, by far, the most comprehensive account of who played what and when.


    2. Greg Phillips Avatar
      Greg Phillips

      Mark Lewisons “beatles recording sessions” book


  4. Phillip Helbig Avatar

    I have The Beatles A to Z which is like a dictionary of people, places, things—anything related to the Beatles, with a short description of each.


    1. Ian Iachimoe Avatar
      Ian Iachimoe

      A well intentioned book, unfortunately filled with errors and misinformation. The authors include themselves with entries listing themselves as authors of said book!


  5. Puneet Tanwar Avatar
    Puneet Tanwar

    You’ve got nearly all the best books in your list so a job well done.

    I few more that can be considered:

    1. John Lennon by Philip Norman – the most comprehensive Lennon bio
    2. The official Beatles bio by Hunter Davies is still a pretty good read
    3. Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartneyby Howard Sounes – who has also written a very readable Dylan bio


    1. Puneet Tanwar Avatar
      Puneet Tanwar

      I missed ‘All The Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release’ – which is fairly recent. A thoroughly enjoyable read even though I’ve already read Turner and Ian MacDonald.


    2. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

      Yes – Norman’s account of Lennon is an obvious omission, albeit John’s Aunt Mimi (I think) told Mark Lewisohn she had gone through it and annotated a copy with corrections quite strongly – she wasn’t a fan at all!
      Hunter Davis is in the list – and I agree it is still worth reading.
      One book not here but quoted a few times in Lewisohn’s “Tune In” (the extended version of which I read and which is extraordinary) is Pete Best’s book Beatle! which I will have to check out…


  6. Puneet Tanwar Avatar
    Puneet Tanwar

    FYI: Coursera offers a course on the Beatles by John Covach from the University of Rochester

    Suggested Readings

    Primary reference:

    William J. Dowlding, Beatlesongs, Touchstone, 1989. A great one-volume account of all the Beatles albums and singles, organized chronologically and in running order, providing song info and Beatle comments. A perfect place to start.

    Additional references:

    The Beatles Anthology (5-DVD set), Apple, 1995. The Beatles story told as by the band. It is interesting to compare the story as they tell it with the many other band biographies that are out there. There is also a book that provides the full interviews from this project, and this is an excellent resource as well. Other insider accounts are provided by George Martin, Geoff Emerick, Geoffrey Ellis, and Peter Brown, as well as by Brian Epstein in his autobiography (ghost written by Derek Taylor).

    Walter Everett, The Beatles As Musicians (two volumes), Oxford University Press, 1999 and 2001. Without question the best books on the technical aspects of the Beatles music available. Highly recommended, especially for those with music training.

    Mark Lewissohn, The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Sterling, 2013. After years of being out of print, this excellent book on the details of Beatles recording sessions is due to be published in an inexpensive paperback version in October 2013.

    Andy Babiuk, Beatles Gear, Backbeat, 2009. For the gearheads out there, this book gives you all the details you need on the guitars, amps, drums, and other gear the band used in the 1960s.

    The Beatles Complete Scores, Hal Leonard, 1993. While no knowledge of musical notation is required for this course, if you can read music this is a great resource. This volume transcribes every track recorded by the band and presents it in score format. There are errors, but overall this is a crucial resource for those interested in the technical details of the music.


    1. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

      I really enjoyed the Anthology documentary – it is listed elsewhere on this site under my. “Best music documentaries” page.
      Thanks for your comments by the way – much appreciated – that’s a fascinating list for what academics would see as required reading. I have been tempted (as i do own an epiphone casino) by the beatles gear book – it looks lovely albeit I don’t know how much space I have in my home for another coffee table book – might need a bigger coffee table before long!


  7. Copperhair Emeraldeyes Avatar
    Copperhair Emeraldeyes

    I’m looking for a book I had briefly that explained about the Beatles’ albums released in the UK compared to how the albums were modified and marketed in the US. For example, the album titles were changed, the cover art sometimes also changed, and the number and selection of songs on each album changed because of decisions by the publishing companies. It was very interesting and I cannot exactly recall the cover of the book. I gave it to a friend who had heart surgery and now said friend will not even tell me the name of the book. I moved and lost touch so I can’t stop by and take a look. I’ve been searching for years. I picked it up on a garage sale and the book smelled “funny” (wink, wink) so I gave it away. Anyway, I would greatly appreciate a lead on what it might be. Thanks!


    1. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

      How about The Beatles US LPs: Where They Came From & How They Charted, by Ken Westover? Out of print now, but covered all the US releases?


      1. Copperhair Emeraldeyes Avatar
        Copperhair Emeraldeyes

        I appreciate the feedback but that doesn’t look like it. I remember the book as having a white cover with perhaps red lettering and maybe a pic of the Lads. I skimmed through it at the time but when I moved, I let it go. I’ve been searching for years. It seems to be the Holy Grail of Beatle info!


  8. David Avatar

    Very interesting. I heard Mark Lewisohn talk about “Tune In” twice and both talks very different and fascinating. I pleaded with him to try and finish vols 2 and 3 more quickly but I think we will just have to be patient and hope we live so long.
    I would recommend “The John Lennon Letters” edited by (you guessed it) Hunter Davies and also the audio version of that book


    1. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

      Thanks – out of interest what makes the audiobook version worthwhile on that one? Regarding Lewisohn, I heard him say in an interview that he’s never had so many people asking after his health!


      1. BARRETT1982 Avatar

        There are two volumes written by John C. Winn: ‘Way Beyond Compare’ and ‘That magic feeling’ that document every recorded and filmed thing by The Beatles. It is impresive and one of the Lewisohn’s favorite beatlebooks.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

        Thank you – haven’t seen these before

        *goes on to Amazon*


    2. David LAWSON Avatar
      David LAWSON

      Ok this is bizarre as it does not usually take me two years to reply to an email but I have just revisited your blog about Beatles books and see you asked me a question on 27/03/15.
      The audio version is good as we hear Hunter talking enthusiastically about the letters and Christopher Eccleston reads the letters in what sounds at least to me in John’s “voice”. I was lucky enough to find and audio copy in a charity shop for a very small price! Sorry about the delay.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

        Thank you! Having flicked through the paperback I can now see why an audiobook version might bring it to life a bit. Thanks for the reply – even two years later!


  9. Ty Brando Avatar

    Any good books on George Harrison that talk about him as guitar player and what his playing special, distinctive, etc? I got the one put out by Rolling Stone and *that* was not it! I ME MINE doesn’t do it either. Thanks!


    1. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

      Good question. I can’t think of any that only focus on his guitar playing. More likely to find that in magazine articles and interviews.


  10. ejdanton Avatar

    Good list, and thorough. I would add an old one…I think it’s way out of print, but the go-to book to see who sang, played, guested and when things were released is “All Together Now: The First Complete Beatles discography 1961-1975. ”

    I got it for Christmas in 1976 (I was 11) and it was a great reference book. The only book I ever wore out! It’s in pieces and has seen better days but I still have it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Mitchell Axelrod Avatar
    Mitchell Axelrod

    Would love to send you a copy of my book “Beatletoons – The Real Story Behind The Cartoon Beatles.” Not because I think it belongs on this list, but because I think you may enjoy it as an interesting read about a part of their history that is still a mystery.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

      Would love to read that. I remember the cartoons on TV, and you have reminded me that I keep meaning to seek them out. I’m off to YouTube now to take another look….


      1. Mitchell Axelrod Avatar
        Mitchell Axelrod

        Email me your address.


    2. Rhonda Dundas Avatar
      Rhonda Dundas

      I would love to read this myself !! Watching the Beatles cartoons on a Saturday morning was how I became a Beatles fan !! As I was born in 1969 ,The Beatles were well and trully over by the time I was old enough to appreciate them in their hey day . I just remember looking forward to Saturdays and watching the show . It was just so funny !!! And of course , the music was brilliant .

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Chris Yancik Avatar
        Chris Yancik

        While I don’t believe there’s ever been an official home video release of The Beatles cartoon, I did purchase on Ebay (some years ago) the full 39-episode run on DVD, recorded off one of the cartoon channels. It was a real trip back in time to my childhood, when I eagerly awaited each episode and watched without blinking, approximately one foot from the tv screen. Imagine my delight watching the show with my granddaughters and seeing them respond exactly as I did some fifty years earlier. Magic!


  12. Steve Avatar

    Here is a book released in 2004 you might want to consider.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Rudy Panucci Avatar

    Greaat list, but there’s an obscure gem missing: The Beatle Who Vanished
    by Jim Berkenstadt. It’s all about Jimmie Nicol, who filled in for Ringo for 13 days on tour at the height of Beatlemania, while Ringo had his tonsils out. Much of the book is a detailed diary of what it was like to be on tour with the Beatles in Europe, Asia and Australia in 1964.

    The book begins with a detailed look at Nicol’s life in Liverpool, pre-Beatles, and his work in the music industry after his brief stint at a Beatle. Highly recommended.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

      Oooh yes, I remember hearing about that guy on the Anthology series. Hadn’t realised he had written a book – thank you!


      1. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

        Or rather, there was a book written about him…


  14. Paul D Avatar
    Paul D

    Hi I compiled my own list of Beatle books and then I saw your listings here. I’m glad you agree with many of the same books as me. Here’s my lists separated into these headings: Reference/Biography/First Hand accounts of The Beatles career. I also did a category of books which might be good but I don’t have enough conclusive info at present.

    The Beatles: The BBC Archives: 1962-1970 by Kevin Howlett
    Way Beyond Compare: The Beatles’ Recorded Legacy, Volume One, 1957-1965 by John C. Winn
    That Magic Feeling: The Beatles’ Recorded Legacy, Volume Two, 1966-1970: by John C. Winn
    “Beatles” Gear: All the Fab Four’s Instruments from Stage to Studio by Andy Babiuk
    Revolution in the Head: The Beatles’ Records and the Sixties by Ian MacDonald
    The Complete “Beatles” Chronicle by Mark Lewisohn
    The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story Abbey Road 1962 – 1970 by Mark Lewisohn
    Tell Me Why: The Beatles: Album By Album, Song By Song, The Sixties And After by Tim Riley
    The Beatles’ Story on Capitol Records, Part One: Beatlemania and the Singles by Bruce Spizer
    The Beatles’ Story on Capitol Records, Part Two: The Albums by Bruce Spizer
    Recording the Beatles : The Studio Equipment and Techniques Used to Create Their Classic Albums by Kevin Ryan & Brian Kehew
    The Beatles’ London: The Ultimate Guide to Over 400 Beatles Sites in and Around London by Piet Schreuders
    Looking Through You: The Beatles Book Monthly Photo Archive by Tom Adams
    Beatlemania: The Real Story of The Beatles UK Tours by Martin Creasy
    The Unreleased Beatles by Richie Unterberger

    You Never Give Me Your Money: The Battle For The Soul Of The Beatles by Peter Doggett
    The Beatles – All These Years: Volume One: Tune In by Mark Lewisohn
    The Beatles: The Authorised Biography by Hunter Davies
    Shout!: The True Story of the Beatles by Philip Norman
    The Beatles Anthology by Brian Roylance
    Can’t Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain, and America by Jonathan Gould
    The Beatles in Scotland by Ken McNab
    Magic Circles: The Beatles in Dream and History by Devin Mckinney
    Baby You’re a Rich Man: Suing the Beatles for Fun and Profit by Stan Soocher
    The Beatles: The Biography by Bob Spitz

    Original Sources/First Hand accounts of The Beatles career:
    Love Me Do!: “Beatles” Progress by Michael Braun
    With the Beatles: A Stunning Insight by The Man who was with the Band Every Step of the Way by Alistair Taylor
    Magical Mystery Tours: My Life with the Beatles by Tony Bramwell
    John, Paul, George Ringo & Me by Tony Barrow
    Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust: Off the Record with the Beatles, Bowie, Elton & So Much More, by Ken Scott, Bobby Owsinski
    John Lennon Called Me Normal by Norman ‘Hurricane’ Smith
    A Cellarful of Noise by Brian Epstein
    The Beatles and Me On Tour by Ivor Davis
    The Rocking City: The Explosive Birth of The Beatles by Sam Leach
    The Beatles by Chris Hutchins
    Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles by Geoff Emerick and Howard Massey
    All You Need Is Ears by George Martin
    As Time Goes By by DerekTaylor
    Fifty Years Adrift by Derek Taylor
    The Man Who Gave the “Beatles” Away: The Amazing True Story of The Beatles’ Early Years by Allan Williams
    I, Me, Mine by George Harrison
    The Love You Make: An Insider’s Story of the Beatles by Peter Brown
    The Ray Connolly Beatles Archive by Ray Connolly
    The Beatles Lennon and Me by Pete Shotton
    Lennon Remembers by Jann S Wenner
    The Longest Cocktail Party by Richard DiLello
    BEATLE! The Pete Best Story by Pete Best
    Summer of Love: The Making of Sgt.Pepper by George Martin
    Ticket to Ride: Inside the Beatles’ 1964 & 1965 Tours That Changed the World by Larry Kane

    Maybe for inclusion list:
    I Want To Tell You – The Definitive Guide To The Music Of The Beatles Volume 1:1962/1963 by Anthony Robustelli
    The Beatles at Rishikesh by Paul Saltzman
    John by Cynthia Lennon
    Wonderful Today: The Autobiography of Pattie Boyd by Pattie Boyd
    The Beatles As Musicians: The Quarry Men through Rubber Soul by Walter Everett
    The Beatles As Musicians: Revolver through the Anthology by Walter Everett
    The Songwriting Secrets Of The Beatles by Dominic Pedler
    Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry Of The Beatles by Kenneth Womack
    The Beatles with Lacan: Rock’n’ Roll as Requiem for the Modern Age (American University Studies) by Henry W Sullivan
    Beatles for Sale: How Everything They Touched Turned to Gold by John Blaney (?????)
    Revolver: How the Beatles Reimagined Rock ‘n’ Roll by Robert Rodriguez
    A Twist of Lennon by Cynthia Lennon
    The Beatles Collected by Pete Nash
    Revolution: making of the Beatles’ White Album (The Vinyl Frontier by David Quantick
    Inside the “Yellow Submarine”: The Making of the “Beatles’” Animated Classic by Robert R. Hieronimus
    The Beatles: The True Beginnings by Roag Best
    The Beatles Forever by Nicholas Schaffner
    The Beatles’ Let It Be (33 1/3) by Steve Matteo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

      Is The Beatles Lennon and Me the same book as John Lennon In My Life by Pete Shotton and Nicholas Schaffer? If so I have just bought that one – it is next on the list. Shotton was Lennon’s childhood friend, so it is a first person account.
      Thanks for posting the list – great stuff.
      PS The Alan Williams book on your list is one I’d also particularly like to check out.


      1. Paul D Avatar
        Paul D

        Hi Yes The Pete Shotton book was originally published as “John Lennon In My Life” and “The Beatles Lennon and Me” is a reissue. The re-issue is very hard to get hold of so if you bought the first issue that is even rarer. PS I just started my own little blog of Beatle books (still many more to add though)

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Howard Avatar

    This is a great list, and I’ve used it to pick several books, some of which I’ve read and enjoyed, and some which are sitting in the pile of books waiting to be read. Thank you, Is there any chance of similar list of Best Books about The Rolling Stones?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

      Thank you Howard – great to hear you are making good use of it.
      I’m a bit ahead of you on the Rolling Stones as I did write something similar a while back – the link is here:
      Hopefully you will find some similarly great reads in that list!


      1. Howard Avatar

        Yeah…D’oh. Right after I wrote the comment, a Google search for Best Rolling Stones Books brought me right back here. Thank you, True Adventures was ordered, has arrived and is cued up on the to-be-read shelf.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Geert Avatar

    On the whole, that was a marvellous list.

    I have never seen a Beatles’ book list that I agree with more – even starting with the same book I always choose, Michael Braun’s ‘Love Me Do’.

    I just have a few points and suggestions:

    1. Personally, I think that ‘Revolution in the Head’ is drivel, terrible (look at his opinion of ‘Across The Universe’), but that is just a personal viewpoint (i.e., correct 😉 ) on my part

    2. Unfortunately, Tony Bramwell’s book is not as factually accurate as you thought – it even gets the year that ‘Sgt. Pepper’ was released wrong! I hope that was either a typo, or the result of bad editing

    3. Another book that I have never liked the presentation of, but which (unfortunately) is essential for people like me who are obsessed with The Beatles and with guitars, amps, and with with the guitars, amps and so on that The Beatles played, is the sometimes updated ‘Beatles Gear: All the Fab Four’s Instruments from Stage to Studio’, by Andy Babiuk (a man who never seems to reply to his emails)

    4. To level the playing field about some of the remarks Geoff Emerick makes about George Harrison’s guitar playing, and for another perspective on The Fabs, we have Ken Scott’s ‘Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust: Off the Record with The Beatles, Bowie, Elton & So Much More, Hardcover Book’. Ken Scott, along with Geoff Emerick, was one of the 5 main (“First”, as opposed to “Assistant” or “Second”) recording engineers who worked with The Fabs. Again, unfortunately for my wallet, essential

    5. Even though I think this book is very poorly written, ‘Recording The Beatles’ by Kevin Ryan and Brian Kehew, is an essential read for those of us interested in the recording studios and equipment The Beatles used. N.B. Recording engineer Glyn Johns (in his book) says that all of what Ryan and Kehew wrote about him in their book is factually incorrect, and Johns is quite caustic in his criticisms (I do not blame him given that ‘RTB’ was touted so highly)

    For Completists (i.e., me, and most of the rock book buying community), I would add the books listed below, regardless of the sometimes awful writing (which can also be endearing).

    One of the thing about the books I am listing in this section is that they are all by people who were there, not ‘second generation’ people. I think this is important, regardless of factual inaccuracy or bias of the various authors.

    6. ‘Apple’s Core: The Beatles from the Inside’ by Dennis O’Dell

    7. ‘Who’s The Redhead On the Roof? My Life with The Beatles’ by Kevin Harrington

    8. THERE IS A RUMOURED MAL EVANS book coming out, as of me writing this in late 2019

    9. ‘John, Paul, George, Ringo & Me’, by one of their publicists, Tony Barrow

    10. ‘The Birth of The Beatles’ by Merseyside promoter, and friend of The Fabs, Sam Leach

    11. ‘The Man Who Gave The Beatles Away’, by Allan Williams ONE OF THE TWO OR THREE ESSENTIAL FAB BOOKS, I think.

    12. ‘I Should Have Known Better’, by Geoffrey Ellis

    13. ‘With The Beatles’ by ‘Mr. Fixit’, Alistair Taylor

    14. Various excellent Beatles photo books by photographer Robert Freeman

    15. ‘The Beatles Diary’, by former chauffeur, Alf Bicknell

    16. Bill Harry has written quite a few Beatles’ books, from ‘The Beatles’ Bible’ listing the people who worked with the band, to ????????????

    17. ‘Inside the Yellow Submarine: The Making of The Beatles’ Animated Classic’, by Robert, R. Hieronimus

    18. ‘In His Own Write’ and ‘A Spaniard in the Works’ by John Lennon!!! (and maybe, the posthumously published-book-that-he-said-was-not-ready-to-be-published-just-before-he-died, ‘Skywriting By Word of Mouth’

    19. ‘Loving John’, by May Pang

    20. ‘One Day at a Time’ by Anthony Fawcett

    21. ‘Twilight of the Gods: The Beatles in Retrospect’ by Wilfred Mellers (a good book by a critic, unlike ‘Revolution in the Head’)

    22. ‘The Beatles as Musicians’ (volumes 1 and 2 – another example of excellent critical writing), by Walter Everett

    23. ‘The Dawn of Indian Music in the West’, by Peter Lavezzoli. A very interesting mixture of the history of Indian (mostly North Indian, known as Hindustani) Classical Music, its main figures (e.g., Ravi Shankar and Vilayat Khan), and its influence on people like George, (and other rock and jazz musicians such John Coltrane, John McGlaughlin, and so on) and his influence in spreading the music. This is a book for those who know Hindustani Classical Music already, but could be interesting for others, too.

    I could go on, but will not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

      Geert- thank you so much for that very thoughtful summary. Terrific stuff. I will add Rob Sheffield’s recent book Dreaming The Beatles and I got Pete Best’s book for Christmas this year, so that may yet be added. I do want to read the “The Man Who Gave The Beatles Away” having heard about it recently (it is also recommended by Mark Lewisohn).
      Thanks again


      1. drutgat Avatar

        Thanks, Chris.
        Glad you enjoyed it.


  17. Chuck Gunderson Avatar

    Please check out my book that was released in 2014 entitled “Some Fun Tonight! The Backstage Story of How The Beatles Rocked America; The Historic Tours of 1964-1966” it’s a two volume book. The hard bound version is housed in a slip case and is limited in number.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. asanlino Avatar

    A is for Apple – An illustrated history of the Beatles’ multimedia corporation: Vols. 1, 2, 3
    found at
    Amazing three volume set with more volumes to come.
    You have to see it to believe it.

    Also, Some Fun Tonight! The Backstage Story of How The Beatles Rocked America; The Historic Tours of 1964-1966. Great stories and photos.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. drutgat Avatar

    Re. Rhonda and Chris’s comments about The Beatles’ cartoons, Apple (the proper one) bought the rights to those cartoons sometime around 2017, I think, so I am sure we will see a future remastering and re-release.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Andy Avatar

    Anyone got an opinion on the Jerry Hammack books Vol 1-5 – The Beatles Recording Reference Manuals? Wasn’t sure whether to outlay the £150 for them all!!


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