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Paul McCartney's The Lyrics Plus 10 More Essential Beatles Books

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • October 24, 2021

Paul McCartney's new memoir, coming out November 2 and available for preorder, traces the story of his life, fittingly, through his music. From early Liverpool days, through the historic decade of The Beatles, to Wings and his long solo career, The Lyrics pairs the artist's unforgettable song texts with first-person accounts about how they came to be. Spanning two volumes, the book includes hundreds of images from McCartney's personal archives, including handwritten texts, paintings, and photographs. And here are ten more essential choices for your Beatles library.

More About Paul

For a more traditional biography of the great artist, consider Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now. The book, published by Barry Miles in 1997, is based on hundreds of hours of exclusive interviews over a period of five years and includes McCartney's recollection of working with his most famous collaborator.

According to the Walrus

Lennon Remembers contains a fully transcribed text of Jann S. Wenner's in-depth interview with John Lennon in December of 1970, ten years before his death at age forty. This laser-sharp, fly-on-the-wall encounter presents a compelling portrait of a complex musical genius at the height of his career.

Best All-Around

Shout!: The Beatles in Their Generation by Philip Norman offers a thorough biography of the members of the band, their music, and their times. This epic tale charts the rise of four scruffy Liverpool lads to the astonishing heights of Beatlemania to their acrimonious split and beyond.

The Origin Story

From Mark Lewisohn, Tune In explores and explains the formative pre-fame years, the teenage years, the Liverpool and Hamburg years. The Beatles come together here in all their originality, attitude, style, speed, charisma, appeal, daring and honesty, the tools with which they're about to reshape the world.

The Beatlemania Scene

The year is 1963 and "Love Me Do" is the Beatles' first number one hit. John, Paul, George and Ringo celebrate their new found success with a hectic six-week tour. In The Beatles' Progress, Michael Braun chronicles the beginning of "Beatlemania" and what really happened in those first magic weeks.

From Inside the Studio

In 1962, fifteen-year-old Geoff Emerick became an assistant engineer at the Abbey Road Studios as the Beatles recorded their first songs. Then, in 1966, at just nineteen, he became their chief engineer. In Here, There and Everywhere, he charts his experiences, from creative process to personal dynamics.

Their Personal Lives

In The Love You Make, Peter Brown, close friend of and business manager for the band (and best man at John's wedding to Yoko Ono), presents a complete look at the dramatic offstage odyssey of the four lads from Liverpool who established the greatest music phenomenon of the twentieth century.

Behind the Songs

Researched from hundreds of Abbey Road archive tapes, The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions by Mark Lewisohn features studio documents and interviews with key recording personnel. Includes over 350 photographs and illustrations, plus rare photos by Linda McCartney.

The Criticism

With Revolution in the Head, Ian MacDonald breaks down every song the Beatles ever released, offering cultural context and rigorous analysis for each. He doesn't shy away from turning a critical eye to songs he deems unworthy, never losing sight of what made the band so important, unique, and enjoyable.

The Contemporary Perspective

Rob Sheffield's 2017 retrospective was declared "the best book about the Beatles ever written" by Mashable. Dreaming the Beatles is a collection of essays offering an entertaining, unconventional look at the most popular band in history, exploring what they mean today and why they still matter.

These volumes are indispensable to understanding who The Beatles were and why their legacy continues to resonate today.

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